USA (MNN) — Even as the tenth anniversary of 9/11 passed
with its reflections, many ministries are looking at the lessons that changed
the face of the Church forever.
David Shibley with Global Advance notes that some realities revealed
by September 11,2001 are still
confronting the church today, with greater potency. "In this ensuing
decade, persecution against Christians has intensified worldwide. Some research
indicates that 600 million–and possibly even closer to 700 million–Christians
worldwide are experiencing some kind of persecution, at some level."
In fact, Shibley goes on to say that the level of oppression
against the followers of Christ globally is unprecedented in history. Many of the persecutors do not make a
distinction between the West and believer. There is an assumption that Christianity is a religion from the West, now
the object of "jihad."
The revelation of an enemy bent on the eradication of Christians
revealed a second harsh reality. There
was a deep-seated malcontent in many Muslims
around the world, many of whom were radicalized into an explosive response.
Shibley says the militancy that fueled the 2001 attacks was
also a catalyst for another movement. "There are millions of other Muslims
who are deeply conflicted, and embarrassed, and searching for truth. Because of that, and because of the massive
prayers of Christians for the Islamic world, we are seeing an unprecedented
number of Muslims coming to faith in Christ." For example, Shibley says, although Iran is known
for its persecution of the Church, the Islamic Republic has one of the most
vigorous evangelistic, church-planting movements in the world.
In many respects, it's a brave, new world. There are opportunities to be the hands and
feet of Christ that didn't exist ten years ago. There was a new awareness of resource and
priority in the Great Commission. "Many of us have viewed persecution as
for 'super saints,' but it's just 'discipleship 101' in most of the
That paradigm shift revealed a third reality that's proven to be more encouraging. Congregations in
the West became more intentional about kingdom-building in the wake of
September 2001. Shibley explains, "Many churches really
became more mission-oriented as a result of these attacks. They realized that we
have indeed come into the Kingdom 'for such a time as this' and that it is
time to juxtapose our message of the Gospel to the pernicious message of religious
Great awakenings happened in the shadow of ideologies that
swept large sections of the world. Shibley
says that fascism, communism and other similar belief systems controlled people
through oppression. Freedom
in Truth appeals to people when disillusionment surfaces. "We need to put the present context into
an understanding, both of history and of prophecy, and remember that the
kingdoms of this world will ultimately become the kingdoms of our Lord and of
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