When pastor Youseff was jailed in Iran, we prayed every day for his release and for his family. We prayed for his persecutors to have their hearts transformed by God. The day I received an email from ACLJ announcing his release, I sobbed. My children got to see God move, and it was amazing. Unfortunately, Pastor Youseff is only one of many Christians who are suffering (or have suffered) persecution around the world.
I’m a daily listener to John Stonestreet’s The Point Radio. When I heard Stonestreet recommend this book, (affiliate link) Persecuted: The Global Assault on Christians, I immediately added it to my wish list. When I discovered it was available for review from Thomas Nelson, I quickly requested a copy.
This book is an important read for anyone who wants to know the truth about what is happening around the world to our brothers and sisters of faith. I have read page after page with a knot in my stomach, as I learn the horrific details about what is happening in various pockets of the globe.
Whether you’re a Christian or not, human rights are being violated in the most atrocious ways, while governments either instigate, propagate or completely ignore what is happening.
This book is a painful, difficult read. It is dense and full of so much information that it’s easy to become overwhelmed and feel completely helpless in this struggle. But I still say, you should read it. Pretending these atrocities aren’t happening is not the answer. Closing our eyes to the truth will not make it disappear. We have a responsibility to respond:
Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. Hebrews 13:3
One thing I particularly appreciated about this book, is that though the subject matter undoubtedly causes an emotional reaction, the book is not written in such a way as to work the reader up emotionally. The facts carry their own weight and the reaction you have while reading it, is a natural one, that comes from recognizing the gravity of these atrocities. It’s more a presentation of information, without the overt interjection of the author’s opinions–in other words, this book felt more documentative, without pushing an agenda. I think this lends well to reaching a broader audience outside of exclusively Christian circles. Persecution of people of Christian faith carries widespread implications for people of other religions, this is not just the church’s problem.
If you don’t know what to do, let this book motivate you to pray. Pray for our friends in the body who are suffering, and pray for the nations who work fiercely to snuff out the light of Christ within their borders. Stop buying things made in countries where Christians are being persecuted. The book mentions that in China, captured Christians are sent to work camps, where they are forced to make goods for export. I hate to think that something we are buying has been made by a fellow member of the body who has been captured and beaten, and endures daily persecution while feeding the machine of consumerism.
We pray almost daily, with the help of these prayer cards from Voice Of The Martyrs.
This is from the Amazon site:
Many Americans do not understand that Christians today are victims in many parts of the world. Even many Western Christians, who worship and pray without fear of violent repercussions, are unaware that so many followers of Christ live under governments and among people who are often openly hostile to their faith. They think martyrdom became a rarity long ago.
Persecuted soundly refutes these assumptions. This book offers a glimpse at the modern-day life of Christians worldwide, recounting the ongoing attacks that rarely make international headlines.
As Western Christians pray for the future of Christ’schurch, it is vital that they understand a large part of the world’s Christian believers live in danger.Persecuted gives documented accounts of the persecution of Christians in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and former Soviet nations. It contains vivid stories of men and women who suffer abuse because of their faith in Jesus Christ, and tells of their perseverance and courage..
Persecution is real, it’s more horrific than we imagine, and we need to be informed. I recommend everyone read through this book, and get on your knees for our fellows in the faith. This book will certainly give you plenty of food for your prayers.
Jesus, come quickly.
* I was given a copy of this book for the purpose of my review. This post reflects my personal opinions only.