The Persecuted Church Part 2
Faarook, a former Muslim whom I wrote about yesterday and whose life was threatened because he became a Christian, emailed me to let me know he has received employment with a permit to live and work in a Western country. Praise God for this answered prayer.
“Blessed be the Lord, for he showed his wonderful love to me when I was in a besieged city.”1
In this age of ever-increasing terrorism, those of us who live in the free world need to recall what happened to ancient Rome—the superpower nation that ruled the then known world for 800 years. Timothy George in Christianity Today writes how, in the year 410, the city of Rome “was besieged and pillaged by an army of 40,000 ‘barbarians’ led by the Osama bin Laden of late antiquity, a wily warrior named Alaric. One can still see the effects of this cataclysmic event when walking through the ruins of the Roman Forum today.”2
“Before then, Roman coins bore the legend Invicta Roma Aeterna: eternal, unconquerable Rome. In many ways, Rome was like America prior to 9/11, the world's only superpower. But in 410, Rome's military power could not prevent its walls being breached, its women raped, and its sacred precincts burned and sacked.“When Jerome heard about the fall of Rome in faraway Bethlehem, he … sat stupefied in total silence for three days. ‘Rome was besieged,’ Jerome wrote to a friend. ‘The city to which the whole world fell has fallen. If Rome can perish, what can be safe?’"
A few short years later, “As Augustine lay dying in 430, a new wave of terror swept across the Mediterranean world. The Vandals, led by a ferocious warrior named Genseric, surrounded Hippo—bringing torture, violence, and disarray to its churches and its people. As Augustine chanted the psalms on his deathbed, he might have come across this verse in Psalm 31:21: ‘Blessed be the Lord, for he showed his wonderful love to me when I was in a besieged city.’”3
Most of us in the West know little, if anything, about being persecuted as are many Christians in today’s world. At most, Christians have been criticized while multiplied thousands, if not millions, in other lands are being raped, their homes and villages pillaged, and are being murdered and slaughtered for their faith in Christ.
As with the ancient Romans we in the U.S. tend to think such persecution couldn’t happen here. However, unless we realize our dependence on God, September 11, 2001, may just be the beginning of what is to come in the days and years ahead. Radical Muslims are determined to conquer and/or kill all non-Muslims—especially Christians, Jews and Americans.
So what can we do, not only in the U.S., but also throughout the free world? First, we who claim to be Christians need to be sure of our own faith and commitment to God and be ever thankful for our freedom and incredible blessings. Second, we need to pray for our Christian brothers and sisters who are being persecuted. Third,we also need to pray for their persecutors and the terrorists that they will pray to the God of Heaven to reveal to them the truth. Fourth, we need to support valid organizations that are ministering to the persecuted church. [See footnote.4]
Fifth, we need to pray for the leaders of the free world that they will also pray to God that they will see the truth of the world situation and act with great courage, wisdom, and integrity. And sixth, above all, you and I need to stand firm lest we fall.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, especially in this day and age of increasing terrorism around the world, help me to stand firm in my faith and trust in You, and please send a great spiritual awakening to my country so that our leaders will turn to and depend on You for guidance, protection, wisdom in knowing how to deal with terrorists. And help protect the persecuted Church no matter where it is. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."
1. Psalm 31:21.
2. Timothy George, “Theology for an Age of Terror,” Christianity Today, September 2006, Vol. 50, No. 9, Page 78. Online at http://tinyurl.com/pn4r8.
Copyright © 2006 Christianity Today.
4. NOTE: Organizations that minister to the persecuted Church. Open Doors at www.odusa.org/ and The Voice of the Martyrs at www.persecution.net/. These organizations were recommended by Dan Wooding of Assist News Service at www.assistnews.net.