Persecution and Power

12385 I listened again to Steve Parlato’s account of their ministry in SE Asia and the price that new believers paid for following Jesus and telling others about him. It's a bitter/sweet story.

People went to prison, people disappeared, some were killed.

Today I spoke to someone working in the same part of the world. He immediately teaches new believers about sharing the gospel, getting baptised and persecution. I’ve never taught a new believer about persecution.

Brian Tabb has written a great overview of the relationship between persecution and the spread of the gospel in Acts.

He has identified five lessons, all still relevant today:

  1. Jesus’ suffering and vindication are the surprising means by which God accomplishes his promised plan of salvation.
  2. Believers’ suffering serves a strategic missional purpose in light of God’s inaugurated-not-yet-consummated kingdom.
  3. Suffering validates the legitimacy of the church and especially its leaders, who suffer like Jesus in fulfillment of his predictions.
  4. Suffering fundamentally expresses the world’s brokenness from sin and Satanic oppression.
  5. Believers should respond to suffering through concerted prayer, bold witness, and joyful, confident hope.

Brian’s article is a good resource for anyone who needs to help new believers deal with the cost of following Jesus.

Related: Factors in the growth of Christianity in China