All over the world today, there is not only an increase in the frequency of persecution against Christians but also an increase in the boldness and severity of it all. Currently, there is outrage amongst the Christian community in the Middle East because the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia recently called for churches in the region to be destroyed. This follows Kuwait’s move to ban churches from being constructed in the country.
The intolerance of certain quarters of Islam towards the Christian faith is nothing new but this decree by the Grand Mufti is a worrying development because he is the highest official of religious law in the Sunni Muslim kingdom. He is also the head of the Supreme Council of Ulema (Islamic Scholars) and of the Standing Committee for Scientific Research and Issuing of Fatwas.
One wonders why such drastic measures keep being adopted by certain quarters of Islam against Christians who live peaceful lives in those regions? Is it as a result of fear? Is it that the Christians are a menace to society? Is it that the churches are too noisy? Or is it that they see the Christian faith as a threat that needs to be controlled before it attracts more Muslims to the truth of Jesus Christ? I may not fully grasp the complexities of what lies beneath such persecution but what I do know is that destroying churches will never destroy the faith of those who have committed their lives to follow Christ.
It is not enough for us to blog about things like this or even allow ourselves a moment or two of righteous indignation. We must go beyond that and fellowship with the sufferings of our Christian brothers and sisters who are constantly being denied their freedom to exercise the privilege of worship and fellowship. We must not take our freedom for granted. More than that, we should exhibit our gratitude for it by fervently praying for Christians living in such places. Let us pray that their faith will not fail. Let us pray that there will be conviction in the hearts of the leaders in those regions so they will pass laws that will allow Christians to worship God in peace. Let us pray that God will make a way for peace to exist between people of different faiths in those regions but that ultimately, souls will come to the knowledge and experience of the Truth Himself.
Ironically, one of the ingredients for the growth of the Church is persecution. When unbelievers see committed Christians prepared to risk a lot just to worship their God openly, something touches them deep inside. When Stephen was martyred by the Jews, his attitude in death must have sown a seed in Paul’s heart and that seed became a bountiful harvest for God’s kingdom on the road to Damascus, where Saul, the churches most zealous persecutor became Paul, the churches greatest writer and defender.
So let’s take heart from the fact that the battle is the Lord’s. We will not become entangled in a tit for tat requesting mosques to be destroyed because the power is not in a building but in a Person and He is indestructible. He is the Author and Finisher of our faith. He is the Alpha and Omega. He is the beginning and the end. His name is Jesus Christ and He said He will build His Church on the rock of the revelation of Who He is and the gates of hell will not be able to prevail against it.