The persecution in the West is only obvious to those who are living out their faith. For the most part, Christians are oblivious to the agenda of the enemy and the growing foothold he is gaining.
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Persecution is defined as ill-treatment and hostility towards a person’s race or political or religious beliefs.
When the word persecution comes to our mind, the picture that is most often recognized is imprisonment and death for one’s belief. This type of persecution of Christians, unfortunately, exists across the globe, especially in totalitarian and Islamic regimes.
However, in the West, persecution takes on a more subtle, implicit yet just as aggressive and sinister reality for those who find that their faith and beliefs are challenged by current-day policy and public opinion.
While imprisonment because of one’s belief is rare in any case, you might remember the video of the wrongful arrest of the street preacher Oluwole Ilesanmi, that went viral. Often, individuals who live out their faith in public and decide not to compromise their stance because of what is popular. Find that their lives are placed on hold, as their job, livelihood and public perception is rocked.
No one more than Felix Ngole understands what it means to have his life placed on hold as he fought for the right to express his religious beliefs. Felix was removed from his social work course in 2016 at the University of Sheffield after quoting Bible verses on Facebook that were deemed critical of homosexuality.
In a watershed moment in the UK, the Court of Appeal upheld the rights of UK Christians to freely express their faith by handing victory to Felix Ngole and overturned a High Court decision to uphold Felix’s dismissal from Sheffield University. This landmark judgment represents a major development of the law. Christians now have the legal right to express Biblical views on social media and elsewhere in public without fear for their professional careers.
2 Corinthians 12:10. Christians can now freely express their biblical views without fear due to Felix persecution and sacrifice. However, as the West is increasingly becoming secular, Christians find themselves a minority voice against contrary popular opinion. Remaining neutral as a Christian if your faith happens to be challenged is not a stance and is an act of compromise. With companies, businesses promoting lifestyles contrary to biblical standards and asking in some cases demanding their employees to participate in the promotion of this.
You might find that sooner rather than later a decision to stand bold for Christ and risk losing your job, course etc. or comply with the status quo and keep your job or course will be knocking at your door. The invisible line has been drawn, and it might not always be so direct. By the time it is obvious, you find that you have already compromised on the small matters.
2 Timothy 3:12. To be a believer and to live publicly is a threat to the Enemy. The Bible declares that the Kingdom of Light is waging war against the Kingdom of Darkness. The battle is not flesh and blood, so your position in this war is significant.
Your tolerance of sin at the expense of upholding biblical principles gives the Enemy a greater foothold in not only your life but the lives of those around you. If we want the Kingdom to be on Earth, then it is in heaven then we must push back at the Enemy’s agenda with as much vigour as his agents of darkness have done.
The one reality the Bible promised is persecution. It might not be today, tomorrow but one day soon, a choice must be made. What side of the coin are you on?
Esther serves as a deacon in the Islington fellowship. A social work professional, Esther oversees the ministries behavioural change strategy and leads pastoral development. Esther is passionate about seeing believers Activate Citizenship.