Are American Christians Really Experiencing Persecution?
I’ve stayed pretty quiet (at least on the blog) about the current events that have happened in recent weeks. Please know my silence has absolutely nothing to do with a lack of courage or whether I’m ashamed or unashamed of Christ. My silence has to do with the behavior of some who claim the title of Christian and my lack of desire to be associated with them.
This post is not my platform to express my thoughts or even the Biblical mandates regarding same-sex marriage, prayer in school, or who is teaching what in schools. This is post is about the persecuted church, in which, I believe the American church is joining.
Some of you are nodding your head because you feel it. You’ve watched the news (probably Fox News, let’s be honest), and you are offended by the direction you see our country headed. Christian values have gone from being diluted to disintegrated. The “world” we live in isn’t what it once was. There is rampant tolerance and a loss of morals.
Can I get an “Amen” up in here?!?
As an American Christian, you see it, you feel it and you probably fall in one of four camps:
1) You want to run inside your house, close your shades and lock yourself away from the big, bad, scary world.
2) You’re mad. You’re rolling up your sleeves, loosening your collar and ready to take on this big, bad, ugly world and her momma!
3) You think the whole thing is ridiculous. There are Christians all over the world suffering severely for the gospel. You think, “Wake up, People! This is not suffering.”
4) You don’t really care. You think what you don’t know won’t hurt you.
[Tweet “You’re rolling up your sleeves, loosening your collar and ready to take on this big, bad, ugly world and her momma!”]
I think there is validity to all four camps. Depending on the day, I find myself pitching my tent in all four. However, I most want my tent pitched in God’s camp, where I can see the world, our culture, the American Church from a God-perspective.
So, yes, there are believers half a world away shivering in basements, straining to read Scripture. Yes, Christians values in American are being disintegrated. Yes, as believers we are called to a bold faith.
But, no, we can’t hide away whimpering in fear of suffering.
No, we can’t pound our fists against the wall ready to pick a fight with those heathens taking away our freedoms. Who do they think they are? Unfortunately, defensiveness over the devaluing of Christianity is a tell-tale sign of your vulnerable position. Panic due to the slightest threat of suffering indicates you were unprepared. You missed the clear warnings found in Scripture.
Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.–1 John 3:13
When you received salvation, did you think you were only signing up for heaven?
For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him,–Philippians 1:29
American Church, why would we believe ourselves exempt from suffering? Why would we consider our status superior to that of our brothers and sisters around the world?
No, American Christians are not straining for a scrap of the Bible. However, suffering for the sake of Christ is upon us. Wake up! Man up! And by, man up, I don’t mean responding with nasty posts on social media or theological debates. I mean, pick up your Bible, become aware of what it says and do it. A believer’s response of hate or defensiveness is not effective for the Kingdom of God. A response of love is the only acceptable response.
We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.–1 John 4:19-21
Our response must be one of compassion, humility and grace. The lostness of the world is not won by fighting, debating or judging. The lostness of the world is won by proving Christ’s love through the way we live our lives. Am I suggesting we stay silent? Of course not. But our words must be from the mouths of men and women who have been rescued and are simply helping someone else climb into the life boat.
Question: Are you concerned about the American Church? Are you afraid of suffering? How have you responded? Does the lost world know us (the American Church) by our love?
[Tweet “Defensiveness over the devaluing of Christianity is a tell-tale sign of your vulnerable position. “]
[Tweet “American Church, why would we believe ourselves exempt from suffering?”]