Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
~ 2 Timothy 3:12
Many Western Christians – especially those with a pietistic streak whose sole goal when reading Scripture is to “feel convicted” – rightly ponder how they are suffering persecution, as Paul seems here to promise. They get along well enough in their workplace, although their coworkers might find their occasional evangelism a bit strange. They have a typical family with wife and children; some conflicts, but certainly no anti-Christian persecution. They attend church on Sunday and enjoy both the worship and the fellowship. They pray for persecuted Christians in Sudan, the Middle East, and North Korea, and are glad to have general religious freedom in America. Then they start their weeks over.
What’s going on here?
The answer is largely a problem of pietism, specifically, a lack of concern for publicly combating institutional degeneracy (i.e. not gay “structural racism,” but genuine institutional sin). It is generally rare, at least in our times, for a man to be persecuted simply because he believes in Christianity, rather than because he acts on his Christian principles, and because his actions conflict with others’ goals whose actions are motivated by less noble ends. For example, a man today would certainly be persecuted if he sought to expose and uproot the wickedness of Hollywood, as we saw with the previous attempts to out (((Harvey Weinstein))). Truly believing and acting upon our calling to sanctify the world, not just our private lives, because it infringes upon others’ ability to sin with impunity, is what generates persecution, not (usually) merely existing in their vicinity while holding Christian beliefs.
This pattern of persecution-against-institutional-purging1 exists even in generally Christian lands, where Christianity is already well institutionalized. For the work of purging degeneracy in a land is a constant one, even if only involving moral maintenance. This is exactly analogous to our individual journey of sin’s mortification. We can see, then, how the promise of 2 Timothy 3:12 often is fulfilled.
However, in addition to this immense problem of pietism, the modern Christian’s lack of persecution is best to be explained by his worldliness. The modern professor of Christ deeply and fully imbibes the zeitgeist and is entirely wrong on the burning issues of our time: the racial question and the Jewish question. If he held correct opinions on these matters and acted upon his duty of institutional sanctification, he would see no end to his persecutions.
“Race and Jews? I guess a Christian can hold politically incorrect positions on these and suffer the consequences, but we can’t say that constitutes Christian persecution!” Yes, we can. To be persecuted as a Christian is to be persecuted for Christ’s cause, and Christ’s cause in a given age is not necessarily for the support of specifically Christian doctrines. Christian persecution and even Christian martyrdom need not be for fundamental Christian articles (e.g. the resurrection), nor even for exclusively Christian tenets (e.g. baptism), so long as they are what Christ supports.
This is why we can describe as ‘persecuted’ our brethren targeted by the world’s vitriol. Of course, if they are not Christians, we could not describe theirs as Christian persecution, but we nevertheless rightly see their persecution as the same type that, when suffered by Christians, does constitute Christian persecution.
Those who fear having missed the promise of 2 Timothy 3:12 need only become red-pilled and active in the great work being done for our people.
- Note: I still wish to countersignal the SJW-esque tendency to agitate for “reform” should there exist any injustice, by their lights, anywhere in the world. The Christian’s duty of institutional reformation is qualified by his duty to respect others’ sovereignty, and thus he ought to act for institutional reformation only according to his station. ↩