What Kind Of Persecution Is Happening To Christians Around The World? -- By: Gregory C. Cochran
SBTJ 18:1 (Spring 2014) p. 33
What Kind Of Persecution Is Happening To Christians Around The World?
Gregory C. Cochran is the Director of the Bachelor of Applied Theology program at California Baptist University, where he also teaches courses in applied theology and pastoral ministry. He earned his Ph.D. in Christian Ethics from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary where he wrote his dissertation on the topic of persecution in the New Testament. Dr. Cochran has published articles in the Areopagus Journal and The Journal of Family Ministry. He has served as a pastor in Kentucky and he a member of the Evangelical Theological and Philosophical Society and has served as a volunteer representative on the Voice of the Martyrs.
Philosopher Regis Debray, a French revolutionary who went to prison decades ago for fighting alongside Che Guevara in Bolivia, has spent the last ten years of his life decrying the maltreatment of Christians throughout the Middle East. Debray has not converted to Christianity. Politically, he still votes to the left of the left in France. But he remains very concerned that Christians—and with them their Christian histories—are being exterminated. Debray is frustrated that Westerners are not paying attention to what is happening to Christians around the world. According to Debray, “Anti-Christian persecution falls squarely into the political blind spot of the West.”1 The aim of this article is to help evangelicals adjust the mirrors of our faith to eliminate whatever blind spots we have inherited from our culture concerning Christian persecution.
According to a study recently released by the Pew Research Center, about three fourths of the population of the world lives under a government which has highly restricted religious freedoms.2 Of those restrictions, the vast majority are aimed at Christians.3 Some international humanitarian agencies have estimated that 80% of all religious persecution in the world today is
SBTJ 18:1 (Spring 2014) p. 34
aimed at Christians. The Catholic Bishops Conference estimates that number to be only slightly lower, around 75%. Whatever the actual percentage, the reality is undeniable: “Christians are the single most widely persecuted religious group in the world today. This is confirmed in studies by sources as diverse as the Vatican, Open Doors, the Pew Research Center, Commentary, Newsweek, and the Economist.”4 The problem of Christian persecution is vast, involving more than 135 countries. <...
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