When I taught speech at Bob Jones University, Doug Schaedel was one of my coworkers for three years. We taught together, attended the same department meetings together and occasionally ate lunch together. He had a wife and four children. Two in college. Two in grade school. It was heartbreaking to watch Doug's healthy 6'2" frame reduced by cancer and treatments to 90 pounds. Christians today are suffering.
This is from an article in the Boston Globe by Jeff Jacoby: 'The Nuba mountains in Sudan... [which have had a Christian population since the 6th century,] are littered with mass graves... . Nuba women are systematically raped by Arab soldiers in order to produce non-Nuba offspring. There have been reports, including from Catholic bishops, of crucifixions of Christians by the army.' Muslim troops from northern Sudan have sold tens of thousands of Christian children and women from the south into slavery. Many have been branded or mutilated to prevent escape; many more have been tortured, brainwashed or starved until they converted to Islam.' -Jeff Jacoby, Boston Globe, December 4, 1996
Christians today are being persecuted
According to a U.S. House Resolution "There have been more Christians killed in the 20th century than in the previous 19 centuries combined." -U.S. House Resolution. Scripps-Howard News Service, September 28, 1996
Christians are dying across the globe just to be Christians today.
Even in our own churches, Christians are suffering from broken families, from cancer, from depression.
If you could write a letter or send a mass e-mail to all of these persecuted and suffering believers, how would you start out? What would be your first words to these battered brothers and sisters?
Well, the apostle Peter found himself in this very situation. It was around the year AD 64 probably just before Nero's great persecution of Christians. And Peter writes his 1st epistle to a large group of believers.