Learning about the Persecuted Church

On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison.Acts 8:1-4

Persecution is nothing new to the church—the above passage describes a campaign of persecution launched in the earliest days of the Christian church. Persecution of the church (sometimes even at the hands of fellow Christians) of some sort has been present in every century since Jesus’ time. And it’s a reality today, even if those of us living in relatively free Western societies find it hard to believe.

There are several ministries in the Gospel.com community that focus on the plight of the persecuted church around the world. Perhaps most prominent is the Lausanne World Pulse newsletter, which has some excellent articles describing the state of the persecuted church today:

Perhaps the most well-known instance of persecution took place under the Roman Empire in the early centuries of the church. For a good rundown of that era of persecution, this transcript from Christian History Institute goes over the basic history.

Over at Sermon Index you can find a classic George Whitefield sermon exhorting Christians to hold firm under persecution, whatever form it takes. Also at that site is the inspiring story of John Cennick, who suffered greatly for his faith.

There are many other resources on the topic of the persecuted church within the Gospel.com community; if you’ve checked out the above links and want more, see the Persecuted Church page.

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