Following the commissioning of the original twelve, Jesus warns of persecution that will come as His follower. In Part I, we reviewed Matthew 10:16-17 and 10:19-20, where Jesus warned that He was sending His disciples out as “sheep” among “wolves” but not to fear as the Spirit will give them (and us) the words to speak (ESV). As we saw in Acts, these warnings came to pass, and Church history continues to provide examples of Christians being persecuted today.
The persecution of Christians in China did not end with the “Four Olds.” The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) recently began paying neighbors to provide information on people involved with “unauthorized” religious practices. These practices include:
- Religious training for minors
- Unauthorized religious teachers or gatherings
- Evangelistic activities
These restrictions have been put in place under the guise of COVID-19 and the prevention of mass gatherings. The unauthorized training, teaching, and gatherings likely target Chinese house churches, where traditional Christianity is practiced in opposition to the state-sponsored “Christianity” that places God in subordination to the Communist Party. While the CCP is offering monetary rewards for those who seek out and expose dissidents, PC culture in the U.S. uses mobs of angry social justice warriors to target anyone whom activists have singled out for their “wrongthink.” In return, the social justice warriors receive the superficially moral reward of having fought “fascism,” “racism,” or “hate.”
While the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects the freedom of religion and the right to free assembly, there have been political moves to censor Christian teachings as “hate speech” and restrict the right to assemble publicly. If we look to western peers, we can see the direction many advocates of PC culture would like to take the U.S.
In the U.K., a university chaplain at Trent College was fired for a sermon that asserted marriage is between one man and one woman (Gen. 2:24; Matt. 19:4-6). He affirmed the Christian student’s right to question the school’s LGBTQIA+ teachings adopted from Educate & Celebrate, which seeks to “embed gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation into the fabric of [an] organization.” Yet, the most disturbing aspect is that the chaplain was referred to Prevent, a law enforcement organization, as a possible extremist threat for his benign and traditional view on marriage. Although he was cleared through Prevent, it is a sure sign of the times when a Christian school refers its chaplain to be investigated for publicly preaching the church’s doctrine.
Turing to our neighbors up north, a Canadian pastor is facing up to four years in jail for holding church services in Calgary, Alberta. He is charged with “organizing an illegal in-person gathering, inciting or inviting others to attend an illegal gathering, as well as promoting and attending the gathering.” This pastor has been making the news for over a year now. I first heard about Pastor Artur Pawlowski when he refused to comply with a public health inspector and police, who arrived to inspect his church during the Passover service. The good pastor chased Canadian law enforcement from his church in a video that has now gone viral where he referred to the officials as “Nazis” and “Gestapo.” He was also arrested previously for preaching in public, where he had his Bibles confiscated. A judge later exonerated him for street preaching and admonished the officials who brought the charges, but this should not have happened in Canada, and it is not unique. Pastor Henry Hildebrant was arrested in Ontario for repeatedly failing to comply with the government’s 10-person meeting limit; his church now faces upwards of $250,000 in fines. A third Canadian pastor was arrested, and during an interview with the Daily Wire expressed that the rash of church fires in Canada (there have been over 12 suspected arsons) was not only due to historical treatment of Native Americans, but the churches view on marriage. As he recounts, “there is ‘no question’ that prevailing cultural attitudes are turning against Christians, especially because of their unwillingness to embrace the Left’s views of marriage, sexuality, and gender.”
Pastor Pawlowski was raised in Poland, where he “grew up under communism, socialism, under the boots of the Soviets in a country where you had absolutely no freedoms. No freedom of speech, no freedom of religion, no freedom of association, no freedom of the press.” He doesn’t use the words “Nazis” and “Gestapo” lightly and warns that what is happening in Canada is already starting to creep into the U.S. and that he’s “seen this movie before. It does not end well. [The] Government should never have this enormous power to do whatever they want without accountability.” After reviewing similarities between the Chinese Cultural Revolution, incidents in the U.K., Canada, and PC culture at home, I have to agree with Pastor Pawlowski and echo that the world has “seen this movie before.”
Flexing to meet the world’s ever-changing standards will not appease the world, especially a socialist world. As Vladimir Lenin wrote in May 1909, “It is the absolute duty of Social-Democrats to make a public statement of their attitude towards religion. Social Democracy bases its whole world-outlook on scientific socialism, i.e., Marxism…Marxism is materialism. As such, it is as relentlessly hostile to religion.” The Apostle Paul warned the Christians in Ephesus to stay grounded in a mature faith, so they would not “tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes” (Eph. 4:14). Many Christians in the U.S. are spiritually immature. They are not grounded in their faith. For decades, church leaders have warned about biblical illiteracy. We must understand what we profess to believe—we must have a faith grounded in the Scriptures. With this sure foundation, we can confront the lies that are rampant in our times. As Christians in America, we should not shy away from these discussions. The First Amendment still protects speech in the U.S., and as U.K. Rev. Bernard Randall exhorts, “the most important thing is to remember that loving your neighbor as yourself does not mean agreeing with everything he or she says; it means that when we have these discussions there is no excuse for personal attacks or abusive language.”
We may be unpopular for our faith, but as Jesus reminds us, “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household. So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matt. 10:25-28).
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary recently hosted Dr. Jim Denison for a Chapel service on the coming cultural “tsunami.” So, if you can spare 30 minutes this week, its relevant to what we have been discussing in this series of posts.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scripture references are from the English Standard Version (Wheaton: Crossway, 2001).
 Editorial “Chinese authorities offer cash rewards to citizens who report on their neighbors’ ‘illegal religious activities,’” Standing For Freedom Center, August 24, 2021, https://www.standingforfreedom.com/2021/08/24/chinese-authorities-offer-cash-rewards-to-citizens-who-report-on-their-neighbors-illegal-religious-activities/.
 Carly Mayberry, “UK’s Trent College Delays Chaplain’s Discrimination Case Until Fall of 2022,” Newsweek, June 28, 2021, https://www.newsweek.com/uks-trent-college-delays-chaplains-discrmination-case-until-fall-2022-1604973.
 Bernard Randall, “You should no more be told that you have to accept LGBT ideology than be told you must accept Brexit,” Daily Mail, May 8, 2021, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9557939/The-sermon-cost-chaplian-livelihood.html.
 Jon Brown, “Canadian Pastor Who Faces 4-Year Jail Sentence For ‘Inciting’ Church Warns Americans: ‘The Enemy Is Not Hiding Anymore,’” Daily Wire, August 23, 2021, https://www.dailywire.com/news/canadian-pastor-who-faces-4-year-jail-sentence-for-inciting-church-warns-americans-the-enemy-is-not-hiding-anymore.
 Jon Brown, “’Our Country is Slipping’: Pastor Whose Church Was Locked By Police Warns Of Growing State Tyranny,” Daily Wire, June 10, 2021, https://www.dailywire.com/news/our-country-is-slipping-pastor-whose-church-was-locked-by-police-warns-of-growing-state-tyranny.
 Licia Corbella, “Burning of churches is a hate crime and should be condemned by all leaders,” Calgary Herald, July 7, 2021, https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/canada/corbella-burning-of-churches-is-a-crime-and-should-be-condemned-by-all-leaders/ar-AALScQL.
 Jon Brown, “WATCH: Jailed Canadian Pastor Hunted By Police Copter Talks Church Arsons, Recounts Ministering To Inmates,” Daily Wire, July 16, 2021, https://www.dailywire.com/news/watch-jailed-canadian-pastor-hunted-by-police-copter-talks-church-arsons-recounts-ministering-to-inmates.
 Brown, “Canadian Pastor Who Faces 4-Year Jail Sentence.”
 Lenin, “The Attitude of the Workers’ Party to Religion,” first published in Proletary, No. 45, May 26, 1909. Translation taken from V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 15 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1973), pp. 402-13. See www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1909/may/13.htm, quoted in Paul Kengor, The Devil and Karl Marx : Communism’s Long March of Death, Deception, and Infiltration (Ashland: TAN Books, 2020), 84.