Francis Chan and Cornerstone Church recently shared this difficult but important message about the persecution of Christians in Orissa, India. An edited transcript follows:
For the last year, I’ve been hearing about the persecution of the pastors and missionaries and just the Christians in India, in the Orissa area, and my heart’s been stirred towards it.
Just recently, I saw a video fo the persecution, and I just wasn’t ready for it.
I thought I understood what was going on over there, and then I saw the video and… I wanted to throw up when I was done watching. It caused me to question everything in my life—I mean everything. Everything about me, everything about church.
When I saw these men of god being beaten… I’ve never seen someone being beaten to death, I’ve never seen people getting mobbed. I’m not even sure I’ve ever seen death in a violent manner. And when it’s the real thing, it just makes you sick. You knew it was going on, but… I can’t explain it.
It made me really sick to think of people that may lift me up because I have a gift of communication or some other Christian who has an ability to sing or play an instrument and how we lift these people up as our heroes, or great writers when these are the ones that… their lives look like Christ.
When I talk to the people in India that are going through it… they’re not asking for money, they’re just asking that we would remember them, that we would pray for them. They’re saying many people are converting out of Christianity out of fear. People are saying, “Look, if you get out of Christianity, we won’t do this to you.” People are scared, and they’re saying “Would you pray for us, for courage.”
And I don’t know what emotions go through your mind when you see some of these images, but what they’re asking for is, “Would you channel that toward prayer for us?”
I mean, you’ve listened to me speak for the last three or four minutes…
Could you spend the next three or four minutes praying for our brothers and sisters in India?
We don’t know what persecution is in North America—real persecution. But they do. these men and women live in the spirit of Hebrews 11:32-38,
And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life.
Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated—of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
The world is not worthy of them. May their faith not waver, but hold fast to “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).
HT: Michael K