The African bishop Tertullian once said, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.” Most people understand that to mean the more that people die for their faith the more others will accept Christ. Dr. Frank James, president of Biblical Theological Seminary, says he agrees with Tertullian that Christianity grew under persecution but he says, “the more significant factor was the Christians’ compassionate acts, such as rescuing abandoned infants and caring for the sick and elderly.” He said, “the gospel that persevered through persecution was a gospel in word and deed.” We read in the book of Acts chapter 8, that after the stoning of Stephen, “A great wave of persecution began that day, sweeping over the church in Jerusalem; and all the believers except the apostles were scattered.” Saul “went from house to house, dragging out both men and women to throw them into prison.” In our country today, violent persecution for our faith has not yet reached us. If Dr. Frank James is correct, we can help delay or perhaps forego the onset of violence if we accelerate our deeds of kindness to the poor and less fortunate.

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