If one member suffers, all suffer together – 1 Corinthians 12:26
When an individual finds Christ in a free country, such as America or Britain, he can live a well and quiet life, with no fear of repercussion. When an individual finds Christ in a country that captures believers, he lives with the fear of knowing that at any moment he may be captured and subjected to torture and death.
Richard Wurmbrand, a well-known survivor of persecution in the Underground Church, tells us stories of the persecuted Christians; I’m going to share a few stories from his book, Tortured for Christ1. Wurmbrand himself was subjected to torture which included having many bones broken, burning and holes on his skin, being carved in many places on his body, and being beaten senselessly. He writes about how women have it worse, because, in addition to all the torture they have to endure, they were also raped by the prison guards. Sometimes Christians would be beaten to death, which would last several weeks. The guards would give the man food to regain his strength, and then beat him again. This process would continue until the Christian died a slow painful death. He says that many times the following would happen: a brother would be preaching, the guards would come in, beat him ruthlessly and throw him back bloodied and bruised, and the brother would say “now, brethren, where did I leave of when I was interrupted?” and he’d continue the message. I’d ask, would an individual in the West be able to do what this man did? Sometimes the guards that tortured the Christian prisoners would end up being prisoners too. And while the non-Christians showed their hatred towards and beat these guards, the Christians loved and prayed for them, and went as far as to give these guards their last piece of bread and/or medicine. Again, I’d ask, if this happened to us in the West, what would our attitude be towards these guards if they persecuted us? The last story I want to share by him is this: Two Christian sisters became prostitutes to support their younger brother and sick mother. After a while the girls got jobs informing (snitching) to the police about other Christians, their locations, etc. Wurmbrand writes: “Don’t just say that this is ugly and immoral – of course it is – but ask yourself if it is not also your sin that such tragedies occur, that such Christian families are left alone, and are not helped by you who are free.”
He’s right. I’ve come across clergy members who don’t talk about our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ because “it might upset or offend the congregation”. Right. Okay. I’ve come across Christians who use the excuse that “the Bible says there’s always going to be persecuted Christians” as if we shouldn’t do anything to protect or provide for them. Jesus also said there will always be the poor among us, does that mean we should just ignore the poor when we see them? Pretty sure that’s a no. Fun fact: When Wurmbrand was released, he visited many churches in the USA and UK and he was appalled. So appalled he left and went back to Romania to help his siblings in Christ and be imprisoned again. Appalled at the fact that all the talks in these churches and seminars revolve around theological non-essential issues such as, “was the flood real”, “which miracle of Moses was true”, “how can we believe the Virgin story” etc., but never about persecuted Christians who are held captive in other countries. While these topics are important, he’s right. I have yet to attend a church service that talks about persecuted Christians.
Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body – Hebrews 13:3
Today, North Korea has been ranked the number one country where Christians face the most persecution; there are 50,000-70,000 Christians imprisoned in labour camps.2 80% of Christians in Iraq had to flee due to severe persecution in the past 13 years, and half the Christian population in Syria has fled also, that’s about 700,000.3 Recently, after ISIS vowed to kill the Christians in Egypt, six Christians have been shot dead and one burned, while the rest, about 150 families in Sinai have fled with no more than just the clothes they’re wearing.4 In India, a Christian couple who refused to deny Christ were tied and forced to stand neck-deep in a freezing pond for 17 hours. When the couple didn’t die, the villagers took them out and beat them; the husband died from this.5 Also in India, over 350 Christians were physically attacked and nine were killed for their faith, and at least three women were raped.6 In Syria, ISIS burned six men and used a dough mixer to kill 250 children.7 I can go on and on with these but I think you get the point. Christians in the Middle East and Asia are being subjected to brutal torture and death solely because they believe in Christ. Be angry. Be Outraged. But take action.
How Western Christians Can Help
Pray. If we believe that prayer is the most powerful weapon, why are we not praying every moment of our lives? It becomes a little hypocritical of us. This is a great prayer map that gives you a little more information about each country and its persecution. Open Doors gives you prayer requests from persecuted Christians around the world.
Write letters. You can write letters to Christians who are imprisoned. It won’t even take 5 minutes of your time but will strengthen your brother/sister in Christ; knowing that others are supporting and praying with them. Write to them. You can do that here and here.
Donate. Mission Take Heart and Open Doors are two of the best organizations that help persecuted Christians. All your donations go to Bibles, safe houses, trauma counseling, food, medicine, etc. You can also sponsor a child.
Advocate. When Wilberforce was trying to outlaw slavery in the UK, he couldn’t do it from the legal side alone, he had the help of his friends who went out and publicly condemned and spoke out against slavery. Speak out. Every opportunity you get, speak out against the inhumane persecution that’s going on in our world. If you have a voice on social media, speak out. If you are a clergy member, speak out. If you are a leader, teacher, speaker, speak out. Let the voices of the persecuted Christians be heard.
Politically. Contact your local/state government officials. There are tons of bills that we can sign/support that can help persecuted Christians. The government has done a good job of barring Christian refugees, particularly from Middle Eastern countries. This is ridiculous. Not only are Christians a minority in the ME, but they’re targeted by both ISIS, Muslim extremists, mobs, and individuals. Just last month a Coptic man was beheaded for selling alcohol in his store. Beheaded…for selling alcohol. That is insane. We cannot let this go on.
Your gifts. Use your God-given gifts to help. If your talent is to make and edit videos, make videos about persecuted Christians and help to spread awareness. If your talent is to sing, make music, do art, do so about persecuted Christians.
This is our duty. We are commanded to stand up for those who are weak, poor, beaten down, and treated unfairly. And God will hold us accountable if we do not care for our family in Christ. For those of us who live in the West, we are privileged to have the freedom to worship God freely, and we take that for granted. Take action. Don’t delay. Fight for your brothers and sisters in Christ that don’t have the same freedom as you.
- Tortured For Christ – Richard Wurmbrand