More Persecution of Christians than Ever Before

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More Persecution of Christians than Ever Before

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"Persecution? Really? Since I never hear about it, I thought it stopped a long time ago."

People who are living comfortably in a Western country that has laws to protect freedom of religion are often blissfully unaware of mounting persecution in the rest of the world. Virtually every religion suffers some persecution, but Christians are suffering the most. A recent study reported that 75 out of every 100 people that are killed for religious hatred are Christian. In 2010, Open Doors, a mission supporting persecuted Christians in more than 45 countries, estimated that 100 million Christians were being persecuted.

We need to be informed about this tragedy for several reasons.

In numerous countries, like Iran, Saudi Arabia and North Korea, intolerance and oppression of Christians is state policy. Many other state governments mostly ignore religious discrimination and violence against minorities, offering virtually no protection.

Ironically, the fall of a corrupt secular dictator, like President Mubarak of Egypt, is often bad news for Christians. Where Islam predominates, the overthrow of a secular dictator often allows the government to become controlled by Muslim extremists who are determined to establish Sharia law as the law of the nation. And Sharia forbids everyone from practicing any religion other than Islam!

Radical Islam isn't the only culprit—many Christians in India are suffering persecution from Hindu groups as well. Indian Christians are in a particularly bad spot because they are at risk from both radical Hindus and Muslims.

Persecution began with the founder of Christianity!

We shouldn't be surprised by ongoing persecution of Christians. It began immediately—with relentless slander and threats against the Perfect Man, Jesus Christ. Then His enemies managed to torture and kill Him in the most horrible way, by crucifixion.

Jesus warned His followers: "If the world hates you, realize that it hated me before it hated you…If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you" (John 15:18, 20). He added, "Yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service" (John 16:2).

In fact, there are many Bible prophecies of severe persecution of God's people in the end time.

Many forms of persecution

Persecution ranges from mild to severe. Keep in mind that when people can get away with minor forms of persecution, they often turn to more violent forms.

Even milder forms of persecution are obviously hurtful and scary: ridiculing, teasing, humiliating, ostracizing or speaking derogatorily or nastily of a Christian; schools not permitting students to write or speak about their Christian beliefs; employers discriminating against a Christian; and Christian political candidates putting up with scathing ridicule and slander.

These milder forms are increasingly prevalent in the United States, an indicator of much worse to come. We must make sure that each of us is prepared with strong faith and strong courage!

Should we be concerned for those who are suffering persecution in other nations?

It's easy to be apathetic about people in faraway places when we are extremely busy with our day-to-day activities. But there is no excuse for being selfish, self-centered and self-righteous. Jesus set the bar very high, commanding us to love everyone, even our enemies (Luke 6:27-38).

Many of these men and women are risking their lives to do what they consider to be God's work. Many end up being imprisoned, tortured and martyred for their beliefs. For all this, they deserve our deep respect.

We need to feel deep compassion and sympathy for these dedicated people—and pray for them.

Pastor Martin Neimoller, a survivor of Nazi concentration camps, said this: "First they came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up, because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up, because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me."

Let's be reminded of the Parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:29-37. The Samaritan, who had less scriptural knowledge, was the one who pleased God because he felt and showed compassion. Scriptural knowledge is wonderful, but if we want God to show us compassion when we are persecuted, we must feel and express compassion toward others who are being persecuted.

Let's remember these words of Jesus: "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy" (Matthew 5:7).


  • Tammy Vaught
    God has promised to protect , save and deliver only those who fear Him enough to believe His prophecies..has anybody heard those words from Mr. Gary Petty, because they are faithful and worth noting. Making our lives a living prayer each day we live can take us a long way with God in His Faith that He gives us and Obedience to Him in everything the UCGIA teaches.. Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart..Psalm 37:4 We will find this means everyday we live. Also delight yourself in this Ministry of God it is the Work of the Living God..
  • Charlie10M

    Religious persecution has begun in our country! The courts are dictating (contrary to freedom of speech Amendment), particulary in the schools and public places, that God, Jesus or any reference to them (based upon future determinations made by them), have declared it illegal to speak of any Christian God in the United States of America. Many of these judges are homosexual, and biased accordingly. The founders of our country, from Jamestown and New England to late eighteeth century, would be speechless with dismay over the USA's degeneration. May God's Kingdom come, and we strive to do His will in the meantime.

  • Derek Strauss

    Paraphrased from
    Brian Castle
    The Guardian, Saturday 10 July 2010

    "In Harare, Zimbabwe's main city, Anglican congregations have been forced out of their place of worship by the police on the orders of Nolbert Kunonga, former bishop of Harare and avid supporter of dictator, Robert Mugabe. Kunonga was elected bishop in 2001, but his increasingly pro-Zanu-PF political stance alienated many Anglicans and he withdrew himself from the church in 2007, taking the church's assets with him, including cars, clergy houses and access to churches.

    There have been long and costly legal wrangles, but the courts are reluctant to rule that these assets, illegally held by Kunonga, do not belong to him. Some court rulings, such as a decision that churches be used at different times by different groups, are flagrantly ignored by the former bishop, who has the power to summon police to support his cause........

    In Harare, arrest, threats and beatings can be the rewards of Christian commitment. Congregations meet in a variety of locations. As well as in tents, worship may take place under trees, in street squares and in supporters' gardens. But nowhere is safe. One priest told me how his congregation of 1,000 was given permission by the authorities to meet close to the church building but, when they did so, 21 canisters of tear gas were fired into the gathering as they were worshipping, a group of women were detained for four days and he himself was arrested."

  • triciabrown

    This article altho sad for those in other countries that are going through this, is hitting closer to home then one realizes.
    I like reading online articles on religion and faith and beliefs and then reading the comments left by others. What im seeing is truly scary. More and more im reading comments where religion is bashing and profanity shouted at not only the religious but also at God and Jesus themselves. They are calling God the "spaghetti monster" in the sky and etc. They call religious people stupid, idiots, etc. Atheists want religion removed from the secular nation that we were founded on. While right now this is all petty and just talking I believe that soon it will no longer be talking but more and more action against religion. I see religion fading more and more each day. This is sad to see how the Creator of life and all this perfectness and beauty can be shoved so far back that he's being taken for as a joke. But I guess God prophesized this to happen all along...(sigh)

  • marcryan71

    The horrific persecution that is happening in other parts of the world TODAY will, eventually, find it's way to the United States. It will be on a global scale. Which is now is the time to seek God and build those godly relationships.

  • Ward Shamblin

    That was a very good article. I was a happy young man around 49-50 years ago. I was not aware of people being persecuted for their religious beliefs. About 46 years ago, I made a commitment to obey God to the best of my ability. I began to be introduced to persecution. I was fired from jobs four times, passed up for promotions on jobs, forced to work shifts that nobody else wanted. Loved ones lost confidence in my ability to understand the Bible. I have been retired now for about nine years, and all of that is behind me. It has been an exciting life, but none of that even begins to compare to the persecution of Christians in other countries. The life of my family or myself was never even threatened, much less taken. I also experienced many wonderful blessings throughout the years, and if I had it to do over again, I would still choose to obey God. I definitely agree that
    we should pray for people who suffer all over the world.
    Thanks for the article.

  • Built Ford Tough

    We Christians living in North America don't realize how good we have it compared to other Christians living other countries. We may whine, groan and complain because someone put us and our faith down, or refuse to hire us for a job because of our faith in Christ. If this is what we have to endure I'll gladly take that over what Christians in other parts of the world go through. Some of these poor souls are being beaten, imprisoned, tortured and murdered for their faith in Christ. Besides praying for ourselves, family and friends we need to pray for these other people as well, as they too are God's children. Let's pray for those people and ask God to speed the return of Jesus Christ.

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