Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

Persecution Of Christians

Written by Rev. H.A. Bergsma
Persecution is worst in Saudi Arabia. A report by Open Doors International said the Islamic country has the poorest record regarding Christians in recent years. The group annually rates religious tolerance around the world. .Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, North Korea, Iran, Laos, Morocco, Vietnam, and China complete the list of the 10 most repressive regimes. Open Doors evaluates countries by their constitution, official attitudes toward the church, the churchÕs freedom to participate in society, and the level of discrimination. All countries on this yearÕs worst 10 list are Islamic or Communist. Although India is not on the list of the top ten, and is not Islamic, it also is notorious for persecuting Christians. Last month, militant Hindus broke up a Christian meeting. More than 200 people were wounded when a mob attacked an open-air gospel meeting in Baroda, India, and began beating people, Gospel for Asia said. A similar incident occurred in the city several months ago. Rioting and persecution is spreading in the city, GFAÕs K.P. Yohannan said. ÒThese fanatic, anti-Christian Hindus are targeting Christian workers ... They are out to find out who these people are and punish them.Ó If the rioting continues to spread it will reach the ministryÕs regional training centre in the next few days, the group said. The state of Gujarat is known as a place where Christian workers are persecuted and churches are destroyed. Persecution has increased tremendously in recent months, Yohannan said. ÒPlease pray that this Hindu government that is now ruling India will not continue to persecute the brothers and sisters that are sharing the love of Christ, especially in North Indian states.Ó (From Religion Today)

The situation certainly is serious from some of our Christian brothers and sisters. Still, we are not to be discouraged, as the following note bears out. ÒPreach to Muslims or reap the consequences,Ó Bible-smuggler Brother Andrew said. The Dutch-born founder of Open Doors International addressed the groupÕs national prayer conference in Irvine, California, on November 7. ÒChristians canÕt afford to overlook the Muslim worldÓ, he said. É ÓWeÕve got to go to them, because if we do not go to them with the gospel, they will come to us as revolutionaries or terrorists.Ó Muslims are open to the message of Christ and are Ònot nearly as antagonistic as you think they are.Ó The conflict between Islam and the rest of the world is the most important issue today, he said. ÒNow that communism is pretty much dead, there will be no greater spiritual issue than this one: the coming power of Islam and the answer we are supposed to give.Ó Demonstrating ChristÕs love and sacrifice is the proper response. ÒItÕs not good standing on the side shouting solutions. We must become the solution,Ó he said. Christians must live among Muslims to practice Òpresence evangelism,Ó Brother Andrew said. The number of Christians in Middle Eastern countries has decreased sharply since the turn of the century. The number in Iraq has dropped from 40% to 4%, and in Syria that number is 3%, he said. Christians in Israel have dwindled from 30% to 1.8% since its founding 50 years ago. ÒThatÕs worse than any communist country with the exception of Albania or North Korea. And in Israel it is not due to persecution, but to neglect. We dropped them,Ó Brother Andrew said. (From Open Doors International)

Yes, there is great persecution in some areas. But we are not to be without hope; Christ is still gathering His Church! The case of persecuted Christians is getting some exposure even in our local newspapers. The London Free Press had an article by Steven Males, entitled Persecution of Christians, a Mounting Genocide. At the end of his article Males writes (speaking of what is happening in the Sudan): ÒMeanwhile, the carnage continues in Sudan. Canadian Christians should urge our government to use its influence in the UN to demand action against the Sudanese government, including economic sanctions and enforced no-fly zones, before it is too late for Sudanese Christians.Ó

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