Lessons from the Persecuted Church: Brunei

Lessons from the Persecuted Church in Brunei
The church in Brunei is being strengthened by the restrictions imposed on them. “Persecution is a good wake up call for us Bruneian Christians who have been living comfortably for too long,” said a pastor. “Persecution will only draw us closer to Him. He has allowed it to bring us to our knees.”

Unity is Key

The pressure of persecution is compelling the Bruneian church to answer Christ’s call to love one another. Church leaders of various denominations meet regularly to encourage and support each other through the many issues that challenge their congregations. One church leader also offers his church space to six other congregations who cannot have their own space due to legal complications. By maintaining unity through many differences, the Bruneian church is acting as the Body of Christ to each other.

Focus on the Essentials

Due to Sharia Law, many Bruneian churches are unable to worship in their own buildings or even display Christmas decorations. One lay leader, whose home church was shut down in 1985, said he has since understood how a healthy community of believers is still possible without a church building. By focusing on the essentials of following Christ, the Church in Brunei is getting to know Jesus more deeply and encouraging each other more fully.

Practice Cautious Boldness

Though Christians in Brunei must be bold with their faith, they must also be cautious to mitigate any unnecessary risk to their community of believers. The Sharia Law has added an extra layer of constraints for the believers. Among others, it bans Christians from using 19 Islamic words, such as ‘Allah’ or God. It also prohibits Christians from sharing their faith with Muslims or people who profess no religion. But Rev. Adam* says, “My rule of thumb is you never know until you try.” One lay believer named *Mary said, “My friends and I still offer to pray for our Muslim friends when they come to us with difficulties.”

Persecution Strengthens Believers

Though tiny in size and population, the church in Brunei is being strengthened by the restrictions imposed on them. “Persecution is a good wake up call for us Bruneian Christians who have been living comfortably for too long,” said a pastor. “Persecution will only draw us closer to Him. He has allowed it to bring us to our knees.”