The Dangers of Preaching the Persecution of Christians in the United States Continued

Matthew Teutsch
7 min readJun 3, 2022

In my last post, I wrote about the dangers of preaching persecution in the United States. Since writing that post, I finished Candida Moss’ The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martydom and read Jason Stanley’s How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them. Each of these books have helped, in different ways, me with thinking about the harm that the rhetoric of persecution has on the body politic as a whole. So, today, I want to continue that discussion by looking at some of the things I have been thinking about over the past few days, specifically the ways that much of the tactics and rhetoric resemble fascism.

A few weeks ago, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) released a detailed 300-page report detailing sexual abuse in the SBC over the past few decades. As Audrey Clare Farley puts it, “Based on an eight-month probe solicited by the SBC, it reveals that the organization’s top leaders maintained a secret database of more than 700 abusers, all while telling rank-and-file members of the Southern Baptist flock that such an endeavor was unreasonable and impossible.” The report, conducted by an outside firm, Guidepost Solutions, details numerous incidents of sexual abuse from pastors and leaders in the SBC.

Since the report dropped, various individuals, notably in the Conservative Baptist Network (CBN), a part of the SBC looking to “Change the Direction” of the convention, have double downed on their rhetoric and tried to shift the conversation away from the reported abuse. They have positioned themselves, as they have over the past few years, as the protectors of the faith against persecution from liberals, feminists, the woke mob, and more. They have deployed the rhetoric of persecution, turning themselves into victims and warriors while failing to fully acknowledge the true victims of the years of sexual abuse within their ranks.

Tom Ascol, who has served as pastor of Grace Baptist Church since 1986 and started Founders Ministry in 1982, is the CBN’s candidate for SBC president this year. Ascol condemns the ordaining of female pastors and continually rails against the encroachment of wokism into the SBC. What Ascol and others are doing, under the guise of biblical inerrancy, is maintaining…

Matthew Teutsch

Here, you will find reflections on African American, American, and Southern Literature, American popular culture and politics, and pedagogy.