The Persecuted Church
by Nick Bishop
Christians in the UK are certainly finding times tough in a society that is becoming largely secular and where other faiths are given as much prominence as their own. Issues such as not being able to wear a cross at work or sharing their faith with a colleague are just a few of the challenges facing Christians today. However, we still live in a democracy, and despite all its faults, one’s freedom of faith is enshrined in law.
In other parts of the world, however, Christians are facing life and death situations. In Communist and Muslim nations persecution of Christians is rife.
Pakistan constitutionally gives religious minorities like the nations 3,938,000 Christians freedom of religion. Unfortunately, this is not the reality on the ground for many Christians in this majority Islamic country. Christians suffer persecutions of all kinds and these are mainly caused by Islamic groups. It matters not whichever political party sits in government in Islamabad – little or nothing is done about this prejudice and even hatred towards Christian believers.
Islamic educational facilities exist in the country called madrassas, where young Muslims are taught to despise and persecute Christians. A Muslim who wishes to convert to Christianity risks ostracization and even death.
As a Communist country, North Korea sees its 300,000 + Christians as a threat to the government. Here, many Christians are transported to labour camps where they suffer horribly. China continues to persecute large numbers of Christians and destroy the non-state approved and illegal churches.
According to Open Doors, throughout the world, more than 255 Christians are killed each month. On average, 104 Christians are abducted, 180 Christian women are raped, 160 Christians are detained and imprisoned without trial and 66 churches attacked.
What can we as Christians do for our persecuted brothers and sisters? Well besides the obvious prayers and vigils we can be active in the physical. We can financially support those Christian charities who are doing practical work on the ground, like Christian Aid, write to our MP’s and government, sign petitions, take part in peaceful protests, write letters to our Christian brothers and sisters and even volunteer if we have the calling to go abroad and alleviate the sufferings of our fellow believers. We should actively seek to be a part of a church or churches that actively highlight the suffering of Christians throughout the world.
On a government level, many believe that aid should be withheld from countries such as those described in this article until better treatment of Christians becomes a reality.
Jesus never said following him would be easy – if anything it is the polar opposite and that applies to Christians in the UK and in other parts of the world. However, we know if we endure to the end, we will receive our reward from the Lord himself. 2 Corinthians 1:7, 2 Timothy 2:12 and Matthew 5:11 are evidence of this.
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