Satan is the cause of the persecution of Christians. The Bible informs us that, “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (II Timothy 3:12) Satan will use people to persecute believers. He will use people who hate God and Christians to persecute Christians, and he will deceive well-meaning people to persecute Christians, thinking they are doing God a service. (John 16:2)
In a recent article, Open Doors USA listed five of the main reasons why Christians are persecuted in the world today.
- Jesus is competition for power.
Dictators demand complete loyalty. The people in the dictator’s country are to obey without question. When a person becomes a Christian, Jesus becomes the Lord of their life. The Bible specifically says we ought to obey God rather than man. (Acts 5:29)
- Christianity challenges the surrounding culture.
In the United States far too many churches are allowing the culture to change the church. But in many countries where Christians are persecuted, Christianity is a threat to the culture. The religious practices in some countries do not allow for people to obey God and man. Open Doors USA gave the following example:
“In places like Vietnam, some people who belong to rural tribes are expected to participate in cultural rituals, like ancestor worship or sacrifice to idols. But when someone becomes a Christian in this setting, and refuses to follow the cultural traditions, it puts a target on their backs. They and their family are persecuted because they suddenly follow Jesus, not the culture.”
- Doing good means opposing bad.
In some countries, Christians are being persecuted because they speak out against crime, corruption, and sin. John the Baptist suffered persecution for speaking out about Herod’s marriage to his brother’s wife. (Mark 6)
- A new identity is dangerous.
Christianity is a threat to countries where the caste system is still active. The Bible teaches us to not treat others differently. All believers are the same in Christ. If a country’s religion is tied to ethnicity, culture, or family, when a person becomes a believer in Jesus Christ, they are accused of turning their backs on family, friends, and country.
- Jesus is competition for other beliefs.
In some countries with a strong Islamic influence, a Christian is automatically guilty of challenging Islam, whether they have tried to share Christ or not. Many countries have anti-conversion laws. Open Door USA states, “In India, many states forbid the conversion from Hinduism to another faith. In many places dominated by Sharia Law, conversion from Islam to Christianity is forbidden and illegal – the discovery of converts can lead to legal consequences.”
There are many other reasons Satan gives people to persecute Christians, and more will come. These examples of the way Christians are being persecuted around the world are a good reminder to us to pray for persecuted Christians.