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how to tell the biblical story in a way that makes a difference

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Thanks for this, Andrew. These are things I’ve been trying to work through, myself, especially with regard to today’s persecuted church.

Because I agree that the NT story of suffering is not their story. At the same time, I think we have reason to believe from both OT and NT narratives that God deals with the oppression of His people in certain ways that have some overarching consistencies. In addition, the NT writers have no qualms about explaining their current experience (or theologically retrospecting on it) in light of similar events in their past.

Ultimately, I think comfort and meaning of the present suffering of the persecuted church ought to come from their prophets, but I also think it’s legit to look at the past experience of God’s people with God in those times of suffering and martyrdom and use them to give meaning to your present experience of those same things. There’s reason to hope in deliverance and vindication because of our history.