What effect has the modern-day persecution of Christians had on the church?

What effect has the modern-day persecution of Christians had on the church?


John Ankerberg: Yes. I think you’ve written
in your book that we in the West find it inconceivable that with these kinds of threats on people’s
lives, that it is radically transforming the believers that are being threatened. And these
folks are standing firm for Christ. And, in fact, the underground church overseas is flourishing,
living moment by moment with the tension that if they’re found out they could be killed.
Day after day after day. But the presence of the Lord Jesus is with them so much that
they are going through this. Let’s start talking about some of the stories. You’ve
got Hamas-controlled Gaza, and you’ve got believers that are really threatened right
there, and yet the underground church is flourishing right under the noses of these folks.
Tom Doyle: In some of the most radical places in Gaza, in the refugee camps where they have
nothing. And it’s so sad to see that. We’ve done medical clinics there, and just have
spent time with the people. And it’s just horrible what they go through. And yet Hamas,
they have their millionaires and their big mansions in Gaza. We never see that on the
news. And then people sit in squalor in the refugee camps. But there are believers in
those refugee camps. John Ankerberg: How many millionaires are
in Gaza? Tom Doyle: Well, at least 600 that we know
of. Some are saying now 1200 millionaires. John Ankerberg: Yes, because all of the aid
that we give from the United States or other countries comes, but only a certain of people
have it. Tom Doyle: Yes. Terrorism is big business.
It’s the best way to make money. John Ankerberg: Alright, I want you to tell
the story, okay, I want you to take your time telling it. It’s called the only empty graveyard
in Syria. And it has to do with a group of believers in Syria where they realized their
families were in desperate times. They were almost always caught, and they were just fleeing
and going from spot to spot, so they finally,… Well, you tell the story what,… what they
started off with. Tom Doyle: So, we’re in the midst of a seven-year
war in Syria. The nation is falling apart. Half of the Syrians that were in homes before
the war started are gone. They’re refugees: Some in the country; some in Jordan; some
in America; Europe. And a horrific war. Christians being crucified on crosses. Some of our leaders
in Syria have seen this happening. And it was just getting worse and worse. ISIS was
flexing its muscle. The government is hitting hard against them. And Farid Assad, who is
the national leader, he is a church planter/pastor going village to village taking Jesus even
in the midst of the war; even the threats from the government, from terrorist groups,
he’s going and sharing Jesus. But he has a team of ten. And one day the Lord leads
him to say this, “You know, if we stay here we’re all going to die. We know what the
end of this means. They will catch us, terrorist groups, and we’ll be dead.”
So Farid and Joseph, who works with him, they realize what’s happening. They’re on death
lists. Farid shared with me that he had 30 death threats against his life, 30. I said
to him on the phone, “Do you mean this figuratively?” And he said, “No, 30.” And I said, “How
do you know there’s actually 30?” He said, “They were spray painted on the front of
my house, and numbered. This is how we’ll kill you. Two, this is what we’re going
to do to your wife. Three, this what we’re going to do to your family.” So this is
what they live in. Does it stop them? No. And I think terrorism and enemies of Christ
need to know this: Persecution is a failed initiative. The devil has been trying that
for 2,000 years. It makes us stronger. When we are persecuted we come together. It’s
like hitting your fist in water. It just spreads out. The seeds spread even farther.

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