The president of an organization that reports on the global persecution of Christians recently penned an op-ed in which he lamented the American Church’s lack of interest in the suffering of their brothers and sisters in other countries.
David Curry, the president of Open Doors USA, which also publishes an annual World Watch List on the 50 most dangerous places to live as a Christian, noted that hostility against Christians is increasing everywhere in article published by USA Today. Yet, it is ho-hum to many because it does not involve events on American soil.
He provided an example, noting that in May, abductors interrupted a church choir practice and kidnapped 17 Christians. Some may never see their families again. Some of the women may be raped, sold into slavery, or forced to marry jihadists. But it is far from the only incident in Nigeria, where 3,731 Christians were killed just last years.
“If such violence had occurred in Nashville rather than Nigeria, it would dominate nightly news broadcasts and saturate social media feeds. American churches would be launching fundraising campaigns for victims’ families and addressing it in their weekly gatherings. In this case, however, the American Church has barely acknowledged it,” Curry said.
“Unfortunately, when violence occurs somewhere ‘over there’ instead of in our backyard, it is often dismissed as just another story. American churches must do better,” he stated.
Curry outlined that one in every nine Christians worldwide suffers for their faith, and it is not solely in Nigeria or the Middle East where including ISIS terrorized many in Iraq and Syria, causing hundreds of thousands to flee their homes as refugees.
In Sri Lanka, more than 300 Christians and Catholics alike were killed by bombings in April as they attended church services. In China, the Communist Party is cracking down on Christians and is now arresting, monitoring, social scoring and using facial recognition to make sure that the churches stay in line with the government’s wishes.
In India, violence against Christians has increased 400% since 2014 due to hostility from Hindus, and with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in power, Christians have been deemed inferior to other Indians.
“Yet the leadership of the American church, with its super-pastors and megachurches, is whistling through the graveyard,” Curry mourned. “The beast that we have created, which relies on upbeat music and positivity to attract donors to sustain large budgets, leaves little room for pastors to talk about the suffering of global Christians.”
“Like most of the culture, the American church is more concerned about college entrance scandals and ‘Game of Thrones’ than persecution. Inoculated by entertainment and self-absorption, they are completely detached from the experience of the global church,” he noted. “The American church is feeding itself to death while the worldwide church is being murdered.”
Curry said that it is his hope and prayer that the American Church wakes from its slumber.
“At Open Doors, we encourage Christian allies to write letters to encourage victims of religious violence, pray for specific incidents reported through our international network, and host events in churches to help raise awareness. I envision a world where American Christians remember persecuted Christians in hostile regions in every church, every Sunday,” he stated.
“If we pull together with global followers of Jesus, we can make a difference for those in Nigeria and elsewhere who are waiting for us to do something. But as of today, 17 Christians are still being held hostage in Nigeria. It’s time we care.”
The late revivalist preacher Leonard Ravenhill once said, “Why should the world take us seriously when we don’t take God seriously? Come on! … When were you last in a prayer meeting that was bathed in tears, or someone got angry over the monopoly of the devil in the world? I keep saying to people, ‘Get out of your playpen spiritually.’”
Anglican preacher J.C. Ryle also once declared, “[T]hey who are taught and called of God may soon be distinguished from the sleeping children of this world. These have no leisure for vain amusements; their eyes are fixed and their thoughts are engaged upon the narrow path they have to tread and the crown they hope to receive. They have counted the cost and come out from the world, and their only wish is that they may finish their course with joy.”