From the Foleys
The Five Zones of Persecution
The Bible does not portray persecution as a product of particular political systems the way we are prone to today. Such a portrayal leads us to think of persecuted Christians as beleaguered minorities peacefully minding their own business and beliefs, whispering worship songs and Bible verses under blankets while candlelight illumines their angelic faces; meanwhile, snarling secret police officers let the dogs out in hot pursuit. Such minorities need protection, pity, and money, we reason, and we tell our own governments so.
Instead, the Bible portrays persecution as a turf war where idols and their devotees, with violence rooted in well-reasoned fear of utter loss, defend their hard-won territory and assert their rights of soul control over those they've cowed into submission. Biblically, it is the Christians who are on the offensive; the idols and their subjects are the ones engaged in self-defense and always appealing to governments for protection. It is the demons who ask nervously, “What do you want with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?” They then ring up the relevant government authorities and discuss how to subdue the Christian menace, like dispatching so many unwanted bed bugs.
Persecution, in other words, happens whenever and wherever the enemy panics. Where the enemy has things well in hand (in places like America and South Korea where the pursuit of wealth, beauty, and pleasure, the opiates of the people, have reduced our societies--and, often, us--to a mellow haze), he has no need to persecute...
To read the rest of Pastor Foley's update on our blog,