Christians in West told to ‘prepare for persecution’
Barnabas Fund says Christians in the West need to be ready for suffering if they are to make a stand for Christ.
By Charlie Boyd
2010/11/05 UK (Christian Today)-Barnabas Fund is inviting churches in the UK to dedicate one Sunday in November to the issue of persecution around the world – as well as at home.
The theme of this year’s Suffering Church Sunday, ‘Be on Your Guard’, reflects Barnabas Fund’s growing concerns over the freedom of Christians in the West.
It described as “worrying” the case this week of Eunice and Owen Johns to decide whether their Christian beliefs make them unfit to foster children.
“The outright violence and injustice endured by our brothers and sisters throughout the non-Western world, like the atrocious hostage siege in Iraq on Sunday, is what we tend to consider persecution. But more insidious threats are creeping into Western society – and we need to be prepared,” the group said.
It warned that full religious liberty, including the freedom to choose one’s faith, was “under attack”. It said religious liberty was being “publicly undermined” by world leaders on the international stage, including US President Barack Obama, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and British Home Secretary Theresa May, who have adopted the term “freedom of worship” instead of “freedom of religion”.
“Any person of faith knows that religious exercise is about a lot more than freedom of worship. It’s about the right to dress according to one’s religious dictates, to preach openly, to evangelise, to engage in the public square,” she said.
Barnabas Fund is asking churches in the UK to remember Christians in other parts of the world who are suffering for their faith but also equip themselves to be ready for persecution too.
Barnabas Fund is offering churches free resources for its Suffering Church Sunday, including a DVD, sermon outline, Bible study and prayer/response cards.