Every three hours, on average, a Christian is martyred somewhere in the world. That is the estimate of Open Doors International. In the past few months, Nigeria has topped the list with most violence against Christians on Open Doors` World Watch Top 10 Violence List. Fortunately, western media and governments are beginning to take notice.
When Muslim Boko Haram kidnapped nearly 300 girls from a Christian school in Nigeria, there was a whiff of outrage from the West. The Nigerian government claims to have found their location but feared to try to rescue them lest they be killed by their captors.
In the last year, World Watch has recorded 3,641 properties destroyed and over 13,000 incidents of violence against Christians such as beatings, abductions, rapes and forced marriages.
World Watch leaders admit that theirs is a "minimum" count. Obtaining accurate numbers is understandably difficult. They declined to list North Korea in the "Top 10 Most Violent" index because it is impossible to get accurate information. They know that thousands of Christians are starved and tortured in North Korean prisons. But these are not included in WW`s numbers.
Seven of the top 10 countries are Muslim-dominated with 85 percent of the deaths occurring in Nigeria, Syria and Central African Republic. However, even in less hostile places like Latin America, Christians can get caught in the crossfire between tribes, drug runners and renegade soldiers.
One very disturbing development is the decimation of Christian communities in the countries where the U.S. has pursued terrorists. Iraq had over a million who claimed to be Christian before Saddam Hussein was deposed. Over half have been driven out of the country during the conflict by radical elements who took advantage of the chaos to behead leaders and bomb churches.
After $2 trillion and 6,700 American lives in the "war against terror," Iraq and Afghanistan are among the top five most dangerous places to be a Christian. Egypt and Syria have also moved up on the scale of persecution since the U.S. involvement in regime change. Muslim opportunists were quick to use the disruption to the advantage of Allah.
The "Arab Spring," that promised to bring greater freedom in Muslim countries has been hijacked by Jihadists and turned into a "Christian Nightmare." Emboldened by the success of Islam in purging Christians, Hindus and Buddhists have actually escalated attacks in countries like India and Pakistan.
Bible believers, we are living in a blip in history where religious freedom is the norm. We take it for granted but in most of the rest of the world it is just a dream. From the time of the apostles to today`s Boko Haram, a pounding on the door in the middle of the night is not just a passing nightmare, but a very real signal of torture and death ahead.
Jesus spoke of working while it is day for the night is coming. We see the shadows gathering with the advance of the "Freedom from Religion" movement purging every possible posting of the ten commandments, memorial crosses, and the legalizing of sin and perversion.
With so many looking to government instead of God for salvation, how shall the righteous prosper? By fighting back, snatching one soul at a time from Satan`s grasp.
And how do you know who might be open to the gospel? For generations, soul winners have used the simplicity of gospel tracts to sort them out. Those who "have ears to hear" will respond; those who don`t, will have no excuse at the day of judgment.
But if we don`t spread the Word, we will also be without excuse when we come with no harvest.