Friday, April 26, 2013

Persecution and suffering

James Clouse
Discussion Board – Forum 3

Is suffering persecution normal for a Christian?
In today's culture, we hear a lot about persecution. Persecution on Christians seems to be left out of a lot of people's conversations. Often mentioned when thinking about persecution is persecuting homosexuals for their lifestyle, or persecution of a certain race of people. Americans, in many cases, tend to forget about persecution of Christians because it is not as big as a problem as it used to be...or is it? There are still many Christians around the world being persecuted for their beliefs, even put to death. According to there is still “200 million Christians around the world who suffer persecution for their faith in Christ.”1

So is this the norm for Christians, are we due to always suffer persecution? As many know, at the start of the church and all through the Book of Acts, the apostles and Christians suffered persecution and death. 1 Peter 4:12-13 says “Beloved, do not think it is strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.”2 So even from the beginning, persecution was normal for Christians. The creator of Christianity, Christ himself, was put to death for so called “blasphemy”. I believe that persecution is not only normal for Christians, but Christians should also be welcome to it. As Romans 5 says “but not only that, we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance character...”

So, is God involved in the suffering of a Christian, both regular suffering and persecution?
Many people ask why there is still so much suffering in the world. Why would God allow so much suffering and persecution in the world if He loves us? Slick states it well when he says “God is sovereign; He has the right to do as He wishes. He has the right to permit evil for accomplishing His ultimate will. How can He do that? Simple, look at the Cross. It was by evil means that men lied and crucified Jesus.”3 There are many reasons persecution and evil exist in this world. Some of these reasons we know and some we don't. Sometimes God allows evils/sufferings in the world to stop future evil. Sometimes God may also use that persecution and evil for a reason, whether to grow us as Christians or to make us the person He needs us to be.

1Fact Sheet. Last accessed April 26, 2013.
2All Bible passages are NKJV unless otherwise noted.
3Slick, Matt. Why is There Evil and Suffering in the World? Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry. .

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