What does modern persecution look like?
Persecuted Christians can be falsely accused, threatened, abused, starved, maimed and harassed. Their homes and churches are burnt down, their Bibles and Christian material confiscated, and their businesses destroyed. They are expelled from school and college, fired from their jobs, treated as criminals and rebels, forbidden to evangelise, and forced to meet and worship in secret. Throughout the world today, millions of Christians are experiencing persecution for the sake of Christ. Pastors are imprisoned or killed for proclaiming the Gospel in their churches and villages. Young people flee for their lives when their families discover they have converted to Christianity. Believers are beaten, tortured, pursued.
- 200 million Christians in over 50 countries are persecuted because of their faith in Jesus Christ.
- From AD33 to 2000, approximately 69 million Christians have been killed for their faith.
- More Christians were martyred in the 1900s than all previous centuries combined.
- More men and women are being persecuted for following Jesus today than at any other time in human history. Literally, millions of Christians face intense persecution and risk their lives for the sake of the Gospel.
Throughout the world today, millions of Christians are experiencing persecution for the sake of Christ
Why Are Christians Persecuted?
Wherever Christians go, they experience opposition. But in certain countries, this persecution is particularly severe.
In some nations, government policy or practice prevents Christians from obtaining Bibles and meeting together, and anti-Christian laws lead to harassment or imprisonment of believers for their witness. In other areas, Christians are routinely persecuted by family, neighbours or rebel groups despite the protection the government provides. In countries such as Colombia and Nigeria, civil wars and other conflicts result in Christians facing opposition for their faith.
Communist governments want control. But they can’t control the rapid growth of Christianity in countries like Vietnam and China. Government restrictions make Christian life and ministry very difficult. Pastors and leaders are arrested, interrogated and imprisoned in an attempt to stop the Church.
According to more radical streams of Islam, apostasy (rejecting your religion) is a crime that demands the death penalty. When a Muslim converts from Islam to Christianity, they bring shame on their family. They are abandoning their heritage, their very identity. Muslim background believers often face harsh opposition not only from the government, but also from their family and friends.
Where are Christians Persecuted?
The Real Reason for Persecution
Persecution should not surprise us. Jesus tells us that persecution from the world is part of what it means to follow Him. Jesus says: “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you… If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.” John 15:18,20.
Paul writes to Timothy that “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” 2 Timothy 3:12.
Before Jesus went to the cross, He said, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the Gospel’s will save it.” Mark 8:34-35.
Christians in hostile nations may live far from us, but as believers we know that we are one with them in Christ’s body. We cannot ignore their suffering. Voice of the Martyrs works to help, love and encourage persecuted Christians in partnership with the church in New Zealand.Help the Persecuted Church >
“All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” 2 Timothy 3:12
Where are Christians Persecuted?
Click to learn more about persecution issues, info, and VOM’s work in that nation. See our prayer and info map on persecution hot spots around the world: