The World and the Faith
“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12).

Throughout the history of the world, faithfulness to God has cost men dearly (Hebrews 11:36–38). In Old Testament times, the prophets that spoke in the name of the Lord were persecuted. In the Christian era, many thousands of Christians have been killed for their faith. All of the Lord’s apostles except John died as martyrs.

First the Jews persecuted the Christians. Then the pagans in the Roman Empire persecuted them. And when the Romans embraced Catholicism, a new wave of persecution began. For more than one thousand years it raged, directed by the popes of Rome.

Beginning around 1574, some countries permitted freedom of conscience. But it was not until the eighteenth century that various countries began to include religious freedom in their constitutions.

Although many parts of our world today enjoy complete religious freedom, there are countries where true Christianity is prohibited.

The different persecutions of the faithful are shown on the time line on page 4. The time line begins with the persecution of the prophets and continues until today, showing who persecuted the faithful.

—Dallas Witmer


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