By the Prodigal Son
When Huston’s gender-confused Mayor, Annise Parker kicked off the most controversial story proposing a new law granting certain protections to other “gender confused” people, many Christians in America went ballistic and cried out “Persecution!” So many as they began to see the Sodomite Agenda rising began to proclaim “the end is near!”
But is that really an example of persecution …simply because a gay mayor in a US city wants Christian sermons?
Parker wanted to make it legal for such individuals to use either a male or female bathroom in schools and public places. This new legislation provoked an immediate response from local churches, particularly five (5) local pastors from different assemblies, who challenged the legislation; the Mayor’s office fired back by filing a legal motion to subpoena all of the sermons, presentations and speeches that the pastors produce on the subject of Homosexuality.
The story went viral, of course, igniting a firestorm of protest, which reverberated throughout the US. The sensationalism finally reached my home of Bermuda, prompting a few Christians to sound the alarm as it were, calling everyone’s attention to the onset of perilous days of Christian persecution.
But that is not biblical persecution; in fact that’s not even a problem – it’s an honour!
While Persecution in fact is already happening, statistically the west is the only region on earth where it is not happening…yet, so quit listening to anyone who is announcing that the end of the world is at hand.
As Walid Shoebat once said “so long American Christians are enjoying T-Bone steaks, it is NOT persecution, yet. And while you focus on the “T” (The Cross) share your steak with your suffering brothers and sisters who are persecuted ABROAD.”
- So what is real Christian persecution?
- And as a Christian, how do you know if you are genuinely being persecuted?
- And how does Christian persecution factor into the last days?
Let’s take a simple look at the biblical definition of Christian persecution vs. what the western church considers Christian persecution, and then examine just a few case comparisons. The reader will then be left to discern who is truly being persecuted and who isn’t.
WHAT IS BIBLICAL PERSECUTION?
The Greek definition Dioko (dee-o-ko) which means Persecution therefore, carries three (3) distinct characteristic, which allows one to clearly identify genuine persecution. Keep in mind that this particular definition is uniform throughout the NT, wherever the word Persecution is used in relation to Christians. Even where a variation is used, the meaning remains essentially the same:
(1) To pursue (for the purpose of suffering) that is to literally hunt Christians down for the purpose of imprisonment, to cause physical injury or death
(2) To Expel; in a minor sense, that is to force Christians out of their gathering places and in a major sense to literally drive Christians out of their homelands
(3) To be pressured; This is to be burdened with trouble caused by external forces for the purpose of making life extremely difficult because of one’s faith in Christ.
Examples of Biblical persecution from scripture: Stephen: The first Christian Martyr – Acts 7:61-60 (Death)
Saul’s war against the new church – Acts 8:1-5; (Imprisonment) also;
Prior to his conversion to Christianity – Acts 9:1-5 (Pursue for the purpose of imprisonment)
After Paul’s conversion and subsequent preaching of the Gospel – Acts 13:48-52 (Expulsion)
Can persecution separate a Believer from the love of Christ? – Romans 8:35
(External pressure, death, imprisonment, assaults…)
Examples of Biblical persecution from recent events:
Islamic group, Boko Haram, in Nigeria slaughter over two dozen Christians as they worshiped God (Death) Source: Gospel Herald
Boko Haram, shutter churches in Nigeria (Death, Put to flight and Expulsion) Source: Charisma Magazine
ISIS Vanquishes Christianity from Nineveh after 2,000 year presence (Death, Expulsion, Put to flight) Source: Christian Post
Miriam Ibrahim: Imprisoned by the Islamic Government of Sudan and sentenced to death for Adultery according to Islamic law. Refused to renounce her faith in Christ (imprisonment, faced death) Source: Huffington Post
Meriam Ibrahim in Prison with newborn baby
Compare the biblical definition of Persecution with the biblical/historical examples of persecution. Next, compare the biblical definition of Persecution with recent events involving modern day Christians.
Notice that both the historical and recent events coalesce. The persecution dynamic that flows through both sets of events is remarkably consistent. The central theme is suffering for the cause of Christ – a key doctrine that resonates throughout the entire Gospel narrative, but yet is rapidly being replaced by heretical teachings. The western church is essentially learning to repudiate the concept of biblical suffering via the influence of a host of false teachers, who are blotting out God’s purification process for his Church.
Keep in mind the biblical definition of Persecution, and let’s compare it with the absolutely stunning labels of persecution put forward by the western church.
Fleming House reports several stories emanating from within the US Military relating to the prohibition or censoring of Christianity within the armed forces. Among such stories are:
- The banning of bibles and religious materials from Walter Reid Medical Center
- Threats by anti-religious groups to sue over nativity scene
- Threats to censor military chaplains (not on ministering the Gospel, but on speech relating to Obamacare)
- Army removes cross and steeple from chapel
Other challenges come from atheists/humanists groups in every field of human endeavor that are motivated to attack western Christianity, not particularly because of any significant impact by the ministering of the Gospel; but rather there are certain beliefs which feature prominently within western Christianity that the secular, western world find offensive.
Issues such as Creation over Evolution being taught in schools; school prayers; Christmas nativity scenes; and the seemingly militant position of the church against the Homosexual agenda, are all sensitive topics in the west, particularly to a growing secular culture with a Greek oriented mindset.
The Christian God is merely one god among many; therefore it should not be a unexpected that the western church would experience an aggressive campaign either to subjugate its message relating to these issues, or silence it altogether. All these by biblical definition is not persecution.
Given the frequency and severity of world events, particularly those events currently unfolding in the Middle East, I am fully persuaded that the ship, which carried the theology of a European Antichrist and a pre-trib rapture has long sailed; and what the western church must now contend with is the fact that it has missed the point entirely of what real endtime prophecy means for the church universally.
Of the many glaring inconsistencies with our traditional interpretation of end time prophecy, the one critical point, which must be addressed, is the issue of biblical persecution and not perceived persecution from a modern western view.
So if a secular, lesbian woman in a position of political power is demanding the sermons of the Church, then by God, give them to her! Annise Parker shouldn’t even need to subpoena the church; she should have a sermon delivered to her once per week! Instead of seizing a golden opportunity to fulfil the command of Christ, the church put its tail between its legs and ran for legal cover, hiring lawyers’ behind whom it can hide from the mean ol’ lesbian mayor.
Why do American Christians call attention to this while there are more pressing issues where Christians are beheaded and burned alive? It certainly doesn’t display a spirit of boldness in the face of spiritual adversity. Instead of drawing the sword of the Spirit and going after the head of Jezebel…the men of God ran from her!
Is the western church preaching the word of God and living by its example, or is it cherry picking certain battles, claiming to be bold and steadfast in the fight, only to turn and run for cover at the roar of the lion?
When analyzing incidents such as this, the key ingredient, which lends to the overall difference between biblical persecution (in the east) and plain harassment of the church, (in the west) is that real persecution provides no resource for recourse.
In other words, real persecution always involves having to flee, or stand your ground and either be imprisoned, beaten or killed…sometimes all three. There are no fancy lawyers or justice groups to run to when some anti-Christian entity threatens. There is no quoting from the Constitution, which guarantees certain rights.
In the Middle East, the beast of Islam portrays the perfect example of an entity that persecutes the children of God; the only options for Christians are to convert to Islam, live under subjugation, die or run. There are no legal appeals; no petitions to submit to the Caliphate – mainly because no Christian would dare sign it. Death is preferable because living under subjugation to Islam is the same as disobeying God.
This has always been what real persecution looks like.
Some might still insist that being harassed in the western church somehow translates as biblical persecution, fine; then I will point out one final observation concerning the fiasco in Houston:
For almost five (5) years, the western church has watched as her brothers and sisters in the east have been steadily brutalized and slaughtered for their faith in Jesus Christ – the very same Jesus the church in the west claim to serve. This means that we are united as one living, breathing entity. What happens to them happens to us. We groan in pain when we sustain a serious injury to our physical bodies; why are we not also groaning in agony at the pain that sears through the body of Christ?
Instead, the news of such devastating persecution, though steadily rising, has barely created a stir of concern in the western church. Scant attention is paid; scant prayers are given. Why is it that we do not feel the pain? But let some simple woman who thinks she’s in charge pull a legal manoeuvre in a city the size of a dot compared to the entire world, and the church explodes in protest. How insane is that?
For such a tiny incident to provoke such fear and protest- even an incident which was actually an open door to potentially reach high into secular government, then be warned: If biblical persecution were to arise ever so slightly from an incident such as this, then the church has just clearly demonstrated how it will easily drop the mantle of Jesus Christ and use every resource at its disposal to avoid simply being harassed.
How will the church handle real persecution? Because whether or not we care to admit it, acknowledge it or even prepare for it, before the western church experiences the rapture it will certainly experience persecution as the body of Christ. To believe we can avoid it while we turn a blind eye to the plight of our brothers and sisters in the east exposes our ignorance and apathy.