Christianity in the western world is in trouble. It is not because of dwindling numbers that plod out to church each week or the dismal turnout for church functions, but the rot runs much deeper. Who can believe that the church has become so inward looking that there is no universal outcry against the slaughter of their fellow believers throughout the Middle East?
What has become of the church of the civil rights movement or the struggle to defeat the injustices that occurred in South Africa? When we can hardly find any reporting about the destruction of churches in Egypt, the beheading of Christians in Syria and the slaughter of churchgoers in Pakistan, you have to wonder where is the world press? There is now a systematic dismantling of the Christian church throughout large parts of the Arab world by radicals and we go about business as usual. What has made us so complacent that Christians are not on their feet demanding of our perspective denominations and church governing boards to at least acknowledge these persecutions go on? Why has no Christian leader immerged to rally the churches to a national day of prayer? Why are we not screaming these injustices from the hilltops till our pastors and leaders make a stand against this widespread persecution?
How do these mega-church leaders and television evangelists who have such influence over their congregations look themselves in the mirror when they carry on business as usual? They continue their conferences where they continue to talk to themselves, they continue to proclaim what wonderful jobs they are doing at relating to the secular man and they continue to call for more money and more commitment of their followers to keep their ministries flourishing, but they are for the most part silent on the murder, rape, and kidnappings of their fellow believers in nations like Syria.
Maybe the church has become like the church of Laodicea in the Book of Revelation. “For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing; not knowing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked.” Revelation 3:17 And the truly sad part of this pronouncement is that God says, “So because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.” Revelation 3:16 This is not a pretty view of the church, but it seems accurate. When we spend millions of dollars building bigger and bigger church structures but give the equivalent of 25 cents per person for world missions, something is not right.
Please don’t think I am belittling the work that many pastors and congregations put into their ministries to the lost in the western world, because I am most assuredly not saying that. What I am saying is that we, for the most part, have turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to the suffering of our fellow believers. We have as the collective prophetic voice of God in a time of crises gone silent.
Each week as we sit in the comfort of a secure church building listening to our praise teams and watching the pastor on a big screen, our fellow believers in the Middle East and parts of Africa wonder as they sit in church if this will be the last day of their life. Will the church get attacked and burned, will they be slaughtered as they flee, will their homes still be there, or will they be spirited away to be tortured and raped?
Christians of the western world, surely we can do better than sit in our comfortable pews and pretend this doesn’t happen. God has told us that His house is to be a house of prayer and that whatever we ask in His name He will give it that the Father may be glorified through the Son. Is it too much to ask that each Christian remember our persecuted brothers and sisters in prayer?