There are a few things you just can’t seem to get rid of – like crabgrass and cockroaches. Christians are like that as well. You can stone them, flog them, torture them, imprison them, feed them to lions and burn them at the stake but they just keep coming back for more. A paraphrase from an early church father proclaims, “Do your worst, prepare your inventions for torturing Christians—it is all of no avail...the more you mow us down, the thicker we rise; the Christian blood you spill is like the seed you sow, it springs from the earth once again and becomes even more fruitful.”
There are many accounts of Roman soldiers in the colosseums who converted to Christ when they watched the confidence and steadfast faith of believers who were about to die. They choose to be martyred alongside the Christians themselves thus fulfilling the saying “The Blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.”
Imagine being seated with thousands of fellow Romans in the great Colosseum in the year 100 AD. Your name is Lycius Octello. You are a Roman soldier. A gate in the middle of the arena opens and a band of shabbily dressed men and women shuffle out before the jeering crowd. They all know what awaits them. But you, Lycius Octello, do not rise with the crowd. You can only to stare at this strange huddle of men and women.
A deafening roar rises as spectators cry out, “Kill the Christians!”. But you, Lycius, find yourself spellbound by their humble countenance. There is an inexplicable sense of serenity about them even though they are about to be torn to pieces. Another gate opens in the wall and hungry lions rush to pounce upon their prey. The gruesome spectacle is over in moments. The lions are herded back to their cages and the bodies dragged below for the next performance. Shredded pieces of clothing and flesh are strewn upon the blood-soaked sand. It is the blood of the martyrs. At that moment, the gate opens again and another cluster of condemned men and women calmly await their death. The crowd jeers and cries for blood but Lycius stands this time and moves down the aisle to join them.
No matter what degree of state sponsored oppression the church has weathered, she has always ended up overcoming and thriving as a result. You can ban it, outlaw it, persecute it, and suppress it but you would have better success trying to drive back the ocean with a push-broom. You can make it politically incorrect, culturally incorrect and religiously incorrect but that won’t do it. You can scorn it, mock it and criticize it but that will do no good. It is an irresistible force that can’t be stopped. Rome couldn’t stop them, The Roman Catholic church couldn’t stop them, communism couldn’t, kings couldn’t, Hitler couldn’t, Stalin couldn’t, Chairman Mao couldn’t and no Ayatollah will ever stop them either.
It will always be this way no matter who sheds the blood of the martyrs. In the end, the church will be victorious and Christians will be the last man standing!