Some Christians in Pakistan converting to Islam out of fear
by Charles Cherry
Persecution always shows out the true believers from nominal believers (i.e., Christians in name only):
This sort of thing has happened ever since the beginning of the Church. A similar situation existed during and after the persecution by the Emperor Decius (250 – 251), in which Christians were forced to perform a sacrifice to the gods in the presence of a Roman official. If they performed the sacrifice, they obtained an official signed certificate. It usually said something like this:
“To those appointed to see the sacrifices:
From [apostate Christian’s name] of [village/town].
I have always continued to sacrifice and show reverence to the gods, and now, in your presence, I have poured a libation and sacrificed and eaten some of the sacrificial meat. I request you to certify this for me below.”
Many Christians refused to perform the sacrifice and obtain the certificate, and were arrested and martyred for their faith. However, a lot of Christians-In-Name-Only capitulated, performed the sacrifice, obtained the certificate, and thereby renounced their faith.
After the persecution ended, most of these so-called Christians wanted back to the Church. Whether or not to let them became a huge point of controversy in the Church, and led to the Donatist schism.