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A Legacy of Persecution

Those of us who worship freely cannot claim to be true followers of Jesus unless we also identify with His persecuted children.

By Sabrina Petersen

The man was a skeleton covered in skin, starved and beaten until his family barely recognized him. As a pastor during the Soviet regime, he had risked his livelihood and his life for his beliefs. Now, his wife and 13-year-old son, Stoyan, had come to visit—the only time they would see him before his transfer to a labor camp. 

Stoyan and his mother arrived at the appointed time for visiting. They waited and watched as others met with their loved ones—but no sign of Stoyan’s father. 

Finally, a man was carried out in a blanket and laid on a table. It was Stoyan’s father—he still had the same eyes. Stoyan clasped his father’s hand and looked into those eyes. “I’m so proud of you, Papa,” he whispered. “I’m so proud of you.”

For this family, persecution was a part of

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  1. Ripken, The Insanity of God (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2013), pp. 189, 190, 161.

  2. “Christian Persecution,” Open Doors,

  3. “Global Prayer Guide,” The Voice of the Martyrs,

  4. J. Foxe, Foxe’s Book of Martyrs (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2004), p. 9.

  5. Revelation 12:6 speaks of this Church in the Wilderness that was persecuted for 1,260 years. (A day in Bible prophecy equals one year. Num. 14:34; Eze. 4:6.)

  6. Foxe, pp. 78, 79.

  7. “Christian Persecution,” Open Doors,

  8. Ibid.

  9. Ripken, p. 311.

  10. Ripken, p. 310.

  11. David Curry, “What the American Church Is Missing,” Presence, May/June 2021.

Image credits

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About the author

Sabrina Petersen is the associate editor for Last Generation magazine.