More than 360 million Christians around the world—one in seven—face high levels of persecution and discrimination for their faith, according to Open Doors, a non-denominational mission supporting persecuted Christians.
Open Doors data reveals that 5621 Christians were killed for their faith in 2022, 80 per cent more than five years ago. Ninety per cent of the deaths occurred in Nigeria, where militant groups such as Boko Haram have conducted devastating raids on Christian communities . Worldwide, there were 2110 churches attacked and 4542 Christians detained.
North Korea has returned to number one on the Open Doors World Watch list with the highest levels of persecution ever seen. More Christians are being arrested and the country’s new “anti-reactionary thought law” has led to the discovery and closure of many house-churches. North Korea is followed by Somalia, Yemen, Eritrea and Libya in the top five World Watch ranking.
In light of these sobering statistics, South Pacific Division religious liberty and public affairs director Dr Nick Kross is calling on Adventists to pray for Christians globally who are experiencing persecution and discrimination.
“One in seven Christians worldwide, that’s a significant number of people who are suffering for their faith,” Dr Kross said. “Definitely what we should be doing is praying for our Christian brothers and sisters globally as they face persecution.
“Along with prayer, I would suggest meeting with your local member of parliament, discussing the issue with them and asking for their support by raising it in parliament.”
Dr Kross said it is important to remember those from other faith communities—Muslims, Jews, Hindus, for example—who are also experiencing religious persecution.
“I think we need to adopt a collaborative posture when it comes to other faith communities while retaining our Adventist identity. We have got to recognise these people are not our opponents, they are actually our friends.”
Click here for more information on the Open Doors 2023 World Watch List.