Just this week, Christians—including women and children—have been killed in Nigeria on account of Christ. In all, more than 600 Christians have been killed this year. Perhaps nowhere on earth is more dangerous for Christians right now than northern Nigeria. Christianity is not safe in Nigeria
Emboldened by a Muslim plurality in the north, Boko Haram—a Muslim terrorist group—is waging war against Christians, hoping to force Christians to flee their home, thereby separating Nigeria into a Northern Nigeria and a Southern Nigeria (such as happened recently with Sudan). Will Nigeria remain a unified country? Not if Muslim terrorists have their way.
Recently, I spoke with a missionary friend who conducted pastor training in Nigeria this year. The story he told was horrific. He was not prepared for what he saw.
At the worship service he attended, my missionary friend was surprised by a video that the Nigerian pastor played for his congregation. It was a video of a fellow Nigerian pastor being beheaded. It showed every gruesome step of the process of Muslim terrorists cutting off this brother’s head and his hands, placing them on his back, then carrying him off as refuse.
My friend was not prepared for the hideous scene. The Nigerian pastor leading the worship service felt it was important to be sober-minded about the cost of Christian discipleship. He wanted his congregation to remain aware of the danger of being called by the name of Christ.
I’m not sure I would show a video like that to my congregation, but I am not sure it is wrong to do so either. What I do know (though not as well as my Nigerian brothers) is that Christ taught from the beginning that some would want to kill Christians just as they ended up killing our Lord Himself. Christ’s promises are often as sobering as the Muslim snuff film. Take Luke 21:16-19, for example:
But you will be betrayed even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death, 17and you will be hated by all because of My name. 18“Yet not a hair of your head will perish.19“By your endurance you will gain your lives.
The gospel now—as from the beginning—is a matter of life and death for Christians in Nigeria. Let us all be as Peter commanded us, sober-minded.
Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:13, NASB).
- Is the Nigerian Government Now Persecuting Christians? (gregoryccochran.com)
- Islamists Murder Nigerian Christians (thenewamerican.com)
- Muslims burn 50 Christians to death in pastor’s home (atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com)