“yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service (John 16:2).”
The Church continues to face the end-time persecution the Lord told us to be prepared for. Particularly severe is the wrath of the Islamic Mujahedeen – all over the world. From Kaduna to Kenya, Florida to China, hundreds of people are being maimed, raped, cast overboard into the sea, beheaded, crucified, and burnt alive – all because they choose to serve Jesus, and not Allah.
Detailed documentation of these atrocities are prepared periodically by people like Raymond Ibrahim (see http://www.raymondibrahim.com/category/muslim-persecution-of-christians/). These serve to alert those who, being unaware, are dozing off and are liable to suffer the same fate if they don’t take the correct decisions and actions on time. The reports as well encourage those at the receiving end of persecution, buoyed by the knowledge that their sufferings are not unnoted by the world, especially by their brethren. Thus, such sufferings are not in vain, and as the saying goes, become the fertilizer to take the Church to new levels of maturity and growth.
We begin our sample compilation from Kaduna State, Nigeria where the parish of the Living Faith church (Winners Chapel) in Giwa Local government was set ablaze in broad day light, around 2.30pm on Friday March 20th. The perpetrators were two hoodlums who came and escaped on a motor bike. According to a joint-statement by General Ishaku Ahmed Dikko, president of Tarayyar Masihiyawan Nigeria, comprising Hausa, Fulani and Kanuri christians, and Mr Sunny Oibe, Director of National Issues, CAN, “The Church was razed to the ground and nothing was saved from the Church. The building burnt to the ground.” This incident came amidst the string of outstanding victories the LORD has been giving the nation in her fight against insurgency, and it was believed this particular attack was politically motivated.
Similarly, the New Shiloh Christian Church in Melbourne on Sarno Road. Central Florida was torched by vandals who spray-painted “Allahu Akbar” and drew the swastika as their signature. At least this particular church-burning happened around 3 am in the night, and not broad daylight as in the case at Kaduna. About 1,500 members attend the church.
From Pakistan came the sad news of at least 14 people killed and 70 others injured on Sunday March 15 when two bombs went off near the Catholic Church and the Christ Church in Lahore. Details here.
And while the West panders and apologizes to Islam, the Saudi grand mufti is insisting that the Islamic law that forbids non-moslem religions sites on the Arabian Peninsula must be effected. Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah particularly wants all sites where Christianity is practiced on the “holy land” to be razed.
But Islamic Mujahedeen are not the only ones razing down Church buildings. Following heart-warming news that Christianity is literally experiencing explosive growth in China, the Communist Party has stepped up her open antagonism. According to reports in the Telegraph, a recent “anti-church” demolition campaign has seen “hundreds of places of worship partially or completely destroyed.” A Chinese preacher, Huang Yizi who rose to oppose the campaign has found himself framed up, and charged with “gathering crowds to disturb social order.” Unless there is some special intervention, he will be spending the next one year in jail.
But all the above are like mere child-play compared to atrocities being committed by the Islamic State (IS) organization in the Middle East. Hundreds of Christians are being abducted, week after week from their villages in Syria, and now outrageous ransoms ($100,000 per person) are being demanded for their release. According to a Lebanese Member of Parliament, Samy Gemayel, unless something happens quick to halt the persecution of Christians caught between the IS on one hand and Iran on the other, there would be no single Christian left in the Middle East within the next two years (http://www.wnd.com/2015/03/no-more-christians-in-mideast-within-2-years/)
No ransom however was requested for the 21 Egyptian Christians who were abducted by the IS in Libya. A video footage released on the internet showed them donned in orange overalls being forced to the ground and then decapitated in cold blood. Similar fate was meted to the group of about 30 Ethiopian Christians, presumably intercepted on route to Europe seeking refuge. Even Christian refugees who managed to get aboard the Europe-bound dinghies are not safe from Islamists. Just for the “crime” of being Christians, twelve of them were cast overboard and drowned in the sea, by fellow refugees, who happened to be moslems.(see http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2015/april/muslim-migrants-throw-christians-overboard-mediterranean.html)
The mother of all Islam-inspired killings of Christians in recent times would however be the raid on the Garissa University in Kenya on Thursday April 2. Four masked gunmen threw explosives at the main gate of the Campus, entered, and started shooting amidst shouts of “Allahu Akbar”. In taking responsibility for the attack, spokesman for the Al-Shabaab, Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab gloated: “We sorted people out and released the Muslims. There are many dead bodies of Christians inside the building. We are also holding many Christians alive”. Over 140 laid dead at the end of the horrible exercise. The insult upon the injury in the case was the initial efforts by the world to treat the terrible attack as “having nothing to do with religion”. This position was championed by President Obama of the United States, whose father, we should not forget, was a Kenyan moslem.
In all of these, the LORD remains sovereign on His throne. Now and then the LORD reaches out with His interventions in the manner described in Heb 11:35. A near-comical intervention occurred in Villejuif, France when a would-be assassin, Sid Ahmed Ghlam, having completed his detailed plans, ended up shooting himself accidentally in the car. Afraid he would bleed to death, the 24 year old computer science student frantically called on medics, who after treating him, invited the police to investigate the “arsenal of live weapons in his car”. Police later found more weapons together with the details of proposed strike on one or two churches in the town.