When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been put to death for proclaiming the Word of God, that is, for bearing witness. 10 They cried out in a loud voice, “Sovereign Ruler, HaKadosh, the True One, how long will it be before you judge the people living on earth and avenge our blood?” 11 Each of them was given a white robe; and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow-servants should be reached, of their brothers who would be killed, just as they had been. Revelation 6:9-11 (CJB)The New Age of Christian Martyrdom By Kirsten Powers
Lions have been replaced by firing squads and concentration camps as record numbers of Jesus’ worshipers are persecuted from Syria to North Korea.The concept of Christian martyrdom may seem like something from a bygone, uncivilized era when believers were mercilessly thrown to the lions. Not so. This week, Open Doors, a non-denominational group supporting persecuted Christians worldwide, reported that Christian martyrdom has grown into a pervasive and horrifying human rights crisis.
In their annual report of the worst 50 countries for Christian persecution, Open Doors found that Christian martyr deaths around the globe doubled in 2013. Their report documented 2,123 killings, compared with 1,201 in 2012. In Syria alone, there were 1,213 such deaths last year. In addition to losing their lives, Christians around the world continue to suffer discrimination, imprisonment, harassment, sexual assaults, and expulsion from countries merely for practicing their faith.Once again, the worst persecutor of Christians is North Korea, where an estimated 50,000 to 70,000 followers of Jesus are suffering in prison camps for “crimes” such as owning a Bible, going to church, or sharing their faith. In November 2013, it was reported that 80 prisoners were publicly executed, many for possessing Bibles. Last year, North Korea sentenced an American missionary, Kenneth Bae to 15 years of hard labor in a prison camp. The U.S. State Department has lobbied unsuccessfully for his release…(To read more follow link)
Christians called to 'martyrdom' says Welby By John Binghamhttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/10572539/Christians-called-to-martyrdom-says-Welby.html
Christians are facing a new age of “martyrdom” across much of the world, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.Speaking in Istanbul, Turkey, the Most Rev Justin Welby singled out the persecution of believers across the Middle East and said Christians are still “called” to suffer and even die for the faith in the 21st Century.
But he insisted that religion is often just a “pretext” for violence and not the real cause.He made his remarks at the end of a two-day visit with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholemew I, the most senior cleric in the eastern Orthodox church.
His comments in a city which has in the past been the capital of both the Christian and Muslim worlds underline the significance he attaches to the threat to Christians in the region, an issue the Prince of Wales also singled out last month.Referring to the original Greek meaning of the word martyr, as a "witness", he said: “Your history is more and more important in the increasing confrontations of the world in which religion is used as a pretext for violence that in reality comes from greed and the pride of human beings.
“You have demonstrated over the centuries the martyrdom to which we are called in scripture, the call to witness in word and life, a call more important than life itself.Shalom!