A word about the future of the church, specifically in America, is in order. Those of us in the West must be prepared for the jarring truth that, just as in Revelation 2:9 and Smyrna in the first century, those who oppose and reject Christianity are going to oppose and persecute us. Not only will they say we are wrong; they will say we are bigoted, dangerous, and evil. We will be slandered as anti-choice, anti-diversity, anti-gay, anti-inclusion, anti-tolerance. We can anticipate economic boycotts, governmental restrictions, and social ostracism. Eventually more severe persecution and even imprisonment will likely be our experience. Of course this is already true for followers of Christ around the world, and it is coming to America.
What should be our response? Exactly what we see here in Revelation 2: Do not be afraid; expect it. Receive it from the hands of a sovereign God who is testing, pruning, and refining your faith. Remember James again: “Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance” (Jas 1:2–3).
—Daniel Akin, Exalting Jesus In Revelation