In studying persecution worldwide today, we wanted to use a system that lined up with what the Early Church faced. We based this system on the several recorded instances in the Book of Acts, taking from instances between Acts 3 and 12. We use this window as methods of persecution that are recorded after chapter 12 are similar to those found within the 10 chapter sample size. We outlined several of these instances of persecution in Episode 2 last week, which can be read here. To help our readers follow along with our discussion about modern persecution, we outline the types of persecution we found in Acts 3-12. These are general guidelines and are not to be taken as the gospel on the types of persecution. It is simply a general idea of persecution from what we found.
Acts 3/5: In these chapters, the apostles were accosted, detained and chastised for their faith by religious groups opposed to their beliefs. This led to unlawful imprisonment, public humiliation and even physical violence.
Acts 7: In this chapter, Stephen was put on formal trial by the religious leadership of Judea. This council had certain legal authority and enacted it’s authority in trying and convicting Steven. It led to his death by stoning. It is different from Acts 3/5 because there was an official process used and the outcome of this process led to the Christian’s death.
Acts 9/12: In these two chapters, the government enacted orders to suppress Christianity, capture and imprisonment of Christians and even the legal killing of Christians. It is also notable that the secular government persecuted and even killed Christians in these chapters.
Based on these examinations, we have 3 basic groups to hold up when examining persecution in the modern world. They are as follows:
Groups of Persecution
Acts 3/5: Christians are persecuted by non-ruling religious groups and individuals opposed to their beliefs. These groups enact intimidation, harassment and even violence to suppress and silence Christians.
Acts 7: Christians are persecuted through formal processes like court hearings and councils. These Christians can be chastised, censored or killed based on the finding of these courts and councils. The government itself does not operate to persecute, but is passive or neglectful in its protection of Christians.
Acts 9/12: Christians are persecuted by governmental organizations on a widespread basis. Christianity is either outlawed or highly scrutinized. Christians can be imprisoned and/or killed for their faith.
A Note From The Editor
It should be noted, that these aren’t the only types of persecution in the world. Any time a person is mocked, ridiculed, chastised, or opposed in any form because of their belief system; that is persecution. It happens in every nation and every region of the world. It happens in families, schools and among friends. Jesus Christ and our relationship with Him causes a reaction among people. In some, it is an inspiration to follow as well. In others, it is something to passively dismiss. But in some, it causes a visceral reaction that is fueled by carnality, sin and/or the influence of evil in their lives. Persecution exists and always has existed. As long as man has had a relationship with God, there has been someone or something that has opposed it. To what level and degree is variable. We just know that it exists and will until all evil is wiped away by the hand of God.
Go To Patreon For More
To read our assessment of the modern state of persecution and application of this basic rubric for persecution, click over to our Patreon page. On that page, we not only show where these types of persecutions are being enacted, but identify areas of systemic persecution in certain regions. It is fascinating what we found and how persecution is being enacted throughout the world.
Chris Farris is the author of The Way, a manual detailing how to implement the Beatitudes into your life. He review events and other media and offers other insights into writing and working for the Kingdom of God.