Christmas could lead to more persecution for Christians

By December 12, 2007

International (MNN) — In 2007, nearly 200,000 Christians were killed for their faith in Jesus Christ. Around the world, 200-million Christians face some kind of persecution. Johan Candelin, the executive director of the Religious Liberty Commission with the World Evangelical Alliance, says Christmas could be a difficult time for Christians.

"There could be countries like Indonesia where there's a major Muslim population, and you have Christian churches drawing a lot of people. That could be a very dangerous place."

However, Candelin says India could also be difficult "where Hindu nationalism is really rising up now. And in remote villages where there would be a couple of hundred Christians and thousands of Hindus, coming to church and singing Christmas hymns might actually create a situation where there will be violence."

As Christians celebrate Christmas, it's a natural evangelistic opportunity in Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist areas of the world. Candelin says as they watch Christians celebrate, "they will ask why they celebrate Christmas, and that of course gives the Christians a possibility to share about the birth of Jesus Christ."

However, that could also cause problems. "Surely there are people who are sincerely interested in learning about Christianity," says Candelin. "But, among those would also be fanatics who will use the possibility to plan an attack."

In 2000, dozens of churches were burned in Indonesia. Candelin is concerned. "I know that there are police guards outside many churches, but still there are so many churches that they can't guard every one (of them)."

Pray that God will protect His church and that He'll use this Christmas season to draw many to Himself.

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