Since the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ 2000 years ago, 43,000,000 Christians have become martyrs.
Over 50% of these were in the last century alone.
More than 200 million Christians face persecution each day. 60% are children.
Every day over 300 are killed for their faith in Jesus Christ.
These numbers are surprising to North American Christians, but as Open Doors, Voice of the Martyrs, Christian Freedom International, and many other organizations report, there has never been a time of greater persecution against the followers of Christ other than today. Consider the following facts as presented by Open Doors:
• The world’s worst persecutor of Christians in the world is North Korea.
• In Saudi Arabia, practicing Christianity can result in death by beheading or stoning.
• Over 90% of China’s Christians worship in hidden, underground house churches to avoid government regulations and restrictions.
• There is only one Christian church left in the Gaza Strip, and its membership has dwindled to less than 100.
• Algeria is about a quarter of the size of Texas, and only 3% of the population are Christians.
• There are 69 languages in Iran, and only three of them have a completed Bible. Iran is also the third worst persecutor of Christians in the world.
• It is believed there are less than 500 Christians living in the Maldives.
• Open preaching in Sudan is punishable by beatings or imprisonment.
• Christians make up less than 1.7% of the population in Pakistan, and over 70% of them are the poorest of the poor.
• It is estimated that there are 1,100 Christian missionaries living in Turkey.
Against this backdrop, we hear the words of Jesus, “Blessed are the persecuted…” For so many, the words of Jesus are not just theoretical but testimonial.