December 07, 2015
Christians living in the Middle East are showing their American counterparts how God’s people are expected to stand in the face of real persecution and adversity.
Many times in America, we talk about the persecution being foisted on God’s people, especially in recent months as the homosexual crowd is becoming increasingly militant in demanding acceptance of their sinful lifestyle. In addition, pro-life Christians are now in the crosshairs following the shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs.
However, whereas these attacks are real and God’s people need to remain strong, we need to keep things in perspective to make sure we do not fall into a bout of self-pity. The worst persecution we are facing in America today pales in comparison to what our brothers and sisters in Christ are facing in the Middle East.
Twenty years ago, there were an estimated 1.6 million Christians living in Iraq before the United States invaded the country under the Bush administration. They are among the oldest continuous Christian communities in the world. However, during the occupation of Iraq and subsequent withdrawal of troops under President Barack Obama, that number has now dwindled to under 400,000 with some estimates as low as 200,000.
It would be easy to blame this genocide on ISIS, but in reality this is not an isolated incident. Christians living in Muslim countries, including those under Sharia law often face persecution, including death simply for being a Christian, much like what occurred under the Roman persecutions in the first centuries of the early church.
In Yemen, Muslims murdered two Christian men for the crime of converting to Christianity from Islam.
Morning Star News reported in September that one man was murdered by a member of Al Qaeda who ambushed and shot him 15 to 20 times. In October another Christian was shot and killed for the crime of leaving the Islamic faith. A friend said “A lot of people didn’t like that he was a convert. I think it is because of his faith; there is no other reason to kill him.”
In Egypt and Pakistan, a Pew Research Center survey report in 2013 revealed that 88% of Egyptian Muslims and 62% of Muslims in Pakistan favored killing people who left the Muslim religion. This view is also shared by majorities in Malaysia, Jordan, and the Palestinian territories. Other Muslim countries have smaller numbers, but still enough that it should raise concerns regarding assimilation by the vast number of Muslim immigrants that Obama wants to resettle in America.
This belief about the death penalty for apostasy is not theoretical. An Egyptian mother of two had her throat slit for becoming a Christian. Then, to add insult to injury, police gave the Christian family ten days to sell their property and get out of town.
A young girl in Uganda was continuously beaten by her father after converting to Christianity at an evangelistic meeting. Her pastor said her father told those who came to her aid that “our daughter must be killed according to Islam, because she has become apostate.”
Some may say while this is horrible, it is more of a cultural issue than an Islamic one that affects those living in the Middle East. However, a father of six living in the UK was recently captured on camera being beaten with a pickaxe. The man suffered a shattered knee cap and broken hand. He has been targeted multiple times for converting to Christianity from Islam and was even featured in a British documentary on the subject of mistreatment of Muslim converts to Christianity.
Through it all, these brave Christians, regardless of gender or age have remained steadfast in their refusal to recant their faith, even if it meant death.
This is important for American Christians. As a result of the nation being founded on Biblical principles and God’s people acting as the salt of the earth, Christians in America have been largely insulated from the persecutions that their brethren around the world in Muslim and Communist countries have had to endure as a normal way of life.
Now that God’s people have begun to lose their saltiness by becoming spineless and less willing to take bold stands for Biblical principles, God’s hand of protection is gradually being removed. As a result, Christians can expect to face more persecution as they refuse to be ashamed of Jesus Christ and Biblical principles.
Sadly, with more and more denominations and Christians begin to crumble in their opposition to same-sex marriage now that it is the “law of the land,” these compromisers will make it that much harder for those of us who refuse to change to accommodate the new spirit of the times. The world, not being able to understand the idea of having a final authority in the scriptures and convictions that will not change, will point to these Christians who deny the faith and assume they are the face of Christianity. When this happens we must be even more resolute, regardless of what it may cost us.
During the Roman and subsequent persecutions, many people came to Christ because when they saw the joy on the face of the Christians when the lions charged them or they were being burned at the stake. They realized that what these people had was not just some personal belief but something real, and they decided they wanted that same thing.
God’s people in America have a golden opportunity to learn from their brethren across the ocean and not buckle in the midst of withering enemy fire. General Patton once said, “when under attack advance; artillery very seldom shortens its range.” This lesson is a vital one for us to day. Victory lies in advancing, not in compromising.
Prophecy News Watch