Coptic Altar- Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem -via Wikipedia
I keep track of what is happening to Christians in the Middle east, it is really heartbreaking. I’ve been a supporter of Israel and still am, but let’s face it Palestinian Christians receive persecution from both the Jews and the Muslims. I have no answers for what’s happening except to pray.
Seven years ago, the Lord gave me a burden for the Muslims and for revival in the Middle East and I have been praying ever since. Everyday I search the net for stories about Christians in Muslim countries and unfortunately the reports are nearly always bad–except there is the beginning of a hidden revival going on among the Christian community in a number of places.
As near as we can tell, 200,000 Iranians have come to Christ in the last 5 years or so. Nearly every week I read from Compass Direct News or on the VOM Persecution blog of Iranians being arrested, killed, or their children being taken. In response to the revival, the Iranian Parliament just passed a law that would place an automatic death sentence on all who convert to Christianity.
There is also a revival going on in Algeria as near as we can tell, 50,000-70,000 have come to Christ in that country and persecution has increased to the point that they have made it illegal for Christians to gather together in private homes for prayer–it is only legal in an official church. Like the Chinese revival, the real expansion is going on in house churches and not in the recognized churches.
Egypt is another story. The Coptic Christian community comprises about 10% of the Egyptian population but persecution is increasing because the Muslims are becoming more radical, but also because more and more folks are coming to Christ regardless–usually in miraculous ways. It is illegal there for Muslims to convert to Christianity, but ok the other way around. If a father converts to Islam, all his children and grandchildren are considered to be Muslims whether they want to be or not!
Presently, churches are illegal in Saudi Arabia and it is also against the law to hold bible studies or worship services in the home, but that is the only place that the 1.5 million Christians in the country can meet together. If caught, Christians are thrown in jail after receiving lashes for their faith (just like the book of Acts). There is hope that soon some churches may be allowed in the country.
I could go on for ever about this subject—here are the two articles that got me going today:
Persecution Blog- "Christians Are Being Persecuted in Most Arab Countries"
Christianity Today-"Listening and Learning in the Middle East"
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