The Real Persecutor

December 20th, 2011

Who Is Persecuting Christians?

As modern American Christians, we think we have it pretty rough.

Some think our rights are being slowly chipped away. Our freedom of religion is being gradually reigned in. Stories dot the news of police shutting down a Bible study or a school principal nixing a Christian faith club.

With stories like that, it’s easy think we’re being…well, persecuted.

That’s a big word…persecution. It’s heavy with meaning.

There is no doubt in my mind that American Christians are being persecuted. But it’s not coming from a place that anyone is looking for it.

History Repeats Itself

When I open my church history books, there is a theme that pervades the pages from beginning to end:


For centuries before Christ, prophets were abused and martyred for speaking up for God…

…And then Jesus came…and was killed…

…And then his followers were killed.

And for twenty centuries, people have continued to die for the cause of Christ. The forces that oppose the gospel have tried to shut it down. It’s easy to believe that such barbaric things don’t happen anymore. But the twentieth century was the most deadly time for Christians of any time in history. I don’t see police knocking on my door to take me away. No one is burning down the Christian bookstore. It almost seems silly to warn Christians that they must be willing to die for Christ when such a possibility seems so remote.

So where is all this persecution?

The Most Important Commandment

To understand the real nature of Christian persecution in America, you have to know what the highest commandment in the land is, the one law, above all else that must be kept by every Christian…

Thou shalt not offend.

That is the paramount law from on high on which hang all the laws of our society.

It is a doctrine built on political correctness and painted with a coat of social politeness.

The thing is, there are no police to ensure this law is followed. There are no real authorities patrolling for offensive religious behavior. No…

…We have been trained to do that job. We have become our own police. We are our own persecutors.

It is the weight of the commandment to not offend that tells each of us that everyone has a right to express themselves…except us. Anyone can parade around the most repulsive, offensive, vile thing and call it “art.” But Christians should be sure to not offend anyone in the name of Jesus.

In centuries past, the authorities would cut preachers’ tongues out to silence them. Today, they don’t have to. Because each of us has implanted in us that little voice that shouts, “Shut up, Christian!”

The PC Police

My central philosophy in blogging is this: I do not care what you think.

I do not care if you agree or disagree. I do not care if you are offended by me. This is my little space on the internet, and if our paths cross and you don’t like me, what is that to me?

Why can I not transfer that devil-may-care attitude to the rest of my life? Why have I given myself so much freedom to write what I want to strangers on the web, while I constantly censor and sanitize what I say to the people around me?

There’s an old recipe for boiled frogs in which the frog will not try to save itself from being cooked. Simply place the frog in a pan of cool water. Turn the stove on the lowest setting and ever so slowly, heat the water up. As the temperature rises, the frog will continue to sit, its body adjusting to the temperature change. It is unaware that soon it will be a perfectly cooked dish of frog legs.

America is not so much a melting pot, but a pot full of frogs. We are slowly being cooked. We think that our freedoms are being taken away and we’re being discriminated against. Please. The people opposed to Christ would have to work twice as hard at their cause if we weren’t doing half their job for them.

Christians today are concerned with being a lot of things. We want to be relevant, and authentic, and dynamic, compassionate, and Christ-like.

But the last thing we want to do is the one thing that would make us most Christ-like: offensive.

Matt Appling is a pastor and school teacher in Kansas City, Missouri.  He blogs at
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