Hard to believe but we’ve already had a month and a week pass by us in the year 2011, and we are now glued to our television sets watching turmoil unfold in Egypt. I was arrested by an article in the forum of USA Today. That article by Joseph Bottum, by the way he’s a contributing editor to the Weekly Standard, says that, “Perhaps the situation in Egypt will resolve itself peacefully. Or perhaps we’ll see a long stretch of public unrest before the nation finally stumbles its way into a new form of stable government. But there’s one easy prediction to make: Whatever happens, Egypt’s Coptic Christians are going to be hurt, unless the United States makes a major diplomatic effort to help them.”  The article goes on to say that “the current unrest, which began with a car bomb in Alexandria killing 21 at a Coptic church on Jan. 1 and continued through the massacre of 11 Christians in the village of Sharona on Jan. 30.” 
It was Ironic, just before I was reading this article I was thinking about some of the persecution I personally endured as a result for standing for truth no matter what the cost. Then I read this article. Immediately, I fell to my knees thinking, “There’s persecution and there’s persecution. Egypt’s Christians are hardly alone in their persecution. “Catholic bishop stabbed to Death in Turkey.” That’s one of the headlines we read not all that long ago. Here’s another, “Islamist hard-liners in Indonesia target Christians.” Here’s another “Iraqi Christians mourn after church siege kills 58.” Iraqi Christians mourn after church siege kills 58. The Christmas season saw 48 killed in Muslim attacks in Nigeria.On Christmas Day, Iran opened its campaign against conversions by arresting dozens of evangelicals. Bombs left on the doorsteps of Christian homes in Iraq killed two and injured 14 on Dec. 30” . That’s five weeks ago.
The article goes on to say that “the single most dangerous thing in the world to be, right now, is a Christian in a Muslim country…Up to 1.4 million of Iraq’s Christians have fled since the war began in 2003…America foreign policy has been little concerned with religious persecution…Barack Obama has systematically watered down U.S. diplomacy: Where we once demanded ‘freedom of religion,’ a public liberty, we now speak only of ‘freedom of worship,’ a lesser and private right.” It then says, “Nearly every day since Christmas, Christians have been murderously attacked for the simple fact of being Christians,” and “Our willful blindness is shameful, and our inactivity is wrong. The United States must preface every diplomatic exchange with an Islamic country by demanding religious liberty and a halt to persecution. And we need to do it now — while there are still a few Christians left to defend in their ancient homelands.” .
All of us, as we participate on the Bible Answer Man broadcast today by listening or calling in need to be aware that even as we speak there is real persecution going on around the world. And we must not only pray for the pesecuted church, whether in Asia, or Africa, or even in America. We must pray for the persecuted church, and we must simultaneously recognize that the church has always been forged in the cauldron of persecution. That’s when real Christianity manifests itself. It’s when real Christianity impacts empires. It’s why in China right now there may be as many as 130 million Christians growing and thriving in the cauldron of persecution, not looking to mere earthly vanities, but elevating their gaze to eternal verities.
It is time for us in America to begin living with eternity in mind and, if we do, we may well make a difference not just for time but for eternity. If we do, we’ll stop listening to the conspiracy theorist, who are concocting all kinds of conspiracy theories on television, watched by millions of Christians, which are the kind of conspiracy theory that titalates. They’re sensational. They’re great for ratings. But they do very little for the cause of Christ.
1. Joseph Bottum, “Who will Defend Mideast Christians,” http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/forum/2011-02-07-column07_ST_N.htm
Do you like what you’re reading? Take a look at this.
Watch Hank's interview with GriefShare project