Written By Eddie Vines
Eddie Vines is a former Jefferson county Judge and currently serves as President of Faith Fortress Ministries
Last week I wrote about the trend of churches in the western hemisphere becoming increasingly comfortable and how this development has led to ineffectiveness. This week, I would like to take a look at a couple of countries where Christianity is growing and why we as Christians have reason for optimism.
It has long been known that oppression and persecution lead to the spread of Christianity. Early church father, Tertullian is even quoted as saying “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church”. With this thought in mind, it should come as no surprise that Christianity is spreading rapidly in parts of the world where followers of Jesus are routinely arrested, tortured, and imprisoned. China is one of these places.
While the Chinese government allows for certain churches to meet, so long as they toe the Communist party line, it is the gospel-centered, underground church that has been growing like wildfire for several decades. A recent example of the Chinese government’s hostility toward Christianity occurred earlier this year when Pastor Wang Yi, the leader of one of China’s largest house churches, was sentenced to nine years in prison.
Another country where religious oppression has fanned the flames of Christianity is Iran. The underground church of Iran is thought to be the fastest growing church on Earth, in spite of the fact that converting from Islam to Christianity in that country carries with it a prison sentence of more than ten years.
While the comfort level among Christians in the west has led to endless compromises of Scriptural teachings, It is encouraging to see Christians in other parts of the world laying their lives and liberty on the line for the sake of the gospel.