The persecution of Christians around the world has reached an all-time high, according to Christianity Today. The main cause of this has been Islam, but very close to this is ethnic nationalism. This can be seen in Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Syria, India, Pakistan, and China. North Korea is in a league of its own as it persecutes its own people.
As governments seek to suppress resurgent radical Islam, they end up persecuting Christians in an attempt to show themselves as being “even handed”. Instead of fair treatment, the church is used as a scapegoat.
Boko Haram in Nigeria and Wahhabism in Pakistan seem to be amongst the most violent seeking to “cleanse the land” (Pakistan means Land of the pure) of non-Muslims, so that they can gain god’s blessing and favour in their pure State.
Historical Backdrop to Persecution
However, there is often an historical element to these expressions of animosity.
In Pakistan, most Christians come from the Hindu sweeper lower class castes, and so are disliked for their menial backgrounds. In addition, because they served the British when they ruled India they can be seen as enemies of the State.
It is common knowledge in Pakistan that they often offend Muslims in order to be persecuted knowing that they will be given sanctuary in Sweden.
In India, a resurgent nationalistic Hinduism abhors any conversion out of Hinduism into another faith, whether it be Christianity or Islam.
Up to the 1930’s, thirty percent of Turkey was Armenian Christian but because they sided with an invading Russian army in the North East they became suspect as being traitors of their own country.
The more secular West strives to reach equality without preference and so there is subtle and increasing oppression and suppression of Christian values and morals in an attempt to level everyone.
This takes places in the name of equality as educational establishments, lawmakers, radio and TV stations fall into line with this new morality. They pump out new standards of anti-Biblical views in chat shows, dramas, news items and features.
Even within certain denominations there is a form of oppression by the Liberal wings of the Evangelical position. One woman had to resign from the Anglican Synod because of this pressure.
In Central Asia, persecution spread due to both Islamic extremism and government attempts to restrict it.
“In many countries, governmental raids of suspected Christian households increased, certain Christian books have been banned,” stated Open Doors, “and the membership requirement to remain a legal church doubled, resulting in many churches to be deemed illegal overnight.”
“Christians remain one of the most persecuted religious groups in the world,” it stated. “Christians throughout the world continue to risk imprisonment, loss of home and assets, torture, beheadings, rape and even death as a result of their faith.”
Answering the Challenge
One of the features we find in Divitia Gratiae University is that every year some our new students have a testimony of being subject to forms of persecution, whether psychological, physical or economic. This happens both before they decide for Christ and just after their step in His direction.
This lasts for years until there is a silencing of the student, rejections from the home or physical abuse. They come knowing the possibilities for further persecution on graduation. Few want it, but many withstand it.
EEF is working hard to empower peoples in Central Asia to stand up, do well, love their own lands and contribute to their own nations as well.
The college in Moldova provides free university education to all that come and so far, we have had 1500 graduates who have returned to do all sorts of wonderful things.
Persecution is a reality that is not going away. Yet, we can stem the rising tide by preparing those who will face persecution. That is our task, our calling. Please pray for us and pray how you can join in what we are doing.