Persecution And The New “Normal” World: “When Persecuted, We Endure.” (1 Cor 4:12) -- By: Benjamin Lee Hegeman

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 18:1 (Spring 2014)
Article: Persecution And The New “Normal” World: “When Persecuted, We Endure.” (1 Cor 4:12)
Author: Benjamin Lee Hegeman

Persecution And The New “Normal” World: “When Persecuted, We Endure.” (1 Cor 4:12)

Benjamin Lee Hegeman

Benjamin Lee Hegeman is a missionary scholar in residence at Houghton College, Houghton, New York and a life-long missiological researcher, curriculum-writer, teacher, and consultant. He earned his Ph.D. from Rijks University, Utrecht, Netherlands. He and his wife, Christine, are career missionaries with SIM with 25 years of overseas experience. Dr. Hegeman has also served as a church-planter, academic dean, and school administrator.

No one saw this coming so soon or so fast. From mid-December 2013 to January 2014, various Western media outlets ran headlines and articles reporting an alarming rise in religious persecution. WSJ1, Reuters2, AP3, BBC4, Fox News5, and CNN6, among others, reported that Christians now rank as the most persecuted believers, the world’s largest minority faith, and a religion in danger of becoming extinct in the Middle East. Minority persecution has become the “new normal” of the globalized world.

No one predicted this in 1989 when the oppressive communist regimes collapsed at the fall of the Berlin Wall. The global leaders of that era heralded a new golden era of freedom and capitalistic globalization; not of persecution. Twenty-three years later we hear an entirely different message from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who stated openly: “Christianity is the most persecuted religion worldwide.” The same was said by French President Sarkozy, lamenting that Christians face a “particularly wicked program of cleansing in the Middle East; religious cleansing.”7 Not even in 1979,

when the Iranian Shah was overthrown by the Shiite mullacracy, and when, in the same year, the Sunni mujahedeen fighters rose up to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan—and then the Jahiliyyah-West, i.e., the whole corrupted, rebellious world8–did anyone predict the scale of the coming oppression against vulnerable Christian minorities everywhere. As far as I have seen, no authoritative media or author predicted that militant Muslims would become the fiercest religious persecutors in the 21st century. Arguably the first person to warn us was Harvard political scientist, Samuel Huntington (192...

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