Martyrdom in the 21st Century

Persecution of Christians in the West is psychological, not physical

Pastor Andrew Isker has written a piece on “The Psychological and Social Persecution of Christians in Current Year” With the title “Martyrdom in Trashworld”. Below are some excerpts (emphases are mine).

Stories [of Christian martyrs in the past] that show the devotion of faithful Christians give us heroes to emulate. Of course, the second you begin to apply the lessons of Christian martyrs in our age, malicious people, often within the church, will attack you. College campuses are a window into the future 15 years down the road (or maybe five or ten—the pace has quickened considerably). When I was in college nearly 20 years ago, I began to see the growing hostility to the Christian faith.


Now, simply being a Christian who believes the Bible is true and who desires to live a life according to the commands of Jesus Christ, is something which is a clear impediment to pursuing a “normal life.” A successful career, finding a spouse, and gaining the respect of your friends and neighbors, all of these become much more difficult to attain if you are a Christian living in Trashworld. Then, as now, the Christians devoted to collaborating with the enemies of Christ will say, “that’s not real persecution.” Of course, it is not the same as Richard Wurmbrand having the flesh of his feet torn off or Saint Bartholomew being skinned alive. No one would dare claim such a thing. Nevertheless, it is a real thing that is happening to us. You wouldn’t say to someone who just broke their leg and was on the ground writhing in pain, “get over yourself. I know someone in hospice with stage four cancer and has way more pain than you.” Only a monster would behave that way.


Such overt, direct persecution that came at the hands of First Century Jews, Romans, medieval governments, French Jacobins, Bolsheviks, and Jihadists is not the kind of martyrdom we face. The demons that rule over us are not so direct and confrontational, not so masculine. No, the demons that rule over us are passive-aggressive and rely upon psychological and social manipulation to torment us.


If you are a Christian, you will suffer persecution for your faith. There is no way around it. That persecution isn’t always going to come in the form of men with swords or guns at your door ready to torture and kill you. But if you are a faithful man in a godless world that rages against its Creator, you are the tangible, flesh and blood representative of that Creator it is raging against. You are going to suffer. The suffering you are going to face and many of us already face is the social exclusion and intense, unremitting psychological torment of a godless society that is almost designed to get you to apostatize from Christ. There are myriad vectors and mechanisms it employs. It will use your family to pry you away. It will use corporate financial power to dangle incentives for you to compromise just a little bit. It will rob you of your children, and then hold them hostage against you. Every message, from every corner of the world is a constant, 24/7 stream of that preaches the oh-so-subtle message of: “if you believe in Jesus Christ, if you believe the Bible is true, you are a loser and we hate you. You have no place in our society. We hope you kill yourself.” That is the subtext of every form of popular culture that Trashworld pumps out. You are not being killed and tortured, but your mind, soul, and spirit absolutely are. Trashworld has perfected a kind of persecution that is even worse than lighting you on fire or feeding you to a starving lion. It has industrialized a kind of persecution of the Christian that 1. doesn’t look “like persecution,” 2. when it is successful makes it appear as if the apostate one day woke up and freely chose to just stop believing in Jesus, and 3. therefore causes Christians to not have their guard up when they face it, leaving them totally vulnerable to its pernicious effects.

But what is the answer to this problem? It is to understand that you are at war against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places, no less than the saints of old. is to bear this suffering with dignity and resolve just as the heroic martyrs of the early church did. It doesn’t matter what faithless collaborating Christians say; they already have their reward. Just as St. Paul said we will suffer for pursuing a Christian life, fake Christians are going to mock us when that suffering comes. But those with eyes of faith understand we pursue a golden crown from the hands of our king. And though the scars of our persecution cannot be seen with eyes, it is a kind of suffering for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ, one we should count as joy, having been found worthy to bear it. That is the perspective ancient Christians had of their suffering for the sake of Christ, and that is how we should view it as well. Whatever affliction we bear is adding to the suffering of Christ. Remaining faithful to Christ and losing out on career opportunities is a genuine sacrifice. Sacrificing a much more comfortable life so you can protect your children from those who seek to do them harm is a very real sacrifice. Being called a bigot, racist, homophobe, fascist, and every other slur because you refuse to bend the knee to anyone but He Who Rules at His Father’s Right Hand is a very real indignity and is very much worth it.

The Bible describes the suffering of Christians as filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions (Col. 1:24). It may not seem like it at all, but by suffering in this way, you are conquering. Just as the blood of Christ’s people spilled out does not fall on deaf ears but cries out to heaven, so also does the anguish and terror you experience for the sake of steadfastly holding to Christ. Your duty as a Christian is to band together with those who bear Christ’s name and build real, flesh-and-blood communities impervious to the terror of the “Negative World.” Christ’s enemies are forcing us to band together, which is what we must do. We must build our own society with our own economy within the one that is collapsing before our eyes. “Negative World” is not the end of the story. There have been “Negative Worlds” many times before, and they have all been overcome by the victory of Jesus Christ. So too, will the negative world of the Globalist American Empire.