The Criminalization of Christianity

The Refining Fires

At present, the “body of Christ” is about to enter the perilous “last days” of the Church Age spoken of in 2 Timothy chapter three “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. The coming persecution will reveal the difference between profession and possession. Up to this point, American Christians, protected by their constitutional rights, have been spared the severe persecution experienced in third-world countries. But, as foretold, that’s all about to change.

“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.” (1 Peter 4:12-14).

“If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Ps. 11:3)

As the moral foundations of society continue to collapse, decadence is not only acceptable but celebrated; our liberties and fundamental religious freedoms are threatened as never before. The radical Left’s relentless effort to purge God and Judeo-Christian values from our history and society has reached its pinnacle. Besieged by a relentless assault of depraved atheistic culture of nihilism, America descends further and further into spiritual darkness.

That the “Woke” Left’s desecration of Christianity and demonization of Christians are increasingly tolerated has created a culture of fear and intimidation among God’s people. Understandably, believers become fearful, intimidated, and threatened in a progressively hostile environment. The sobering reality: The criminalization of the Christian faith in America is well underway and will only increase.

So “what can the righteous do?”

How do we persevere in precarious times? As always, God’s sovereign remedy is found in Scripture:

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Prov. 3:5-6)

Most of us will only apply these verses when we run out of options when confronted with seemingly hopeless situations to which there is no way out. Our natural tendency is to attempt to manipulate circumstances and rely on our own understanding. Forgetting: “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool…” (Prov. 28:26). “Confidence in self is like leaning on a broken reed.”  In the dark days ahead, as we obediently attempt to follow the Lord, we shouldn’t expect things always to make sense because many times they won’t.

The Refining Fires

It has always cost something to follow the Lord, more so as persecution becomes a reality. As hostility intensifies, so does the cost of following Christ; for many, the price will be too high.

Inevitably, there comes a time in every believer’s walk with the Lord when the path forward becomes overwhelming. These instances, when the Heavens turn to brass, are the essential seasons of refining; faith isn’t faith until it’s been tried. “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10)

Seasoned faith will endure beyond logic and reason. It will trust the Lord with seemingly senseless suffering and perplexing trials of affliction. Again consider the wise words of Job, who, although in frustration, many times questioned the Lord yet continued to trust Him. “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.” (Job 13:15)

There is a story of a tight-rope walker who rode his bike (with a balancing pole and under-inflated tires) across a deep gorge out west in the early part of the twentieth century. After successfully crossing to the other side, the crowd went wild with applause. He then asked them if they believed he could go back to the other side with someone in the bike’s basket. They all shouted, yes, yes!… we believe you can! He then asked the pivotable question, who would be willing to get in the basket for the return trip…silence.

Even though we may sincerely believe we are naturally disinclined to get in the basket, fear and self-reliance are intense forces. “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” (Mark 9:24) [emphasis added]. Belief is a moment’s decision; unconditional trust authenticates belief and is ongoing, continuously increasing, through a refining process.

Only those who surrender to God’s power will have the ability to endure the accelerating hostility and hatred. In the coming fiery trials, every believer will be confronted with a choice “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart” or foolishly depend on “thine own understanding.” Our strength is inadequate; we must “… be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles [devious strategies] of the devil.” (Eph.6:10-11) [emphasis mine]

“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us…” (Eph.3:20) [emphasis added]

The Falling Away

“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition…” (2 Thess. 2:3).

Although we may claim to trust in God’s promises, when trials arise, and the rubber meets the road, many who profess to know the Lord but are following Him for the wrong reasons (i.e., health, wealth, and happiness) will inevitably turn back and fall away.

John 6:56-69 chronicles Jesus’ use of a perplexing pronouncement to confound His unbelieving followers (who He had earlier rebuked regarding their motives in John 6:26) to reveal their hearts: “He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.” (vs. 56). Upon hearing the veiled statement, consider the response of these false followers: “Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? (vs.60) From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him (John 6:66). Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? (vs. 67). Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” (vs. 68-69) [emphasis added]. No matter the cost to Peter and the other believing disciples, there was no possibility of turning back! And so, it must be in the coming perilous days.

No matter how bad things get, remember: In God’s perfect time, the trumpet will sound, the clouds will part, and we’ll be going home– our faith will then be turned to sight. “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”

“Thou will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” (Isa. 26:3).

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A. W. Weckeman

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About the Author

Pastor A.W. Weckeman
Pastor A.W. Weckeman, author of the recently published book, Spiritual Understanding in the Last days, How to Persevere in Perilous Times and perfectingofthesaints.com. Both the book and the website focus on the essential need of the modern church to return to the fundamental indispensable biblical doctrines vital to its spiritual wellbeing and power. Besides writing, he enjoys photography and fly fishing. Pastor Wayne and his wife Sandra currently reside in southwest Arizona. Email: wecks2az@aol.com Website: perfectingofthesaints.com