Wildfire violence won’t stop the Gospel

By March 23, 2010

Nigeria (MNN) — Nigerian police arrested 164 people in connection with
a mostly-Christian slaughter of 500. There are 41 charges of terrorism and homicide. With a movement toward
justice, is the trouble over?

Todd Nettleton with Voice of the Martyrs likens the violence to a
wildfire. "The government or the
military comes in and puts a lid on it for a while, and then there's another
breakout. "

Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has said that the
violence is fueled more by ethnic, social, and economic problems than by religion.

That may be true, but Nettleton adds: "The level of violence in
this case–the fact that it seems to have been a very coordinated effort
against Christians–says probably it will happen sooner
rather than later, and that it will break out somewhere else."

Some have claimed the attacks were in retaliation for the killing of more
than 300 Muslims earlier this year around the same city. Then, on March 17, Muslim herdsmen disguised
as soldiers butchered nearly a dozen Christians in two villages near Jos,
setting some of them ablaze.    

Mainly women and children were killed in both massacres. There are reports that
indicate youth are calling for revenge against the Muslims.

VOM supports the persecuted church there. Their team is
helping hundreds of Nigerian pastors who continue to spread the Gospel of Jesus
Christ despite persecution. VOM also provides food, clothing and medical aid to
Nigerian Christians who are attacked by Muslim extremists. 

The threat of violence won't stop their work. Nettleton says, "There is going to be some care given to how and where they meet, especially in light of fact that these were clearly
coordinated attacks. But there is still going to be a Christian presence
there, and there are going to be believers who are reaching out, who are
sharing their faith, and who are praying, even for their persecutors."

Pray that those who lost loved ones or were injured
will be comforted by the peace of Christ and that the Nigerian government will
begin to protect Christians.

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