Persecution of the followers of Jesus Christ has existed for the last 2000 years. Paul was in prison in Rome when a fire broke out that destroyed much of the city. Nero blamed the Christians and it is possible that Paul was executed for this very reason. Many Christian leaders were executed at that time. Persecution in our world can be just as unjust and just as violent. Persecution in America however has a different twist. A great example of persecution in modern America is the controversy around Tim Tebow’s (NFL quarterback) speaking engagement at FBC Dallas.
When word got out that Tebow had agreed to speak at a dedication service for FBC Dallas, a columnist called him out for being on stage with the pastor, Robert Jeffress, who he claimed was an anti-Semitic and homophobic pastor. The controversy spread like crazy and Tebow was called out by many people throughout the country. Because he held to the traditional beliefs of our faith that have been around for the last 2000 years, Pastor Jeffress was ridiculed nationally and his reputation was smeared. And probably the worst part of the story is Tim Tebow, who has made millions because of his public stand of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (and a member of FBC Jacksonville, a very strong conservative church), cancelled the engagement and said, “I will continue to use the platform God has blessed me with to bring Faith, Hope and Love to all those needing a brighter day.” A gospel that comes without persecution is no gospel at all.
I mentioned from the pulpit a few weeks ago that the persecution in America would come from the homosexual community. That is exactly the source of this attack on Pastor Jeffress and FBC Dallas. I stand with this church in proclaiming the truth of the Word of God. It is not about hating homosexuals. It is about loving them enough to share with them the Truth. God’s way is the best way. It is not our place to fight back. Persecution in America may be different but the solution is the same. Vengeance belongs to God. We are called to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind… and to love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37, 39)