This Easter Season serves as a good time to reflect on the state of Christianity in the world. For most of us Easter carries with it the image of Christ suffering on the cross and then rising gloriously from the tomb on Easter morning. We think of crucifixion as a barbaric act of the distant past. But this Easter brings with it memories of crucifixions that are far more recent.
Christian martyrdom began with Christ himself and it continues to this day. Many think of it as having ended after Rome converted to Christianity. But everywhere Christians went to spread the Gospel throughout history they faced danger. Some died on the plains of America. Some died in the jungles of Africa. Some died in the nations of the Far East. It is a fact of history that Christians have died for their faith.
It is a lesser known fact that Christians continue to die for their faith. They are dying in Iraq. They are dying in Syria. They are dying in Libya. They are dying in Nigeria, Kenya, and Somalia.
Christians are also imprisoned for their faith throughout the world. They are imprisoned in Iran, Pakistan, and China, just to name a few places. Where Christians have not yet faced death or prison, they face growing levels of harassment and intimidation, like in India or Egypt.
Even Christians in the Western World are facing increasing hostility. A Christian whose business is in any way connected to the wedding industry must now choose between servicing gay weddings or losing their business and their standing in the community. The homosexual community has gained great power in America and is showing itself to be increasingly anti-Christian. Where it is not outrightly compelling Christians to compromise their faith it is seeking to compromise the faith itself by influencing changes in Church doctrine to wipe away the notion of homosexuality as a sin.
The growth of Islam in Western nations also poses a threat to Christianity. Currently celebrated as “diversity”, the growing influence of Islam in nations in Europe and in America will not end well for Christians. The history of colonial Islam is that it starts meekly when the Muslim population is small. It grows more assertive as the population grows. When Muslims become the majority all other religions are either banned outright or relegated to a form of subservience.
But perhaps the greatest danger is the growing apathy or misplaced priorities of current Christians in America and Europe. This condition is leading to a decay in Christian values. It creates opportunities for our young people to become lost, even those who grow up in Christian homes. It makes it difficult for Christianity to fight back against the dark forces at war against it.
We see evidence of this as time and time again politicians, businesses, and communities back down in the face of intimidation by anti-Christian forces like the LGBT community or the pro-abortion lobby. We see proof through the lack of widespread outrage and calls for action to rescue Christians who are being persecuted around the world. Christians are the majority in this country, but you would not know it as you watch political and cultural debates play out. We have grown either too meek, too indifferent, or too selfish.
So as you go to church this Sunday, think of what Christ has done for you and the entire world. Then think about the current state of Christianity in the world and ask yourself if you are truly standing with Christ.