Today I opened the current issue of Christianity Today–March 2015. My heart was grieved when I read ‘2014, the worst year ever for persecution’ (pg 14).
“The initial news wasn’t as good as it looked: Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates fell about 15 spots to the bottom of the list of 50 countries where its hardest to be a Christian. And Bahrain, Morocco, and Niger dropped off Open Door’s 2015 World Watch List entirely. But persecution levels in all five countries stayed largely the same. Persecution worldwide just got that much worse.
Twice as many Christians (4,344) were killed for their faith in 2014 than in 2013, and more than 1,000 churches were attacked. Violence wasn’t the main factor in the record persecution levels. Rather, ‘cultural marginalization’ grew significantly driven in 40 of the 50 countries by Islamic extremism. However, ‘there is a new unity occurring among ancient communities of faith’ in response, Open Doors said.”
“Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also.” (Joh 15:20-23 ESV)
Brothers and sisters in Christ, please pray for the persecuted church.