27th January 2021 Faith McDonnell
Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.” (Mark 10: 29 & 30, ESV)
On Wednesday, January 13, global persecution watchdog organization, Open Doors, released their annual World Watch List. The list ranks the top 50 countries notorious for persecution of Christians. World Watch List 2021 announced a disturbing rise in persecution. This announcement should compel us all to intercession and spiritual warfare for the persecuted.
According to the research team at Open Doors, in 2020 more than 340 million Christians experienced high levels of persecution. High-level persecution includes kidnappings, beatings, forced conversions/marriages, false imprisonment, loss of property, murder, and genocide.
As part of the global Body of Christ, we in Gafcon know and rejoice that the Kingdom is growing. But many of our brothers and sisters within GAFCON know firsthand that persecution is also increasing – in some of the very places where the Church is growing the most. The top 12 nations, where there is extreme persecution for Christians, are: North Korea, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, Pakistan, Eritrea, Yemen, Iran, Nigeria, India, Iraq, and Syria.
Last year’s World Watch List announced 260 million Christians experiencing high levels of persecution. This year’s increase means that 1 in 8 of all Christians worldwide is now being severely persecuted. The 2020 worldwide virus pandemic exacerbated persecution in many nations. Islamist regimes and other anti-Christian governments have used the virus as an excuse for further oppression. Not only have Christians suffered from deprivation of employment, protective equipment, and relief aid. In some cases, such as China, Pakistan, and India, Christians have often been scapegoated for the pandemic.
This year Nigeria moved from #12 to #9. More Christians are killed for their faith in Jesus in Nigeria than in any other country. Boko Haram and Fulani radicals kill Christians and destroy their villages with impunity. Since the Nigerian government will not hold the murderers accountable, the global community must pressure Nigeria. In December, then U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo showed the way by designating Nigeria as a “Country of Particular Concern” in the State Department’s annual International Religious Freedom report.
As members of the one Body of Christ worldwide, we are accountable to pray for each other. We are especially accountable to pray for the members of the Body who are suffering. You can use the Open Door’s 2021 World Watch List, easily accessible online, to intercede for and wage spiritual warfare on behalf of our persecuted brothers and sisters.