Christian Persecution –A Deliverance Exception
-Nature of Christian Persecution
Fruits of Persecution on us and Consequences on Persecutors
Praying for Persecutors
One area where there is no freedom is Christian persecution. Others include trials of our faith that God allows us to experience. Enduring Christian persecution is where genuine marks of Christ come from. It's the true furnace that the Lord uses to refine us. The Lord may free us from one form of persecution but only to allow another to take over at some point. How we respond to it depends on each of us and our walk with God.
The scriptures are more than clear about persecution in more passages than many other topics. We would only be deceiving ourselves if we think we'll receive medals of approval from both God and the fallen world. “ Everyone (not some or a few) who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived,” 2 Timothy3:12-13.
Nature of Christian Persecution
Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology says the meaning of persecution includes “pursuing or pressing on, to oppress, harass (Deut 30:7; Job 19:22; Acts 8:1), and also to bring to judgment or punishment (Jer 29:18; Lam 3:43; Matt 5:11-12; Luke 11:49).”
On the nature of persecution it says, “Both the Old Testament and New Testament give examples of physical, social, mental, and spiritual persecution . Physical persecution includes taking another's life (Gen 4, Cain murdering Abel) or maiming the body (Exodus 22, 23). Social persecution (sometimes called discrimination) consists of making individuals or a group outcasts. An example of extreme mental and spiritual persecution is seen when Peter and John were threatened not to preach the gospel (Acts 5:28,40).”
In its reference to Christians persecution is therefore suffering inflicted on us by other people because of our beliefs. It comes directly from people not spirit beings. Satan who is said to be prince of this fallen world (John 16:11) influences people to persecute us, though only to the extent God allows. It can even go the extent of our lives being taken, as was the case with many prophets in the Old Testament and the early church apostles.
Persecution is highest in regions were Christianity is most hated. In many parts of Asia including the Middle East and North Africa Christians have been facing severe attacks from people including governments. To this day some are imprisoned and killed for their refusal to compromise their beliefs.
Persecution.org is a good website if you wish to familiarize yourself (or support believers under severe persecution) on persecution among believers worldwide. It belongs to the International Christian Concern (ICC) a ministry serving the highly persecuted believers in such regions.
In the Western world, a new era of oppression against Christians is growing. The freedom of worship and expression has been decreasing as people have attacked Christianity to be offensive against modern day lifestyles. “When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Psalm 11:3. They want to destroy the foundational principles of Christianity under the veil of “religious tolerance.”
These include some pro-abortion groups, gay rights groups, some extreme left-wing groups (e.g. some New Age crusaders) and extreme right-wing groups (e.g. Neo-Nazis).
For instance, in November 2003 a Chief Justice, Roy Moore, was dismissed for his refusal to remove the Ten Commandments monument from the Alabama state courthouse in USA. Moore was sued by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Southern Poverty Law Center, and Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
They argued that references to God on a monument was a threat to the establishment of the official Alabama state religion, atheism. Similar arguments have led to the removal of bibles in public schools, abolition of prayer in public schools and so on.
To God persecution has its blessings. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you,” Matthew 5:11-12.
Persecution does not include the strange experiences we face individually, in a family, among friends or in the church that come from being involved in the erroneous spiritual warfare and deliverance teachings. This tells us that there is something wrong with teachings that invite the enemy to come and “steal and kill and destroy,” John 10:10.
If we cannot learn from the scriptures we are at least enabled to learn from the experiences it brings. The experiences are mere acts of destruction that come upon us because we have gone outside our area of authority. It is wrong for instance, to attribute severe illnesses, accidents, tormenting experiences, strange church problems or worse still the death of a loved one as persecution from the devil. Persecution comes from people not unpleasant circumstances and experiences.