October 14, 2017

Christian Persecution Hits All-Time High Worldwide: Report

This morning, I read a story titled, Christian Persecution Hits All-Time High Worldwide: Report, which is about how much the persecution of Christians has increased worldwide, which was published online at The Christian Post.

Christians in the West don't face this kind of persecution, as they do in countries like Iraq, Nigeria, Syria and China.

The article states, "In Iraq, the Christian population declined from 275,000 in mid-2015 to below 200,000 two years later – and possibly as few as 150,000, the report says, warning that "if this decline were to continue at the same rate, it would show that" the previous report's "prediction of a virtual wipe-out of Iraq's Christian community by 2020 remains on track."

What's causing this is not people leaving the faith, but rather radical Islamic terrorism that seeks to eradicate any living example of the Christian faith.

Those who have been martyred for Christ are amazing witnesses for Jesus, but more importantly to the world, to show how vastly different Christianity is compared to radical Islamic terrorism.

I am also reading a book titled, I Am N: Inspiring Stories of Christians Facing Muslim Extremism and it is an inspirational book, challenging is a more accurate description because of the way that many of the Christians who were once Muslims, who now live and even die because of their faith in Christ.  

In the face of death, they would not renounce their faith in Jesus.

Last night, I read and highlighted this statement from the book, "Every day in communities in Iraq and other countries where Islamic extremists exert control, Jesus followers stand firm in their commitment to trust God and obediently fulfill his purpose for their lives. They pay a high personal price for persevering in their faith. They endure fierce hostility, brutal cruelty, and unthinkable atrocities, yet they remain true to God."

Could Christians in America endure the same experiences as those in this book and still remain firm in their faith in Christ?

I also read this small portion of commentary by Michael Green regarding Matthew 5:10-12 that Christians can be happy when they are persecuted and if you read the book, I Am N, you'll understand even more why so many Christians who were once Muslims live with this kind of joy and understanding that Michael Green writes.
"Even the persecuted can be happy. They may appear to lose all: it is not so. They gain the kingdom of heaven. All down the centuries there have been a peace and a joy about those who for the sake of conscience have been willing to face opposition and death, and never more than in the last hundred years. Jesus is, however, speaking not of persecution as such but, as verse 11 makes plain, of persecution because of him. It is moving and significant that the suffering church in lands where it is oppressed does not want to be like the church in the West. It looks for our prayers, not that it may have an easy time, but that it may be faithful unto death, and know the joy of utter faithfulness to Jesus. There is no joy like that."

Green, M. (2001). The message of Matthew: the kingdom of heaven (p. 91). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
May we all live with a greater joy for Christ, in the face of persecution like our brothers and sisters in countries that despise Christ and His church.

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