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!
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 this semester is Captive in Iran: A Remarkable True Story of Hope and Triumph amid the Horror of Tehran’s Brutal Evin Prison by Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh (more about his book https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxoM0qvd-eo) This true account gives an incredible picture of choosing joy in the most horrible circumstances. Our second book will be God’s Hostage: A True Story of Persecution, Imprisonment and Perseverance by Andrew Brunson. Another true story, we get to see what it is like to be an American who has been imprisoned for spreading the Gospel. We see the reality of the mental and spiritual struggles Andrew faced on a daily basis.
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 take ownership of their learning and help them to encourage each other in thoughtful discussion. Each week, each student 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.