The ropes mercilessly held fast the slaves wrists to the weary wooden post. His hands were helplessly bound; not even enough room to wiggle a finger in the intensity of the pain. The whip cracked only inches away from his left ear as it licked his shoulder.The scourge of the beating ravaged his back. The crack of the whip shouted over his screams of agony that his master gave a cruel laugh to. The slave cried, screamed, begged and pleaded before being whisked away into blackout from the pain…
In the time period of A.D. 800-1200, the Vikings began to threaten Charlemagne’s empire. Unlike the Visigoths that invaded Rome earlier in history, these Vikings had no sense of mercy or hints of Christianity in their conduct. They slaughtered both clergy and layman, and took a keen interest in burning down churches. Those that they didn’t put to the sword were enslaved by their conquerors, but it was in the position of slavery that the Christian captives actually won their captors to the Lord. Was it because of clever arguments and flashy lights that the Vikings converted? No. It was through the Christian slaves living their lives in obedience to passages like Romans 12:21, Colossians 3:22, 1 Peter 2:18, and 3:3-6 that they outshone the evil around them. It led to their captors noticing their lives and asking the question, “Why are you different from all the other slaves?”, and so the gospel was told from slave to master.
I would like to share an excerpt from Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. This section tells of the Vikings and their Christian captives.
-The phenomenal power of Christianity manifested itself: the conquerors became the conquered by the faith of their captives. Usually it was the monks sold as slaves or Christian girls forced to be their wives and mistresses who eventually won these savages of the north. In God’s providence their redemption became more important than the harrowing tragedy of this new invasion of barbarian violence and evil which fell upon God’s own people whom he loved. After all, He spared not His own Son in order to redeem us! Thus, again, what Satan intended for evil, God used for good. (3rd edition, Chapter 33, page 206)