Are Christians in America Persecuted?

Jim Hamilton preached a powerful message on John 15 earlier today at Kenwood Baptist Church. It was about persecution, that no man is greater than his master, and that if Jesus was persecuted his followers will be too. You can listen to the sermon below or download it here.


The sermon stirred some reflections on this theme, and I intended to write them down here. But as I was getting ready to write, I discovered that someone else had already written it. Last April Kevin DeYoung penned the really insightful “Are Christians in America Persecuted?” He answered the question with a clear yes, and he couldn’t be more right. DeYoung finishes the essay by explaining “why this matters.” He says that recognizing persecution when it happens is of immense practical importance for each one of us. He gives four reasons for this:

First, we do not want to miss out on the privilege of suffering, even a little bit, for the name of Jesus (Acts 5:41).

Second, we should not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes to test us (1 Peter 4:12).

Third, if we overly limit the scope of persecution, we will neglect the Christian ethic incumbent upon us to pray for those who persecute us (Matt. 5:44).

Fourth, if John 15:20 is true, and 2 Timothy 3:13 is true, and the expectation of the entire New Testament is true, then no amount of PR work is going to rescue the church from being thought by some as backwards and bigoted.

Read the rest of this excellent piece here.

13 Responses to Are Christians in America Persecuted?

  1. Paul Reed September 15, 2014 at 8:22 am #

    Short answer: No.

    The fact that you have to even ask this question means the answer is “no”. I think you can easily say that when you’re being persecuted, you’ll know it.

  2. Roy Fuller September 15, 2014 at 9:18 am #

    Actually, it is really offensive for evangelical Christians to claim they are persecuted in America. Offensive to Christians around the world who are persecuted, really persecuted, as in, loss of property, position, even life. Christian persecution in America apparently means, lose of historic privileged position, having your theological and political/social views attacked and ridiculed, etc. Stop whining already and live for the kingdom.

    • Curt Day September 15, 2014 at 10:01 am #

      Roy,
      I fully agree with what you wrote here. And nothing needs could be added to that.

    • Paul Reed September 15, 2014 at 5:56 pm #

      Roy, +1

  3. Greg September 15, 2014 at 10:51 am #

    Actually, the correct answer is yes, as Denny has stated. Regardless of what Christians around the world may or may not be thinking, Jesus states plainly that insults and false accusations are properly classified as persecution if they happen on account of him, Matthew 5:10-12.

    • Roy Fuller September 15, 2014 at 2:05 pm #

      Alright. So wear your persecution as a badge of honor, believing that such persecution is to be expected, that it affords believers the opportunity to pray for their persecutors, and it is a privilege, as referenced in the original piece, Just stop complaining about it the public square.

      • James Stanton September 15, 2014 at 5:43 pm #

        I tend to think of this as positive. If you’re being insulted and maligned because of your faith, at least with regard to Biblical teaching, then this is an affirmation that you are doing the right thing. If you think you are being persecuted because Christians have less political power and influence then that is something else.

        • buddyglass September 16, 2014 at 11:53 am #

          Some slip into the habit of using this logic as a means of excusing legitimately bad behavior. e.g. People are calling me bad names. Clearly that can’t be because I’m actually doing something wrong; it must be because I’m bravely living out my Christian faith in the public square!

          Any criticism from outside the church is interpreted as evidence that that the believer is in the right. The more pitched the criticism the more confident the believer is in his own rectitude.

          • James Stanton September 16, 2014 at 12:48 pm #

            Well, it’s always interesting when people use a morality argument against Christians. I agree but it depends on what you are defining as bad behavior. Expressing disagreement with changes in society isn’t bad behavior. However, when you say things like this… http://www.politico.com/story/2014/09/russell-pearce-resigns-110959.html

            Pearce’s sentiments are something I’ve seen on the far fringes of the right-wing but it’s a worrying trend considering the moral implications.

  4. Jim Masters September 15, 2014 at 12:16 pm #

    Hi, Denny. I appreciate your post. Yes, try giving the gospel and planting a church in Jerome, AZ…persecution is definitely a reality!

  5. buddyglass September 16, 2014 at 12:08 pm #

    Side note: to whatever extent conservative Christians face persecution in the United States, conservative, observant Muslims have it worse.

  6. buddyglass September 17, 2014 at 8:46 am #

    I appreciated what George Yancey had to say, from a conservative evangelical perspective:

    www (dot) patheos (dot) com (slash) blogs (slash) blackwhiteandgray (slash) 2013 (slash) 06 (slash) christian-persecution-fact-or-fiction

  7. Troy McComas September 21, 2014 at 9:36 am #

    Contrary to the consensus here, there are instances, in America, where persecution occurs at a level of greater severity.

    Before God made me alive, in Christ, I was dead, enslaved to a culture of gangs, drugs, poverty, and crime. When I told my friends, and family, and, more specifically, my children’s mother what God had done, I was told “f$!& you” and God. I lost my friends, my family, and was beat up, held at gun point, and driven into the homeless community, with nothing.

    Except Jesus. In, which, I found… He is enough. (Mark 10:28-31)

    So, I would caution those who speak as if they are omniscient, to realize that persecution does happen in America, and is very much so, tied to ones decision to forsake everything, and follow Jesus.

    – Troy

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