Persecution Dramatically Rises in China

It reads like some Orwellian nightmare. Persecution against Chinese Christians has begun to accelerate dramatically in the last year or so under President Xi Jinping. As the atheistic communist party was given direct control over the churches by Xi, there has been renewed measures to, among other things, eradicate all unregistered churches.

The government’s concern is not without reason. There are an estimated 100 million Christians in China now and the estimates are that there could be 250 million by 2030. Since the communist party only numbers 90 million, it’s obvious that Chinese officials are concerned about an erosion of their power base. Where churches are not being eradicated or pastors and parishioners being hauled off to prison, other measures of control are being implemented, such as removing Christian symbols and replacing them with portraits of the President and children being forbidden from entering a church.

Despite harsh repercussions from the government, Christianity is alive and well in China. Early Rain Church Pastor Wang Yi and his wife were arrested in December and are awaiting trial for “subversion.” However, he continues to encourage the faithful, telling them the government has chosen an enemy they can never defeat!

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China Cracks Down on Outside Christian Influence

According to Bitter Winter, an organization that tracks religious liberty and human rights issues in China, the government is looking to crack down on the activities of “foreign religious groups” within the nation. Primarily, the focus is on Christian groups and their activities in China as well as restricting Chinese Christians from attending training sessions in other nations. The crackdown is severe enough to include the objective of “resolutely destroying the religious activities of foreign religious groups in the local area.”

The operation is not only to drastically limit the activities of foreign Christians in the nation but to also planting undercover members within the churches. Pressures of all kinds are to be applied including “reeducation of believers” and even imposing “criminal sentences.”

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The Re-election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi Signals Danger for Christians in India

The recent re-election of Hindu Nationalist, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, signals bad news for believers. Under his watch, India has moved from number 28 to number 10 on Open Doors World Watch List, a list of countries ranked by the degree of persecutions against Christians. North Korea ranks at the top of the list, but the increasing persecutions in India are an increasing trend, with many radical groups carrying out attacks against Christians with impunity.

In 2014, there were 147 attacks against Christians documented by Open Doors. In the first quarter of 2019 alone there have been 216 violent attacks, and that is just those Open Doors is aware of. It is likely there have been others as well. David Curry, the USA director for Open Doors confirms that the re-election of Modi is bad news for believers who have already been experiencing various forms of persecution and harassment for their faith.

This should also be a caution to those of us here in the United States who have grown comfortable in our freedoms. As the cultural landscape becomes more secular and the media brokers continue to silence Christian voices on both mainstream networks and social media, it is not at all unlikely that we could be experiencing the same challenges in the coming years. Believers need to participate in both constant prayer and the political process to preserve our rights. We also need to let our voices be heard in whatever forums are available to us now, addressing the issues that concern us all. The preservation of our liberties depends upon it.

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Rice and Bibles for North Korea

North Korea ranks at the top of the list for persecution against Christians, but that does not mean the believers there have been forgotten. Indeed, it seems that a group of Christian defectors from the nation have partnered with Christian Freedom International to launch bottles of rice and Bibles into the heavily persecuted nation.

Funded by CFI, the launch which the tides take into North Korea. Each bottle of rice is more than a month’s salary in that country. Each bottle has a Bible wrapped onto it with messages and scriptures inside the bottles to encourage the persecuted believers there.

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Persecution in India Rises

Twenty years after Graham Stains and his two sons were burned alive by Hindu radicals, persecution is once again on the rise in the nation of India. In 2018 alone, nearly 500 violent attacks were documented by Persecution Relief, an organization in India.

Included in these violent attacks have been the murders of both Pastors and missionaries who labored to spread the gospel in the nation. Anti-conversion laws have emboldened religious radicals to attack Christians without fear of reprisals. Please join us in praying for the believers in India who continue to serve the Lord faithfully despite the tide turning against them in their nation.

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In the Bonds of our Brothers

“Remember the prisoners as if chained with them—those who are mistreated — since you yourselves are in the body also.” (Hebrews 13:3)

In his book, Tortured for Christ, Richard Wurmbrand, founder of The Voice of the Martyrs, tells of the fateful moment when he and his wife chose to stand for Christ against the evil Communist regime that had taken over their beloved Romania. The Communists had assembled a congress of pastors and priests from all over the nation to meet in the Parliament building. The honorary chairman of this congress was Joseph Stalin, the same man who was the murderer of millions, including many Christians. The Communists used the subtle voice of seduction to endeavor to enlist the pastors to their cause. After listening to this for a while, Richard’s wife, Sabina, turned to her husband and said, “Richard, stand up and wash away this shame from the face of Christ! They are spitting in His face.” I said to her, “If I do so, you lose your husband.” She replied, “I don’t wish to have a coward as a husband.”[1]

Richard took his stand and, as he predicted, he was soon arrested and spent the next fourteen years of his life in a Russian prison, three years of which he spent in a below-ground dungeon in isolation. Both he and his wife suffered terrible horrors at the hands of the Communists, even worse than the beatings they had endured at the hands of the Nazi’s some years before. Many times, the Communists sent secret agents in disguise to tell Sabina that Richard had died in prison, trying to break her spirit. However, God always reassured her and told her to hold on to her hope. Richard was tortured years on end for his devotion to Christ until at last he was ransomed and brought to the West. It was in that isolation cell that his vision for The Voice of the Martyrs was born; an organization that gives aid to, and teaches the body of Christ about, those suffering for their faith around the world.

Stories of Christian persecution have once again come before the public eye, as news agencies and social media sites have posted the videos and images of Christians who have been beheaded by terror groups such as ISIS. While the names of terror have changed over the years, from Nazis to Communists to Islamic Extremists, the evil which seeks to destroy the innocent and snuff out the voice of the gospel is the same. It would seem that the depths of man’s inhumanity to his fellow man is unfathomable. No longer merely stories of a by-gone era when Christians were fed to the lions in the Coliseum or whose bodies were used as human torches to light the Apian Way in ancient Rome, the reality we see of those suffering for Christ today cries out to us to act on behalf of our suffering brethren. What can we do to relieve those suffering the world over because of their love for Christ?

Recently, I heard from a dear friend of mine with whom we labor in the ministry. They serve God in one of these difficult places in the earth. They have massive crusades where the lost are saved in the Muslim nation in which they live, and they care for the orphaned children of their community. They are truly poised to have a hand in changing their nation for Christ. But this has not come without a cost. Recently, my friend was beaten and pistol-whipped by a group of men as his wife looked on, horrified and helpless. It is truly only by God’s grace that he survived. Even though the bruises have healed and they continue their work for the Kingdom of God, the danger remains. Recently, a young husband and his pregnant wife in a nearby area were burned alive by radicals who thought they had somehow shown disrespect to the Koran. Though it was only a horrible misunderstanding, it ended with the loss of three beautiful lives (the wife was pregnant), martyrs for Christ and victims of the inhuman madness that seems to be fermenting right now in many nations of the world.

Just tonight my friend messaged me, asking us to pray for the Christians in his nation. A church only forty-five minutes away from them was burned, and three girls were viciously attacked. Two are in critical condition and one lost her life. Not only is this horrific persecution happening in our day, it is very likely coming to a neighborhood near you. As our nation becomes more secular, religious liberties such as our First Amendment right of freedom of religious expression erode, and hostility toward those who refuse to follow the politically correct narrative of our culture increases.

What are we to do? First of all, we are not to make enemies of those who hate us, whether its members of radical terror groups or simply those who are hostile toward our faith here at home. We are to love our enemies, realizing that our true enemy is not flesh and blood but the spiritual hosts of darkness who control this world system (see Ephesians 6:12), and the Devil who blinds the minds of those who do not believe (see 2 Corinthians 4:4). We are also to stand with and support our brothers and sisters who suffer, both with our finances and our prayers. There are great organizations, such as The Voice of the Martyrs and others, who are making great inroads to relieve the sufferings of persecuted Christians. Also, God is doing great things behind enemy lines.

It has been said that so many Muslims are having visions of Jesus around the world that one man who works in these areas said his first question to them is, “Have you had any unusual dreams lately?” He said it is amazing how many of them say, “Yes,” and testify to what God has shown them. Many have come to Christ in this way. There are no boundaries to God or His gospel. There is no bunker deep enough, no tribe remote enough, and no wall high enough that He cannot reach those whose hearts are hungry for Him. So, pray for our brothers and sisters who are suffering around the world for their faith, but always remember that after the darkness comes the dawn, and after the tomb came the resurrection. We have a hope in Christ that can never be extinguished!

The Voice of the Martyrs website is

[1] Wurmbrand, Richard (2010-09-30). Tortured for Christ (Kindle Locations 272-274). Living Sacrifice Book Company. Kindle Edition.