Christians in the west have had it pretty easy for a while. Mostly, we feel we are persecuted when the government tries to infringe on our constitutional guarantees of liberty. Sometimes people threaten us or malign us for our beliefs. Atheists try to shout us down. Yet, we have little persecution, compared to history. Even Russia is now friendly to Christianity... as long as you stay out of the way of the government's totalitarian leanings.
However, in the rest of the world, such as in the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa and the Far East, Christianity is on the run. Sort of...
* Chaldean Christians in Iraq and Syria, the Chaldean church who have been part of the faith since the first century, are fleeing their cities with nowhere to go. Because they refuse to convert to Islam.
* Egyptian Christians have had their churches bombed, burned and their leaders stoned or shot by the Muslim Brotherhood. Because they refuse to deny Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.
* Christians in India are very careful not to rile the police or government authorities who are primarily Hindu and who occasionally have pastors and church leaders beaten and arrested for evangelizing. Because they refuse to keep inside the walls of their churches, they keep preaching and teaching Jesus as the Risen Savior.
* Pakistani Christians have their churches and homes fire-bombed routinely. Because they will not deny Christ and become Muslim.
* African Christians have their children kidnapped, their women raped and their leaders shot at random intervals. Because they refuse to accept Muhammad as "Gods only prophet".
* In China, the government bull dozes churches without notice and arrests Bible believers as "dissidents". Because they refuse to stop evangelizing in the name of Jesus.
All of this by the zealous Anti-Christ forces of radical Islamists or other governments that feel threatened by Jesus. But, we in the west sit comfortably in our homes while Christians in other parts of the world are martyred, harassed, tortured and forced out of their homes.
In this generation, we have seen the faithful stand their ground against an onslaught of attack by real forces who will do anything to destroy "the Faith that was once and for all time delivered to the Saints". We have seen Godly missionaries, pastors, churches remain faithful to the Lord Jesus through unspeakable horrors. While we often debate what dogma is better and while we argue who is right about this point or another, we have witnessed millions of Christians stand for the name of Jesus and endure incredible hardship, or be killed, for His name.
As for me and my house, I pray we have the courage of Pastor Saieed.
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Americans think we have it all good. That will never happen here. Whatever!!!! I bet our parents never thought they would remove prayer from schools either. Now, here we sit, 50 years later & God has totally been wiped out of schools. Every once in a while you have some brave kid on graduation day stand up there & talk about Jesus but it gets more rare each year. The only way they can even mention His Name is sneak it in because they've been forbidden to do it. I remember watching a kid speak of Jesus after having been told not to & they cut his mic. They said enough before it was cut that you knew where they stood. They Stood for the Lord.
Correct: I'm not talking about a future persecution which many think we will escape; rather I'm talking about what IS happening to believers today in much of the world and which is rapidly overtaking the West.
We have largely escaped the onslaught of Islamic persecution since the Turks were stopped in the Eastern Byzantine empire. The west has remained largely under "christian" control for hundreds of years. But we in the West are not good at seeing ourselves in a historical context.
Islamic persecution of Christianity has been taking place in the formerly Christian lands of Asia Minor, around the Caspian Sea and in the Middle East for roughly a thousand years (depending on which area). The Church there has had great challenge standing against it and it is now obliterating their communities by force.
The Western nations are secularizing at an astonishing pace. Britain has gone from 60% Christian a generation ago to 5% professing Christians today. By 2020, the expectation is that there will be less than 3%. Meanwhile Islam is expanding rapidly; growing by double digit percentages every 10 years. The Anglican/Episcopal church is in such a rapid state of decline there that it will cease to exist soon at all in Britain. It is already laughable that the ArchBishop of Canterbury is the head over the millions of African members of that denomination.
The secularization of the US is creating a vacuum of spirituality that is literally pulling Muslims here and producing them here simultaneously (I could give you data to explain, but it would take too long). And the secular-liberal-progressive culture is as happy as can be about it.
As history repeats itself, the old crumbling foundations are replaced with flexible ideals, tempting illusions, and a bewildering scaffold of unthinkable controls. Typical of Marxism, America's new "freedom" is reserved for supporters of the system, not resisters. Even churches are touting heresies and "tolerating" immorality. No wonder we face uncertainty, chaos and temptations to conform!
Long ago, God warned us about such a time:
"...they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools." Romans 1:20-22
"My people would not heed My voice.... So I gave them over to their own stubborn heart, to walk in their own counsels. Oh, that My people would listen to Me...." Psalm 81:11-14
To those who do listen, God promises victory and peace -- even in the midst of the turmoil:
"Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
Janie, thank you in posting removal of the cross from a church........the cross.....is only the outstanding symbol and solitary basis of what our whole belief in God is, through the redemptive work of His son, Christ Jesus on a cross. Even though this event wasn't in the USA, it's happening more and more here.
New churches are forming here regularly in Arizona.....calling themselves "community churches", or "fellowships".......no crosses in sight. And, of course, Mormon buildings do not display a cross.......their people tell me that they don't want to remind members of the dirty, painful, bloody experience Jesus experienced on that cross.............that's where they are, even though they call themselves Christian.
Scribe, thanks again for posting this thread.........events are starting to happen quickly.
Oswald Chambers said, " Where we go in the time of trial, proves what the great underlying power of our lives is.".
Just look at where people are going......
Another negative phenomenon happening = increasing popularity of legal drugs.
I imagine most of the population in this country do not have a clue of why middle-eastern terrorists hate the United States so much. The reason, IMO - we are friends with Israel......whom they hate...and want to wipe out.
We've been close with God's chosen people since we were the first country to recognize their independence after war with the so-called Palestinians in 1948.
We've been blessing them ever since.........until recent years........ the USA has now been cursing them (Genesis 12:3).
Tammy, to answer your question, I've been pastor of a small Christian church in Mesa, Az. for the past 14 years.
The times.....they are a-changing.
Grace and Peace.....in your hearts, souls, and minds.
You are welcome Richard. I do not get out much but when I do I never noticed if the churches had crosses or not. I will now though. Cool that you are a pastor. Good to know some are out there not afraid to preach the gospel and not just entertain.
You know what I think is awesome about you Richard. Since we've talked back & forth on this forum, I never even thought about it. You don't hold yourself superior as some pastors do. Shhhh don't tell LT I said that. I think that's an incredible quality. You're down here with the rest of the dirt. ROFL
What I am suggesting here is that there is a problem that is sweeping into the West, and it is flowing at full force into the USA. Islam is flourishing in Europe in many areas and it is thriving in the US also.
This is, I'm convinced, largely because the Church has left behind our first calling to pursue other things. We have surrendered the calling to influence the world around us with the Gospel. Many do not even know what the Gospel is anymore. We have abdicated our spiritual authority and sought after fruitless things. Christian leaders have largely been afraid to speak out against the weak and/or willfully wicked practices of many charlatans who claim to be Christian. It has created a vacuum of truth and piety that has given rise to a burgeoning secularization.
That secularization of the US is creating a vacuum of spirituality (God Consciousness) that is literally pulling Muslims here and producing them here simultaneously (I could give you data to explain, but it would take too long). And the secular-liberal-progressive culture is as happy as can be about it.
I will say this: the answer is not fear, nor is it violence, nor is it isolationism. But we can't even discuss the solution because no one is even considering the problem yet.
"This is, I'm convinced, largely because the Church has left behind our first calling to pursue other things."
"We have surrendered the calling to influence the world around us with the Gospel. Many do not even know what the Gospel is anymore. We have abdicated our spiritual authority and sought after fruitless things. Christian leaders have largely been afraid to speak out against the weak and/or willfully wicked practices of many charlatans who claim to be Christian. It has created a vacuum of truth and piety that has given rise to a burgeoning secularization."
Could we call it "tolerance" perhaps?
"But we can't even discuss the solution because no one is even considering the problem yet."
What do you believe the problem is Scribe?