To bear witness means to speak the truth no matter what the cost. Resistance to the Christian message is inevitable. When we bear witness it also makes us vulnerable. But, as we see with Revelation 11’s two witnesses, there is invincibility as well.

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If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.

Jesus (John 15:18-21)

 

We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum.

A.W. Tozer (1897-1963)

 

At a time when so many of our brothers and sisters are dying for the faith, it seems obscene to invoke the specter of martyrdom from within the safety and prosperity of the liberal West. Yet we face an absolutism that poses an unprecedented challenge to the Christian faith and witness precisely because technocratic order diffuses its power quietly, almost imperceptibly, without spectacle or responsibility, slowly bleeding its victims by ten thousand bureaucratic paper cuts rather than by the sword or lions at the Colosseum.

Michael Hanby, First Things

 

Christians are still persecuted but nowadays not usually overtly on the ground that they are Christians. They are persecuted because they do not hold the approved political views; or one church is recognized and controlled, and those Christians are persecuted who belong to the wrong church; or being Christians, they are denounced for having collaborated with the Germans during the war, or perhaps with the British or the Americans after it. In the West these things do not yet happen. But persecution is only the extreme limit of discrimination. People prefer to associate with the like-minded to themselves; those who rise to power tend to favor and to promote those who resemble themselves; and when a man who is not a Christian has an appointment to make, or a favor to bestow, he may genuinely believe that the candidate who is of his own kidney is more worthy than another candidate who is a Christian.

Thus the profession of Christianity might become, if not exactly dangerous, at least disadvantageous; and it is sometimes harder to endure disadvantage than to face danger, harder to live meanly than to die as a martyr. Already, we say, we are a minority….

 

For most of us the occasion of the great betrayal on the clear issue will never come: what I fear for myself is the constant, daily, petty pusillanimity….

T. S. Eliot (1888-1965)