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A Letter To Lee Strobel On Persecution Of Christians



You made a statement about speaking the truth in love in tonight's segment, and having a balance between truth and love. Consider this: God is love and Jesus is truth and Jesus is God.

If there is truth, there is love.

I'm one of the local elders in a church with responsibility to shepherd (pastor) the flock. One of the traveling elders (apostles), who is set over the universal church, said that an elder's authority extends just as far as his love extends.

I believe that this saying applies to pastors, but it also applies to every member of the Body of Christ. All have a ministry. That ministry has nothing to do with our flesh. That ministry is totally spiritual. It is the living Christ within. That ministry is the God who is Love. It is actually the manifestation of Jesus Christ to the extent that we have faith.

When we speak to an unbeliever in any sense, we have authority to speak as long as we are keeping in step with the Spirit of God--who is love. If we let the flesh come forward, we think that we are ministering, but we are only allowing the flesh to manifest itself instead of the living Christ. The Bible says that God gives us the power both to will and to do His good pleasure. That power is His free gift (Grace or charis), and without it, we can't even want to do His will let alone do it.

From where I stand, it appears that much of the animosity against Christians is brought about because we, walking somewhere between the promise and the full possession, are immature. Speaking words that God does not put into our mouth is immaturity. Actions that are contrary to the leading of the Holy Spirit are evidence of immaturity. Human ideas for evangelism display spiritual immaturity. God doesn't need our ideas. He's full of ideas. These action plans for evangelism that did not spring from the mind of God are not ministry, no matter how religious or non-religious they may seem. They are a manifestation of the flesh.

A lot could be said about the details of these disorders, but I think that we should also remember that Jesus only did those things that the Father told Him to do. He only spoke the words of the Father. He always spoke in Love. He never showed immaturity. Though all of this is true, the self-righteous ones killed Him. And He told us that we could expect the same. The Bible says that all who walk righteous in Christ Jesus will suffer in the flesh.

So, while I am one who thinks that most of the canned evangelism systems and membership drives are not part of God's pattern for the Church, I also think that the idea that "any persecution of Christians is something the Christians bring on themselves" is false. Just the Spirit of God in you as a Christian is irritating to some people. Some of those people who are offended by the Spirit of God may even call themselves Christians.


Bob Stenson

Last updated: Oct, 2013
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