Why We Can Expect Persecution To Grow Worse This Year

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Here is why we can expect Christian persecution to grow worse this year, and yes, even in America.

North Korean Persecution

In 1945, when the Korean peninsula was divided by Soviet and American occupation, there were 500,000 Christians in North Korea, and that includes both of Kim II-sung’s parents, the founders of the communist party in North Korea, but how far things have moved because Christians are not seen as infiltrators of the state. [1] Persecution is growing worse every day, and it’s trending badly for believers around the world. North Korea is a great example because as recently as 2018, a 38-year old male was detained in North Pyongan Provincial by the Ministry of State Security. His crime? Owning a Bible. Christians are disproportionately imprisoned, far and away, in North Korea. In one province alone, there were 36 instances of punishment meted out to family members, 36 instances of torture, and 20 executions, and because there are more women Christians in North Korea, they represent 60 percent of the victims there. Just speaking about God, sharing the gospel, or even owning a Bible can bring a death penalty in many nations, particularly in North Korea, but North Korean persecution is not an isolated incident.

Is it biblical to sue someone

Islam’s Holy War

In January 2018, Newsweek stated that “the persecution and genocide of Christians across the world is worse today than at any time in history,” and since that time, it’s only gotten worse. For example, in 2017 alone, the killings of Christians in Nigeria by Muslim extremists went up by more than 62 percent…all in the name of Islam. From the very beginning of the Islamic faith, the Muslim community has spread through the Middle East, primarily through conquest, and the resulting growth of the Muslim state. That provided fertile ground where the Islamic faith could take root and flourish. The military conquest was inspired by religion, but it was also motivated by greed and politics. [2] In most nations, the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful, law-abiding citizens. It is only the minority, or the extreme elements of the Islamic faith that bring violence, intimidation and terrorism, sometimes resulting in great numbers of death.

Christian Persecution

We are told that all Christians who live a godly life will suffer persecution, and it’s not going to get better. Jesus told us to expect this and not be surprised by it. Our Lord reminded the disciples that “A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours” (John 15:20). He didn’t say, “They might,” or “It’s possible they might persecution you,” but “they will also persecute you!” They persecuted Jesus to the point of death on a cross, so let us remember, “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40).

Persecution in America

Christian persecution is not something that happens only in other nations. Persecution is growing worse in America as evidenced by the thousands of lawsuits against Christian businesses and business owners. Lawsuits based upon the customer doing something that goes against the Christian business owner’s conscience are increasing with alarming frequency. It’s almost like (some say it is like) they have an agenda against Christian business owners. The believer knows they must obey God above man (Acts 5:29), but now the time has come when Christians can be taken to court or have certain rights stripped from them. They’ve torn down the Ten Commandments from the public square and courthouses, they’ve forbidden the Bible to be in the public schools (most of them), and they’ve kicked God out of government altogether, so when some unbeliever asks “Where was God when this disaster happened?” I tell them, “Don’t you remember, you kicked God out of just about everywhere.”

Global Persecution

At you are reading this in real time, persecution is more prevalent and geographically dispersed than at any other time in human history. There are presently over 215 million Christians living under the threat of job loss, loss of home, loss of family, or even loss of their own life. There are nearly 300 million believers worldwide who experience very high to extreme persecution. Countries with the highest restrictions are predictable, mostly Muslim or communist/authoritarian. In 2017, 27 of 198 countries as having “very high” levels of official repression. These nations included (alphabetically): Algeria, Azerbaijan, Brunei, Burma/Myanmar, China, Comoros, Egypt, Eritrea, Indonesia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam. [3]

Top Ten Worst Offenders

Here is a list of the top ten offending nations as far as Christian persecution is concerned. These rankings are based upon the number of executions, those sitting on death row, or those put to heavy labor, and other factors. [4] Some of the worst offenders might surprise you.

North Korea

Most of the nations that are hardest on Christianity are those who are also hardest on civil and human rights. Some of the worst persecution is where there is a majority of Muslims residing there. And friend…Christian persecution has long ago crossed the ocean, because it’s here in America, right now, and it’s not going away. It will continue to grow worse and worse until the Day of His appearing.


Satan’s time may be short. Jesus is coming again and the Enemy may fear his time’s about up, so he may be ramping up his persecutions, but mainly, it is those who are making a godly difference in the world that he focuses on  most.  Let me say this bluntly.  If you’ve never been persecuted for your faith, then you’ve probably never shared your faith, because the Bible says that “all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim 3:12), and it’s only going to get worse, not better (2 Tim 3:13). If you’ve never suffered persecution, try sharing Jesus Christ with others. Believe me, persecution will come! If your own family, friends, and co-workers come to despise you for your faith, welcome to the club, for Jesus said, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you” (John 15:18). He was first in line for persecution, but infinitely far, far worse than we will ever experience (Isaiah 53), but keep this in mind: It’s not us who they hate so much…they hate the message, coming from the Messenger, Jesus Christ. I am willing to endure that for His name’s sake. Are you? Will you join me in suffering for your faith in Jesus Christ?

1. Excerpt from the Korean Workers’ Party Transcendental Guidance System.

2. Early Rise of Islam. BBC.co.uk. “Conquest.” Sept 3, 2009. BBC Religions. https://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/islam/history/earlyrise_1.shtml (Accessed Dec 28, 2020).

3. Cato Institute. Religious Persecution. “Religious Persecution Continues to Increase, Threatening All Believers.” Feb 9, 2020 https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/religious-persecution-continues-increase-threatening-all-believers (Accessed Dec 28, 2020).

4. America, The Jesuit Review. American Magazine.org. “The Top 10 Worst Countries for Christian Persecution” https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2018/01/11/top-10-worst-countries-christian-persecution (Accessed Dec 28, 2020).

Here is some related reading for you: How to Respond to Persecution Jesus’ Way

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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