Friday, August 27, 2010

Could Christians Really Face Severe Persecution in the U.S.?

A group of Muslims was recently denied a permit that would create a mosque in the middle of a small town not far from here. With the news being posted on various websites came tons of comments from readers. What I was amazed to see is that most of the comments are not only in favor of the Muslisms, but many in this "Bible Belt" area slammed Christians. Even when no one on a message thread had made any comment regarding Christianity as a defense for denying the permit, the "oppression of muslims" was seen as a Christian offense. This once again revived my belief that persecution is not far away for those of us in the United States. Here is a blog that we ran in 2008 during the presidential election campaigns. I think it is worth running again:

We’ve heard it for years now. Persecution of Christians is coming to the United States! And while the evidences of hostility toward Christians have certainly grown in our recent history, it always evaded my mind how hostility from a “minority of people” could turn into full blown persecution. Plus, aren’t we guaranteed freedom of religion in a nation founded on religious principles? No matter the hatred toward Christians, we could not be outright persecuted, could we?

 It did seem ludicrous to me in years past, but I am now coming to understand how it is possible and how it could actually play out in our nation. This is not prophecy in the sense of telling of future events, but the reality of persecution is now more real to me than ever.

So how can we go from a majority Christian nation to outright persecution?

Perhaps the story about Christians backing Barack Obama on One News Now will help illustrate. The story states that in a recent Barna survey, Obama and McCain are tied when it comes to how born-again believers intend to vote. Barna defines born-again as those “who say they have made a personal commitment to Jesus and believe they will go to heaven because they have confessed their sins and accepted Jesus Christ as their savior.” How can that be? How can half of “born-again” Christians support a candidate who openly supports abortion (and even voted against a bill that would require babies born alive in botched abortions to receive medical treatment) and openly supports homosexual rights? Hard lines are being drawn, and in those lines are the future of persecuted believers.

I believe the chink in our previously impervious amour is the seeming divisions in the Christian world such as what we see above. There seems to be two or more Christian worlds within American Christianity. And the poles continue to drift further apart. Those who adhere to Biblical values, such as those of us who know abortion and homosexuality are wrong, are vilified as the most radical element of our faith. We have people like Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, and Rob Bell in the Christian community who never raise anyone’s ire, yet there are those like James Dobson, John MacArthur, and Al Mohler who never seem to stop catching the flack of open, verbal persecution. So what is the difference? Aren’t we all Christians?

This is why I used the term “seeming divisions” when referring to the Christian world. There are no divisions in true Christianity. The real division is between those who are converted and those who are not. The lines are being drawn between those who are His and those who claim to be His but are not. 

And those who are truly saved are deemed as radical and dangerous. Now we can see how a nation can persecute Christians while still allowing ‘Christianity.’ Those who are truly born-again must draw the dividing line between themselves and those who are false converts. It is essential not for the sake of causing division, but for the sake of the Gospel. Yet the world will love those who claim to be the Church but in reality are not. The world will hold them up as true models of Christians and persecute those who really are. The false church is already in bed with the world and pleases it immensely. Therefore the true Church will be persecuted by a people who feel that this radical group is a danger to the state and to the state’s wellbeing. After all, the mantra for abortionists and homosexuals is one of civil rights, correct? Can you already see it coming? Bible publishers are being sued for printing scripture that decries homosexuality. Hate crime laws ban speech that agrees with scripture and Biblical teaching. The false church will flourish, and Christianity will still be accepted. . . as long as it agrees with the world and the state. This is the case currently in China. 

And we will be the enemy. We will be those who oppose societal advancement. We will be persecuted.

But the bright spot is that we have Christ. And He is worth it. Our treasure is not in comfort or ease. . . our treasure is in Him. And there is no difference to gain Him through ease or adversity. And persecution holds to scripture, so we should not be surprised. In fact, we can be comforted that He has told us these things before hand, and therefore His word is true.

–John 16:33 “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” - John 15:8 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” -John 16:2 “the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service.” 2 Timothy 3:1-9 “1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; 9 but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.” 

Read about our brothers and sisters who are already facing violent persecution at

- J.T.

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