Churches facing trials in Iraq

By July 15, 2004

Iraq (MNN) — Violence continues in Iraq, despite the fact that Iraqis are now in control of their country. This violence and fears of future religious repression are taking their toll on congregations in this embattled nation.

While reports indicate there are more than 70 evangelical churches working together to share the Gospel with the Iraqi people, some churches are struggling. Words of Hope’s Lee DeYoung says they’re working with five local church through an indigenous organization. He says, “What they’ve seen is that there has been some erosion in attendance and participation. A number of people were seeking some kind of safety and not all of them have come back. It seems as if there is interest at least on the part of some Iraqi Christians of leaving the country.”

Violence isn’t the only thing that’s affecting believers. It’s the fear that the new government will force Islamic law on the people, ending religious freedom. “That’s not absolutely certain that will be the case,” says DeYoung, “But, that is an understandable concern and fear that some Christians have.”

DeYoung says the church in Iraq isn’t dying. “It’s just going through period of turbulent change. And, initially, that has caused some people to withdraw. If that’s an on going trend, we can’t be sure.”

Words of Hope is broadcasting the Gospel through radio into Iraq. DeYoung says, “Pray that the broadcasts will continue to be heard, that the messages will be relevant, and have the power of the spirit attending them.” Pray too, that many will be saved as they listening and that they’ll find peace in Jesus Christ.

Leave a Reply