Christians today are routinely labeled as intolerant, bigoted, hateful, and generally a threat to civil society. Michael Kruger notes that these charges are not new. In fact, they bear a remarkable resemblance to the kind of complaints that Roman authorities had toward the early Christians. He relates examples in the writings of Pliny the Younger and Tacitus, then concludes:
The stories of Pliny and Nero are both encouraging and frightening. They are frightening because they sound eerily similar to the kind of language and accusations being used today against Christians. But instead of Christians being asked to pay homage to the Roman gods to prove their acceptability, they are now being asked to pay homage to the gods of tolerance or homosexual marriage or other practices forbidden by Scripture.
At the same time, these stories are encouraging. They remind us that this sort of persecution isn’t new. Indeed, this persecution was not the end of Christianity but the beginning. In the midst of it, the church thrived and expanded.
The flak is heaviest when you’re over the target. Press on.