Is our silence abandonment for persecuted Church?

By March 12, 2015
(Former Congressman Frank Wolf, courtesy Wikipedia)

(Former Congressman Frank Wolf, courtesy Wikipedia)

International (MNN) — A former congressman has created a new religious freedom organization, motivated by the persecution of the Church around the world.

Frank Wolf, co-founder of the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative, says the church and government have been relatively silent on the issue.

On a recent fact-finding mission to Iraq, he says the Christian church is facing extinction. The agency released a report warning that if the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq is not stopped, Christians, Yezidis, and other religious and ethnic minority groups face a looming genocide. What was once home to 1.5 million Christians is down to approximately 300,000.

The Wilberforce delegation traveled close to the Islamic State frontline and later visited the Nineveh Protection Unit, a Christian defensive guard being trained to defend historic Christian villages and towns if and when they become liberated from the Islamic State.

According to a press release, Wolf said they interviewed about 75 people while on their fact-finding mission in Iraq. The delegation found that six months after fleeing the Islamic State’s murderous march through their lands, Iraq’s displaced religious minorities feel abandoned, and they implore the international community to help.

Wolf said they were asked, “Does anybody in the church in the West care about us?”

(Syria photo courtesy 21rst Century Wilberforce Initiative)

(Syria photo courtesy 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative)

The question has resonance, says Global Advance founder and chairman, Dr. David Shibley. “We used to read about those who were beheaded for the testimony of Jesus. It seemed like some sort of vague eschatology. Well today, it’s this morning’s news. We are in a very critical time in history. It’s a time to lift high the name of Jesus, to make clear and broadcast the Gospel.”

Sadly, says Shibley, too many Christians in the West remain unaware. “It is an issue that we cannot intelligently ignore. Our brothers and sisters are facing some terrible situations around the world. The Bible is very clear: ‘If one member suffers, we all suffer.'”

Due to the rise in Hindu nationalism, Buddhist extremism, and the explosion of the Islamic State terror group, it’s something that they’re faced with in every Frontline Shepherd’s conference. In fact, on Monday “I received a communique from a pastor friend of mine in Asia. He asked for prayer because over the last three weeks, he and his family have been threatened with death three times–the latest being a 4:00AM phone call, threatening to kill him and all of his family.” The church this friend serves runs a school, too. The school offers a non-discriminatory education, which is embraced by much of the community. The reason he’s being targeted? He preaches the Gospel, says Shibley.

(Photo courtesy Global Advance)

(Photo courtesy Global Advance)

Why resist what’s good for a community? Some community leaders don’t want the power structure to change. When people turn to Christ, it means they’re leaving something else and taking with them community influence. “In some cases, because there is an attempt to lift people out of ignorance, those who chose to stay ignorant of God and His ways know of no other recourse but violence.”

During Holy month, the Global Advance team is traveling to encourage these beleaguered pastors, Shibley adds. “In April, we’re going to be in nine training events around the world. Interestingly, seven of those nine training events are in nations where the Church is experiencing rather acute persecution.” It’s a particularly dangerous time to gather a large body of Christians together. However, Global Advance teams are trying to let the Persecuted Church know they haven’t been forgotten.

Here’s how they help: “We’re going to teach them about how to more effectively evangelize and disciple their nations; how to effectively plant churches; how to become a missionary-sending church, themselves.”

Even if they didn’t do all of this, Shibley says it’s important not to underestimate the power of encouragement. It brings hope and eases the weight that comes with persecution. “In the middle of all of that, [it’s helpful] simply to be on site and say, ‘We care. We’re undergirding you. You’re not forgotten by the rest of the body of Christ.’ At this time in history, it’s a very important ministry.”

(Photo courtesy Global Advance)

(Photo courtesy Global Advance)

The question Congressman Wolf was asked by Iraqi Christians, “Does anybody in the church in the West care about us?” is a call to action. Shibley says it’s time to respond. “We act, first of all, by not minimizing the power of prayer: understanding that prayer is a potent force, that there is (as someone said long ago) ‘no distance in prayer,’ but we need to pray intelligently. We need to pray over the events of our day.”

Why pray for boldness? “We need to pray for what the Early Church prayed for when they experienced their first bout of persecution. They came together, they prayed; they said, ‘Lord, behold their threatenings, and grant your servants boldness that we might preach your Word.’ That’s the same thing that we need to pray for today.”

12 Comments

  • Ockie Kruger says:

    We will pray for our brothers and sisters in these countries.

  • JASPER MOHAN says:

    Praying for the Christians under persecution for His sake in India and around the world especially in countries like Syria, Egypt etc.

  • I am so sorry you have not been upheld as you should have been! We seem to be in a stupor! Forgive us! I do lift you up daily! God sees each moment of your lives!

  • Pat Byrne says:

    Forgive us for not praying unceasingly! You are NOT abandoned! God sees and records each act of persecution and He will never abandon you, but, in the end, reward your suffering and faithfulness with Divine abundance. Oh, Lord, hear our prayer! Touch each suffering, persecuted Christian brother and sister of ours with a deep realization of Your Presence! Enlarge our hearts and fill us with greater love for them and heartfelt cries to You for their comfort and encouragement and powerful enabling grace — to Your praise and glory. In Jesus’ Name. Amen

  • Praying for the missionaries sharing God’s word to all countries. They need encouragement to do what they can to spread the truth of God’s word. Trusting with God’s heavenly angels watching over you in those countries. Believe in God and Faith in him.

  • How many that are really CHRISTians here in ‘Amerika’ even know about Asia Bibi who has been imprisoned on ‘death row’ in Pakistan since Nov 2010?
    Of those that do remember her – how many think about what she and her family have been going through? Do we actually pray unto “the LORD JEHOVAH” to help, provide for, and keep her through real and present persecution, or attempt to help in any meaningful way???
    – How many ever think about, pray for, or attempt to help her husband and three daughters???
    – Theirs is a very real trial!

    I have wondered if those who claim to be followers of The LORD Jesus Christ here in ‘Amerika’ – and the other ‘civilized countries’ – who will not even bother to pray for or actively help our Persecuted CHRISTian brethren in 110+ other countries
    – will “the only wise God” cause them to NOT know, think about, pray for, or help us in any way – if/when we are Persecuted for our Faith in “the Lord Jesus Christ”?

    It is time for all that are truly “converted”, “born again” believers in “the Lord Jesus Christ” – CHRISTians – here in ‘Amerika’ and other ‘civilized’ countries’ to actually live out our faith in “our Lord and Saviour” – whether or not we ourselves are ever persecuted:
    “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit,
    and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;”
    (Eph 6:18 [KJB])

    “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.
    The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16 [KJB])

    “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly;
    and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
    (1 Thess 5:23 [KJB])
    .

  • Ron Semran says:

    Your suffering concerns me. You are often in my love and prayers… May our loving Lord Jesus give you the faith, endurance, and love for your persecutors so He will be lifted high and many will be drawn to Jesus. May God meet all the needs of your families, too.

  • LORD willing, I will mention this for prayer at a Bible study group and church, in my limited sphere of influence.

  • Please read the following article – Addressing fear with faith @
    https://www.mnnonline.org/news/addressing-fear-with-faith/

    Persecuted Christians in the West African country of Niger are “very upbeat” despite recent attacks in their country. “We’ve only lost things,”
    “We’ve not lost the church, just some buildings.”
    “It was also encouraging to see that at least one public statement has been made by a representative of the evangelical churches in Niamey, where they publicly stated on radio and television that they forgave those who did all the damage and the burnings. That was pretty powerful.”
    (Exerpts)
    .

  • Here I am Lord, send me!

  • Pat,
    I pray the prayer of agreement with you.

Leave a Reply