Conflicts 103: Persecution

Back To Main
Spiritual Warfare

Christianity is the only faith that considers persecution an inherently positive experience

Christian persecution isn’t merely a martyrdom complex

  • People who vandalize, speak offensively or behave unlovingly don’t follow God

Christians consider persecution honorable (Matthew 5:10-12, 1 Corinthians 4:12, James 1:2)

  • Some Christians fear persecution, mostly from inexperience

Jesus practically promises suffering and persecution (John 15:18-20)

  • Throughout Christian history, the Church explodes its influence and population every time authority figures try to shut it down or oppress it

Persecution transitions through predictable stages

Every society is initially open to missionaries sharing the Gospel

  • Except for some opponents, the public will peacefully coexist with Christians

Eventually, Satan will inspire people to reject Christians

  • The society is rejecting Jesus’ message and not the Christians themselves

Society’s rejection will start by removing Christians’ status and community reputation

  • Family and friends won’t understand Christians and will slowly alienate from them
  • Officials will forbid or restrict certain Christian practices like evangelism in public places
  • Authorities will often require churches to register their gatherings

Soon, Christianity will become illegal to practice in public

  • Churches will lose their status with the government unless they comply with specific non-Christian values
  • Evangelism and public worship will become illegal
  • Officials will detain and possibly beat Christians after warning them

Eventually, merely existing as a Christian becomes illegal

  • The fierce persecution, usually headed by a dictator, can vary
    • Incessant government regulation against Christians
    • Imprisonment, torture, and blood sport of Christians
    • Re-education programs Christians must attend
    • Perpetual threat of mass genocide
  • These leaders never last more than a few years, but a power shift doesn’t forecast the persecution relenting
  • At this point, the Church employs subversion and survival skills to preserve itself beyond martyrdom

Anticipate persecution by observing the world’s spiritual decay

Satan frequently uses a method defined by Saul Alinsky to invalidate reputations and, by association, the Gospel

  1. Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have
    • Power comes from either money or people
    • People without power must build it from flesh and blood
  2. Never go outside your peoples’ expertise
    • It results in confusion, fear, and retreat
    • Feeling secure adds to anyone’s backbone
  3. Whenever possible, go outside the enemy’s expertise
    • Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety, and uncertainty
  4. Make the enemy live up to their rule book
    • If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters
    • You can kill them with this because no one can obey all their rules
  5. Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon
    • There is no defense: it’s irrational and infuriating
    • It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions
  6. A good tactic is one your people enjoy
    • They’ll keep doing it without urging and come back to do more
    • They’re doing their thing, and will even suggest better ones
    • A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag, so don’t become old news
  7. Keep the pressure on and never let up
    • Keep trying new things to throw the opposition off balance
    • As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new
  8. The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself
    • Imagination and ego can dream up many more consequences than any activist
  9. The best tactics develop operations that keep constant pressure on the opposition
    • The unceasing pressure gives reactions from the opposition essential for your campaign’s success
  10. By pushing a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive
    • Violence from the other side can win the public to your side because the public sympathizes with the underdog
  11. The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative
    • Never let the enemy score points from catching you without a solution to the problem
  12. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it
    • Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy
    • Go after people and not institutions since people hurt faster than institutions

As a Christian, the answer is surprisingly simple when engaging Satan’s followers

  1. Stand in the authority of the one true living God
  2. Don’t claim anything which isn’t His eternal Word
  3. Be humble and accept when you don’t have expertise in something
  4. Stand by the Bible’s standards and openly confess your sins when caught
  5. Remember who bought you and at what price; He stayed silent in an all-night kangaroo court
  6. Stand by the truth that you will die someday and be ready to give your life for that cause
  7. No matter what happens, trust the Lord and let the Body aid you when it can
  8. Remember that people who can only kill your body have nothing to scare you about
  9. Rely on the Holy Spirit for the patience and willpower you need
  10. No matter how much they antagonize you, be a representative of the kingdom of heaven
  11. Ignore your enemies’ strategies; if they don’t fail now they’ll fail by the time Christ returns
  12. You will be hated and misunderstood as a horrible and despicable villain
    • Let your good conduct and works testify for you
    • Let the Holy Spirit say what He wants to say in that hour

As evil people take over, observe how society will magnify evil (from Philip Zimbardo)

  1. Mindlessly taking a first small step
  2. Dehumanizing others
  3. Feeling anonymity through carrying out someone else’s will
  4. Not taking personal responsibility for their behaviors
  5. Blind obedience to authority figures
  6. Adapting to the group’s rules unquestioningly
  7. Passively tolerating evil through inaction or indifference
Next: The End Times