Are You the Persecuted Church?
“If the church is one, you are the persecuted church.” -Fahed (a Palestinian believer) That sentence still rings in my ears and sits uneasy in my soul. I think of the “free church” and the “persecuted church”, but the words of this Palestinian Christian man pierced my thinking. He was talking about Paul’s teaching that all believers are one body in Christ. Paul introduces this in 1 Corinthians 12. Open your heart to these inspired words (verses 12-13, 20, 26-27): For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body-Jews or Greeks, slaves or free-and all were made to drink of one Spirit. As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. There is more in Ephesians 4, verses 4-6, 15-16: There is one body and one Spirit-just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call- one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. I was familiar with these verses, having read them many times. God’s Word is clear there is one body with Christ as the head. But, I had never considered that I am the persecuted church. What does that mean? How does that impact my thinking? Change my heart? Fahed answered that as he continued to talk. He said that if a Nigerian Christian girl is violated, that’s my daughter or granddaughter who was violated. If an Egyptian church is attacked and burned, that’s my church that was burned. If Sudanese Christians are forced to leave everything behind and flee for their lives, that’s my family in flight. If a Pakistani pastor is martyred, that’s my pastor who was killed for his faith. If Eritrean Christians are arrested during a prayer meeting, those are my brothers and sisters jailed for their faith. The church is one. I am the persecuted church. The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church is on November 3rd. If you are already praying for persecuted Christians, thank you, and please keep it up. If you aren’t, please make today the day that you start praying for your brothers and sisters in your church. ~ Kevin McMahan is a volunteer Bridgebuilder for Open Doors USA, working to increase awareness of the persecuted church in America. He is a pastor at Journey Church in North Little Rock, Arkansas, and is a founding partner of Federal Practice Group, a Federal Government contractor working in the area of low-income multi-family housing. Learn How You Can Pray Specifically