Truth in the Time of the Signs

Christian Persecution

Christians remain one of the most persecuted religious groups in the world. According to a new report from Aid to the Church in Need, it is the worst it’s ever been in human history.

Christians throughout the world continue to risk imprisonment, loss of home and assets, torture, beheadings and rape as a result of their faith.

Trends show that countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East are intensifying persecution against Christians, and perhaps the most vulnerable are Christian women, who often face double persecution for faith and gender.  Every day Christians face threats, unjust imprisonment, harassment, beatings and even loss of family because of their faith in Jesus.

Every month: 

  • 255 Christians are killed (322 according to Open Doors).
  • 104 are abducted (214 according to Open Doors).
  • 180 Christian women are raped, sexually harassed or forced into marriage.
  • Over 700 churches or Christian buildings are attacked. 
  • Over 300 Christians are detained without trial and imprisoned.

According to Open Doors research:

  • 260,000,000 Christians experience high levels of persecution in the countries on the World Watch List.  This represents 1 in 12 Christians worldwide.
  • North Korea is ranked #1 for the 18th consecutive year as the most dangerous country for Christians. (Christians in North Korea are being starved, hanged on crosses over a fire and others are being crushed under steam rollers.)
  • Of the 100,000 Christians in N Korea, 30,000 have been sent to concentration camps – Heart April/May 2018.
  • During the World Watch List 2018 reporting period: 3,066 Christians were killed; 1,252 were abducted; 1,020 were raped or sexually harassed; and 793 churches were attacked.
  • Islamic oppression is one of the most widely recognized sources of persecution for Christians in the world today—and it continues to spread—aiming to bring many parts of the world under Sharia law.  The movement, which often results in Islamic militancy and the persecution of Christians, is expanding in Asia (Philippines, Bangladesh, Indonesia) and Africa (Egypt, Nigeria, Somalia).
  • In a resort to preserve power, insecure governments are using the country’s majority religion to marginalize Christians and other religious minorities. This phenomenon has been observed in some parts of Asia with Hindu nationalism (India, Nepal) and Buddhist nationalism (Myanmar, Sri Lanka) both gaining ground.
  • Christian persecution in Central Asia is on the rise in countries like Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan.  There is a grassroots revival of Islam in Central Asia, and that means more pressure from the nationalist pro-Islamic governments and within society—causing increased persecution levels on two fronts.
  • Pakistan is the most violent toward Christians.

Every year, the World Watch List is released in just five years the number of countries rated as extreme for Christian persecution has risen from 1 to 11 — a global indicator of countries where human and religious rights are being violated, and those countries most vulnerable to societal unrest and destabilization[1]

Whilst the sudden increase in the persecution of Christians is a recent development it is not a new phenomenon:

  • More than 70,000,000 Christians are estimated to have been martyred in the course of history.  More than half were martyred in the 20th century under communist and fascist governments (Gordon-Conwell Resources).
  • In the 21st century, roughly 100,000 to 160,000 Christians are being killed each year (Gordon-Conwell Resources and World Christian Database, respectively).
  • Roughly 1,093,000 Christians were martyred, worldwide, between 2000 and 2010 (World Christian Database).
  • By 2013, more than 450,000 Syrian Christians had fled their homes during two years of war and persecution (NY Times).
  • 800,000 Christians were targeted for their faith and martyred in the Democratic Republic of Congo between 1998 and 2007 during the civil war there (World Christian Database).
  • Roughly 50,000 Christians were martyred during the North-South Sudan violence that officially ended in 2003 (World Christian Database).
  • By January 2017, Boko Haram had destroyed more than 900 churches in north-eastern Nigeria. (ICC, Persecution, April 2017)
  • An estimated 700,000 Christians were killed in North Korean prison camps between 1948 and 1987 (Crimson Crucible).
  • China has risen 20 places in the World Watch List from 43 to 23 in two years after new Regulations for Religious Affairs came into force in February 2018.

What does this mean?

2,000 years ago, Jesus made it very clear that in future times Christians would be persecuted around the globe, as we now witness:

Matthew 24: 3 – 9– As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”….. Then you (Christians) will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.

Luke 21: 10 – 17– Then he (Jesus) said to them: But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name.  You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death.  Everyone will hate you because of me.

What does the Bible tell us about?– The Future

What does this mean for you?– Good News

[1]Open Doors


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