‘Persecution’ in America minuscule compared to others

Published 5:40 am Sunday, May 26, 2019

By Timothy Johnson

Preacher’s Point

According to Easterproject.com, 322 Christians are killed for their faith each month. That number will probably rise since nearly that many have been killed each month in Nigeria alone since the beginning of the year.

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Also, the world sees 214 churches destroyed each month, usually through fire or bombing, and lastly 772 acts of violence are committed against Christians each month. Acts of violence are described as “beatings, abductions, rapes, arrests, and forced marriages.”

These types of persecution, the killing of Christians because they are Christian, the burning down or blowing up of churches, and people being imprisoned or kidnapped then tortured for their faith are happening at an alarming rate. The vast majority of these acts are either located in dictatorships or Islamic nations.

When I lived in Germany, the iron curtain was still up. Our van, on occasion, was used to smuggle Bibles to the other side. Although I never went on the trips myself, I am well acquainted with the stories of our “bread deliverers.” Each village would receive only a handful of Bibles. Bibles were against the law, so having one on the coffee table could not happen. For secrecy, the pages were removed from the Bibles. The Christians would share the Bible, a handful of pages at a time, with each other. It was much easier to hide a few sheets of paper than an entire book.

Because of the risk of prison or death, worshipping together was also done in secret. The believers would not meet every Sunday, but maybe once every three to six weeks. On the appointed day, each believer had a specific time to leave home to take a walk into the woods or another out of the way place. With departure times scattered throughout the day, authorities would not see a crowd strolling into the forest, as this would cause suspicion.

Once together in their secret location, hymns were hummed. Prayers, then one of the leaders would deliver a quiet sermon, and the Christians would discuss whatever blessings or troubles they may have. They would also pray and consider whom to share the gospel with back in town. There was much care taken in sharing the gospel with others because of the possible repercussions. Therefore the group would decide who would receive the gospel for the first time.

Many modern-day American Christians define worship as when the “praise and worship” team performs. In many other nations, worship is in the acts of prayer, Bible study, and the hearing of sermons. Trust me; they understand the meaning of worship much better than we do.

With the threat of imprisonment, martyrdom, kidnapping, and torture, to many of our brothers and sisters around the globe; I wonder what they think of Americans crying “persecution” because we are not allowed to pray before a football game, or are portrayed as ignoramuses on television, or at the removal of the nativity scene from the town square.

The “persecution” happening in America in comparison, to what Christians are suffering elsewhere, is minuscule.

I am not saying that severe persecution will never reach the United States. I am not saying what is happening in the United States are not warning signs of horrific times; all I am saying is – persecution in this country has not risen to the point of death and prison sentences – therefore, we should use whatever freedom we have to reach others with the gospel.

Could it be that Christians in America have not been Christ-like enough to merit persecution?

John 15:20, “Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.”

Many American Christians are afraid to tell someone the gospel because the other person may be offended, or they may think of us as abnormal – some religious fanatic. Meanwhile, Christians in Iran, China, Nigeria, India, and many other nations continue to spread the gospel while under the threat of prison, torture, and even death.

During the coming Tribulation Period, the Antichrist will kill Christians all across the globe, including the United States. Are we using the liberty we have at this current time to be witnesses of the gospel of Jesus Christ? Maybe our time and effort would be better spent sitting down with our neighbor and telling them of God’s saving grace as opposed to fighting with city hall over the decorations in the town square.

Timothy Johnson is pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Kingman, Indiana. Email: preacherspoint@gmail.com. Sermons and archived Preacher’s Points can be found at www.preacherspoint.wordpress.com.