Remember the word that I said to you, The servant is not greater than his Lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you...
In the Western context we know that there are parts of Scripture that refer to persecution and we hear stories about other parts of the world where it happens; but we ourselves do not know much of the realities of it. I will go as far to say that most of us do not believe it will ever happen to us and that in the Western context it could not happen.
Recently there was a news story of a pastor being arrested for having Bible studies in his home, which turned out to be an altogether different story. At first glance appeared to be a form of persecution taking place, outraged many Christians including myself. A good friend of mine pointed out that if that story had proven true that we should not be surprised, but rather mindful of what our Savior Jesus told us would be coming.
Now living in a context where persecution is more common, it has opened my eyes to the difference in attitude amongst believers. Upon visiting a graveyard where some missionaries were buried, my national brother looked to me and said, "Perhaps this is where we too will be soon as it tells us to expect persecution in the Word." I thought wow...am I really ready to join my brother in this line of thinking?
The following information on developing a missiology of suffering is taken from a man that I have sat under his teaching on two separate occasions. I can not disclose his name as it is likely that there are those out there looking for him in order to kill him. I have learned a lot from him, especially regarding the persecuted church.
A MISSIOLOGY OF SUFFERING
5 RESPONSES IN THE FACE OF EVIL-SPIRITUALLY PROGRESSIVE
- God saves us!
- God judge them!
- God forgive them!
- God forgive us as we forgive others!
- God glorify Yourself!
PRESUPPOSITIONS - IN THE BIBLE PERSECUTION WAS NORMAL
- Today, the number one cause of persecution is people turning to Jesus!
VICTORIOUS FAITH IN THE MIDST OF PERSECUTION
- They know Jesus.
- They know the power of prayer and fasting.
- Large portions of Scripture can be recreated by memory.
- Large amounts of indigenous music can be recreated by memory.
- The persecuted know that they are prayed for.
- The local believing community cares for the persecuted's family.
- They know that their suffering is for Jesus' sake.
- They know their persecution is normal.
- They have claimed their freedom.
- They have lost their fear.
- They have a genealogy of faith