2017 (BH)

December 12, 2017:  Increased Violence Against Christians in India

Information regarding increased anti-Christian public action in India has again been highlighted by the public beating of two Christian pastors for handing out pre-conference pamphlets with Bible quotes that “offended Muslims.”  The mid-November conference took place on the railway grounds in Charoda, a location having hosted similar Christian conferences for the last two decades.

October 25, 2017:  Installation of Chinese President Xi Jinping Causes Concern for Churches and Already-Persecuted Christians

Bob Fu is president of China Aid, a “persecution watchdog” organization.  He interviewed with Christian Post online and stated concern that the Chinese government was reasserting its intent to “exert total control over all areas of life.”  BBC News reported that Jinping was now “essentially unassailable” due to political actions which resulted in “elevating him to the level of Chairman Mao Zedong,” founder of the People’s Republic of China.  I have read that staggering numbers of Chinese people have come to Christ over the last year, and that China was engaging in a more open policy regarding Christians.  This is a troubling concern from an expert who should know.

 

October 25, 2017:  North Korean Defector Describes Conditions in Most Feared Detention Camp Where Masses of “Enemy of the State” Christians/Dissenters are Sent 

Religious Liberty Defenders online share a previous story from foxnews.com regarding underground church leader Choi Kwanghyuk.  Having gained U.S. political asylum from North Korea over three years ago, Kwanghyuk had been tortured for his faith and “as a result of the injuries he received while being tortured, he is unable to work but has committed himself to telling the world about the human rights abuses in his native land.”   This article illuminates there is so much more than “politics” regarding the demonic strongholds in North Korea. 

June 7, 2017:  Syrian Pastor Says ‘Hundreds of Thousands of Muslims’ are Coming to Christ

“God is moving and doing great things around us,” states Pastor Simon, a Syrian pastor ministering in war-destroyed sections of Syria, where there are no longer “young ministers,” as they have fled the region.

June 7, 2017:  Korean Missionaries Say Presence of Jesus Intimately Tangible while Held Prisoner

Quotes from the book, Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God, one of the Korean missionaries captured in 2007 by the Taliban shared, “When I was surrounded by these soldiers, I felt the Presence of Jesus in there with me.  Now that we are back in Seoul, I am trying to experience that intimacy with Him but I can’t…I fast and I pray and I don’t feel it.  I would rather be back there because of the intimacy I had with Him.”  This article offers an interesting viewpoint from a North Korean Christian who states that in North Korea there is neither money nor freedom, “but we have Christ and we’ve found He is sufficient.”

June 5, 2017:  Courageous Marawi Residents Shield Christians as they Exit War Zone

Jesus taught in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” This is an inspiring story of residents in the Philippine city of Marawi, where residents were “shielding Christians” with their own bodies as the Christians escaped ISIS-linked fighters and snipers as they exited.  The escape was assisted through text messaging.

May 25, 2017:  International Christian Concern Shares Testimonies of Severe Persecution in North Korea

“‘As the tragedy of Korean separation continues after almost seven decades, one remembers…that the northern half of the Korean Peninsula was once the cradle of the Korean Presbyterian Church…prior to the Communist takeover, Pyongyang used to be known as the “Jerusalem of the East,’ stated Greg Scarlatoiu, the executive director of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, speaking at a recent Capitol Hill briefing.”  He further estimated that in 1948, around 25% of the North Korean population “was of some religious belief.”  Statistical data put the number currently below 1%.  Scarlatoiu also stated that over the last 70 years, the Kim family of rulers “has taken religious persecution, in particular the persecution of Christians, to a level, perhaps, on par with Nero’s Rome…”  This is a chilling comparison, and this article is enlightening regarding how North Korea has been intentionally changed over the last multiple decades–what a move of God is needed among both the persecutors and persecuted!

April 18, 2017:  Family Members Give Father’s Killer Special Message

This one is a heart-breaker.  One of recently-murdered Robert Godwin Sr.’s daughters posted, “We want him (the killer) to know that God loves him.  We love him…”  Robert Godwin Jr. stated, “I forgive you, man.  I’m not happy what you did, but I forgive you.” Robert Godwin, Sr., was 74 and taking a walk when he was gunned down while video recorded his murder, and was then posted on Facebook.  The killer has since committed suicide.  Tonya Godwin-Baines earlier stated, “The thing I would take away most from our father is that he taught us about God:  how to fear God, how to love God, and how to forgive.”

April 3, 2017: Persecuted Christians Scheduled to Speak Out in America 

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is sponsoring the “World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians” in Washington, DC, on May 10-13, 2017.  600 leaders and advocates from 130 countries will be sharing.  The first week of April, BGEA aired a TV special entitled “Persecution and the Gospel” throughout the country.  Graham stated, “I want the politicians to see firsthand what’s taking place.  …I believe that we as Christians need to wake up.  If we don’t do it now, it’ll be too late.”  

March 31, 2017:  Muslim Converts to Christianity Bring Fresh Fire, Revitalization in Europe

In an encouraging twist of irony, Muslim refugees are described in an interview with Gospel Herald as “intensely spiritual” and leaving Islam for a variety of reasons.  This is an interesting read — whether for reasons that are political, social, or a genuine gripped-by-God encounter, increasing numbers of Muslim immigrants in European surroundings are finding themselves increasingly open to Jesus’ message of personal relationship with the Father.

 

Christianity Today published a report from Open Doors researchers that stated 2016 “was the worst year yet” in terms of worldwide persecution.  Its new conclusion?  “The primary cause, Islamic extremism, now has a rival:  ethnic nationalism.”  Read the full article.

Pray for Christians in China:  The Gospel Herald recently reported on new atrocities being committed as lawyers who defend human rights, and Christians in particular, “disappear” and are charged with “subverting state power.”