The apostle Paul wrote to the church of Colosse “Remember my bonds.” (Colossians 4:18) The writer of Hebrews said “Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.” (Hebrews 13, 3) Sunday, November 3rd is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. Our guest today will help us understand (and even celebrate) the work that is being done by the global Church – by those who are being persecuted. Todd Nettleton is the Chief of Media Relations and Message Integration with Voice of the Martyrs. He has served some 20 years with VOM where he has travelled to many nations to interview hundreds of Christians who have endured persecution. He is also part of the writing team for four Voice of the Martyrs books.
Crosstalk immediately addresses that which is considered “normal” for Christians in America – how it is not “normal” in 70 plus other countries. In fact, Todd says many of the things the Church practices freely here, often costs “someone, somewhere their job, their family, or they go to jail and/or sometimes are even killed in places where persecution is common.” Despite all of this, regardless of where the persecuted Church is found, a common prayer request is “Pray for us.” Todd says what is most challenging about this (even convicting) is that these we speak of are not asking prayer for their own situations, but prayer that they “will be faithful in spite of the persecution, in spite of the suffering, and will continue serving God in spite of what they may lose here on earth.” They have also asked prayer for their persecutors. Todd says this Sunday’s International Day of Prayer is a “key time for churches across the country, to answer the #1 request of our persecuted Church family.” Will we pray? and then just check it off our list, until next November? Todd hopes not.
To illustrate how very much alive Church persecution is, Crosstalk discusses North Korea; a place Todd calls “the most closed country in the world as far as the gospel is concerned.” A place where “the Kim family (the leaders) are presented as divine beings. Where children in Kindergarten are taught to sit down at a meal and give thanks to Kim ll-Sung. For someone there to come along and say I follow Jesus Christ (not the Kims’) it’s treason.” To further illustrate, told is the story of Pastor Han, an ethnic Korean, living in China, who was considered an enemy of the state – who reached many with Jesus Christ and who ultimately gave his life as a martyr in 2016 (his story available on VOM DVD).
The 2017 disappearance of Pastor Raymond Koh (Malaysia) and how you can sign the petition (www.releaseraymond.com).
The news from China where two significant registered churches have been destroyed by the government and Pastors arrested.
How despite persecution, believers are flourishing in faith.