Christian scholar William Barclay once said that New Testament Christians had three characteristics: “One, they were filled with an irrational love for their enemies; two, they were absurdly happy, and three, they were always in trouble.” What type of Christian is likely to get into trouble for their faith in the world today? Here is a list of the six top categories based on the data from the 2014 World Watch List!
If you are a House church Christian in North Korea. North Korea does not allow anyone to gather to worship any God other than Kim Il Sung and his family, and the apparatus of the state will stop at nothing to root out secret Christians.
If you are a Muslim Background Believer, particularly in Islamic states. Muslim states forbid conversion away from Islam, and often families will take violent action against their own kin even when local laws are more liberal.
If you are a Christian who evangelises in Muslim dominated areas. Even if you are living in a Christian majority country, there are areas that are predominantly Muslim, such as Nigeria, Kenya and Tanzania. Evangelists are not welcome in these areas with the good news, and often face violence as a consequence of speaking the Gospel.
If you are a Hindu Background Believer in the more lawless states or Hindurun states of India. Evangelists can be very badly beaten for their witness, and often run the gauntlet as at least seven states in India have anti-conversion laws, and Hindu mobs are well organised in many more.
If you are a Christian from a historic tradition in the Middle Eastern states affected by the Arab Spring. The headlines often get dominated by the plight of Muslim Background Believers, but even in the Middle East – ironically the cradle of Christianity – Christian background believers (belonging to mainly Orthodox and Catholic churches) are under great pressure. Sizable and ancient communities of faith exist in Egypt, Iraq and Syria – all of which are in the top 25 of the WWL. In Syria tens of thousands of Christians have had to flee their homes simply for the fact of being Christian.
If you are a believer who has left the Orthodox Church in Ethiopia. Historically many Christians have been persecuted by other Christians, and an on-going example of this is in Ethiopia, #15 on the WWL. This country boasts an ancient Orthodox church, but there is much about this church that is lifeless and dead, and some Christians have left it to find a more vibrant Christian life, often in more independent, Pentecostal churches. This has aroused the ire of the Orthodox Church leaders, who do all they can to pressure the church leavers to return.
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