One of the questions asked by Christians can American Christianity stand up to persecution? If you are a believer and follower of Jesus in American culture it may seem you are under attack. Social media paints Christianity as extremist, judgmental, racists that are only self-serving and closed minded. We are portrayed as agenda pushing radicals. Some in our society view the church as a money hungry financial machine that prey on the weak and vulnerable. Others view Christianity as talk and no action. Movies have reduced the Christian to sad stereotype. There once was a time in America when attempting to follow Jesus was honorable, noble, respectable, and a good thing. Today Christianity in our nation has been reduced to a bad label. Who is responsible for our current condition? Both sides: while mocked, made fun of, our abilities questioned, and having to stand in the face of opposition, we haven’t really helped our cause out much. Any opposition or attack on our abilities or character can be seen as persecution. The true meaning of persecution is more than an unpopular view or negative post on social media.
Today in 2016 Christians globally are being truly persecuted in a variety of settings. The onslaught of ISIS it is happening daily. ISIS has been around for many years and no stranger to the American government. But in the last year they have gone to a higher level. ISIS has taken over Syria. They have destroyed all Christian artifacts from the city of Nineveh. They have destroyed every Christian tombs, church, ancient artifacts that have been preserved for thousands of years. On Easter Sunday 69 people were killed and 341 Christian were injured in bombing at a neighborhood park in Islamabad, Pakistan as children and families gathers to celebrate the Easter holiday. Christians and Jews are being systematically raped, burned, drowned, and killed on the spot for their belief in Jesus Christ. This is not 1000’s but 2016. Is it coming to America? Why wouldn’t it? The fear of intolerance has opened the front door. This is not about spreading fear or hate. It is not about Islam as a whole. This is not some type of outlandish psycho prophecies saying there will be beheadings in American streets. Nor is this a political statement about the US leadership. However it is not out of the possibility that Christians will be ouster sized, ridicule, and loss of finances, censorship of our voice. In Houston a judge ordered a pastor to turn over his sermons. So why should we be shocked to see a pastor arrested and imprisoned over a sermon they have preached in the near future.
Brings us back to our question which has not been answered? Can American Christianity stand up to persecution? Simply No! Not in its’ present state. Persecution can’t stop the gospel from spreading, but it can discourage God’s people if we are not prepared to face it. Join us Sunday as we attempt to address our current predicament in relevant ways. We will uncover things we as followers of Jesus can do to lovingly endure in the face of persecution, not fold under fear and intimidation, and stand graciously in the face of opposition, and not embarrass God in the process. Real answers to tough questions is the only way we can grow, learn, and share the gospel of love, grace and hope.
Peace, Love and Happiness:Tommy