250 Million Persecuted in 2007?!?!

Yes, this is quite shocking.

It is estimated that nearly 250 Million Christians were persecuted throughout the world in 2007. Many were martyred, imprisoned, beat, and ridiculed for their faith in Jesus Christ.

This startling statement comes from an article by the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission [HT: Kevin Stilley].

Their article goes on to detail a year’s summary of the worst persecution in various locations around the world.

One incident stood out as I read through this list:

Eritrean authorities tortured a woman to death on September 5 for refusing to recant her Christian faith, the fourth such killing in less than a year. Nigisti Haile, 33, died at the Wi’a Military Training Center; she was one of 10 single Christian women arrested at a church gathering in Keren. On February 15, Magos Solomon Semere also died under torture, at the Adi-Nefase Military Confinement facility outside Assab. Eritrea has officially recognized only Islam and the Orthodox, Catholic and Lutheran Christian churches….According to Amnesty International, more than 2,000 Eritrean Christians are imprisoned in Eritrea. All have been denied legal counsel or trial, with no written charges filed against them….

As we contemplate the suffering of fellow believers, we should remember this Biblical injunction:

Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. (Heb. 13:3, see also Heb. 10:33-34)

We should pray for our suffering brothers. But we may take heart that Jesus uses the blood of his suffering saints to cause His church to grow.

In closing, let me highlight two recent incidents in Central Asia.

1) A Pakistani pastor was shot dead on 1/17.

2) A Christian aid worker was kidnapped in Kandahar, Afghanistan on 1/27.

These two incidents promise to be just two of thousands for 2008. Let such news stories drive you to pray fervently for the spread of Christ’s Kingdom around the world.

(HT; Kingdom Surge)

Peter serves as a pastor-teacher, at home and abroad, resourcing gospel-centred communities.

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