Christians frightened in Iraq as bombs blast

By August 5, 2004

Iraq (MNN) — Fear of violence by Islamic radicals is a major concern for Christians in Iraq. Six churches were the targets of bomb blasts in the last few days. Five of the bombs detonated, but one failed to go off. World Help’s Eric Vess says Christians in the region are frightened.

World Help is working with 72 Iraqi churches. Vess says the established church seems to have been the targets of the latest attacks. “At this point, none of the evangelical churches have been targeted probably because they don’t look like churches to the extremists.”

While the bombs didn’t directly hit their partnering churches, it did affect the members in another way. Vess says, “There is a tremendous amount of fear right now in Iraq among evangelical Christians, while at the same time a resolve to stay committed to their mission and their country.”

There is also an attempt by some Iraqis to paint evangelicals as being friends to the occupiers. “A connection is being made in people’s minds that Christians are somehow working hand in hand with the American occupation and thus are legitimate targets.”

Vess says the good news is, the fear isn’t paralyzing evangelicals. “Even though Christians are afraid, even though many Christian business people have closed their businesses, churches are still holding their worship services, something that can’t be said for some of the other churches.”

The violence, isn’t just having an affect on Christians. Vess says it’s also forcing moderate Muslims to rethink their faith. Many are turning to God’s Word for answers. He says, “There is a tremendous weariness in the Islamic world toward Islam. It’s not necessarily fueling an interest in Christians per-se or Christian churches at first, but it is fueling a tremendous interest in the Word of God,” and as people read God’s word they will come to Him.

$5 will not only print a Bible, but distribute it. Pray that many individuals and churches will catch the vision of this outreach.

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