Is Persecution Really Good For The Church?

Posted: August 3, 2010 in Uncategorized

There is a disturbing move throughout the western world to silence Christians in the public square.  In Canada, one may be fined, or even jailed, for preaching from texts that criticize homosexuality.  Now, in our own country, students like Jennifer Keeton at Augusta State and Julea Ward at Eastern Michigan University have been told that they either drop their evangelical opposition to same-sex relationships or they are not qualified to serve as a professional counselor (both are represented by the Alliance Defense Fund www.telladf.org).

The troubling trend of political correctness run amok certainly runs afoul of both state and federal 1st amendments but it is even more troubling to me to hear so many Christians either shrug this off or even view such state actions as beneficial to the body of Christ.

It seems that many Christians have a romantic view of persecution.  I often hear fellow believers espouse  a theory that such pressure will help grow the “true church” because it has so many times in the past.

But is that true?

Scholar Justo Louis Gonzalez notes in his popular 2-volume church history argues that the church grows just as quickly in times of peace as it does in times of persecution.

Moreover, what of the 1st true Great Awakenings in this country?

Finally, when we turn to Scripture we find the inspired author of Acts penning the following,

26 And when he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples. And they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus. 28 So he went in and out among them at Jerusalem, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 And he spoke and disputed against the Hellenists. But they were seeking to kill him. 30 And when the brothers learned this, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.

31 So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.

So, persecution is not the only God ordained growth strategy and if we are to love our neighbors then we must also ask if we truly desire them to be persecuted.

Food for thought.

Grace and peace to you all.

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Comments
  1. Crystal says:

    Thanks, hadn’t stopped to consider that before. I’ve heard it said many times that the church grows in times of persecution, but to tell you the truth, I haven’t heard many wish for it.

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