If You’re Not Praying for the Persecuted Church – Read This!
What this reality tells us is that those who deny Christians are persecuted for their faith are simply not paying attention. Often we hear about Muslims being persecuted, and it is true that Muslims are the second most persecute religious group in the world. But, denying that Christians are persecuted for their faith can only be done out of ignorance. And, interestingly, Muslims are typically persecuted by other Muslims while Christians are persecuted by Muslims, governments, and others.
The truth is, 2016 saw nearly 90,000 Christians killed for their faith, according to an annual study.
The annual study conducted by the Center for Studies on New Religions (Censur) also found that 500-600 million Christians are not able to freely practice their faith. Considering the fact that Christians make up more than one-quarter of the worlds population with 2.2 billion adherents worldwide, this statistic is shocking.
According to the report, the breakdown of persecution looks like this:
“Around 70 percent of the killings occurred in tribal conflicts in Africa, with the high number attributed to Christians refusing to take up weapons for reasons of conscience.
“The other 30 percent occurred due to terrorist attacks and government persecution, notably in North Korea.”
In Africa, the terrorist group Boko Haram is prevalent and active. There’s no doubt that many of the Christian killings taking place there can be attributed to this Muslim group. In North Korea, however, the killings are due to government persecution. The communist regime in North Korea seeks to force all people to adhere to government-controlled ideology and is more than willing to eradicate dissidents.
The United States has been little help in recent years for the persecuted church across the globe. And while Christians in America are not being killed for their faith, an uptick in government persecution resulting in fines and loss of livelihood has occurred. I don’t want to equate what American Christians experience with what Christians in other parts of the world experience. We have it relatively easy compared to many in communist countries, or countries where Sharia Law is practiced.
However, we must understand that this is a war of degrees. We will not simply wake up one day to the American government killing Christians and broadcasting it on national television. It will happen slowly, over time if we continue in our complacency. Others have never known the freedom we enjoy in America to worship without fear. We should not take that for granted.
But, and let’s be clear about this, we need to be praying for the persecuted church around the world. Our brothers and sisters are daily hunted simply for believing that Jesus Christ is the Messiah. While these Christian brothers and sisters would readily share their message of life with another, that message could result in death. Rather than listen to the life-giving message of the Gospel, many stop their ears and kill the messenger. I guess not much has changed since the days of Stephen as recorded in the Acts.
Americans are safe. For now. So let’s join hands with our brothers and sisters around the world and find ways to support them, encourage them, and join them in their efforts to share Jesus with the lost.