- Foundations of Truth
To Die For
Persecution for the faith is not new to Christianity. As in the early church, Christians stand in peril for their faith in many countries. Steeped in pagan religion that requires citizens to participate without choice leaves the Christian in danger of losing their lives and the lives of their family. Christianity is a choice of life or death. They choose life in Christ, and many are martyred for it.
“To die for” are words used loosely for a favorite fashion to the face of a celebrity. Used loosely but rarely seriously. But some Christians live in fear of their lives for their faith every day. The Worlds Watch List was recently reported by Open Doors. [i] Topping the list of Christians in danger are Islamic countries and communist countries. Afghanistan and North Korea are at the top of the list.
Since their nation fell to the Taliban in August, Afghan Christians who did not escape live in fear and isolation. The Taliban goal is total elimination of Christianity. The estimated 10,000-12,000 remaining Christians are converts from Islam and hated even more for that fact. When they decide to choose Christianity, they and their families are in danger of losing their jobs, their freedom to attend Universities, and their lives.[ii]
North Korea once was considered “the Jerusalem of the East”. In the early 1900s there were over 2,000 churches. Now the communist-inspired dictatorship is founded upon Juche, which is a North Korean religious ideology requiring the worship of the Kim family. Those who are found with a Bible or an interest in Christ are tortured and subjected to work camps with horrendous conditions and brutality. Entire families are subjected to the same sentence so that they can be made an example to others. Children are raised in Korea to spy on family members and parents and to report to authorities if they find any insurrections.[iii] There are an estimated 50,000-70,000 Christians imprisoned in these harsh prisons and labor camps.[iv] There is an estimate of 400,000 Christians in North Korea that are underground and secretive. They are willing “to die for” their faith.
Much of Africa practices Islam. To refuse Islam and embrace Christianity is considered a betrayal to the community and family. Christians are highly targeted by al-Shabab. A woman named “Fatuma” who lives in the Horn of Africa was arrested with her husband, for their faith. “The first time in court, they made us sign death certificates…they told us, ‘You have to deny Jesus right now,’ and we said, ‘No, we will not deny the Lord, but we will rather sign for our death.’”[v]
In 2021, 1 in 7 believers around the world suffered persecution for their faith. An average of 16 believers a day died for following Jesus. An estimated 360 million Christians face significant trials for their faith.[vi] Christian, are you willing and prepared “to die for” your faith today? Pray for those who are.
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[i] https://www.opendoorsusa.org/about-us/ [ii] https://baptistnews.com/article/the-few-remaining-christians-in-afghanistan-live-in-constant-fear-even-of-their-own-families/#.YwfDFXbMJKN [iii] https://www.persecution.com/globalprayerguide/north-korea/ [iv] https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/world-watch-list/north-korea/ [v] https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/world-watch-list/somalia/ [vi] https://research.lifeway.com/2022/01/28/1-in-7-global-christians-faced-persecution-in-2021/