Thursday, February 7, 2013

“Christianophobia”

Will Christianity be vanquished from the Middle East?

By Carmen Fowler LaBerge with Scott Lamb
 
Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus and the Apostles all walked on the soil of lands that our modern maps label the “Middle East.”

But in this heartland of biblical history, Islamic oppression threatens to wipe out Christianity.

Civitas, a think-tank “for the study of civil society,” recently published a study written by journalist Rupert Shortt titled, “Christianophobia” which reports on the rise of Islamic-driven persecution of Christian in the Middle East. 

An excerpt from the news release:

They [Christians] are more likely to be the target of discrimination or persecution that any other religious group and they are particularly at risk in Muslim-dominated societies. Oppression is magnified by anti-Americanism and the false belief that Christianity is a “Western” creed, even though it originated in the Middle East and has been an integral part of that region’s belief systems for 2000 years.

Mr. Shortt quotes expert findings that between a half and two-thirds of Christians in the Middle East have left or been killed over the past century.

Each week in The Layman Online’s “Prayer Blog” we pray for the persecuted church across the globe, utilizing the “watchlist” resources of www.OpenDoorsUSA.org. Indeed, a quick scan of the list reveals that so many of these Middle Eastern nations are hostile to religious freedom.

The Gospel and the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ cannot be thwarted through human oppression. In fact, the church has often found greater growth and spiritual vitality as the fires of oppression are kindled. As Tertullian poignantly stated, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.”

Let us pray for the Christians who remain in the Middle East. Pray for their physical safety even as they carry on in bold witness of Jesus Christ. Even as they walk on the same soils as the Apostle Paul, pray that they would be strengthened by his word of Scripture:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,

            “For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
                        we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39 ESV)

No comments: