Q. Persecution of Christians seems to be happening more and more. Do you think we will experience persecution (bodily harm) and death in America as is true in China, India, Iran, and various places in the middle East before the Rapture? A number of prophecy people think we should prepare for serious suffering and even death by beheading. Would you please tell us your thoughts about persecution?
A. Concerning Christian persecution, I believe the enemy only bothers with the Church where it’s vibrant and growing. Since that’s no longer the case in the West I don’t expect the kind of violent persecution here that we read about in other places before the Rapture. In short I don’t think Satan feels like we’re worth that much effort. I think the persecution of Christians in the US will mostly likely consist of the loss of free speech, freedom of assembly, and other civil liberties, especially among those who hold to traditional evangelical views. We’re beginning to see some of this already.
The reference to beheading is from Rev. 20:4 and applies primarily to Tribulation martyrs, although there are cases of beheading being reported in places where militant Islam is a major religious force. Warnings of such a thing happening in the Western Church come mostly from folks who hold the post-trib rapture view.