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What is Christian Persecution?

Discussion in 'News Stand' started by Chad, Jun 27, 2017.

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  1. Christian persecution is any hostility experienced from the world as a result of one’s identification as a Christian. From verbal harassment to hostile feelings, attitudes and actions, Christians in areas with severe religious restrictions pay a heavy price for their faith. Beatings, physical torture, confinement, isolation, rape, severe punishment, imprisonment, slavery, discrimination in education and employment, and even death are just a few examples of the persecution they experience on a daily basis.

    According to The Pew Research Center, over 75% of the world’s population lives in areas with severe religious restrictions (and many of these people are Christians). Also, according to the United States Department of State, Christians in more than 60 countries face persecution from their governments or surrounding neighbors simply because of their belief in Jesus Christ.

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    Why Persecution Occurs

    AUTHORITARIAN GOVERNMENTS SEEK TO CONTROL ALL RELIGIOUS THOUGHT AND EXPRESSION
    There are numerous reasons why Christians are persecuted. In some countries, severe abuse of Christians takes place under authoritarian governments. In the case of North Korea and other communist countries, authoritarian governments seek to control all religious thought and expression as part of a comprehensive plan to control all aspects of political and civic life. These governments regard some religious groups as enemies of the state because they hold religious beliefs that may challenge loyalty to the rulers.

    HOSTILITY TOWARDS NONTRADITIONAL AND MINORITY RELIGIOUS GROUPS
    Another reason why Christians are persecuted is hostility towards nontraditional and minority religious groups. For example, in Niger, more than 98 percent of the population is Islamic, and hostility comes more from society than from the government. Historically, Islam in West Africa has been moderate, but in the last 20 years, dozens of Islamic associations have emerged, like the Izala movement, which aims to restrict the freedom of ‘deviant Muslims’ and minority religious groups like Christians.

    THE LACK OF BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS
    The lack of basic human rights is another significant part of persecution in some countries. For instance, in Eritrea, there are violations of the freedom of expression, assembly, and religious belief and movement, in addition to extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, extended detention, torture, and indefinite national service, which cause many Eritreans to flee the country.

    Freedom of religion, like all freedoms of thought and expression, is inherent. Our beliefs help define who we are and serve as a foundation for what we contribute to our societies. However, today, many people live under governments that abuse or restrict freedom of religion. Christians in such areas suffer deeply, and are denied basic freedoms that humans should be entitled to.

    In 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This declaration came as a result of the treatment of the Jews in Nazi Germany. The document states that every person is entitled to basic human rights. This reaffirmed the dignity and worth of all human beings no matter what a person’s race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or other status. In 1966, the United Nations developed the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in addition to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 18 of the ICCPR focuses on four elements of religious freedom:
    • Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others, and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.
    • No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice.
    • Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.
    • The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to have respect for the liberty of parents and, when applicable, legal guardians to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions.
    Theology Of Christian Persecution

    Matthew 5:10-12 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

    For almost 60 years, Open Doors has worked in the world’s most oppressive countries, empowering Christians who are persecuted for their beliefs. These believers stand strong, despite the many obstacles that they face. What are some of the things that we can we learn from their faith?

    There is something about hardship that allows us to know God deeply. When times get really tough, we discover more about who God is and how He works. Christians who have endured persecution for their faith, know this well.

    There are no easy answers for why God allows his followers to face suffering. However, the lives of persecuted Christians reveal that even when things look out of control believers can rest secure, knowing that God is still in control. He is able to give courage, peace and even joy to stand strong through the storm. It is through these storms that believers discover God’s love in new and powerful ways.

    Standing Strong Through The Storm is the curriculum that Open Doors uses to help Christians stand strong in the face of persecution. There are six theological and biblical lessons from this curriculum:
    1. Sometimes you need to build yourself a cell
      Be still, and know that I am GodPsalms 46:10

      One Chinese church leader, who spent 23 years in prison, once said this to Christians who did not face persecution:

      “I was pushed into a cell, but you have to push yourself into one. You have no time to know God. You need to build yourself a cell, so you can do for yourself what persecution did for me—simplify your life and know God.”

      It is vital that we spend time with God, to grow in Him, so we are prepared to stand strong in the face of persecution.

    2. God keeps secrets
      “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughtsIsaiah 55:8-9

      There have been countless stories of persecuted Christians who have died without seeing the fruits of their labor. However, God knows all that has been and all that is to come. Our labor is not in vain, it is in His hands.

    3. Weakness is a direct path to power
      That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong—2 Corinthians 12:10

      An Egyptian Christian reflected on the way he was treated when he converted to Christ:

      “In great suffering you discover a different Jesus than you do in normal life… Pain and suffering bring up to the surface all the weak points of your personality. In my weakest state, I had an incredible realization that Jesus loved me even right then.”

      True empowerment does not come from human means, but through Christ alone. It often takes being at our weakest point to realize this.

    4. Overcoming is greater than deliverance
      Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.Romans 12:21

      Persecuted Christians, no matter what country they are from, do not ask us to pray that persecution would end, but rather ask us to pray that they stand strong through the persecution. They do not wish to be delivered from the persecution, but rather ask us to pray that they would be able to overcome the trials that they are facing in a way that is honoring to God.

    5. Extreme hurt requires extreme forgiveness
      And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments—Luke 23:34

      A Christian widow from Iran said:

      “I only had hatred in my heart for my enemies who had murdered my husband. But one day a miracle happened. God taught me how I could love my enemies… I had been praying for this, even though on the deepest level I didn’t want it to happen. Gradually, through a process of ups and downs, God answered this prayer.”

      The only way we can get through extreme hurt is by forgiving people as Christ did.

    6. Prayer is the ultimate fellowship
      Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were sufferingHebrews 13:3
    Many persecuted Christians often feel isolated and alone, since they are unable to fellowship with other believers. However, prayers from Christians half a world away have brought the same amount of encouragement that fellowship would have for these persecuted Christians. Prayer is vital—not only as a direct line to God, but as a way to encourage our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world.

    1 Corinthians 12:26 tells us that we are one body—when one member suffers, we all suffer. When one member is lifted up, we all rejoice. Persecuted Christians and Christians in the free world are not two separate entities, but rather are one body. The persecuted church needs the free church to support them and most importantly to lift them up in prayer. The church in the free world learns lessons from the persecuted who have stood strong in the face of persecution. Christ is the head of the body and uses the church (both free and persecuted) in unique and powerful ways.

    source: Serving Persecuted Christians Worldwide Open Doors USA
     
  2. Wow, well said. Very insightful.

    Praise God.
     
    amadeus2 and kevinj like this.
  3. WOW,I LEARNED ALOT FROM THIS.

    ALL GLORY TO GOD OUR FATHER.
     
    amadeus2 likes this.
  4. You can write to prisoners...voice of the martyrs ministry facilitates this..christians wrongly imprisoned for their faith. Remember our brothers (and sisters) in bonds. Hebrews 13:3

    Well known missionary Corrie Ten Boom survived a concentration camp...we can all learn from her testimony 'the hiding Place' . Prisons are places where the gospel can be spread.
     
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    Christ4Ever and amadeus2 like this.
  5. How powerful is this! Only those who believe can come to have a sight that provides what readily is part of a believers persecuted life! This was my devotional verse today:
    If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before [it hated] you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. (John 15:18-20)

    Martyr

    1. One who chooses to suffer death rather than to deny Jesus Christ or His work.
    2. One who bears testimony to the truth of what he has seen or heard or knows, as in a witness in a court of justice.
    3. One who sacrifices something very important to further the kingdom of God.
    4. One who endures severe or constant suffering for their Christian witness.

    Truly let's pray that they may endure and stand!

    With the Love of Christ Jesus.
    YBIC
    Nick
    <><



     
    Sue J Love likes this.

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