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Welcome to this course on Persecution and the Christian. As we will see the Bible talks a lot about being persecuted for the cause of Christ and how to respond to it. As human beings we tend to go to extremes. In this case, we either go to the prosperity extreme and believe that we should always have what we want in life. If we don’t, we are not walking in faith. Although God wants us to prosper in every area of life, the Bible is against this idea. There are times when we can be in the perfect will of God and yet suffer loss and pain. The other extreme is that we deliberately put ourselves, by our actions or words, in harms way because we think that will somehow make us more righteous, pay for our sins, or indulge our sense of self-pity.
This course requires the use of the textbook: In The Shadow Of The Cross by Glenn Penner. This book is available as either a PDF download or a paperback from Voice Of The Martyrs. You can find the link on our Textbook page for the paperback version. If you use the PDF version, I recommend you use the feature to make a copy because on the "copy" you will be able to highlight text - which I always find useful when reading books! SPECIAL NOTE: The PDF version is no longer available from VOM; however, I have received permission to make it available for our students. IF you would like the PDF version, go to our donation page and make a $10 donation. Put "persecution book" in the comments and I will forward the donation to VOM and email you the PDF version.
"Because the biblical texts on persecution cannot readily be applied to a setting where there is little or no persecution, the tendency seems to be for preachers to misapply these passages to situations of general physical, psychological, and spiritu- al suffering. This misapplication has subsequently been turned around upon the text itself. Hence, the application influences the interpretation, resulting in the typi- cal Bible student in the West never even suspecting that the texts that deal with pain and suffering might be dealing with suffering for righteousness’ sake rather than suffering because of sin...
"The text you have in your hands is my attempt to remedy this need for a clearer understanding of the biblical teaching on persecution and discipleship. It is written primarily for church leaders in religiously restricted nations in the hopes of helping equip them to minister more effectively to their congregations. It is written, second- arily, for believers living in societies with religious freedom, in the hopes of correct- ing misunderstandings of the biblical text, and providing pastoral help to those undergoing suffering of a more general nature. I am not without sympathy for such suffering. I myself was diagnosed in 2002 with a chronic, incurable form of leuke- mia. This study has helped me to appreciate the grace of God to a far greater degree, as I have learned to confess that the God who upholds the persecuted is the same God who upholds all of His children in their time of need. This, I believe, is appro- priate application. We must not, however, lose sight of the original intent of the biblical text. The Bible (especially the New Testament) was written by persecuted believers to persecuted believers. This context cannot be ignored without it having profoundly negative implications for how we read and apply the Bible and how we follow Christ individually and corporately."
Registration is simply to let me know how many people are taking this course. You will NOT be added to any email list. [If you want to be added to our email list to stay informed of new courses, etc. then sign up for the newsletter above - highly recommended.] You may view the first lesson without registering, but all other lessons require a password. The key to finding the password is sent to you when you register. Note: You MUST have the textbook in order to find the password. God bless.
Lesson One - Preface, Old Testament Perspective, Religious Freedom Under Islam, The Biblical Basis For Persecution, Cain And Abel, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Egypt's Oppression Of Israel, Blessing And Cursing In Deuteronomy
Lesson Two - Insights From The Historical Books, Suffering As Discipline - Discipline As Punishment, Discipline As A Means Of Spiritual Maturity, Suffering Specifically For God's Sake
Lesson Three - Insights From The Wisdom Literature, Job, Psalms, How The Early Church Used Psalms In Their Discussion Of Persecution And Discipleship, Letter Of Athanasius...On Interpretation Of The Psalms, The Imprecatory [Cursing] Psalms, Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, The Barmen Theological Declaration
Lesson Four - Insights From The Prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel
Lesson Five - The Revelation Of God In Christ, God As Sufferer, The Doctrine Of Impassibility, Anthropomorphic Metaphor, Suffering Incarnationally, Is Healing In The Atonement?, Could Jesus Have Gotten Sick?, Suffering Relationally, Suffering Sympathetically, God As Self-Giver, Messianic Expectation, The Expectations Of First-Century Judaism, The Expectations Of The Disciples, The Strategy Of Jesus
Lesson Six - The Call Of Discipleship - The Call Of The Cross, Matthew, Guidelines For Christian-Muslim Dialogue, Matt. 10:19-20, Tempted To Become A Bishop, Matt. 10:21-22, Matt. 10:23-25, Biblical Responses To Persecution, Matt. 10:26-42, Matt. 16:21-28, The Meaning Of The Cross, Rewards In Heaven, Workers In The Vineyard, Not Tasting Death Until See The Son Of Man, Mark, Luke, John
Lesson Seven - Persecution In The Book Of Acts, The Theological Teachings Of Persecution In The Book Of Acts, Why Were The Disciples Ready To Suffer And Die?
Lesson Eight - Teaching Of The Apostles, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Romans
Lesson Nine - Teaching Of The Apostles, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy
Lesson Ten - Teaching Of The Apostles, Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Revelation