Group claims 400% rise in persecution of Asian Christians
“Gospel for Asia”, an organisation which aims to spread the Gospel’s message in Asia and deals with the Christian situation, has confirmed that in the last ten years the persecution of various denominations that follow the evangelical message has increased in a ratio of 10:40. In India alone there has been a “400% increase” in the number of assaults against Christians. This result was reached by taking into account all countries that had at least heard the announcement of the Gospel.
The President of “Gospel for Asia”, K P Yohannan said people who had not experienced persecution first hand “cannot fully understand what it means to receive threats against your life, to have your house destroyed, your own rights violated and your loved ones taken away from you and imprisoned; and all this because of your faith in Jesus Christ. In the fourteen countries in which we are present, persecution has become the norm, especially for those who are directly involved in missionary work.”
The Christians which the “Gospel for Asia” report refers to have had their homes destroyed or have been put behind bars, with all sorts of accusations being made against them, including “forced conversions”. Forced conversions are the main instrument used by Hindu nationalists to prevent the spread of Christianity. Many have been killed for believing in Christ and others have been forced to live a clandestine life.
K P Yohannan added: “The rise in this kind of persecution should not surprise us when it is witnessed in parts of the world that are hostile towards the Gospel. “Jesus sent his disciples out like sheep among the wolves. Historically and from a biblical point of view, persecution is only part of what it means to serve God.”
On the occasion of the feast of All Saints and ahead of the International Day of Prayer for the persecuted church, Asia’s Churches prayed for all faithful who are suffering because of their faith. Yohannan said these prayers and the awareness of these, gave strength and encouragement to those who are experiencing adversity, particularly those who are living in remote areas and feel isolated in this battle.
Bhutan, Nepal, Somalia, Yemen and other countries were at the centre of faithful’s prayers. Christians from 30 Asian countries joined in the prayers. In India, about two thousand churches tolled their bells to mark this day. Churches in Turkey took the Barnabas Fund initiative further, calling for a two-week period of prayer and fasting.
November 7, 2012