Jesus says in John 12:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” Someone has said, “The blood of martyrs is the seed of the church.” History does reveal this to be a faithful saying, and so does the above saying of Christ. Since this is biblical revelation and fact, then surely the Church is on the brink of explosive growth in many places, but especially India.
India has always produced some martyrs each year, but the recent outbreak of persecution has escalated the number of killings. Our friends, Hopegivers International, experienced 4 martyrs among their ministers this year. Reports coming out of the state of Orissa are truly horrifying. *70,000 Christians have been left homeless, 4,000 homes have been destroyed, 3,000 people are missing, 450 churches have been burned, and 77 people have either been burned or hacked to death!
Here are two individual cases. On Sept. 30, Hindu radicals dragged Lalji Nayak from his home and stuck a knife to his neck. They demanded that he “reconvert” to Hinduism, but he refused. They cut his throat with the knife, beat him with an axe, and tortured him. All the while, he continued to “cling to Christ.” The next day he died in the hospital. One witness said, “Even though he was bleeding, he refused to abandon his faith.”
On Aug 24, Pastor Divya Digal was dragged from his home, beaten with stones and rods until dead, and then his body was tossed in the river. His wife, a former Hindu, escaped with their daughter, and is unwelcome by her family because of her new faith.
Now multiply those two cases several times over and you get a glimpse of what is taking place in India!
The persecuted church, however, is a proclaiming church! Those who suffer for the Kingdom and persevere in believing through unbelievable trials shout the Gospel to their tormentors, neighbors, country, and the world! Yes, the Church is under attack in India, and that means – the Church is growing!
Pray for our dear brothers and sisters who are standing firm for the faith and counting the cost with their homes and lives! Pray for the Church in India to explode as a result of these attacks! Surely an enormous Harvest is on the way! The wheat is dying; “much fruit” will come!
* These statistics and the testimonies are from Voice of the Martyrs. You can get familiar with their ministry at http://www.persecution.com/.
Friday, December 12, 2008
The Wheat is Dying!
My good friend Wil Owens has posted a fantastic piece about those suffering around the world, particularly in India. I have put it in its entirety below, but you should go and check out his blog as well.