Christian martyr: [lit. witness] “one who chooses to suffer death rather than to deny Christ, or His work; sacrifices something very important to further the Kingdom of God; endures great suffering for their Christian witness.”
The World Evangelical Alliance claims over 200 million Christians worldwide are denied fundamental human rights because of their faith.
According to the World Christian Encyclopedia, from AD33 to 2000, approximately 69 million Christians died for their faith in Christ.
More Christians were martyred in the 1900s than all the previous centuries combined. More men and women are dying for Jesus Christ now than at any other time in the history of Christianity. Today, literally millions of believers face intense persecution and risk their lives for the sake of the Gospel.
What is Persecution?
Persecuted Christians are falsely accused, threatened, beaten, imprisoned, tortured, abused, starved, maimed and harassed.
Their homes and churches are burnt down, their Bibles and Christian material confiscated, and their businesses destroyed.
They are disowned, expelled from school and college, fired from their jobs, driven from their homes, treated as criminals and rebels, forbidden to evangelise, and forced to meet and worship in secret.
I will not run away. I am ready to take a stand.
– Saratu Turunda, a Sunday school teacher who was killed by a fanatical Muslim mob in Nigeria.
Persecution Grows Faith
Their bodies are broken, but their spirits soar! Persecution fuels the fire of God’s Spirit in the hearts of believers, filling them with love for those who persecute them and hope for their eternal inheritance in Christ. The church is growing the most in places where opposition to the Gospel is greatest.
In spite of the painful reflections and memories, I have no time for bitterness ... I rejoice. I sing. I laugh. I celebrate, because I know my God reigns supreme.
– Pastor Nobel Alexander, who was imprisoned in Cuba for 22 years.