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“Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim. 3:12).

In his last recorded epistle, Paul attempted to prepare Timothy and other Church leaders for the coming persecution that they would face as Christians.  Nearing the imminent culmination of Paul’s ministry and life, Paul instructed his son in the faith, Timothy, to continue “fighting the good fight” (2 Tim. 4:7), relinquishing the mantle of Paul’s ministry of spreading the gospel to Timothy.

During the time when Jesus lived on earth, He frequently admonished His unbelieving disciples of the coming persecution that He would endure and the persecution that the disciples themselves would soon face in the wake of Christ’s absence.  Luke recorded numerous events in the Book of Acts concerning Christianity’s opponents administering beatings, imprisonments, and executions to Jesus’ disciples.  Evangelicals and historians have written volumes of literature describing the accounts of Christians who have been persecuted for their faith in Jesus.

As God built on the foundation of His Church with men and women who were aware of their possible and probable death by their association with Christ, disciples boldly witnessed to all people concerning the grace of God, and many people were being saved (Acts 2:47).  In countries where persecution of Christians is still prevalent, the Church is bold in witnessing and dynamic in growth; in countries where Christianity is allowed or even encouraged, the Church is often stagnate and declining.

These paragraphs above served as the introduction to my senior project in college.  Being exposed to the other side of the world had messed me up.  Typing this paper in the Bible Belt, I was surrounded by people who claimed the name of Christ with no noticeable change in their lives.  Yet, on the other side of the world, I had shared the gospel in places where it was illegal.  I was a part of a team that had been taken to jail.  I was surrounded by believers who didn’t flinch in the face of such persecution, and I tried to figure out where the disconnect was.

In the next few days, I will share some of my findings from that project which is now 10 years old but seems even more appropriate now.

After my professor and senior seminar class read it, my professor asked me, “So, are you implying that the best thing that could happen to the Church in America is if we began to become persecuted?”

That’s a pretty accurate summary of my beliefs.  Will explain more tomorrow.

This blog post was 1 of 4 posts concerning Christian persecution.  These writings are from my senior seminar paper in college when I graduated in 2003.  For more info, check out:

Travis Agnew is a Christian, husband, father, pastor, author, blogger, and religion instructor.