Indonesia (MNN) — Believers are still shaken after a wave of anti-Christian mob attacks in Central Java, Indonesia on Wednesday.
When a Christian man accused of blasphemy was sentenced to only five years in prison rather than handed a death sentence, anger was ignited in hundreds of extremists. Upset at what they saw as a lax sentence, protesters rampaged the courthouse, two police stations and two churches. A few members of a minority Islamic sect were murdered. (Click here to read the full story.)
Believers in the area are understandably shaken up. Paul Jenks with AMG International says although none of their churches were directly affected, Christians are concerned by the lack of response from police. One AMG-affiliated church is in the same village where the mob stoned other sanctuaries as police stood by.
AMG churches have been directly affected by anti-Christian violence in the past, though. In some ways, these attacks are nothing new. This certainly will not be the last of them.
"The blood of the martyrs is some of the best fertilizer for the cause of Christ, for the expansion of his kingdom," says a hopeful Jenks. "And [believers] realize that this is an experience that they will continue to face until the cause of Christ is advanced much further there in Indonesia."
Nevertheless, waves of violence like this can sometimes be enough to instill fear in believers, who make up a small minority of Indonesia. Jenks says there's a temptation for any ostracized group to lay low and stay quiet after an incident like this.
If Christians choose silence, however, they could miss a significant opportunity. Many nonbelievers are disgusted by the actions of the violent extremists and may well start to ask questions.
"As violence is perpetrated in the name of religion, those that are just nominal in their faith really question–many really question–if violence is the wise way to go," says Jenks. "And when someone then proclaims grace, and truth, and peace, it really is a very appealing alternative to this which they're seeing acted out in the name of the majority religion there."
Pray that believers would allow the Lord to take their fear and instead, prepare to stand firm and reach out to those questioning their current religions. Pray that what was meant to be used for evil, would be used for good by our great God.