Today, just as in Bible times, Christians in some countries around the world continue to pay a heavy price for their faith. Beatings, torture, imprisonment, rape, displacement from their homes and lands and even death are some of the things they experience on an almost daily basis just because they identify as being Christians.
These normally happen in the Middle East as well as some parts of Asia and Africa but while it may be the oldest kind of Christian persecution, it most certainly isn’t the only kind.
We are in warfare against an enemy who is alert and sneaky; he has a new strategy for attacking Christians, one that is acceptable to our now “enlightened” world.
Today, persecution is psychological but the results are the same: hostility towards Christians because of their choice to stand by Biblical teachings.
In the ‘civilised’ West, Christians are labelled as prejudiced, intolerant, haters, homophobic, radical conservatives and bigots; they often lose their jobs, businesses, money and even relationships as they fight daily to remain true to the Faith.
Put on all of God’s armour so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. (Eph 6:11)
Kim Burrell is a black gospel singer and pastor; one of her songs featured on a film and she was scheduled to appear on the Ellen DeGeneres show as part of the promotion for the film. Well, Kim preached against homosexuality in one her church services and someone posted a video of the sermon on the Internet.
Following that, Ellen, a well-known lesbian, uninvited Kim (and that’s okay, it’s her show) but then also, Kim’s radio show and Gospel TV talk show were cancelled by the stations on which they were been aired and she was disinvited to a Gospel Music Award show where she was to be honoured!
Christmas 2016, an Anglican Cathedral in Glasgow hosted an inter-faith service and a Muslim was invited to read from the Koran in Church. The Muslim youth read verses from the book of Miriam which tell about Jesus’ birth and claim that He is not the Son of God thus denying a core Christian tenet.
Rev. Canon Gavin Ashenden, one of the Queen’s personal chaplains, objected to the practice of reading the Koran in churches and was forced to resign his position after “a conversation instigated by officials at Buckingham Palace”, the residence/office of the Queen of England, the head of the Anglican Church and “Protector of the Faith”.
These are just two incidents of a growing trend; the dangerous thing is that there is no bloodshed or physical abuse involved but gradually, like a cancer, this psychological warfare is eating away at Christianity in the West.
Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping (1 Peter 5:8)
This is my call to action to YOU.
We must not see these occurrences as western issues because they are not, they are Christian issues and just as we pray for Christians facing physical persecution, we must start praying for those facing psychological persecution too.
And please note that this isn’t far from us; in as much as our children are exposed to TV programs that teach (in subtle but deliberate manner) worldly views on family, sexuality, religion, witchcraft & magic, self actualisation etc, then we must take up the defensive and offensive in the Spirit.
As long as parents send their children to schools and universities abroad, then these issues are not far from home, here in Nigeria.
We are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. (Eph 6:12)
Please pray for the Church in the West. Those countries may not have the physical poverty that we deal with in Africa but they do have rapidly growing moral and Spiritual poverty.
Ask God to give the Christians the grace to keep standing even after they have done all to stand. Ask God to strengthen them in the Inner Man and to give them the wisdom with which to overcome this onslaught of the devil.
I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. (Eph 3:16)
For wisdom is a defense even as money is a defense, but the excellency of knowledge is that wisdom shields and preserves the life of him who has it. (Eccl 7:12)
There are organisations that provide legal services to Christians facing prosecution; please ask God to provide them with the resources they need to continue the work.
This is a great time for each of us to be our brother’s keeper.