Here’s the Million-Dollar Answer to How Persecuted Christians Persevere

Under Caesar’s Sword researchers release final analysis of 25 countries.

When faced with persecution, Christians worldwide employ more strategies than just fight or flight.

Today at a DC symposium, 17 researchers released the final version of a $1.1 million study exploring how Christians respond to persecution in 25 of the hardest places for them to live. The findings of Under Caesar’s Sword (UCS), funded by the Templeton Religion Trust, were previewed orally in Rome in December 2015.

Persecution can be difficult to measure. (For example, should Christians who weren’t murdered for their faith count as martyrs?) But by all counts, religious freedom violations are on the rise worldwide. Islamist extremism and ethnic nationalism have pushed persecution to record levels three years in a row, according to Open Doors research.

Christians bear the brunt, experiencing between 60 percent to 80 percent of religious discrimination, UCS researchers concluded.

And evangelicals and Pentecostals bear the brunt of that. They are more likely to be persecuted than mainline Christians, Catholics, or Orthodox Christians, according to the UCS report. That’s because in most places, evangelicals and Pentecostals are the relative newcomers, without the long relationships and history that older Christian groups have.

Evangelicals and Pentecostals are also more likely to be seen as Western. And they “tend to understand evangelization and conversion as verbal, urgent, and sometimes dramatic processes and, consequently, expect and are prepared to endure persecution,” the report stated.

It’s correlation, not causation, the researchers acknowledge. But it’s there. And as non-Christian governments are more likely to see them as a threat, evangelicals and Pentecostals in turn are less likely …

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