• Did you know that seventy-seven nations continue to actively persecute their Christians?
  • Did you know that it is believed more Christians have lost their lives in the twentieth century than in all previous centuries combined?
  • Did you know that of the 65 nations in the 10/40 Window only 6 (Japan, Mali, Benin, Taiwan, Lebanon, and Ethiopia) allow evangelism? Thirty-nine restrict evangelism in some way, while twenty nations prohibit it completely.
Why so much persecution? We can find the answer in the Bible. Jesus said, “And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. Matthew 10:22
And again, Jesus tells us, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love his own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. John 15: 18-19

There is no getting around it, persecution has always been part of the Christian Church. But it seems there is an anti-Christian sentiment rising worldwide and with it, an increase of persecution.

Here are just a few examples:

Algeria Christians, in recent years, have suffered at the hands of the Islamic Salvation Front, which has instituted a reign of terror.
Azerbaijan The nation had become more Islamic and anti-Christian, most of the churches have been closed.
Bangladesh Officially controlled by Islam since 1988, it is a nation with many problems. Muslims who convert to Christianity face great persecution, often by relatives, being banned from using public water wells, forced to forfeit their inheritance, lawsuits, imprisonment, beatings, and even death. The recent rise in radical Islam, has made Christian work and witness even more dangerous.
Bhutan A Buddhist country, Bhutan has made all evangelism and public worship by non-Buddhists illegal, and enforces this decree through job discrimination, imprisonment and torture.
China It is believed that China imprisons more believers than any other nation. House church Christians are routinely arrested and jailed. It is forbidden to evangelize anyone under eighteen years of age and also forbidden for pastors to share the gospel outside their church confines without permission.
Colombia Guerrilla soldiers force believers to support their cause. Refusal can mean death. Pastors are in constant danger.
Comoro Islands Believers are not allowed to meet publicly, and evangelism is forbidden.
Cuba In spite of government insistence that Cuba enjoys religious freedom, churches are still being destroyed and Christians who profess their faith publicly, are thrown into prison. In 1996, the government ordered that all house churches be closed.
Cyprus The north is predominately Muslim and doesn’t allow any evangelism.
Egypt The nation's constitution gives preference to Muslims, making Christian second-class citizens. Christians are subjected to crucifixion rituals, rape and torture by police. They are denied political representation and suffer job discrimination. The abduction of Christian girls is a common occurrence in an effort to convert them to Islam. Many are raped, threatened, then held in Islamic reeducation centers to force conversion. Young converts to Christianity may be barred from attending the university, beaten, interrogated, and some are killed. One regional police chief in response to a protest to this cruel persecution of Christians said, “ You haven't seen anything yet.”
Equatorial Guinea Evangelism is forbidden and no new church denominations are allowed to open. Church leaders suffer if they fail to succumb to government pressure.
Indonesia Consisting of 13,500 islands, Indonesia is the most populated Muslim nation in the world. Over the past ten years more than 500 churches have been destroyed or burned. Angry mobs enter pastor's homes and damage their furniture and property with impunity.
Iran The Shiite Muslim government continues to oppress any deviating faith. Evangelism is forbidden. Christian groups are monitored by government spies. Missions are denied entrance into the country. Believers face job discrimination and well as restrictions in education and ownership of property. Several pastors have been murdered in recent years.
Iraq Since the war between Iraq and Iran in the 80's, Christians have been shot, gassed and forced to leave their homes.
Kuwait Sunni Islam is the state religion, and only Muslims can become citizens. Christian worship may take place only within a limited physical local. Evangelism is forbidden.
Laos Orders from the Chairman of the National Front for Construction have been sent to Lung Prabang province to wipe out all Christianity in that area. People are now forbidden to worship in their homes. Government officials go from village to village forcing Christians to sign a document of resignation from Christianity. Armed troops try to intimidate the villagers by encircling their village. Christians who refuse to sign are threatened, separated from family members and driven from their property.
Libya Most believers in Libya are foreign workers, whose meetings are strictly monitored by the government. Evangelism is difficult and Christian literature must be smuggled in. Recently, Gaddafi, in an effort to pacify Muslims, has broadened Islamic law.
Malaysia A federation of 13 states with a constitution that guarantees religious freedom, Malaysia's militant Muslims nevertheless continue to restrain Christian evangelism. The Indonesian Bible as well as other Christian books have been banned. And it is almost impossible to obtain a building permit for a new church.
Maldives In 1998 the Sunni Muslim government expelled all known Christian foreigners and arrested all known Maldivian Christians.
Mauritania Islam has dominated this land for over 1,000 and has made Mauritania one of the most restricted nations in the world. Believers who confess Christ face a mandatory death penalty. Christian literature and radio programs are outlawed.
Mexico Caciques or mafia-style landlords, continue to threaten the lives of Christians in Chiapas.
Morocco Morocco is hostile to Christians. Missionary work is prohibited. Converts to Christianity often lose their jobs, are forsaken by their families, and imprisoned.
Myanmar-Burma Christian missionaries were expelled in 1966. Recently, the military regime singled out the Karen tribe, many of whom are Christian, for persecution. Myanmar soldiers will shoot the Karen on sight. Village churches have been destroyed. In public schools, Christian children are forced to bow before idols. If they refuse, they are punished.
Nigeria Muslims in the north routinely terrorize Christians by destroying their churches and even killing randomly.
North Korea There are only three Christian church buildings in all of North Korea. Christians practice their faith in secret and under the treat of great danger.
Oman An Islam nation, most Christians are foreign workers.
Pakistan Christians are continually harassed and embarrassed and live under Law 295c which mandates death, by hanging, for all who “blaspheme Mohammed.” Militant Islamic forces continue to add to the hardship of believers.
Peru Over 80 believers remain in jail for their beliefs.
Qatar Sunni Islam is the state religion. It is a crime to criticize either the Muslim faith or the ruling family.
Saudi Arabia Over 1,300 years ago, Islam gained control of Saudi Arabia and all Christians were expelled. Today, Christians continue to fare poorly and are arrested, imprisoned and beheaded. Christian foreigners are not permitted to fellowship together in worship. In the past eight years, more than 360 documented cases have occurred involving the arrest of a foreign Christian for participating in private worship.
Somalia Muslim persecution is severe in several areas of the nation. Many believers have fled the country.
Sri Lanka Many Sri Lankans feel negatively toward believers, viewing Christianity as not only foreign, but a colonial encumbrance. Believers are persecuted and face job discrimination and limited access to education.
Sudan Since 1983, the militant National Islamic Front (NIF) has been devastating southern Sudan by a jihad or holy war. Among the most violently and cruelly persecuted Christian are those in this nation. Islamic government soldiers feel free to burn down a church with it parishioners inside as well as to sporadically enter Christian villages and fire upon the men, women and children there. Women and children by the thousands have been kidnapped and taken north as slaves. Almost daily aerial bombings have killed countless Christians and displaced an estimated five million more. Starvation is rampant and created by the Islamic Khartoum government through their manipulation of international food aid. In just the southern Sudanese city of Wau, 1500 people die of starvation each month. The above is all part of a planned genocide by the Islamic government to eradicate the south of Christians, animists and moderate Muslims.
Syria Though officially Syria is a declared secular state, Muslims are given preferential treatment. Haez al-Assad rules the nation with an iron rod, thus making it difficult for Christian to freely spread the gospel. Missionaries are denied entrance into the country.
Tajikistan The influence of Islam is increasing, thus making it more and more difficult for Christians to share their faith. Many believers are “secret” Christians.
Tibet Believers are persecuted by both Buddhists and Communists. Converts to Christianity must overcome huge obstacles.
Tunisia Islam in the state religion and militant Muslims are seeking more oppressive measures. It is believed there are no more than 50 believers in all of Tunisia because of the great oppression.
Turkey Life is dangerous for believers in Turkey. Persecution ranges from churches set on fire to murder of believers.
Turkmenistan Recently the government passed a new law restricting Christian worship. Christian university students risk suspension.
Uzbekistan Following a brief period of freedom after the collapse of communism, Uzbekistani Christians are once more being singled out. Churches must register with the government or face closure. Some pastors have been arrested and church members threatened.
United Arab Emirates Sunni Islam is the official religion and only Christian foreigners may worship and witness. But witnessing to nationals is severely restricted.
Vietnam Pastors are being arrested for speaking about Jesus Christ and teaching the Bible. Believers are harassed, beaten and imprisoned for witnessing. Police are destroying some churches and threatening to close others.
Yemen Christians are not allowed to witness openly in this Muslim country.
 

 

 

Progress

Yes, Christian persecution is world wide, but Jesus said, “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 Jesus has overcome the world! And He has enabled His church to overcome the world as well. In spite of the persecution, Christians are having great victories. Below are some examples:

 

Algeria After one Muslim Iman was converted to Christ, he called the Muslims for prayer, then preached the gospel right there in the mosque!
Bangladesh One Christian group hands out more than 200,000 tracts yearly, and reports they have secretly baptized more than 3,700 Muslims converts.
China Holy boldness abounds in China. An 88 year old woman has only a poster with a cross and three words, “IT IS FINISHED” written on it as a witnessing tool and she has used it for years. When she goes to the market or rides a bus, she takes it out of her bag and begins preaching the gospel. Another man, 71, served 21 years in prison for his faith and now preaches in the largest house church in his area.
Cuba Thousands of house churches have sprung up throughout Cuba in spite of continued restrictions against Christians. In the past year, more and more Christians have witnessed boldly, handing out tracks, knocking on doors, extending invitations to their neighbors to come to church. In Havana alone, 4,000 came to Christ after 130,000 tracts were distributed. Thousands of Christians are openly meeting together. Pastor Orson Santoya, who has served time in a Cuba prison for having a house church, recently led a meeting of 13,000 Christians.
India 100,000 children's Bibles have been distributed in the east Indian state of Orissa where the missionary Graham Staines and his two sons were murdered. Graham's death as well as his wife's willingness to remain working in India, continues to draw hundreds to Christ.
Iran Gospel broadcasts, sponsored by Voice of the Martyrs, are reaching the Iranians and touching lives. Regarding the broadcasts, one Iranian wrote, “It makes man to move with joy.”
Muslim World in general According to a key Middle East Christian leader, more Muslims have come to Jesus in the past 10 years than in Islam's entire history.
Nigeria The newly elected President Obasanjo is a Christian! He converted to Christianity after being imprisoned in 1995 by General Abacha. He found Christ while in prison.
Sudan The Church continues to grow in the Sudan, despite the horrendous atrocities. The Church is tightly woven, with Catholic, Pentecostal and Protestant all living and suffering as one body, the Body of Christ.
Uzbekistan Recently, five Christian prisoners were released, unexpectedly.

 

Something to think about:

A young pregnant woman is ridding home on a bus. She and her seatmate strike up a conversation. During the course of the discussion, the young woman begins talking about her church and about God. When the bus driver gets wind of what's being said, the bus is stopped and the young pregnant woman is forced to get off. She must walk the remaining mile home in the pouring rain. Another woman holds a weekly Bible study in her home that usually draws about 8-10 people. One day, two policemen, with guns strapped to their waist, knock on the woman's door and hand her a piece of paper. Slowly, she reads the Cease and Desist Order which mandates she discontinue the home Bible studies or face arrest. It seems her property was not zoned for holding “religious meetings.” Did the above two events take place in Turkey, Cuba, Egypt, China? No they happened right here, in the US! The first story occurred in Washington and the second in Colorado. Yes, persecution exists even in America. Every day, in little ways, there are elements that would, if left unchecked, erode all our basic religious freedoms. So when you pray for the persecuted church, worldwide, remember to pray for the United States as well!!