At Liberty University’s Convocation last Monday, we stood, 12,000 strong, for the persecuted church around the globe. We joined together in prayer and remembered those who sacrifice so much for the faith we so often take for granted.
In America, we often fail to realize the reality of Christian persecution as countless Christians around the world worship at the threat of imprisonment, or even death, each day. Our brothers and sisters in the faith, who join with us in forming the Body of Christ, worship Him despite the threat of death surrounding them. Before walking across the stage to receive a diploma, seminary students at a school in India must take an oath. In the Martyr’s Oath, they promise that they would die for the cause of Jesus Christ. We must ask ourselves if we would be willing to do the same.
Persecution infiltrates the church today more than ever with about 1 in 12 Christians worldwide facing persecution. More than a mere number or statistic, these believers flesh out their walks with Christ while enduring unimaginable adversity each day for the sake of Jesus. Not only do they deserve our prayers, but they deserve our support.
As part of the Body of Christ, we must let our brothers and sisters know that they are not alone in the fight. 1 Corinthians 12:26 says that “if one member suffers, all suffer together…”
Shaddi Abdelwahab, a survivor of religious persecution, says, “If the church is strong here, it will be strong there. We need the persecuted to see that we care and that we are willing to help.”
Most of the New Testament is written from the perspective of the persecuted church. Jesus knew that the church would continue to face persecution and hardship until His return. He said that “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). We know that if the world hates us, it hated Him first, but we have hope in knowing that this will not endure forever. “When He delivers the Kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and every power,” all things will be subjected to Him (1 Corinthians 15:24). We know that the gates of Hell will not prevail against His Promise of Triumph in the end. “But thanks be to God who gives us victory through our LORD Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).
Since we are all a part of the Church on a global scale, we suffer alongside our brothers and sisters. Johnnie Moore, author of “The Martyr’s Oath,” said, “If one member of the body suffers, we all suffer. Pray for the persecuted church the way you would hope someone would pray for you. Advocate for the persecuted church the way you hope someone would advocate for you.”
David Nasser encouraged us to become advocates for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ. “Our outrage has to become outreach” if we desire to see the Church strengthened collectively.
We stand with you and for you, Persecuted Church. We are "one with them."
***For more information and ways to stand for the Persecuted Church, check out Open Doors USA.