On October 31, 2010, a Syrian Catholic church in Baghdad was attacked by Al-Qaeda. 58 worshippers were killed, including three-year old Adam Udai, who begged the terrorists to stop before he was murdered.
According to Persecuted, the Global Assault on Christians by Paul Marshall, Lela Gilbert, and Nina Shea, “Christians are the single most widely persecuted religious group in the world today.” And in their book, “persecuted” doesn’t include being shunned by friends for taking a stand on a moral issue or not being allowed to evangelize your co-workers on office time. “What we mean by the word persecution in this book is that there are Christians in the counties of focus who are tortured, raped, imprisoned, or killed for their faith.”
The authors tell us that “perhaps four-fifths of the worlds active Christians” live outside the West. In fact, the majority of Christians live in countries were persecution is very real. “The average Christian on the planet, if there could be such a one, would likely be a Brazilian or Nigerian woman or a Chinese youth.”
Persecuted looks at the conditions for Christians living in Communist countries (such as China), post communist countries (Russia), the Muslim world, and others, giving numerous examples of what fellow believers around the world endure. Those relatively few of us who live free from persecution shouldn’t ignore this uncomfortable subject. As Eric Metaxes says in the introduction, “We in the West desperately need to know about our fellow believers who suffer for their faith.” If we don’t know, then we can’t be a voice for those who can’t speak for themselves. And besides, our day of persecution may be coming.
For readers who are truly concerned for the church at large and desire to have a more global (and therefore more accurate) perspective of Christianity, Persecuted is a great place to start.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.