By Mark Ellis –
In Algeria, about 95 percent of the population follows Islam and less than two percent are Christians. The government bans conversion from Islam to Christianity, regulates non-Muslim worship, and enforces blasphemy laws, which can be used as a cudgel against followers of Jesus.
“Church growth has been strong in my country, but recently churches have been subject to a government crackdown, with several being closed,” one Christian leader told SAT-7. “Every three months our church holds a baptism, sometimes for more than 100 people.”
When government officials got wind of the baptisms, they reacted swiftly. “Then the government closed our own church, along with four others. But the more problems the church faces, the stronger it grows,” he told SAT-7.
House churches have been growing so fast throughout the region, government officials recently released this incongruous warning in Iran:
“If you see your child suddenly forgiving, jolly, happy, listening to you, not arguing, talking about not hating, these are signs that they might be going to an underground church. This is a threat to your family.”
The possibility that any government would be suspicious about happy children who mind their parents is tragically ironic, and any attempt to turn parents against their children would be sad and deeply flawed.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23
SAT-7 urges prayers for the persecuted believers in the Middle East and North Africa, especially the children. “Pray for their protection, that they will grow in Christ, and find other believers with whom to fellowship. Pray that through divine intervention, they will be protected from heresies and welcomed into underground churches where they will be safe, and where they can learn and grow in Christ.”
For more information about SAT-7 and their work, go here