Is it sinful to deny Christ under threat of death?

Full Question

If someone is told to deny Christ or acknowledge another religion or god under the threat of death, is it sinful to give in out of fear? I know modern culture doesn’t demand this kind of heroic virtue, but in Revelation 2:10, Jesus says, “Be faithful unto death.”


Such a scenario is currently quite likely. Just recently some Fox News employees in the Middle East were coerced into accepting Islam. To accept an ideology contrary to one’s own under duress renders such an acceptance null by most civilized societies. Nevertheless, we are called to never betray our loyalty to Christ and his Church even under pain of torture and/or death. But only God knows how morally culpable one is who does break under such duress.

What do you think?

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  1. Peter, one of the 12 Apostles did so three times in one evening – Denying that he did know Christ Jesus…. Yet the Lord did not take him to task for denying HIM in public… On the contrary the Lord found him fit to lead the group that He started buillding i.e. the Church….. The Lord did not rake up the denial part even remotely ….. Our bishops and pastors (and we the believers) may make a lot of fuss over such things with apostasy and what not…. But the Lord has his own ways and He does not haul up people for every fault nor cuts off relation the moment they deny HIM…. God understands fully our fears and helplessness and weaknesses…. Our religious leaders and the devout Catholics/Christians simply don’t…. If God was to punish everyone who denied Him or was unfaithful to HIM – there won’t be ANYONE around left breathing….. We (preachers and believers) need to learn a lot about how God loves us continuously and forgives us constantly…. Giving us chance after chance after chance to mend our wicked/unjust ways and become better so as to escape the punishment that awaits ALL wrongdoers on earth….. We (preachers and believers) are so very eager to punish the wrongdoer (even the people we love are not spared – when they fault us) but God does not wish that ANYONE should perish…. So HE gives us numerous chances to mend our ways….

    • Thank you Gladys. A friend of mine (a Jesuit priest) due to lots of harassment from his superiors out of frustration denied his faith FOR A DAY (for he continued to speak about the Lord and the Bible the rest of his life than speak about any other faith) yet he was not forgiven by the Jesuits/Church and was dismissed from the Society… No amout of pleading with his Superiors to take him back,had any effect on their hardened and rigid hearts…. Just like Peter who denied the Lord out of fear for his life, this priest friend of mine also denied his faith (only once unlike Peter) due to harassment … but the Church (and the Jesuit Society) remained rigid with their stand…. I believe such a stand taken by the preachers and believers makes a mockery of the Merciful and Loving God we/they believe in or speak about….
      I believe when the Lord himself did not punish a single sinner during His sojourn on earth – no pope, no bishop, no priest, no nun or believer – should act holier and greater than God by taking people to task and punishing them for every little or big sin committed by members of the family…. The Lord came to heal and save sinners not to make them suffer and die….

  2. Thank you Noel David, your reply was most inspiring and comforting. Even the Jesuits are human in making false judgements; hope God will send the Holy Spirit to soften their hardened hearts.
    With what is going on these days in the Middle East; I am putting myself in the place of those being martyred over there and wondering if I’d have the courage to stand up for Jesus. Easy to say I would in the comfort of my living room but what if it were I on the chopping block? Hoping I’ll never have to face such a decision!

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Written by Raphael Benedict

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