Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Persecution Narrative

A UK Christian blog affirmatively quoted a certain Anglican bishop who stated:

I do not believe that Christians are a persecuted group of people in this country today…If you define yourself by your victimhood you’ve got a massive problem…I don’t like it when people moan about being discriminated against…If people feel that the job they’re doing requires them to go against their Christian conscience, it could be in areas of sexuality or the wearing of a cross or whatever it is, then they have a choice to make, and if you feel that what you’re being asked to do is incompatible with your faith then you shouldn’t do it, but that isn’t persecution, you have a choice and you can go and do something else.

Perhaps there are good reasons to resist the Christian “persecution narrative,” but denial isn’t one of them. If you had instead published a study that demonstrated that Christians weren’t being silenced or discriminated against, that would be an appropriate response. Rather, you argued that we should even consider this question, instead of first examining the truthfulness of the charge of discrimination.

If instead he had pointed out that our Lord promised that we would have to go through persecution and that He has a good purpose for it, and so we must face it with joy and confidence, I’d have to say “amen!” But rather, you seem to be preaching that we should either deny or ignore it. Here’s why we shouldn’t:

1. We shouldn’t ignore anyone’s persecution. If Christians are loosing their jobs because of it, don’t we have a responsibility to speak up? Aren’t we being callous when we don’t?

2. If it is becoming illegal to raise our children in accordance with our faith, aren’t we required to speak out against such immoral laws? Don’t we have a responsibility to raise our children according to our faith? Yes, we do have the choice of going to jail, but then who will raise our children?

3. We need to be able to speak the entire counsel of God (Acts 20:27-32). If it has become illegal, we can go to jail as you suggest, but who will instruct the church? If we don’t oppose such discrimination now, are we truly walking in faithfulness to our Lord?

Although we must be as gentle as doves, we also need to be as wise as serpents. Wisdom confronts viruses before they become epidemics. Statements like, “If you define yourself by your victimhood you’ve got a massive problem” or “I don’t like it when people moan about being discriminated against” serve no Christian purpose.

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