All over the world, persecution against Christians is rising, both in frequency and intensity.
Churches are attacked and Christian families are chased from their villages. Pastors are thrown into prison for evangelising and Christian businesses are forced to close.
In 2022, 1 in 7 Christians around the world face persecution and discrimination for their faith in Jesus. That’s around 360 million people – and it’s only getting worse.
But why are Christians persecuted for their faith in Jesus?
Though it differs in nature, from acts of violent persecution to unceasing pressure to deny Jesus, Christians experience varying experiences of persecution based on location, age, gender, ethnicity, culture, family, and many other factors. However, the common thread is that persecution exists where the gospel is being shared– whether it be a visible outworking, or a public profession of faith.
Image: Ethiopian mother praying during service.
For the past 2000 years, persecution has acted as a motor of the gospel, helping the message of Jesus spread and the Church grow.
Just look at the book of Acts for example:
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”Acts 1:8
Prior to persecution, the gospel was not spreading to the ends of the earth as Jesus had instructed. The disciples had remained in Jerusalem. It’s not until Acts chapter 8, after Stephen is stoned, that Scripture says:
“Those who had been scattered preached the Word wherever they went.” Acts 8:4
After the stoning of Stephen, and the persecution of Saul that followed, the Church was scattered, and the gospel spread.
At Open Doors, we still see today that wherever the gospel is being preached, persecution exists. And in turn, the Church grows.
To stop persecution, all we need to do is tell people to stop talking about Christ. But the persecuted church have shown us time and time again, that following Jesus is the most important thing, no matter the cost.
For that very reason, Open Doors doesn’t exist to stop persecution, but to help the local church endure it and shine as brightly as they can for Jesus.
Image: Church ruins after an attack, Nigeria.
Every year Open Doors release the annual World Watch List, revealing the 50 most dangerous countries to be Christian.
In 2022 we’ve seen a common trend. Persecution is getting worse for the global Church.
However, if persecution exists wherever the gospel is being preached, this increase in persecution can only mean one thing: The Good News is spreading, and God is at work building His Church.
This year, you can join the persecuted church in prayer and learn what it means to follow Jesus, no matter the cost.
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