Many thanks to readers who have followed my articles at Christianity Today. CT just published a year-end summary of the ten most read stories about the persecuted church, and I am pleased to report my articles placed at numbers 1, 3, 6, and 10.
That the articles needed to be written in the first place involves little of pleasure, but I am glad that in most there have been moments of grace amid the suffering.
1) How Libya’s Martyrs Are Witnessing to Egypt
Murders spark largest outreach ever amid new freedoms and new threats.
3) Forgiving ISIS: Christian ‘Resistance’ Videos Go Viral in Arab World
Ten-year-old girl from Mosul becomes Christian broadcaster SAT-7’s most-watched interview ever.
6) Libya’s 21 Christian Martyrs: ‘With Their Blood, They Are Unifying Egypt’
As Coptic Christians mourn ISIS beheadings, they praise the response of their government and Muslim neighbors.
10) Why Christians Are Fleeing One of Africa’s Oldest and Largest Christian Homelands
Beyond the search for a better life, evangelicals and Orthodox in Ethiopia increasingly share even more.
And this story came in at #16 of the 20 most read ‘Gleanings‘, subtitled ‘important developments in the church and the world’.
16) More Martyrs: ISIS Executes Dozens of Ethiopian Christians in Libya
Propaganda video released the same day Justin Welby arrives in Cairo to honor the previous 21 victims.
For what it is worth, none of the articles made the overall top 20 most read list, which was dominated by US domestic trends, though some with international aspects.
As for this list, in general I do not like the word ‘persecution’ or a focus thereupon. Though these articles certainly qualify, the word risks setting Christians into an ‘us versus them’ mentality that risks violation of many Gospel principles. The struggle, says the scripture, is not against flesh and blood.
But without doubt the next mentioned ‘principalities and powers’ have employed flesh and spilled blood. I am grateful to be in a position to help tell these stories, and pray they may result in greater love both for the church around the world, and those who stand against her.
Thanks for reading — and within your power — acting accordingly.