(With thanks to Open Doors USA and Barnabas Aid for the resources which contributed to this sermon.)
Persecution on the basis of religion has been happening for millennia. A current example is the plight of the Rohingya in Myanmar who are being attacked by the army there because they are not Buddhists but mostly Muslim, with some Christians among them. It has been calculated that 75% of the world’s population lives in areas with severe religious restrictions.
While acknowledging that persecution happens to people of all religions, today we are concentrating specifically on Christians who suffer in this way. Christians in 60 countries face persecution from their governments or from those who live around them. The organisation Open Doors ranks the top 50 countries in terms of persecution every year in its World Watch List. (You can get more information on this here: http://www.opendoorsusa.org/WWL). In recent years persecution has increased and spread to new areas. The increase is particularly noticed in the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia. Continue reading