Did you know? In the past 100 years, more Christians have died for their faith than in all the years combined since the death and resurrection of Christ? In just the 20th century there were 26 million documented cases of martyrdom, more than in the previous 1,900 years combined! In our recent news, we have seen the horrible circumstances facing our brothers and sisters is Afghanistan, but they are not the only ones facing persecution on a daily basis!
What does this mean for us as Christians on US soil? This is a course for our times in many different ways. We all have felt persecuted for something we believe in at some point in our life. As a believer in Jesus Christ, how should we respond? This is a time in our society when we are facing tough and ever changing situations. How do we apply our faith to our lives in every difficult situation we encounter? We will examine the lives of persecuted believers from around the world, who faced incredible persecution in THIS CENTURY! In that process, our faith will be challenged. We will dig deep into ways to apply what we learn into to our everyday lives whether the challenges we face are big or small. What do the persecuted believe true faith in Jesus Christ means and how do they apply it to their lives? What does it mean to live sold out for Christ? We will examine ways to choose to make our faith real no matter what situations we face.
The first book we will read is Hiding in the Light: Why I risked Everything to leave Islam and follow Jesus by Rifqa Barry. This is a riveting story about a teenage girl being persecuted here on American soil. The second book we will be reading is the novel Safely Home by Randy Alcorn. Perhaps you may think that reading a novel is an unusual approach in discussing true persecution of Christian believers, however this novel is based on real events that have happened to believers in China.
We will be using Literature circles in this course. Our class time will be interactive and centered around discussion. The purpose of a Literature Circle is to help students deepen and take ownership of their learning and help them to encourage each other in thoughtful discussion. Each week, students will be assigned a role they are responsible for during the next class. Roles will vary depending on how many students are in the class but may include: Discussion Director, Cultural Cultivator, Bridge Builder, Character Connector, Faith Frontrunner. In addition, each week students will report on an incidence of Christian persecution in the 21st Century.
A second semester course is also being offered entitled “Persecuted! 21st Century Christians (2)”