Risking it All
Persecuted Christians fight to share the Gospel
November 17, 2020
As believers, we’re called to share the Gospel. The Great Commission instructs us to “go and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19). But what if sharing your faith risks your life?
That’s the reality for many Christians around the world.
The word persecution can mean different things in different areas. In some places, believers can be shunned by their family, friends and communities. In others, they can be arrested. And sadly, in some areas, believers can face extreme violence. But despite it all, they continue to fight the good fight to spread God’s Word.
Bible League is doing ministry in 15 countries where believers are persecuted. And thanks to your support, these believers will get the specific tools they need to safely and effectively share the Gospel.
Project Philip Bible studies are designed for Gospel engagement in small groups, making it the perfect material for in-home churches that are sometimes necessary in areas with high levels of persecution.
In areas where the Gospel is vehemently opposed, believers often use Bible-based Literacy to introduce God’s Word. Many times, it’s more acceptable for people to learn English, so through Bible-based Literacy we are able to hold courses as an educational opportunity while we introduce the Gospel.
Through Church Planter Training, church leaders learn to build churches and engage church members, giving believers in persecuted areas a sense of community as many are driven from their own homes.
Here's what's happening in some of the areas we reach.
Christians in India face horrific levels of violence from religious extremists, mainly followers of Hinduism. Reports of threats, beatings, and burned churches have become a daily occurrence; persecution has escalated to unprecedented levels despite the global pandemic. Several states across the nation have adopted anti-conversion laws. Preaching, distributing Gospel tracts, or even hosting a small prayer meeting could put church leaders in great danger as they are often accused of forced conversion tactics.
A deeply rooted caste system (a social class structure across India) is also an issue. Those in the lower castes are oppressed by the upper castes. Often, those who convert to Christianity belong to a lower caste, meaning they already experience oppression from the higher caste and now experience religious persecution.
Many times, members of the lower caste are eligible for government benefits that provide food, academic stipends, and job opportunities to encourage economic development in the lower castes and tribes. But Hindu fundamentalists are working with state governments to take away the benefits to anyone who has converted to Christianity or Islam.
Instances of vandalism, rape, even murder happen often and are never reported to the media. In September, a Bible League-trained church planter was killed; he was found unconscious with grievous injuries, and later died at the hospital. Police have ruled his death an accident. The hospital has listed his cause of death as COVID-19, which means they will not release his body to his family for burial because of COVID-19 protocol. His family denies that he was sick. There were no witnesses to the attack, but those close to him believe he was murdered by Hindu fanatics. He is survived by a wife and two young children.
Harsh laws in China limit the freedom of religion for Christians. Bibles are not available online or in any public bookstores; they can only be purchased in church bookstores. Religious leaders must receive training to adapt their doctrine to align with the communist doctrine. There are daily reports of pastors and church leaders being forcibly removed from their small house churches. These believers are taken to jail where they can be humiliated before being released hours later. Children under 18 are banned from entering churches. Government staff members and other party members are not allowed to follow any religion while serving and even after retirement.
The nation of Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world. While Muslims are the vast majority in the nation, there is a small Christian population. Many urban areas of Indonesia are safe for Christians, even welcoming, but in other areas, Christians face verbal oppression, social media harassment, and cyber-bullying. In these rural areas, there are often organized rallies to attack churches. There are laws to protect churches and believers, but enforcing these laws is a challenge around the nation.
Radical Islamists threatened the church of a Bible League partner 10 times until the church leaders decided to destroy their own building for the safety of their members, most of whom converted from Islam. They then started a small farm where they built a secret baptism pool. Their church members now meet weekly in house churches and, once a month, they gather in a small hut deep in the forest to worship together.
How can you help?
While persecution looks vastly different around the world, there’s one common thread that runs through all these areas—God’s Word never stops. Persecution doesn’t stop the Gospel. Hatred, violence, and oppression don’t stop the Gospel. Believers in these countries are fighting every day to share the Good News, no matter the risks.
They need your support through prayer. Pray that these believers will continue to find strength in God’s Word, and that they will lean on the Lord as they persevere. Pray for their safety as they share the Gospel. Pray, too, for the persecutors, that God would change their hearts.
Believers in persecuted areas also need more Bibles to continue their work. If you’d like to send materials to believers in persecuted areas, give now. A gift today will support persecuted believers on their mission to sharing the Gospel in such a dangerous environment. It will also show them that you stand with them and you support them.
The Bible says the persecuted are blessed. Let’s show them they are not forgotten.