Five Levels of Christian Persecution
1) Reject of Belief
I remember the days in Bible College we would go out on Saturday visitation.
We would visit all of the bus riders and remind them what time the bus would come through to pick them up for Sunday school. We would often try to bribe them with candy or we would have some weird gimmick that day in order to share the gospel with them.
Usually after our regular visits we would do what we called cold-door knocking. That meant we would pick some random street going house to house knocking on someone’s door to invite them to church
. We would usually go out two-by-two as the Bible describes in Luke 10:1 “After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place…” [KJV] Most houses we knocked on no one was home.
We would leave a gospel tract with the church’s address and service times stamped on the back of the pamphlet. If someone did answer the door we would ask them if they had a church home. Most people from the south would be friendly enough to talk to you through the screen door or crack their front door open enough to be social.
If the person was willing to speak to us we would eventually bring the conversation around to asking them, “If you died today are you one-hundred percent sure you would go to heaven?” This question sometimes would cause the person to get angry and to yell at us to get off their property.
At some locations as soon as we identified ourselves, “Hello we are from such and such church…” was enough to get the door slammed in our face. Jokingly as we left the property we would mention to one another “well we’re just required to share the message.”
We considered it persecution on some minor level that we were ‘suffering for Jesus’ anytime our feelings were hurt in the process. The average Christian can probably relate to some point in their life being laughed at or made fun of for their Christian beliefs. Whether or not you would consider this persecution, it is miniscule at best considering that you have to learn to grow thick skin when taking a stand for Christ.
2) Denied Rights
The second level of Christian persecution is denying basic rights based on biblical standards. You see these types of situations almost on a daily basis if you follow local and national news sites.
These can range from students being denied to start a Bible Club on school property, to non-profit organizations being fined for feeding the homeless without a city-issued permit, to Pro-Life groups being denied free speech while protesting in front of a Planned Parenthood facility, to a homeschooled student being denied enrollment into a public institute of higher learning, to a worker being denied the right to read his Bible during his lunch break.
These types of cases usually end up in lawsuits based on Constitutional rights being violated. Most of the time these cases are represented by legal teams that specialize in protecting religious organizations from having their basic Constitutional right violated when they should be protected by their First Amendment. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Some of the more prominent religious litigation teams can include Christian Law Association and The Rutherford Institute. In the majority outcomes of these cases, the justice system sides with those whose Constitutional rights were violated. It is imperative that Christians actively participate in elections at the local, state, and federal levels to get conservative and Godly people in place that rule over these type of cases.
3) Civil Lawsuits
The third level of Christian persecution has come into the limelight within the past few years. Christian business have recently become under attack for refusing to service same-sex marriage couples. Not only have civil lawsuits been brought against these businesses but financial penalties are being awarded to these gay and lesbian couples bringing about the lawsuits.
Some recent examples include:
The examples go on and on. In June of this year, the Supreme Court approved same-sex marriage. I also refer to this as Sodomite-Unions. Most evangelicals feel that with the court ruling in favor of same-sex marriages that soon discrimination against homosexual couples would be a violation of the constitution. Doing so would bring about stiff penalties that could range from fines, to felonies, and even prison time. Evangelical leaders have been very outspoken warning the judgment of God will fall upon America should the Supreme Court Justices rule in favor of the LGBT community.
The next level of persecution is actual time spent incarceration for religious beliefs. Several ministers have gone on record stating that they would refuse to obey recognizing same-sex marriage even if the Chief Justices rule in favor of the LGBT community. Most republicans and libertarians such as Senator Ted Cruz of Texas feel the issue of same sex marriage should be left up to the states to decide on.
Some recent examples of threatened imprisonment prior to June 2015 ruling:
At some point in the near future it may become a crime for evangelical ministers to refuse to perform or condone same-sex marriages. Religious organizations such as Christian schools may be forced into hiring an open-gay and/or transgender teacher or be faced with jail time.
Some Christian leaders such as Tony Perkins claims churches and other religious organizations could lose their 501(c)3 tax-exempt status over the marriage equality ruling. Time will tell what time persecution Christian will face.
This redefining of marriage could open up doors to other type of intolerance that Christians could face imprisonment. Examples may include the rejection of other religions such as the Islamic faith or speaking out against other lifestyle choices that the Bible clearly declares as sin.
It could be the Pandora’s box that would put Christianity on a path toward becoming outlawed and drive the Christian church underground. We could be at the threshold of facing the coming end times that the book of Revelations clearly speaks about.
The last level of Christian persecution is death. Christians were executed for their faith during the early Christian church infancy following the death of Jesus Christ.
It started with the apostles being tortured, imprisoned and killed. Saul of Tarsus was one of the chief administrators given arresting power to capture, torture, and kill early church Christians. It wasn’t until Saul’s conversion in Acts chapter nine that he became Paul the Apostle.
After his conversion he was eventually was killed for his faith. Too numerous to mention all of the early saints killed for their faith, I would recommend reading Foxx’s Book of Martyrs for a look into that time period and what Christians faced.
Today Christianity in America is the dominate religion. The average person you stop and ask on the street “Are you a Christian?” would answer “yes.” But as the Bible predicts there will come a time when Christians will be killed for their faith. In the countries of Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, and Syria Christians are being beheaded and systematically slaughtered for their faith by groups such as ISIS.
This intolerance of Christians is opening the door to a new chapter in Christian persecution during the twenty-first century.
Many Christians who follow end-time news and prophecy believe it is just a matter of time before this style of persecution will find its way to America. The book of Revelation talks about those who refuse to receive the beast’s mark in his forehead or in his hand will be hunted down and killed for the sake of their faith.
Matthew 24:9 states “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.” [KJV] In Revelation 6:9 it states “And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:” [KJV].
It has been documented that Christians are the most persecuted group of any religious affiliation. Christianity Today put together a list of the Top Fifty countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian. I believe it is just a matter of time before you will see the United States of America or the former country USA placed on that list.
– Last Man Standing.
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