For 350 years, the church on American soil has enjoyed relatively little affliction for her fidelity to the Scriptures. This nation, though, is an anomaly in church history. And those days seem to be passing, more quickly than many of us expected.
But panic would not be a Christian response. For two thousand years, this has been what it has meant to identify with Christ in the world — the normal experience of those who follow a man who was crucified. Suffering for the gospel was not just tolerated in the early church; it was expected.
For now, we may be prone to think it strange. But soon enough, the expectations of American Christians will adjust to what is normal in other times and places. We will realize that when we proclaim a gospel like ours, and make the sort of claims we do, the world won’t receive it well. For Christians, it really is strange not to be persecuted.
In these short chapters, a diverse team of contributors, representing six continents, joins together to help American Christians get ready for the insults, trials, opposition, and even persecution that may lie ahead.
“Do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening.” –1 Peter 4:12
Six of the contributors to this book gave ten-minute “small talks” at the Bethlehem Conference for Pastors + Church Leaders, January 25–27, in Minneapolis. All audio and final-cut video from the conference are available, free of charge, both plenary sessions and pre-conference seminars and panels.