Persecution: A situation where people are repetitively, persistently and systematically inflicted with grave or serious suffering or harm and deprived of (or significantly threatened with deprival of) their basic human rights because of a difference (race, religion, nationality, political opinion, membership in a particular social group) that the persecutor will not tolerate.
Persecution of any person is wrong, no matter what they believe, according to God's Word. We are commanded to love and bless everyone, including our enemies.WHAT IS CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION?
A situation where Christians are repetitively, persistently and systematically inflicted with grave or serious suffering or harm and deprived of (or significantly threatened with deprival of) their basic human rights because of a difference that comes from being a Christian that the persecutor will not tolerate. To distinguish religious persecution from other types, it is helpful to ask, "If a person had other religious beliefs or would change their religion to the majority religion of the country, would things get better for them?" If the answer is "yes", then it seems that the persecution is on religious grounds.WHAT IS A CHRISTIAN MARTYR?
In ministering to the persecuted church, it is important that there be a common understanding of what exactly a "martyr" is. The word comes from the Greek (martus) and originally meant simply a witness. The word has a wide range of meaning in the New Testament ranging from:
1. Bearing witness in a court of justice (Matthew 18:16; 26:65; Acts 6:13; 7:58; Hebrews 10:28; 1 Timothy 5:19)
2. One bearing testimony to the truth of what he has seen or known (Luke 24:48; Acts 1:8,22; Romans 1:9; 1 Thessalonians 2:5,10; 1 John 1:2)
3. A more specialised meaning of one who bears witness of the truth and suffers even to the point of death in the cause of Christ (Acts 22:20, Revelation 2:13, Revelation 17:6).
As noted in the last meaning, by the end of the 1st century, the term had evolved into a proper title to refer to those who witnessed to the faithfulness of God and their commitment to Him by choosing to suffer death rather than to deny Christ or His work sacrificing something of importance to further the Kingdom of God enduring great suffering for their Christian witness and/or identity. The critical component is that a martyr suffers and/or is killed specifically because of his/her witness or identity as a Christian.
The number of Christians murdered for their faith almost doubled in 2013 over the previous year, according to an annual survey by Open Doors, a non-denominational ministry that monitors the persecution of believers and supports persecuted Christians worldwide.
According to the World Evangelical Alliance, over 200 million Christians in at least 60 countries are denied fundamental human rights solely because of their faith.
International Christian Concern (Persecution.org), a non-denominational organization, has a map of the 30 most recent cases of persection which you can view HERE
Voice of the Martyrs (Persecution.com), an inter-denominational organization, has a prayer map you can view HERE
Open Doors, another wonderful organization, has a map you can view HERE
Release International (Releaseinternational.org), a wonderful UK-based organization, has a world prayer map available HERE
SOME OTHER EXCELLENT ORGANIZATIONS AND PERSECUTION-RELATED WEBSITES:
Arab World Ministries
P O Box 96
Upper Darby, PA 19082
P O Box 28000
Chicago, IL 60628
The JESUS Film Project
910 Calle Negocio, Suite 160
San Clemente, CA 92673-6274
P O Box 444
Tyrone, GA 30290-0444
7 E. Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21202
ASSIST News Service
The Bible League
The Bible Site (Providing Bibles for the Persecuted Church)
Bishop Gassis Sudan Relief Fund
Christian Freedom International
Christian Solidarity International
Christian Solidarity Worldwide
Christians in Crisis
Compass Direct News Service
Door of Hope International
Family Research Council
International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (USA)
International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (WEF International)
Jubilee Campaign (Lobbying for the Persecuted Church)
News Items Concerning the Persecuted Church
The Persecuted Church (Caleb Project)
Religion News Today-Crosswalk.com
Strategic World Impact
NOTE: There are many more as persection has been increasing and the need is great. PLEASE get involved and pray specifically for the persecuted Christians throughout the world.FOOTNOTES:
1. http://www.releaseinternational.org/christian-persecution-faqs/, accessed April 9, 2014
© Todd Tyszka
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