What would you dare to do for Jesus?
Throughout the ages in the history of the Bible and mankind, in one form or another, the people of God have had to suffer persecution. Christians in some parts of the world are forbidden to seek the propagation of the gospel of Christ by force. Actions and laws are made just to extirpate the worship of Christ and substitute another contrary belief, religion, or norm. It is a horrific and brutal aspect of persecution.
Persecution is the act of inflicting pain, punishment, or death upon others unjustly, particularly for adhering to a religious creed or mode of worship.
Open Doors, a global network platform that originated from one man and one journey, seeks to support the persecuted church and aid them in their faith to do more than just believe. This renowned network has been in existence since 1955 and became popular in the 1970s.
Open Doors has unveiled Open Doors’ 2023 World Watch List, featuring interim CEO Lisa Pearce, with Wybo Nicolai, architect and founder of the list, and Open Doors West Africa Director, Suleiman. This watch list is an annual ranking of the 50 countries where Christians suffer very high or extreme levels of persecution and discrimination for their faith, due to the horrifying growth of persecution of Christians over the last 30 years.
The Watch List answers the question, “Where do Christians risk everything to follow Christ?”
These persecuted Christians defy dictators, worship in secret places, and sacrifice their safety, all for the joy set ahead of them in Christ Jesus. The causes of this severe persecution are as a result of the dominant Islamic worship whereby extremists sought to diminish the value and faith in Christ. Military coups have also caused unrest in some parts of the world, where pressure and violence against Christians are growing and worsening. Others have been forced to go underground for service and if discovered, may face death. The Islamic regime has terrorized churches to the extent of sentencing believers who are caught. Laws have been established and instituted against vulnerable Christians, forcing them into marriage.
The intensification of the matter has caused many death tolls in these persecuted countries. Open Doors’ Watch List reveals that over 360 million Christians around the world face persecution and discrimination every day. The tally shows that 1 in 7 Christians are persecuted worldwide, 1 in 5 Christians are persecuted in Africa, and 2 in 5 Christians are persecuted in Asia. Numerically, 5,621 Christians are murdered, 2,110 churches are attacked, and the number of detained Christians is 4,542.
Among the top ten, Sudan (Africa) is ranked number 10, Pakistan 7th, Somalia ranked 2nd, and North Korea, the most dangerous place to be a Christian, topped the list. Nigeria, where more Christians are killed than in any other part of the world, was ranked 6th.
Persecution or no persecution, the church will continue to stand and not be defeated. Open Doors has been supporting Christians for over 65 years with food and aid, spiritual care, smuggled Bibles and Christian books, training, and legal advice.
The church is living, powerful, and defiant. The church is of Christ, and He is forever sovereign and undefeated.
“‘…and upon this rock, I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.'” Matthew 16:18