America is running from God, and the impact on Christians is increasing. We see growing hostility towards Christians every year. David Jeremiah in his book, The Book of Signs: 31 Undeniable Prophecies of the Apocalypse, said, “We are in the first stages of repression of Christian speech and actions, and even stronger measures may well follow.” America is rejecting God’s instructions and commands and is not tolerating God, the Bible or Christians. Dr. Nyquist, President of Moody Global Ministries, said in his book, Prepare: Living Your Faith in an Increasingly Hostile Culture, “Get ready, as cultural changes sweep our country, we’ll soon be challenged to live out what the Bible say about confronting and responding to persecution.”
In The Book of Signs, David Jeremiah listed 5 stages of persecution. The following are the 5 stages with my thoughts on each one.
Stage 1: Stereotyping
Christians are painted with a broad brush to include every word spoken or action taken by a person claiming to be a Christian. America thinks every Christian is a hypocrite, and is unloving, judgmental, and feels they are better than anyone else is. Since America stereotypes Christians in the worst light possible, they conclude that all Christians need to be silenced.
Stage 2: Marginalizing
One of the movements we have seen grow in the United States is the removal of anything that is Christian in nature. We have seen nativity scenes and crosses banned on public lands. If public prayer is allowed in a graduation ceremony, the name of Jesus must not be used. Christian holidays are preempted. It is no longer Christmas break or Easter break. They are now Winter break and Spring break. Store employees no longer say, “Merry Christmas”; they say, “Happy Holidays” instead. Fay Voshell in her book Persecution of Christians in America: It’s Not Just ‘Over There’, quoted MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews’ tweet that said, “If you’re a politician and believe in God first, that’s good. Just don’t run for government office, run for church office.” In other words, keep your religious beliefs to yourself. They have no place in America today.
Stage 3: Threatening
Christians are denied entry into American institutions unless they are willing to eliminate God from their conversation. ACLJ gave an example of this in an article entitled Exposed: Christian Students Rejected, Failed and Expelled for their Faith by State Colleges and Universities.
“One student, Brandon, was denied admission because when asked in an admissions interview what was the most important thing in his life, he replied simply, ‘My God.’ In rejecting his application, Radiation Therapy Program Director Dr. Dougherty informed Brandon, ‘I understand that religion is a major part of your life. . . however, this field is not the place for religion. . . . If you interview in the future, you may want to leave your thoughts and beliefs out of the interview process.’ The college unapologetically doubled down on this sentiment, stating that Dr. Dougherty’s statement ‘is not bad advice,’ and that students, when interviewing for secular positions, would be better advised to ‘have a concrete reason for wanting to undertake the training at hand than to say only that God directed one to do it.’ This situation is almost unbelievable, but unfortunately Brandon isn’t alone.”
We hear more and more stories of colleges and companies terminating people for expressing biblical principles in their private writing.
Stage 4: Intimidating
You may remember that in 2014 the city of Houston, Texas, required five pastors to provide the city with all sermons, text messages and emails addressing homosexuality or gender issues. The pastors had spoken against a proposed city ordinance to allow men and women to use both men’s and women’s restrooms.
Fox News reported the results of the cities subpoenas. “Erik Stanley, an attorney for Alliance Defending Freedom, represented the five pastors. He said he was gratified the mayor withdrew the subpoenas. ‘She really had no choice but to withdraw the subpoenas. She was roundly criticized from the right and the left – from all across the nation.’ Stanley said the mayor’s actions were a violation of the First Amendment and an abuse of power. ‘They were only intended to intimidate and to bully pastors into silence,’ he said of the subpoenas. It sent a terrible message to the faith community in Houston and across the country.’”
Stage 5: Litigating
More and more businesses are finding themselves in court for taking a Christian stand. The most notable case involves an Oregon bakery owned by a Christian couple. They were fined $135,000 because they refused to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple. Some Christians have lost their business and used their retirement funds to pay for the lawsuits filed against them.
Americans do not face physical torture or martyrdom yet, but it may become a reality sooner rather than later.