By: Pastor Scott Brodd
Dear Government Leaders persecuting Christianity,
Thank you. From one who loves and follows Jesus and is a shepherd of one of His churches inside the comfortable borders of the United States, thank you for creating a hostile environment for Christians to publicly live out their faith in your country. Because of your efforts, more and more people are giving their lives to Jesus Christ at a faster rate than anywhere else in the world. Though I deeply mourn the sufferings and afflictions of my brothers and sisters in Christ, I am convinced they wouldn't trade the persecution of their faith for the freedom to go public with their faith because they will not "cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ" (Acts 5:42 ESV), no matter how severe things get. They are resolved. In fact, the environment you are creating in your country is one similar to that of when Christianity's roots first began to sprout. First, it was the Jews who persecuted the Christians, Saul (who later became Paul) being foremost among those who attacked Christianity. Once the Roman government discovered Christianity was distinct from Judaism and taught a treasonous message to the Empire, they too began to persecute Christianity. All you are doing is bringing Christians back to their roots.
If there is one truth about the environment of the persecution of Christians it is this: it is a catalyst for church growth and gospel preaching. When Peter and John were arrested for preaching Jesus (Acts 4:1-3), many people believed the Gospel and were saved (4:4) and the church became increasingly bold in their evangelism (4:31). When all the church leaders were arrested, beaten, and commanded not to preach about Jesus (Acts 5:17-18, 40), they rejoiced for being able to suffer for Jesus and continued to preach the gospel boldly (5:41-42). When Christianity was blessed with its first martyr Stephen (Acts 7:58-60) it actually worked to advance the reach of the gospel of Jesus by sending Christians into new places across the map (8:1) who continued to preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified (8:4). You see, your efforts to create an environment of persecution in your country in reality works against your desires to disarm and dissolve Christianity. In fact, statistics prove that the Christians in your country are more committed to Jesus Christ and bold about sharing their faith than Christians who live in religiously free countries. For example, in North Korea (ranked #1 in extreme persecution of Christians) evangelical Christianity is growing annually at a rate of 6%. In Iraq (ranked #2) Christianity is growing at an annual rate of 3.4%. And yet, in the United States of America and the United Kingdom, the annual growth rate of evangelical Christianity is 0.8% and 0.0% respectively. It is apparent according to the Bible, church history, and what we see happening today that persecution is a catalyst for church growth. The greater the persecution, the greater the church growth.
If you truly desire to disarm and dissolve Christianity in your country, implement religious liberty. Again, look to the USA and the UK; both countries have laws securing religious freedom and yet Christianity has been reduced down to leading a moral life and going to church on Sundays with almost no evangelism. In America specifically, a majority of Christians are prone to keep their faith to themselves, according to a study done by Lifeway Research. Religious freedom creates an environment susceptible to complacent, inactive, even silent Christianity (though such Christianity is not true Christianity). So if you really want Christianity to stop growing in your country, give them their religious freedom. Take away their discomfort, and they’ll get comfortable, just like we have.
For His Glory and Our Joy,
A Free and Comfortable Pastor
P.S. I believe all people should have the freedom to practice their faith, regardless of religion, and no individual should be mocked, beaten, or killed because they too are made in the image of God. Please do not take this letter as a celebration of persecution or the condemnation of Religious Liberty. Please read this as a wake-up call to the American Church and a commendation and a comforting reminder to those in countries of persecution that they are being counted as worthy to join in the sufferings of our precious Savior (Acts 5:41).