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Every day, 13 Christians worldwide are killed because of their faith. Every day, 12 churches or Christian buildings are attacked. And every day, 12 Christians are unjustly arrested or imprisoned, and another 5 are abducted. So reports the 2021 World Watch List (WWL), the latest annual accounting from Open Doors of the top 50 countries where Christians are the most persecuted for following Jesus.

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2021/january/christian-persecution-2021-countries-open-doors-watch-list.html

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Part 50 Recap Post


Hello Readers, hope all’s well. Today I present another End Times post.

We know, because Jesus warned us, that the Christian life comes with persecution (Matthew 10:22). The world will hate us because we confess Him as our LORD and Savior and Love.

(22) Everyone will hate you on account of my name. But whoever stands firm until the end will be saved.

Matthew 10:22 (CEB)

So we should not be surprised by any rejection we face trying to live our Christian lives or evangelize. But there are different levels to the kind of opposition and rejection we face.

At the lowest level, we can expect to be mocked and ridiculed for our Christian beliefs. This is fine—we can easily turn the other cheek to this, no problem. It’s best to let this go immediately and don’t even respond to it—a tactic which is very irritating to the mocker!

But at the other end of the scale, Christians facing the highest level of persecution risk death. There are countless Christians in this world under the constant threat of death or imprisonment. We know that in the End Times there will be increasing persecution of Christians. If we look around our world today, we can already see this happening in many countries.

To learn more, today we’re going to look at the five countries in the world where Christians face the most persecution in 2021.

There are two reasons for my post today. First, I ask you all to pray for the Christians who face persecution for practicing their Faith. Second, I want us to all be grateful if we don’t live under this persecution. If you, like me, live in a country where we can go to church and have zero anxiety about getting arrested or killed, then we must be grateful for it. We must thank God for that, because we can look around the world and see that things could be much, much different for us.

To be able to openly confess and practice our Faith is a true blessing. Keep that in mind as we read this new report on the state of Christian persecution around the world.

Persecution around the World

Every day, 13 Christians worldwide are killed because of their faith. Every day, 12 churches or Christian buildings are attacked. And every day, 12 Christians are unjustly arrested or imprisoned, and another 5 are abducted. So reports the 2021 World Watch List (WWL), the latest annual accounting from Open Doors of the top 50 countries where Christians are the most persecuted for following Jesus.

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2021/january/christian-persecution-2021-countries-open-doors-watch-list.html

That’s how Christianity Today opens their summary of the 2021 World Watch List report. That report is created each year by the Open Doors Foundation.

This list of fifty countries gives a score of how bad persecution of Christians is in each country. It also gives a brief report on that country and what life is like there for Christians. What’s the source or reason for the persecution of Christians in that country, that kind of thing.

But it also notes that just because a country didn’t make it into the top fifty doesn’t mean there isn’t persecution there. There are many countries besides these fifty where Christians are persecuted. So let’s keep that in mind too.

Anyway, let’s look at the five worst countries from the 2021 World Watch List report. I do encourage you to follow the link and check out the report for yourself.

#5: Pakistan

Score: 88

Region: Asia

Persecution Type: Islamic oppression

What does persecution look like in Pakistan? What is life like for Christians?

Christians in Pakistan face extreme persecution in every area of their lives. Believers who have converted from Islam face the greatest levels of persecution, but all Christians are considered second-class citizens in this strongly Islamic country. They are given jobs perceived as low, dirty and dishonorable, and can be victims of bonded labor. There are some Christians among the middle classes, but they are still considered inferior to their Muslim counterparts and often face severe workplace discrimination.
Christian girls are at risk of abduction and rape, and are often forced to marry their attackers and coerced into converting to Islam.
Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws are used to target Christians, and Islamic extremist groups vehemently “defend” these laws, including attacking or killing those believed to have contravened them.
Christian churches do exist, but those that are active in outreach face severe persecution from society.

https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/world-watch-list/pakistan/

Here we see how even if Christianity is legal in a country, Christians can still be persecuted anyway. Though churches exist, the country also uses its blasphemy laws to target Christians.

Those blasphemy laws are especially dangerous. With those laws, the persecution is officially sanctioned and performed by the government. Extremists who murder Christians without sanction could be punished under the law (unlikely, but possible). But if the government is actually doing the persecuting, then there’s no hope for justice.

#4: Libya

Score: 92

Region: Africa

Persecution Type: Islamic oppression

What does persecution look like in Libya? What is life like for Christians?

There is no freedom of speech, no freedom of religion and very limited possibility of public church life in Libya. Although there are around 34,500 Christians in the country, only a tiny number (approximately 150) are Libyan—the majority are expatriate and migrant workers.
Libyan Christians from a Muslim background face violent and intense pressure from their family and the wider community to renounce their faith. They—as well as foreign Christians—are also vulnerable to abduction or murder by Islamic militant groups and organized crime groups.
Sharing your faith publicly is illegal in Libya, and those who try to share their Christian faith with others risk violent opposition and arrest. Without a central government, the country is effectively in a state of lawless anarchy. There is little chance of legal justice when Christians are attacked or killed.
Christians migrating from sub-Saharan Africa are also vulnerable to being held in detention centers being abused, tortured and extorted by their traffickers. Believers are often forced into intense labor or prostitution.

https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/world-watch-list/libya/

It’s confusing to me how there is lawless anarchy but also sharing your faith publicly is illegal. But the contradiction shows the truth of the issue: Christians are specially singled out for persecution.

If Libyan Christians can’t share their Faith without facing violent opposition or arrest, they pay a too-heavy price for obeying the Great Commission as all Christians must. We must all respect and admire the strong Faith of those Christians who evangelize in Libya, despite the risks.

I don’t know about you, but this certainly makes me feel like a weak Christian. I could evangelize and profess the Faith any time I want to, but I don’t. The most opposition I would face would be people making fun of me. But Christians in Libya face actual consequences for evangelizing. Yet they have so much love for those who hate them, they still try to save the souls of those who kill them for evangelizing. Amazing.

#3: Somalia

Score: 92

Region: Africa

Persecution Type: Clan oppression

What does persecution look like in Somalia? What is life like for Christians?

It is impossible to publicly admit your Christian faith in Somalia, and “church life” is non-existent. Islam is considered a crucial part of Somali identity, and if any Somali is suspected of having converted to Christianity, they are in great danger. Members of their family, clan or community will harass, intimidate or even kill them. Women may be raped and forcibly married.
Christians are also in danger from al-Shabab, a violent group that advocates Shariah (Islamic law) as the basis for regulating all aspects of life. Christians from a Muslim background are considered a “high-value target” by al-Shabab, who have often executed believers on the spot, when discovered.
If a Christian man is killed or abducted, his whole family suffers, as the man is usually the breadwinner. The remaining family are often left unprotected and seen as a stain on the community.

https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/world-watch-list/somalia/

It’s no wonder there’s no church-life in Somalia if Christians are hunted down and killed. Even someone suspected of converting to Christianity is in great danger.

Without a church, there can’t be a vibrant, thriving Christian community. Let’s all compare our own situation to Somalia, and know what a blessing it is to be able to go to church and worship with other Christians. Christians in Somalia don’t have that blessing. Much like the first Christians ever, they must be forced to worship in secret, underground churches.

Let’s think to ourselves for a moment. If we faced these levels of persecution, would we still hold on to our Christian Faith? Would we still risk it? I don’t know if I could, to be honest. But there are Christians in this world, like in Somalia, who hold firm to the Promise of the Gospel and face the persecution anyway.

#2: Afghanistan

Score: 94

Region: Central Asia

Persecution Type: Clan oppression

What does persecution look like in Afghanistan? What is life like for Christians?

It is impossible to live openly as a Christian in Afghanistan. Leaving Islam is considered shameful, and Christian converts face dire consequences if their new faith is discovered. Either they have to flee the country or they will be killed.
If a Christian’s family discovers they have converted, their family, clan or tribe has to save its “honor” by disowning the believer, or even killing them. Christians from a Muslim background can also be sectioned in a psychiatric hospital, because leaving Islam is considered a sign of insanity.

https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/world-watch-list/afghanistan/

That last part is very hurtful to me. It’s not fair for anyone to be sent to the psychiatric hospital for leaving Islam (or any religion). The psychiatric hospital is a place where a person’s rights can be easily violated. They can’t leave until the doctors allow it. And in this case, the doctors will almost certainly have strong prejudices toward Christians.

This is another example where the persecution comes from the dominant culture in a country creating so much pressure on anyone who is different from that culture. In Afghanistan we see this with families disowning or even killing those who convert to Christianity. The fact that people still convert at all shows the strength of their Faith and conviction.

#1: North Korea

Score: 94

Region: Asia

Persecution Type: Communist and post-communist oppression

What does persecution look like in North Korea? What is life like for Christians?

Being discovered as a Christian is a death sentence in North Korea. If you aren’t killed instantly, you will be taken to a labor camp as a political criminal. These inhumane prisons have horrific conditions, and few believers make it out alive. Everyone in your family will share the same punishment. Kim Jong-un is reported to have expanded the system of prison camps, in which an estimated 50-70,000 Christians are currently imprisoned.
Most Christians are unable to meet with other believers, and have to keep their faith entirely hidden. There are even stories of husbands and wives not knowing, for many years, that their spouse was also a Christian.
Secret police carry out raids to identify Christians, and children are encouraged to tell their teachers about any sign of faith in their parents’ home. A Christian is never safe.

https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/world-watch-list/north-korea/

North Korea is the worst on the list, with good reason. Christians are enemies of the state in North Korea. Having a Bible can get you killed. Church is completely out of the question of course. And the secret police are on the prowl, looking for Christians to catch.

It’s sad to think that Christians in North Korea are deprived of church, Bibles, and worship. Their Faith must be a very internal, personal type of silent Faith. Although God is pleased by that kind of Faith too, it’s nothing like the way the Faith experience should be.

Again, let’s all reflect on what a blessing it is to be able to worship and practice our Faith without fear of jail or death.

It’s amazing that the Christian Faith is present at all. How does that happen? That’s the work of the great missionaries and preachers who are always trying to spread the Gospel where it hasn’t been heard. We owe them respect too.

Give Respect, and Give Thanks

I’ll finish with the same verse I started with—Matthew 10:22.

(22) Everyone will hate you on account of my name. But whoever stands firm until the end will be saved.

Matthew 10:22 (CEB)

We know that the world will hate us and be hostile to the Christian message at all times. But we also know that in the End Times, there will be even more persecution of the church. The 2021 World Watch List shows that in some countries, this persecution already happens every day.

Let’s all pray for the Christians facing this kind of persecution around the world. Let’s give them the full respect they deserve for the strength of their Faith. Let’s recognize their courage in being Christian in the face of such danger.
And let’s recognize the blessing of being able to practice our Faith with no fear of death or imprisonment. And let’s all admire the strength of Faith that persecuted Christians have. There are so many deadly risks for them in being a Christian. But they hold firm to the Christian Faith anyway. Let’s ask ourselves if we would have the courage and Faith to be a Christian if we were in their situation.

God wants us to be grateful for all our blessings. It’s important to recognize the blessings many of us often take for granted. I live in a country where I can go to church and be a Christian with no fear. How about you? If you have the same freedom to practice the Faith like I do, then let’s thank and praise our good God even louder this weekend.

And let’s never stop praying for those who can’t do the same.


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Until next time, be strong and do good!

Your new best friend in Christ,

99:9

<<<EXALT THE LORD OUR GOD AND WORSHIP AT HIS HOLY HILL; FOR THE LORD OUR GOD IS HOLY>>>


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3 comments on “Do Not Fear the End Times Part 90: Persecution World

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