Apr 25, 2017 by Will Maule

10 Dangerous Myths EVERY Christian Must Know About The Persecuted Church

When it comes to the persecuted Church, we must make sure we get our facts straight. There are often reports of arrests, imprisonments, and even killings of Christians across the world. Many of these are accurate, but some perpetuate certain myths that plague this area of news. So, Brian Orme at Open Doors USA has highlighted 10 key myths about the persecuted Church.

1. "It's only persecution if there's violence."
"The persecution of Christians includes violence—and we’ve been reminded of this lately with the terrible attacks on churches in Egypt during Palm Sunday worship—but Christian persecution also includes the slow and steady ostracizing and oppression of Christian citizens. We call this the ‘squeeze’. Many regions enforce long-term efforts to push Christians to the margins of society by cutting them off from community life, access to clinics and even jobs—treating them as lower-class citizens."

2. "Christians are most persecuted in the Middle East."
"The Middle East is a very difficult region for Christians to live out their faith in public. This is true. In places like Iran, Qatar and Eritrea, being a Christian is dangerous and risky, and it could cost you your life. However, if we’re talking about large-scale persecution, we have to think through the implications of countries like India, North Korea, Nigeria and even China. We don’t see these locations in the news as often, but persecution here—by sheer numbers—is overwhelming and far outnumbers the Middle East."

3. "Persecuted believers just want a way out."
"This is an important myth to dispel. We should pray for relief and human rights, but many Christians in these difficult regions are asking for us to pray for perseverance. They want to remain in their homeland to be a witness for the gospel. Sometimes they need to leave the region, but many believers ask us for prayers for strength, vital resources and critical training to remain bold in the midst of persecution for the glory of Jesus Christ."

4. "If ISIS were defeated, persecution in places like Iraq and Syria would cease."
"Indeed, ISIS is a violent offender of Christianity. Their terror efforts are wicked and all over the news. However, as widespread as ISIS is in the Middle East, when they are ousted, persecution in the region will not disappear. In a recent conversation with one of our Middle East field agents, I asked if Christians would breathe easy upon the complete removal of ISIS. His response: “No. As long as Muslims believe the Koran, Christians in the Middle East will face persecution. It’s about theology.”"

5. "Persecution has been worse in the past."
"False. We are living in a time when persecution is at an all-time high. Over 200 million Christians face persecution on a regular basis. Every month, 322 Christians are killed for their faith; 214 Churches are destroyed, and 722 acts of violence are committed against Christians. We’ve gone through tough periods in the past, no doubt, but, globally, it’s never been more intense than it is in this very moment of history."

6. "God uses persecution for punishment." 
"Let’s be honest; this is an elitist view. It’s too easy to look down on cultures that are less developed and misunderstand their lack of development for lack of spiritual growth or obedience. It’s simply not true. More technology, development or economic advancement doesn’t equal stronger spirituality. And to add, God uses persecution as part of His sovereign plan to spread the gospel and strengthen believers. Persecution was prevalent in the early church and the apostles, especially with Paul."

7. "Persecution always hurts the Church."
"It does hurt the church in the sense of pain, suffering and loss, but God has a way of leveraging all of these things to spread the gospel—just like He did in Acts—to strengthen the church. It’s hard to wrap our minds around it, at least it is for me, but God uses persecution for the advancement of His Kingdom." 

8. "Global persecution of Christians doesn't affect the Church in the US." 
"False. I’m guilty of this one—and it’s dangerous to think this way. We are one Body. When one part suffers, we all suffer. That’s why it’s so important to stay in the know about what’s happening globally in the church. When a bomb goes off in Egypt, a bomb goes off in the church everywhere. When a believer in India is kicked out of their village for their faith, we’re all kicked out of our village for our faith. When a believer is imprisoned in North Korea, we’re all imprisoned." 

9. "Christian persecution is just cultural."
"There are many cultural complexities, this is true. From Somalia to Syria, cultural differences are deeply embedded, and they contribute to persecution—whether it’s governmental, nationalistic or faith-related. However, persecution goes much deeper. At the very root of it all—there’s a spiritual issue and battle. What we’re fighting against is not physical. As Paul states in Ephesians, “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”"

10. "There's not much we can do..."
"This is, perhaps, one of the most dangerous myths out there. It’s easy to blow off Christian persecution as something distant, unchangeable and too complex to change. However, there are so many things we can do—every day—to enter the battle and lift up our brothers and sisters who are suffering around the world for their faith. Prayer is our greatest weapon. It goes beyond strongholds, and into places we could never venture. And if you believe the book of Acts, prayer can break chains, release prisoners, bring aid and relief to suffering saints like no other resource. We can also volunteer to be an advocate and create awareness, write letters, sign petitions and lead prayer groups."

To learn more about the work of Open Doors USA, visit their website here

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