Algeria (MNN) — The Algerian government continues to pressure Protestant churches.
“More than 40 churches have been closed down in Algeria over the last six years,” Todd Nettleton with The Voice of the Martyrs USA says.
Like water erodes stone over time, government pressure wears down the Christian community and avoids international attention.
“At Voice of the Martyrs, we discuss ‘smash’ and ‘squeeze’ persecution. ‘Smash’ persecution is [when] you come in and burn down our church, beat somebody up, arrest a bunch of Christians, and take them off to jail.
“‘Squeeze’ persecution is a little different. You try to make them uncomfortable, to make life harder – that’s what we’re seeing in Algeria.”
So far, believers have overcome this pressure and continue their work for Jesus.
“Christians in Algeria have had to move to an ‘underground’ form of worship, meeting in private homes,” Nettleton says.
Pray Gospel workers will not be discouraged.
“As you see your church [getting] a padlock on the door and you can no longer go there, it would be discouraging and hard to go through that experience,” Nettleton says.
Pray believers will always be ready to share the reason why they hope.
“Muslims are watching what is happening [to Algerian Christians.] I have talked to Algerian Christians who say [that] when their church was closed down, Muslim neighbors reached out and said, ‘Hey, we’re sorry this happened to you. We know you guys are good people; they shouldn’t have done this,’” Nettleton says.
As they watch events unfold, “Muslims grow curious,” he says.
They ask themselves, “‘Why does our government see the churches such a threat? I wonder what those Christians believe that is so dangerous for the government.’ Maybe they go on to Google or turn on a satellite TV channel and hear the Gospel message.”
In the header image, Algerian special police put a lock on a church door while Christians took photos. (Photo, caption courtesy of VOM USA)