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Do They Really Persecute Christians Today?

This page is largely a collection of information from the following three sources. Please visit their sites!

Voice Of The Martyrs - Country by Country Info & Prayer Map http://www.persecution.com/public/prayermap.aspx

International Christian Concern http://www.persecution.org/

International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church EMAIL :IDOP@xc.org also Persecuted Church.Org (has some very graphic photos of martyred Christians).

Last year (1996) 146,000 Christians were killed for their faith. More Christians have been martyred in the 20th century than in the previous 19 centuries combined. Pastors are being arrested and sometimes shot in China and Cuba. Believers are forbidden to buy goods or own property in Somalia. Christians who testify to their faith in Iran or Saudi Arabia may be put to death for blasphemy. Mobs have wiped out whole villages of Christians in Pakistan. And it goes on.

For all this, the western Church is mostly silent. "I am in prison," says the Lord, "and you are not visiting me."

It is time to shatter the silence. Sunday, November 16, 1997, has been declared an International Day of Prayer for the Suffering Church. Until then, we need to educate our churches and our friends concerning the extent of persecution which Christ is suffering throughout the world.

The International Day of Prayer (IDOP) was initiated by the World Evangelical Fellowship (WEF), but it has earned the endorsement of Christian leaders of all types and denominations This is as it should be: this call is for everyone. When a mob, fundamentalist Islamic policeman, or communist government investigator comes looking for Christians, they DO NOT ask any of the following questions:

- Do you believe the Bible to be inerrant, infallible, and uniquely inspired?

- Do you pray to Mary or any of the saints?

- In whose name do you baptize?

- Do you acknowledge the Priesthood of all believers?

- Do you believe in a pre- or post-tribulation rapture?

- Do you accept the authority of the Pope in Rome, or of the Eastern Bishops?

- Is God a unity or a trinity?

- When was the last time you received Holy Communion or confession?

No, they ask one thing, and one thing only: will you bow down to another god, or will you remain faithful to Jesus? If the answer is "Jesus," you are under arrest. It's that simple.

The following four countries are examples of how Christians are being persecuted in the world today. They vary from the horrific and lethal case of Sudan to the milder harassment and church burnings in Indonesia. Information is from the Voice of The Martyrs website above.

Sudan

Sudan is experiencing persecution unparalleled since the first century church. Since 1985, over 1.5 million people have perished from war, famine and genocide. Entire villages are destroyed, children are sold into slavery, and believers are forced to flee as refugees. Hundreds of Christians perish everyday at the hands of Muslim extremists. Pray God's Word and Christian resources to equip the Church would flood Sudan.

Indonesia

Although this Islamic government grants freedom to choose the Islam, Hindu, Buddhist and Christian religions, Islam is given preferential treatment. Christian expansion and influence in public life is limited by the government. Muslim extremists have recently attacked many Indonesian churches. Pray for conviction and repentance among the Muslims responsible for destroying churches and that they would come to Christ.

Tibet

Occupied by China, Tibetans' freedom of speech and press are not guaranteed. Christians can only secretly practice their faith. Freedom of speech and the press are restricted. Pray for creative ways for the Church to gather together and worship.

China

Xu Yong Ze of Henan Province was one of eight house church leaders arrested earlier this year while meeting to develop unity among Christians in China. About 10 million Christians meet in house churches that are under Mr. Xu's leadership. A May 16, 1997 Hong Kong newspaper reported that Mr. Xu had been sentenced to death. More recent rumors indicate he has been executed. No official announcement has been made.

Mr. Fu Xi Qui, a teacher in a Beijing Communist Party school, was arrested along with his wife after the Public Security Bureau discovered he was training Christians for work and witness in the house church movement. They were charged with "illegal evangelization" and held for two months. When released, he returned to teaching, but with many restrictions.

The family escaped to Hong Kong. During June, 1997, Mr. Fu, his wife, child and a Christian co-worker received visas to the U.S.

Forced abortion, female infanticide and death to institutionalized orphans by starvation or brutality are pathetic forms of population control practiced in China. A 30 year old pastor and his congregation were arrested in south China. The members were fined and released but their leader was held for two months, during which time he was severely beaten.

A Christian doctor from Beijing, Xu Yonghai, was arrested along with other activists after signing a petition. He is accused of smearing the government. His family did not know where he was being held until his sentence of three years of re-education through labor at the Xicheng detention center was announced.

Pastor Joseph, who baptized over 1500 believers, has been put under house arrest for his activities. The small Chinese tribes of "Wa" and "Ku Kanh" have been under Communist rule for years. The people are very poor and may have only one garment to wear, which reveals why they wait until the hot season to be baptized.

Officials of Zhejiang Province have implemented a campaign to eliminate the construction of unauthorized temples and churches. In the city of Ningbo alone, authorities destroyed 3000 houses of worship they say were built without government approval.

Brother Alexander, an Australian missionary who resides in Hong Kong, was arrested in May, 1996 in Beijing. He was questioned for seven hours without being given water or permission to phone either the Consulate or his wife. When accused of being a spy, he replied he was a happy preacher of the Gospel. One officer responded, "There are too many in China believing in Jesus." Brother Alexander was deported but with no official charges made against him. After 16 years of preaching the Gospel throughout most of China, the government has finally linked his Chinese name with his English name and blacklisted him from travel there.

Armed police raided a house church in Zhaosu County, Xinjiang Province. Witnesses claimed worshippers were severely beaten and burned with boiling water for not following directions. Police released 12 of the 17 arrested after 5 women declared they were responsible for the gathering.

 

This article may be freely reproduced for non-profit ministry purposes but may not be sold in any way. For permission to use articles in your ministry, e-mail the editor, John Edmiston at johned@aibi.ph.