In a nutshell, Christianization of a culture or nation will eventually result in a progressive liberal society. Christianization, in contrast to genuine repentance leading to fruitful works, results in an outward form of godliness but lacking the power thereof to transform sinners. And that is because the crucial elements of the gospel—our Savior the Lord Jesus Christ, sin, personal responsibility, and judgement—have been removed so as not to offend anyone. After all, we are told to “love our enemies.” As “good Christians” we must “not judge” but rather be tolerant of all other lifestyles.
Christianization eventually puts us to sleep with regard to the requirements of the gospel. Christianization, with a church on every street corner, causes us to take the life-giving gospel for granted. After all, it’s nothing new. It’s just the religion into which we were born and brought up. Alternatively, we are taught that we are saved by grace through faith alone and not by works. We don’t really have to obey God’s commands or to pay a price after repeating the sinner’s prayer. After all, “Jesus already paid it all.” God loves us, and will never forsake us even if we forsake and deny Him.
But outright persecution from the very beginning, as we see in Acts, is good in that it purifies and refines the Church. It forces us to choose at an early stage. Some will choose to give up Christ instead of enduring suffering. But others will respond to persecution in the opposite way by choosing to pay the price of following Christ no matter what. The fire of persecution strengthens the Church and is ultimately good for her. Moreover, outright opposition to the gospel is generally accompanied by great miraculous signs confirming its truth when it is preached, as we see recorded in Acts. The persecution which came upon the Church in Acts 8 forced the believers out of Jerusalem, scattering them to places like Samaria where the gospel had not yet been preached. There Philip harvested a great harvest of souls as he preached the gospel with powerful miracles confirming the truth of the message to the Samaritans.
“The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.”
Most interestingly, however, it would appear that Christianization actually does result in eventual persecution, as we see happening in America today. Although America with her Judeo-Christian foundation was indeed the most blessed, the greatest and most powerful nation on earth in her time, it is not to last. Sinful human nature eventually takes God’s blessings for granted, and like Israel in the Old Testament our nation is gradually but inexorably denying the God who gave birth to us and blessed us. Moreover, the christianization of a culture results in the effective disappearance of miraculous signs for people in that culture who have in some way been exposed to the gospel over and over. In such a culture there is little visible evidence for the existence of God in terms of the supernatural and the miraculous. We are left only with debate and apologetics.
Could outright persecution of the Church—as took place in China at the hands of the atheistic Communists who taught the people that there was no God—be “preferable” for the Church? The godless teaching of Communism left a deep spiritual emptiness in the people, giving rise to the extraordinary thirst for the Word of God we see in China today. It is said that there are more believers in China now than in any other nation on earth, including the United States. And some of these believers are sold out and committed to their Lord in a way totally unseen in the West.
But the question posed in the title of this article is actually academic, since God’s plan for the end times will be fulfilled in any case.
Does Scripture teach that believers in America will be persecuted?