The Voice of the Martyrs

THE SCARY-LOOKING MAN entered the crowded Syrian church service carrying a small package. Squeezing through the hundreds of worshipers he made his way to the front of the sanctuary where he set the package down in front of the altar while the pastor preached. He then shouted, “Allahu Akbar!” Over and over again the scary man screamed “Allahu Akbar!” until about half the congregants fled the church in anticipation of yet another terrorist attack. Fearlessly, the pastor kept preaching expecting that at any moment the package was going to explode. It didn’t. The scary-looking man had just become a believer in Jesus Christ and didn’t yet know how to praise the Christian God. Instead of shouting “Hallelujah!” he praised Him in the only way he knew how: “Allahu Akbar!”

Tears welled up in my eyes as I listened to the testimonies of pastors who ministered in China, Pakistan and Syria at a conference sponsored by The Voice of the Martyrs, a ministry devoted to assisting the persecuted Christian Church around the world. This is a subject that most churches don’t talk about, much less pray about, even though more believers have been killed for their faith in Jesus in the last century, than in all other centuries combined after Christ was crucified.

“The persecution index is rising,” wrote Mindy Belz, for WORLD Magazine. “If someone launched a futures market based on Christian believers getting killed and took a ‘long’ position, they’d have a safe prospect of a return. Last year 1 in 9 Christians experienced serious persecution—a 14% increase over the previous year. Christians are enduring high levels of persecution in 73 countries. The freedom to believe is the first freedom, making possible all others for all people. Roughly 70% of the world’s Christians live without the right to worship freely. Many of us are the world’s 30%, rich with religious privilege.”