Their Blood Cries Out is the title of a book written by Reformed scholar Paul Marshall back in 1997. The cover says it all: “The worldwide tragedy of modern Christians who are dying for their faith: Why is it being ignored? Why the silence? What can we do?”
Tragically, 15 years later all of the above is still true. If anything, the situation may be worse. A recent Wall Street Journal article entitled “The Christian Exodus from Egypt” suggests, “The only option is to leave, putting an end to 2,000 years of Christianity in Egypt.”
Think Libya and Syria as well as Iraq, where between 2003 and today the number of Christians has shrunk from over 1 million to about 500,000.
The persecuted include our fellow believers Kazim, Nadia, Sajid, and others in Pakistan who have been beaten, tortured, and maimed for their faith. And Bibi, a young mother who has been in jail since 2009 under sentence of death on charges of blasphemy against Muhammad for witnessing that Christ is the only true God, her Savior.
In Pakistan and elsewhere, people pay with their lives for their faith in Christ.
Here’s the big picture: according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, one-third of the world’s population is facing increased religious restrictions.
Consider these facts:
1. Christians are the largest single group persecuted.
2. Seventy-five percent of those persecuted for their religious beliefs are Christians.
3. Ninety percent of those killed for their religious beliefs are Christians.
As someone wrote to me recently: “In many of the countries we are working in, we find that persecution is a result of church growth. . . . The gospel is advancing in the world today in a way unprecedented in history in areas of the world where the cost of discipleship is not only accepted as normal but embraced as a mark of what it truly means to be a Christian.”
So as we continue to be involved in the Christian church in myriad God-honoring ways, I humbly suggest that we in North America move our persecuted sisters and brothers a lot higher up on our list of concerns.
Let’s include them in our daily and congregational prayers. And let’s include an update on some specific instance of persecution in every issue of The Banner in order to “remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering” (Heb. 13:3).