I love our nation, and I’m so thankful to have been born in the United States. I’m thankful for all the blessings we have been able to enjoy and for the men and women who have defended and are defending our nation. God has used our nation mightily in sending missionaries and resourcing them. Our nation has been a haven and shelter for the Jewish people and is helping and partnering with the nation of Israel.
With all the frustrating things we could say about the state of Christianity and the church today in the United States — there are so many who continue to be faithful and valiantly love Jesus. So, does God view believers and the church in America as more special than any other group of believers in other nations or throughout history?
I know the question seems silly, but it’s a real and needed question. Though you’d quickly say “no” to that outright question to America’s specialness, you have likely made a statement before that, if it was analyzed, would appear that you believed believers in America were more important and cherished by God more than believers in other nations.
I addressed this yesterday in an online conversation. I’m working hard to grow a new Facebook page — “Stand Firm Jake” (feel free to look it up and click “Like”) — and each day I release a new meme. This one was controversial; it said, “The American Church Ain’t Ready for Real Persecution.” True in many ways, but oversimplified.
I received a message from someone saying, “It doesn’t matter if American Christians are ready for persecution because we won’t be here.” I believe many feel the same way as this gentleman. I responded with, “Why do you feel that way?”
He hasn’t replied, so I thought I’d share my planned reply with you. At least someone gets to hear it.
Now I imagine his response will be that America won’t be here during the end times because we will be raptured. I’d still like to hear why he feels that’s the case because I believe it’s extremely important that we know the Scriptural reason we hold particular views. This is the case even if I agree with what is said. Too often, end time views are treated like a pizza buffet, we pick a view that sounds the best or that is the special of the day, but our views need to come from Scripture. If someone doesn’t want to put in the effort to find the Biblical foundation of a particular end time view, then I encourage them to hold their view loosely.
Though I’m certain his response will be about the rapture timing as would be most everyone who felt the same way, I really feel there is a subconscious reason running in the background of those who think America won’t face persecution. I’m not sure anyone realizes it enough to articulate it, but it’s that subconscious reasoning that concerns me. I believe that deeper level reason is that many feel American believers are more special than other believers around the world. Therefore, the future narrative becomes that we (American believers) will continue in our freedoms and blessings until Jesus raptures us away and we’ll never face any trouble.
It sounds ridiculous saying it out loud, but I’d argue that most of us have that narrative in our minds — I know I have for most of my life. If that is the reality of what is going to happen with the American church, then:
• How come we are more special than the Iraqi Christians who were persecuted by ISIS?
• What makes us more important than the African believers persecuted by Boko Haram?
• What makes us more valuable than the Afghan believers facing persecution from the Taliban?
• What makes us so much greater than our brothers and sisters being persecuted in North Korea?
• Are we so much more special than the first century Christians that we will be spared?
• Are we even more special than the Apostles?
• More than the Armenian Christians?
No! No, we’re not any more special or any more deserving! Saying this out loud makes the thought sound silly, but I imagine if we were all transparent, we’ve likely had that thought. Since we have possibly had that thought, we often project the future narrative, that as American Christians, we are untouchable, but that’s not the case. We could face persecution or challenges like any of our brothers and sisters in the world today and throughout history.
Even if the rapture happens at the beginning of the final seven years of this age, there’s no promise that difficulty and persecution won’t befall us before that time. I’d argue that it’s likely necessary for difficulty to hit the United States long before the final seven years. So, regardless of the rapture timing argument, scripturally we can’t take challenges to the American church off the table.
I believe America is a special place. It’s special because it was established on principles that flowed out of Judeo-Christian values. It’s special because of the sacrifices made defending the nation and sustaining it. It’s special because it’s home. The American church is special because it’s us, but it’s not any more special than believers around the world. Therefore, we too should expect difficulty. We don’t have to experience it, but we should expect to do so.
Jake is available for revivals and preaching learn more at standfirmministries.com.