Last week at our Saturday night celebration, 150 people witnessed a new Christian getting baptised. We clapped, danced, we sang praises to God!
But we’re not putting any photos on the internet.
Christianity is a Dangerous Business
In England, becoming a Christian is relatively safe. You may get a bit of opposition but you’re unlikely to experience any life-threatening persecution.
In some parts of the world, converting to Christianity is a criminal offence, punishable with imprisonment, torture or death.
The lady who got baptised on Sunday was from Iran. She’s proud to be a Christian but she’s also wise in not letting the whole world know.
What kind of persecution do people suffer?
Here are a few stories from friends of ours who have been baptised recently
When I discussed Christianity with some students, I was sacked from my job and tortured. I came to England to get away.
Sometimes, just learning about Christianity can put you at risk
I started attending a house church to find out more about Christianity. The police found out about the house church and arrested the people there. I fled for my life. I don’t know what happened to the people they arrested.
Those that may not have suffered persecution directly may still have to grieve for the loss of a loved one.
My father was killed for becoming a Christian. I want to follow Jesus like he did.
Often, the persecution backfires and causes people to question whether there might actually be something in Christianity
I started to consider becoming a follower of Jesus when a Christian in my town was hanged from a crane for telling others about his faith.
There are may more stories like these from Iran and many other parts of the world. Find out more on the Open Doors website.
Are they safe now that they’re in England?
I’ve sometime wondered whether there’s any real risk in posting photos on Facebook. Are we being a bit over-cautious? Surely a foreign government can’t harm them while they’re in England.
Last week, an Iranian friend told me that his family in Iran had received threats because they had found out that he’d become a Christian. The risk is real.
Standing with the persecuted
It’s an honour to welcome Iranians to our church. They’ve experienced a level of sacrifice and suffering that many British Christians will never have to face.
The Bible says, “Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated.”
We may not have to go through what they’ve been through. But let’s stand with them side by side.