Persecution is raging against Christians, but the Gospel and its Kingdom is spreading nonetheless.
Yesterday came yet another case of Islamic blasphemy laws, again in Pakistan, being used against Christians: Punjab, Muslim extremists burn church over alleged blasphemy case.
According to these Sharia laws, anyone desecrating the Koran is subject to the death penalty. Consider the warped value system that holds the pages of a book – not even the book’s thought content, but the mere physical paper it’s printed on – to be more valuable than human life.
It doesn’t even end there. Just the overhanging threat of invoking the blasphemy laws is used to coerce and cow Christians (and to a lesser extent Muslims – we don’t want to be discriminatory) and deprive them of freedom and prosperity.
In this case, as in many others, phony desecration charges were used for ulterior motives. A Christian boy and a Muslim girl had fallen in love, and that is not acceptable to many Muslims. So rumors were spread, a mob was whipped up by the local Imams, a church was burned and homes ransacked, and authorities try to cover it over.
Because of Islam’s sanction of intolerance, Christians in Pakistan and many other nations live in fear of their lives. Islam is not alone in this – there are extremist Hindus in India and secular tyrants in nations such as China and Burma who act the same way – but Islam is foremost.
Let us be clear, Islam is not peace, it is submission. Coerced submission. If you doubt that then try going against it in a land where it is ascendant.
Now, we’ve clearly been told that as followers of Christ we are going to suffer persecution, and that some will lose their earthly lives for the sake of the Gospel. We need to accept that and not try to get out of it, if such be the Lord’s will. Jesus our forerunner went before us in this as well, and turned even the cruel Cross into the greatest instrument of blessing for all eternity.
But on the other hand, loving others as ourselves demands that we try to help our brothers in need. Jesus put it this way:
“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead.
“And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
“Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
“But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion,
and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him.
“On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’
“Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?”
And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.” – Lk 10:30-37
There was a time when things like this latest church burning never would have reached our ears. But that time is over thanks to modern communications. I believe that now is the kairos moment, the moment in history, for the Muslim nations to be confronted with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God uses history – it is His story – for His own purposes.
The West has been falling away from the Lord for many decades, and consequently is spiritually very weak. We have precious little righteousness left, and with it went our discernment. The Muslims are assailing us with terrorism, and with our cooperation, with rampant immigration and political correctness. For a sobering look at just the demographic aspect of this, watch The Islamic Tidal Wave. For the terrorism, see The Third Jihad. For continuing coverage, go to Jihad Watch.
But while Muslims have been targeting the West, the Gospel has begun its own concerted massive assault on Islam. Communication, despite the efforts of coercive societies and governments, tends to be bilateral. Radio, satellite and the Internet are reaching more and more Muslims in the privacy of their homes.
And the number of dreams and visions of Jesus, and even theophanies, among Muslims is amazing. The Lord understands what God-hungry Muslims are up against, and He is reaching down to give them special aid and encouragement.
God works through the Church. Recent years have seen a massive missionary movement into formerly closed lands. And behind all this, it is the Holy Spirit, working through our intercessory prayers, that is the driving engine.
The result of all this is that Christianity, despite the extreme persecution, is spreading rapidly. It is Christianity, not Islam, that is the world’s fastest-growing major religion. And that is the real reason for the increase in persecution.
We need to encourage ourselves to get involved. There are several great ministries dedicated to the wellbeing of the church in persecuted lands, Voice of the Martyrs and Open Doors prominent among them. They have websites, devotionals, and Facebook and Twitter accounts that will inspire you and raise your awareness.
Please pray about becoming more active. A call, email, or letter to the Pakistani ambassador can help convince authorities that the path to international cooperation and prosperity lies through honoring human rights. It only takes a few minutes, and precisely because so few do it, it can make a huge difference.
From my research, Pak’s new ambassador is a tremendous person with great values and a lot of insight. I’d like to see him lead the nation one day soon, and he’s an ideal person with whom to share your concerns.
May God protect the persecuted church and give her peace, and above all, may He preserve and make effective her witness to the salvation, love and glory that is in Christ Jesus alone.
The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.
“Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.”
Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.
“You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.
“But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.
“God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.”
Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.” – Jn 4:19-26
And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”- Mt 28:18-20
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