Are We Persecuting Ourselves?

“The serpent is more crafty than any of the beasts of the field. He attacks while retreating, retreating while attacking. He concedes this point, all the while making that point. He is both a tar baby and quicksilver. And we are fools for forgetting it.”–R. C. Sproul, Jr.

During my newlywed years my husband and I were missionaries in freshly post-communist Hungary. It was our great privilege to speak with pastors and lay people about what it was like to be a Christian there during the Communist years.

They spoke of their various personal experiences and told the stories of people they cared about. Their unique testimonies shared common threads, revealing a crafty enemy who persecutes faithful Christians.

Their testimonies were not what people write books about, and they didn’t make for glorious “martyr stories.” The Hungarian faithful weren’t often killed for their faith. Instead, they were marginalized and made an example of in society. Communist propaganda billed Christianity as a superstition for old, uneducated, rural villagers.

There was little need to “make martyrs” of the Christian faithful. The Communists believed Christianity would die off of its own accord over time. They carefully crafted an atheist nation, using three tactics which prompted many young people to disdain Christianity. While some suffered physical persecution, the more prevalent forms were far more subtle. These were their strategies to weaken Christianity in that nation:

  1. Denying Christians higher education.
  2. Removing Christians from positions of influence in society.
  3. Relocating faithful gospel ministers to unpopulated rural communities.

And now we are experiencing the same things here in 21st century America–only in our case, more and more Christians are choosing these these things for themselves! I see disturbing trends in some Christian circles which are eerily similar to the persecution our brethren suffered under Communism.

  1. There is a self-imposed rejection of higher education by a growing number of Christians.
  2. Entrepreneurship is often promoted over other career choices, which could lead to a de facto retreat from any position that requires working for someone outside one’s own family. This would preclude many influential careers in government, big business, higher education, etc.
  3. A movement towards homesteading is leading some Christians to relocate to extremely rural settings, thereby diminishing their gospel influence in society.

I am NOT saying that skipping college, entrepreneurship, or homesteading is wrong for any particular family. These are all matters where the principles of Christian liberty apply. What bothers me is the growing popularity of choices which could marginalize us and remove our gospel witness from the public square if they become too prevalent. That was the goal of the godless Communist government in Hungary, and these were the means they used to accomplish that goal.

In the end this trend  may be the enemy playing on our fears and attacking us along the path of least resistance.

If he cannot compromise us, he will seek to marginalize us.

In this case he may have found a way to get many of us to marginalize ourselves.

*NOTE: This post first appeared on Visionary Womanhood. It has since been removed, due only to changes in the format of that blog. This post was very controversial and set off a firestorm of comments, both for and against, as well as several follow up posts from myself and editor Natalie Klejwa. I wish I could move the whole discussion here, but I can’t transfer comments–alas! What a thought provoking discussion it was for us all….

*Originally published at Visionary Womanhood

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