BARTLESVILLE, OK – Saturday, June 29, 2019, is The Day of the Christian Martyr. It is both right and proper that we pay homage to those brave souls who committed their lives to Christ regardless of the cost. Beginning with the eyewitness account of the stoning of Stephen in the Book of Acts (Chapter 7) to the increasing numbers of reports of modern-day martyrs, the world has demonstrated that it has no love for the followers of Jesus Christ.
Release International has estimated that every month, based on proven current events, an average of
- 333 Christians are martyred for their faith
- 66 Christian churches are attacked
- 218 Christians are arrested and imprisoned without a trial
- 180 Christian women are raped, sexually harassed, or forced into marriage with unbelievers
These numbers do not begin to consider the many Christians who just “disappear” in countries where the hatred for Christianity if the fiercest.
Should we be surprised?
Not if we recall what Jesus told His disciples in John 16:2-4.
“The time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them.”
Only moments before He spoke those words, He warned them that the world would hate them because it hated Him first. (see John 15:18)
This year, in observation of the Day of the Christian Martyr, The Voice of the Martyrs, established by Richard Wurmbrand, who himself had been severely persecuted for Christ, will hold a special induction ceremony at the Martyrs Memorial in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.
The inductees this year will be Werner, Rodé, and Jean-Pierre Groenewald. Werner and his two children were murdered in their own home on November 29, 2014. Werner had been a Dutch Reformed pastor in South Africa. When he clearly heard God’s call to go to Afghanistan in 2003, he and his wife, Hannelie, accepted that call, full well understanding the price they might – and did – have to pay.
Hannalie, who survived and is expected to be at the ceremony, testifies that
“We had a clear calling. We had a mandate . . . We knew that something like this could happen. On the field, it was a life of sacrifice, difficulty, and struggles, and in that, the Lord gave us the reward of His presence. He revealed Himself to us, who He is.”
We have yet to see the scale of hatred the world has for Christians, but the early warning signs of ridicule and scorn are apparent as more and more people are becoming bolder and more vocal about mocking the truth of the Word of God. What is mildly disguised as human rights and equality is slowly revealing an agenda of hatred of the Bible and those who believe it.
How will we respond when the attacks come against us? Perhaps we should give that some prayerful consideration.
While we do, we may also take advantage of witnessing this year’s Martyrs Memorial Induction Ceremony, as it takes place, broadcast live on Facebook. The presentation will take place at 9:00 a.m. CDT on June 29.
To read more news on Christian Persecution on Missions Box, go here.