Christians around the world are undergoing enormous persecution for their faith in the risen Christ. Governments around the world arrest, harass, torture and even kill people for no other crime than having placed their faith in Jesus Christ. Persecution of believers is on the rise. While some Christians in the US have risen to the call and assisted their brethren, most unfortunately have not, either through ignorance or simple neglect. This is a fundamental issue as Jesus said, "And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." (Matt 25:40) This page will look at some of these countries and some of the specific problems facing believers throughout the world.
It behooves Christians in the US to remember these brethren in all things. To remember the tremendous sacrifices that they are making on behalf of the body of Christ. No one really knows when real persecution will come to the US. Many feel it is only a matter of time. Remember this: Persecution is a promise that Jesus made to his true followers " These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)
Below, you see a few brief outlines of the problems facing Christians in many parts of the world. This is a very short list and should be used only as a guide on how to pray for these brethren. Below, find some links with more detailed information.
Let us begin with a nation that has the largest population in the world and has been in the headlines quite a bit at the time of this writing. There are two main bodes of people who run churches in China, One is the run by the State and encompasses three branches,
a) The Three-Self Patriotic Movement - Formed in the 1950's formed by communist party members who worked in the Church secretly. Deng Xiaoping was alarmed at the growth of underground Christians and instituted a state run mechanism in order to weed out 'foreign influence'. It is as much a religious organization as a political one and answers to the Communist Party;
b) The Chinese Christian Council – Formed in 1980 and answers to the Communist Party. And is heavily involved in promoting a positive picture of state run 'Christianity' to the Western World. It is heavily involved in the arrests of underground Church leaders.
c) The Catholic Patriotic Association. Simply a Catholic version of the above two organizations.
It is impossible to discuss the above three organizations without mentioning the Public Security Bureau. It acts as a clearinghouse for intelligence gathered on religious activities and as a police agency as they are also involved in enforcement/arrests of unregistered (underground) Churches and its activities.
The state run Church is essentially little more that a communist organization used to deceive Christians and to report on the activities of the underground Church. Underground religious activities of any kind are forbidden and illegal in China. It is designed to censor doctrine and to control Christianity. For example, it is illegal to teach the Books of Romans and the Book of Revelation in China. The Chinese have a serious problem on their hands if they wish to control the Church. Government statistics say that there is less that one percent membership of the total population. China claims that without the their state run organizations, there would be no Christianity in China. There are obvious fabrications as press reports put just the underground Protestant Churches at around 30 million members and the figures coming out of these groups put the figure at around 80 million members.
A troubling development in China has been the stand by many of the US establishment's religious leaders. Men such as Benny Hinn, Paul Crouch, Pat Robertson, have all been to China and have been praised the Communist Run Churches, some have even supported China's entry in the the WTO. Some of these evangelists have a lot of money invested in China and are seeking even deeper economic commitments from the Dragon. Some of these men went out of their way to meet with the rich and powerful Chinese Communist leaders but avoided meeting with the persecuted Church that is being bled to death by the leaders that these US Evangelists are praising. Some are doing millions of dollars of business with the Godless Communists. These are very troubling developments and it seems that there is a strong possibility that these 'Great' Television Celebrities who lead so many Christians in America are not what they appear to be to most Christians, but are simply making millions of dollars from one of the oldest business in the world, religion.
For a copy of the US State Departments Report on Persecution in China - Click Here
With the implementation of Islamic Law (Shari'a) in Nigeria, Christians in Nigeria have had a difficult time in Nigeria and attacks against Christians by Muslim mobs is not uncommon. These attacks include beatings and fire-bombings on practicing Christians. It does not appear that these attack are state sanctioned. In some of the countries states, Christianity is practiced by about 40% of the population and While 50% Practice Islam. Laws and customs dealing with matter of religion vary from state to state. Many believe that much of the violence against Christians is encouraged by Mullahs who studied in Iran. It is a de-facto Muslim state as it is a member of the Organization Of Islamic States.
About 19% of this nations population is Christian and a civil war has been raging in Sudan For 14 Years between Muslims and non-Muslims, who reside in the southern regions of the country. The Popular Defense Force is made of large numbers of Muslim extremists. The PDF is not a government army though is does operate with the government's blessing. The Government often coordinates its attacks against the predominantly south with PDF forces. These attacks include bombings of civilian areas, additionally, Churches are often burned down. Government troops then come in and 'de-populate' targeted areas and the the people are often sold as slaves, some are taken to 'peace camps' and are forcibly indoctrinated in the Muslim faith. Over 2 million have died in the Sudanese Civil War and a majority of those that live in the south have been displaced.
While religious persecution is against the law, enforcement of the law has been very poor. Since the Bharatiya Janatha Party (BJP) came to power, there has been an increase of Persecution against Christians. In some areas, Christians must now gain approval from local authorities if one wishes to convert to Christianity. Once someone does convert, various legislative and administrative actions are used to further persecute believers in Jesus Christ.
This is a very small cross section of Persecution in the world from a few of the world's most populous nations. There is harsh persecution in other areas as well, Indonesia, Burma, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia to name a very few. Others, who have devoted a significant resources to this issue, links can be found below.