Reservations About Sharing Christ In Saudi Arabia
Awhile back, I was watching one of my favorite shows- No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain. The show revolves around the host going to different countries to experience the different food (he is a chef) and culture of that particular country. He often visits exotic countries like Cambodia or Brazil, but on this episode he was visiting Saudi Arabia… and wasn’t really excited about visiting such an oppressive country.
Beyond the religious freedom issues which we focus on at Open Doors, there are other human rights violations in this country… specifically towards women. Women are not allowed to go out in public unveiled, they often must be accompanied by a male supervisor and they are not allowed to have driver’s licenses (though the current King has promised to make changes to this). According to Human Rights Watch, immigration and labor restrictions on migrant workers facilitate widespread abuse.
Though there have been steps towards improvements in some of these areas, Saudi Arabia remains an oppressive country… typically not on the short list of people’s top travel destinations. So it was understandable why the TV host was not excited to be there.
After spending a few days with his host, meeting some of the people of Saudi Arabia and taking part in the different food and cultural experiences, his attitude had changed. He was still frustrated by the inherent human rights abuses, but realized that there were many good people in the country.
There are many good people in this oppressive country, who do not know Christ yet. The restrictions placed on evangelism make it nearly impossible to spread the gospel in this country (it is illegal to share your faith with a Muslim in Saudi Arabia and conversion is punishable by death).
Brother Andrew, founder of Open Doors, has coined this phrase… using the acronym ISLAM: I Sincerely Love All Muslims. It is a great reminder…that these are people Christ has called us to love and share his gospel with. However, in a restrictive country like Saudi Arabia, it makes it very difficult to do so. It takes courage and wisdom for Christians in Saudi Arabia to share their faith (knowing that they are risking their very lives by doing so).
Today, would you say a prayer for the Christians in Saudi Arabia? Pray that God would grant them with His wisdom in knowing when, how and who to share the gospel with. That he would start working in the hearts of the Muslims who are going to hear the gospel message for the first time. And for the Christians, risking it all to share the gospel message (which changed all of our lives).