Christian Responses to the Persecuted
A church in Baghdad, Iraq, was bombed five times in the past three years by Islamists. A house church in Guangzhou, China, comes under severe governmental restrictions. Churches and Christian Believers in two-thirds of the world are subject to harrowing intimidation or violent persecution. Persecution comes from hostile private citizens, and it also stems from intimidating governments.
Christian Believers have been persecuted for their faith since time immemorial. Each of the Twelve, save John, was martyred for their faith. Hebrews 11 paints a vivid picture of the Believers who were persecuted:
"There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground. They were torched and fed to the lions" (The Bible, Hebrews 11: 35-38).
Christians continue to face persecution. A recent Pew Research observed that Christians are now persecuted more than members of any other faith tradition around the world. According to Open Doors, "An average of 100 Christians around the world are killed each month for their faith."
In the face of such oppression, what are Christian Believers called to do?
Relocating to Areas where Christians are persecuted Christians are called to move to these hotspots in order to get in the way of local violence against fellow Believers. Believers are called to act as shields that will prevent these vulnerable Believers from harm.
Financially Partnering with Christian Believers and Relief Agencies Many of the persecuted Believers are from impoverished backgrounds. More often they live in areas of conflict. Christians are called to use the resources at their disposal to provide relief, provision, and protection for those Christians who perennially face the threat of persecution.
Interceding for fellow-Christian Believers The number one thing that persecuted Christians ask for is prayer. Christians are called to intercede with God Almighty for those who face acute hardships on account of their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Pray that God will move the hearts and minds of Christian Believers to move to these hotspots of persecution to stand in solidarity and to prevent violence against Christians (The Bible, Psalm 72:4).
Pray that God will meet the needs of the persecuted Church around the world (The Bible, 1 Samuel 2:8).
Pray for the countless Believers who are intimidated and tortured for their faith. Pray for healing. Pray for protection (the Bible, Psalm 91:9-10).
Pray for strength and courage to share the Gospel in the midst of acute danger and difficulty (The Bible, Isaiah 41:10).
Sources:Rising Restrictions on Religion (Pew)
2013 Quick Facts (Open Doors)
The 'Almost Unremarked' Tragedy Of Christians Persecuted In The Middle East (The Telegraph)
Time for American Christians to Do Something About Persecution (The Huffington Post)
This article originally appeared in the November 2013 Edition of the REPORTER.
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