People often ask me how they can stay informed about the persecuted church. I am glad to offer the following resources for those interested in staying up to date about the persecution of Christians around the world.
First, there are ministries dedicated to serving the persecuted church. Three of the more popular ministries are Voice of the Martyrs (www.persecution.com); Open Doors (www.opendoors.org); and Barnabas Fund (www.barnabasfund.org), the latter of which operates out of the United Kingdom. These three organizations have long track records of ministry to the persecuted.
Second, there are research agencies dedicated (at least partially) to discovering the extent Christians are being persecuted around the world. Among the largest and most respected of these is the Pew Research Center, particularly the Center’s Religion and Public Life Project, which publishes an annual report each January detailing religious hostilities around the world (www.pewforum.org). In addition to the Pew Research Center’s work, other entities provide global documentation of Christian persecution:
- The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), chaired by Dr. Robert P. George, is a bipartisan commission which produces an annual report to the Congress of the United States detailing issues germane to religious freedom from around the world (www.uscirf.gov).
- WorldWatch Monitor is a news agency which focuses on the persecution of Christians around the world (www.worldwatchmonitor.org).
- Forum 18 is a Norwegian human rights organization which covers religious freedom all over the world, but focuses primary attention on the former Soviet countries (www.forum18.org). The name is derived from Article 18 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, which promises freedom of religion.
- The Hudson Institute Center for Religious Freedom provides publications, Op-eds, and information related to religious freedom in the U.S. and around the world (http://crf.hudson.org/).
- China Aid is a human rights organization focused on religious liberty issues in China. Founder Bob Fu was instrumental in negotiating the escape and eventual release of the blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng in 2012 (www.chinaaid.org).
- The Center for the Global Study of Christianity is a research institution which works diligently to uncover accurate demographic data “to the ends of the earth.” This center is an outgrowth of work begun by David Barrett and his World Christian Encyclopedia research. This center resides on the campus of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (http://www.gordonconwell.edu/resources/Center-for-the-Study-of-Global-Christianity.cfm).
The Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission provides information about and raises awareness of religious liberty issues in the U.S. and around the world (www.erlc.com).
Third, Voice of the Martyrs operates a unique web-based ministry for contacting Christian prisoners around the world. The website (www.prisoneralert.com) not only gives updated information about the righteous suffering in prison, but it also offers the opportunity to write an encouraging letter to those brothers and sisters—in their native language! It is a wonderful tool to help Christians obey Hebrews 13:3, remembering those in prison as though in prison with them.