Suffering…Poverty…Outcast…Imprisonment

All are telltale signs of the church in crisis. God’s children have suffered at the hands of their enemies since the days of Moses. Christ Himself suffered the ultimate persecution…death. Paul and Peter were beaten and imprisoned. Stephen was martyred. John was exiled. It is no surprise that Christ told His followers that they would suffer persecution. Soon thereafter, Nero burned Christians for lighting at his palaces. II Timothy 3:12 tells us to expect persecution, as "all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution."

It should be no surprise then that such persecution continues. It is reported that there were more Christian martyrs in the last century than the previous nineteen centuries combined. Christians in many countries are currently being beaten, imprisoned, forced to leave their homes and are unable to meet, teach or worship.

How then do we define the persecuted church? We define the persecuted church as those Christians that suffer high levels of injustice due solely to their belief in Jesus Christ. In other words, if it were not for their faith in Christ, the persecution would not exist.

Where is the persecuted church?

Christians suffer for their faith in many areas of the world including Asia, Russia, Africa and the Middle East.

What types of persecution exist?

  • Verbal – Verbal harassment.
  • Social – Omitted from community activities and benefits.
  • Economic – Excluded from gainful employment and government benefits.
  • Family – Ranging from verbal assault to disinheritance.
  • Spiritual – Unable to meet, teach, preach or worship.
  • Physical – Physical assault including torture.
  • Imprisonment – Typically with no representation or legal due process.
  • Martyrdom – Physical death.

Who persecutes Christians?

Although there are many groups Christians suffer persecution from, the most hostile and common offenders are either government or religious sects, and in many cases, the two are combined.