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322. What has happened to all the Christians?

What has happened to all the Christians? IT’S WORTH CONSIDERING
I recently wrote about the mass exodus of Christians from Iraq. The sad truth is that this is not an isolated phenomenon. In Egypt, many of the Copts, who have lived peacefully beside their Muslim neighbors for over 2,000 years, are considering leaving the country. As radical Islamists have risen to positions of leadership, threats, intimidation, and outright persecution have increased to frightening levels.
 
According to a recent State Department document, not one Christian Church or school remains in Afghanistan. The last church was destroyed in March of 2010. According to the report, “Negative societal opinion and suspicion of Christian activities led to targeting of Christian groups and individuals, including Muslim converts to Christianity. The lack of government responsiveness and protection for these groups and individuals contributed to the deterioration of religious freedom.”
 
In 2001 Mideast expert Daniel Pipes wrote in Middle East Quarterly, “At the present rate, the Middle East’s 12 million Christians will likely drop to 6 million by the year 2020. With time, Christians will effectively disappear from the region as a cultural and political force.” Eleven years later, it appears that he wasn’t far off.
AS I SEE IT
To put things into perspective, consider what we learned from a 2010 study by Bert Hickman, a researcher with the Center for the Study of Global Christianity. He discovered that worldwide, 105,000 people are being killed every year solely because they are Christians. This means that one Christian is murdered every five minutes. He also discovered that the rate has been steadily increasing for the past ten years. Not surprisingly, most are murdered by radical Muslims.
 
How can this be? Didn’t Jesus say He would build His Church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it? It sure doesn’t seem like His Church is growing over there. This is when we have to call a “time out” and try to see the big picture. First of all, Christ’s Church is not confined to a building or a location. What we’re seeing may simply be a heavenly redistribution. Look at what has happened to the Jewish people throughout history. God never promised us an easy life, but He has promised ultimate restoration with great rewards for those who faithfully obey Him, no matter what.
 
Perhaps God is removing His people so they will be safe when He pours out His wrath. His ways are not our ways, and He is still in total control. We have not been called to understand everything, only to remain faithful, to bloom wherever we have been planted. If God is actually removing His people, we can expect that judgment is not far away-all the more reason to “get with the program.”
 
This perspective, however, does not get us off the hook for not speaking up on behalf of our persecuted brothers and sisters. We should be exposing the hypocrisy of our leaders who are so passionate about protecting the rights of Muslims in America while doing nothing for the thousands of Christians who are routinely slaughtered in Muslim nations. Just because God will use a practice for His glory doesn’t mean it is right. One day in heaven we will meet our brothers and sisters who have endured incredible suffering and persecution. What will we say when they ask us, “Why didn’t you help us?”
 
Check out Voice of the Martyrs.

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“I feel so miserable without you. It’s almost like having you here.”-Stephen Bishop


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