Conservative Christians have little problem referring to these many murders of Christians as modern martyrs, where pastors are targeted and killed, churches burnt with worshippers inside and killed, young Christian girls kidnapped, forced to marry and when they try to escape are murdered along with a host of other documented incidents.
Liberal Christians play down that side of persecution, rather describing such incidents as evidence of local disharmony based on a lack of education, economic issues, the culture and basic poverty. They point to situations such as a Christian family eating a roasted chicken having carefully saved for a family celebration which turns into a riot by those with marginally less fiscal prudence.
This provides the politicians in such countries an out from doing anything when Christians are found murdered or when riots occur. Rather than the authorities exercising their duty without fear or favour across the board "equally for their citizens", it becomes a case of local issues too politically daunting and sensitive to get involved.
Recently, I saw one such list of such persecution situations which might resonate to the above, and I might add that this is only a cursory listing. This was published by UCI: ( ' target='_blank'>unitycoalitionforisrael.org
For more detailed and specific articles on persecutions around the world, one might go to Dan Wooding's web site Assist News Service which specialises in such individual stories. ( ' target='_blank'>assistnews.net
Last week published in Christian Today 71 Christians were killed in Nigeria by Islamic extremists – it goes on and on. (au.christiantoday.com/article/islamic-extremists-slaughter-at-least-71-christians-in-nigeria/16545.htm)
UCI provides these documented persecution of Christians listing
It initiates this citing - the immediate results of Egypt's military crack down - where those of the Muslim Brotherhood targeted the Christian Copts for creating the intervention. Example after example is given where Christians were murdered.
Following this very detailed account, then the UCI article lists other murders elsewhere: My purpose is to list the outlines, the detail may be read on the UCI link provided above.
Guinea: During a mob-led frenzy, Christians and their churches were savagely attacked in the Muslim-majority nation, with some 95 Christians slain and 130 wounded.
Aceh, Indonesia: The behaviour of local authorities is a potential threat to the tolerant atmosphere we see deteriorating over time with the closure of community churches. Many of us in Australia are on various Indonesia watch's focused on Aceh.
Nigeria: Members or supporters of the Islamic organisation Boko Haram set off four bombs planted near three Protestant churches in Kano city, killing at least 45 people. I receive from the wire a constant array of articles of Christians being killed in Nigeria.
â€¢ At least 28 were killed in a series of explosions throughout a Christian neighbourhood in the Muslim-majority northern city of Kano.
â€¢ At least 30 Christian men, women and children were slain in three villages in southern Plateau state on June 27 by Islamic extremists suspected to be from outside of Nigeria who raided the villages massacring all in sight.
â€¢ According to Christian Today, Boko Haram "has repeatedly attacked Christian communities and churches, most recently killing 40 at a boarding school in Yobe state on 6 July.
PA Territories: Nuns of the Greek-Orthodox monastery in Bethany sent a letter to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas urging him and other PA leaders to respond to the escalation of attacks on the Christian house. The articles goes on to list other incidents.
Pakistan: Asia Bibi, a Christian mother languishing on death row since June 2009 for allegedly blaspheming Islam's prophet Muhammad, may have to wait another two more years before the appeal against her blasphemy conviction is heard. In November 2010 she was sentenced to death. I receive so many such articles over the wire from Pakistan that it's frightening.
Iran: Mostafa Bordbar, a Muslim convert to Christianity who, along with several other Christians, was arrested in December 2012 while celebrating Christmas, was tried in Tehran's Revolutionary Court. He is one of several Christian prisoners currently being held in ward 350 of Evin prison for their faith. Again, this is only the tip of the iceberg.
Sudan: Apparently responding to the vitality of the Christian church, Ammar Saleh, the head of the Islamic Centre for Preaching and Comparative Studies, chastised the government for not taking decisive action against Christians operating "boldly" and thus leading to the apostasy of many Muslim converts to Christianity. Again story after story reaches the West on the persecution of Christians.
The UCI article concludes: Because these accounts of persecution span different ethnicities, languages, and localesâ€"from Morocco in the West, to India in the East, and throughout the West wherever there are (Islamist) Muslimsâ€"it should be clear that one thing alone binds them: Islamâ€"whether the strict application of Islamic Sharia law, or the supremacist culture born of it.
Although this C21st has many remarkable inventions which all go to make many of our lives more comfortable, and many of us live with astonishing affluence compared to the third world, there is an underlying constant. The scriptures speak of this and we are witnesses, that as a follower of Jesus Christ there are frightening perils in which many face every day.
Spiritual warfare is not something we hear much about in main stream Christianity today in the West, but be assured this is perhaps the most critical theological subject of our day.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html