“There is no freedom there.”

11/06/2020 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – In recent years, we have seen a rollercoaster of ups and downs within the Algerian Church. We have seen revival, violence, persecution, and more.

Most recently, the government has attempted to erode the rights of the Church by carrying out church closures and erasing Christian history. Furthermore, with the country’s new constitution, religious freedom in Algeria continues to deteriorate.

As one pastor summed it up, “There is no freedom there.” Would you please take a moment right now to pray for our brothers and sisters in Algeria? Thank you and God bless.

Transcript:

Jeff King:

Years ago when I first started in Persecution Ministry, one of the first big cases that came to me was Algeria. The government there was rounding up the evangelical pastors, shutting down churches, and threatening them with prison, long prison terms, and thousands of dollars in fines.

So I brought pastors over and we toured the halls of Congress and introduced them to senators and congressmen, and asked those guys to take action and they did. And low and behold, the problems disappear. That was years ago. Now back then, I’m going to guess, there was maybe 30,000, or under 30,000 Christians in Algeria. At this point, there’s 600,000 Christians. So, if you think there was pressure then, you can imagine how that’s gone over in the country. This is a Muslim country, right? 600,000 Christians.

Well what’s happening is, the government’s on another crackdown. Shutting down Churches, they’re closing Churches everywhere, they’ve passed a law that says you can’t open a church unless you have an approval from this government body. The only problem is, this government body has never met. There are no approvals. It’s a Catch-22. Today we are going to unpack completely, Algeria. And we’re going to show you what’s going on. We’re going to talk to two experts and show you what’s going on from top to bottom. It’s a fascinating thing. If you want to know about persecution in Algeria, this is the podcast to listen to.

Jeff King:

So, gentlemen, welcome. Thank you so much for spending the time today to talk about the Church in Algeria.

Pastor Nor:

Thank you so much for you too.

Pastor Salah:

Thank you.

Jeff King:

Thank you. Let’s go back to the beginning and talk about… Not the very beginning, first of all the Gospel moved into Algeria and Tunisia very early on, maybe the first century. I want to talk about the recent revival. Back in the end of the ’80s into the ’90s, the Gospel really exploded. I mean this is 30 years ago. When I was hearing about it, I was in Campus Crusade within the Jesus film.

Jeff King:

And I was hearing about what was going on in Algeria, and there were just kind of like, wow, people were just amazed at what was going on in the Berber Region.

Jeff King:

And Salah, tell me, from your perspective, what was it like? A revival is an amazing time. It’s one of my favorite subjects when I talk to believers around the world and the countries where it’s happened. I mean it’s a phenomenal thing. Can you tell me about this work of the spirit and what was going on?

Pastor Nor:

Salah said that for me, it’s a time of God and he visited the North Africa in his time, and he allows his spirit to move in North Africa to revive his Church. Why he started with the Berber people is he said, because we are people who have been threatened since decades of years and especially since Islam came to North Africa, and you know Jeff, that the Church stopped in the sixth century because of the Islam came.

Jeff King:

Because Islam came in with the sword and persecuted.

Pastor Nor:

So in our education system, there is no a history book. Where it says that, there was a Church in Algeria before the sixth century. No.

Jeff King:

No, it’s always hidden.

Pastor Nor:

No.

Jeff King:

That’s right.

Pastor Nor:

You know, until now, Augustine, who is Algerian. Who is known here, who is known everywhere in the world.

Jeff King:

Yes.

Pastor Nor:

The majority of others, more than 95% didn’t know that he is Algerian.

Jeff King:

And, just to give listeners context. So, this is so common in the Muslim context and the Muslim culture. So they’ll hide the background of Christians or Israelite, the Jews. It’s like nothing ever existed except for Islam. So here, you’ve got Augustine, one of the most famous, probably church father and no one knows of his existence.

Pastor Nor:

But, what hurts our heart, Jeff, is because we are now in 2020. So, there are many international conventions. There are not even in 17th or 18th or 19th. And our country assigned all these conventions. And everybody knew that Algeria signed this. All these conventions, which says that the government needs to protect his people.

Pastor Nor:

As Christians, we are afraid what the future will, have to us. And just today, there is a leader, a woman leader, political leader, and she is a lawyer too. She said in her interview, that this constitution, where there is no religious freedom in this constitution. She is a lawyer. And she is not a Christian too.

Jeff King:

Yeah.

Pastor Nor:

Yeah.

Jeff King:

But, she believes in human rights, she believes in human dignity and human rights.

Pastor Nor:

Yeah.

Jeff King:

You know I didn’t realize this, honestly. I thought the new constitution was… There were a lot of worries about it in Washington, DC. The word I had heard was that it was okay, but you’re saying, this is-

Pastor Nor:

You know why? So in May we have the first version. Yes. And it was good. The article is very, very interesting because they say Algeria needs to protect all the religion freedom in Algeria.

Jeff King:

Absolutely.

Pastor Nor:

Yeah, but when they… write on the official page they change it. Yeah, it says in the article 51 lots that the government needs to protect the… How I say, to protect the Christians, not from harassment, but from impactation of ideology or political impactation. Do you understand the meaning?

Jeff King:

I think so. But go ahead and keep working on, keep explaining.

Pastor Nor:

Yeah. So, in the future, the government will say to us, “Yes, you can reopen your Churches, but we need to know everything about what you will preach…”

Jeff King:

Now I’m just dumb foreigner, but that doesn’t sound like freedom to me.

Pastor Nor:

No, there is no freedom there.

Jeff King:

Listen, I hope you enjoyed that. There’s actually a lot more content that was just parts of the interview. And if you want to hear the whole thing, go to my, Into The Deep podcast it’s actually a two-parter. We really go in depth, but keep Algeria in your prayers, ask for the Lord to keep the Gospel going out and keep these guys safe. These bold witnesses. Okay? God bless.

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