How you can stand firm with the Suffering Church
Believers under pressure around the world need our help. Find out how you can get involved in Barnabas Fund Suffering Church Action Week 2014 ...
Believers under pressure around the world need our help. Find out how you can get involved in Barnabas Fund Suffering Church Action Week 2014
Anti-Christian persecution rages on around the world. In the Middle East, parts of Africa and Asia, our brothers and sisters continue to suffer discrimination and violence because of their love for Christ. About 10% of Christians are disadvantaged or actively oppressed for their faith.
In Nigeria, scores of Christian girls are abducted by a militant Islamist group, which threatens to sell them as slaves. In Pakistan, a Christian child is brutally gang-raped by Muslim men, and her father kidnapped. And in North Korea, the government accuses Christian converts of planting churches; they face the death penalty.
Our churches in the West are facing serious challenges of their own: from the voices of the “new atheists” and their secular allies, from a confident and increasingly politicised Islam, and from new laws and regulations threatening our traditional freedoms.
Rejection for Christ’s sake
Anti-Christian hostility may distress us but it should not surprise us. The Bible teaches that as Christians, we are exiles on earth, living in a land that is not our home. The New Testament uses the name “Babylon” to refer to a place of exile and suffering for God’s people. And to this day, Christians everywhere live in our own “Babylons”, societies where we experience rejection for Christ’s sake.
But the Bible calls us to stay faithful to Christ by holding on to our distinctive beliefs and lifestyle in the midst of our “Babylons”. And it directs us to help one another to stand firm for Christ in the face of hostility.
Help to stand firm
Barnabas Fund invites Christians around the world to participate in Suffering Church Action Week (26 October-2 November). The theme is Living in Babylon: Faithful to Christ in a hostile world.
During this week, churches are encouraged to run services, prayer meetings, coffee mornings and youth events based on the theme. These events will provide an opportunity to support persecuted Christians and also to build ourselves up in our own faith.
Please prayerfully consider how you and your church could get involved in Suffering Church Action Week. For more information and to order your FREE Living in Babylon Inspiration Pack including resources to help you take part, visit www.livinginbabylon.org.
PHOTO above: A trauma workshop in Nigeria