It’s open season on Christians
News comes today that five Christians from World Vision relief services were killed execution-style in Pakistan. Two days previous some two hundred Christians – men, women, children and infants – were brutalized and slaughtered in central Nigeria.
In Pakistan, these Christians were delivering much-needed charitable services to the population. Their crime was not subscribing to the dominant religio-political ethos, Islam.
Central Nigeria is the fault line between the Christian south and the Muslim north. Christians there have been counseled by church leaders not to go on the offensive, and not to seek vengeance, but that they do have the right to defends themselves against attack (I think that’s a balanced reading of the New Covenant, but of course in specific circumstances the Lord can direct otherwise as He chooses). Despite this peaceful stance, the Muslims struck at night and hacked away.
It’s hard to imagine this level of persecution. I remember in my readings of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs that it all seemed so removed from reality and was hard to relate to. Boy was I wrong. It’s happening right now, on our watch. In fact, the number of Christians killed for the faith is at its all-time highest levels.
We need to cling to our assurance that the Lord works all things for good for those who love Him, because it is true and we need the strength it imparts. Here are some good things that I would like to see come out of these horrors:
- That the Body of Christ would draw together worldwide in the unity of love and faith, and become more powerful in intercession.
- That those facing brutality would be comforted and made strong.
- That at the proper time a way of escape would be made for them.
- That a mighty witness to Jesus would arise from the resolve and the principled response to evildoing.
- That the consciences of both evildoers and the ordinary people trapped in evil cultures would be smitten by these evil deeds done to peace-loving people, causing doubt in the existing structures and preparing for the implantation of the Word of eternal life in Jesus.
The world has become a smaller place due to modern communications, transportation, economics and the reach of terrorism. It’s hard on us, but in the strife the Lord is using the interactions of cultures to spread the Gospel. While this is the most martyr-prone era in history, it also is the greatest era of conversions in history. And especially in bedarkened lands, the Lord is backing up the human witness with all manner of dreams, visions and visitations. This mighty advance of the Kingdom is exactly why satan is raging so violently.
The devil’s time is short, so let us encourage ourselves in the Lord, resolve not to waver, and take this Gospel wherever we can, in season or out, whatever the cost.
Peace be upon our departed friends for a race well run, and comfort to their loved ones.