Q: Our pastor said last week that more Christians are being persecuted for their faith today than ever before. Is this true? Why don’t we hear more about it? — V.B.
A: Yes, this is true; in many parts of the world Christians today are facing opposition or even active persecution on an unprecedented scale. Although we seldom hear about it (except when a church is bombed or large numbers are forced from their homes), more people are being imprisoned or put to death because of their Christian faith than ever before.
One reason, of course, is because there are more Christians today than ever before, and they also are found in more countries today than ever before. In many places they are only a small minority, and often they are seen as a threat by their neighbors to their old ways of living. Some live in nations where their government is hostile to Christians; others face fierce opposition from other religions.
The persecution of Christians is not new; since the beginning, Christians have been opposed and even tortured and put to death. We should not be surprised at this; Satan will do everything he can to drive people away from the truth of the Gospel. Satan does not willingly give up his territory! Jesus warned, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first” (John 15:18).
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Although we still enjoy many freedoms in our society, we should not be blind to the fact that we are becoming increasingly secular. Yes, we should pray for revival, but we also should pray that we will be faithful to Christ, no matter what the future holds. And pray especially for your fellow believers who are facing persecution, “as if you were together with them in prison” (Hebrews 13:3).
Write to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201 or visit www.billygraham.org.