Over Labor Day weekend, I had the privilege of attending a worship service at Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, VA, where Jonathan Falwell is the lead pastor. On this particular Sunday, Johnnie Moore was the guest speaker. Moore, a former campus pastor at Liberty University, is now one of America’s leading spokespersons for international religious freedom, and his book on Christian genocide at the hands of Islamic extremists entitled, Defying ISIS, was published earlier this year.
At the beginning of his message, Moore read for us an e-mail he received from a Christian pastor in Syria with only two words in its subject line: “Awaiting death.” It was sent from the pastor’s cell phone during the middle of a terrifying night in Damascus. This is what the email said:
“I am here in my room sitting in darkness because we now only receive one hour of electricity per day. It’s around midnight. I’m waiting here with others in my building as we play hide and seek with death. As I write, another two mortars just fell on the building in front of us, another on the building to the right, and another one on the building on the next street over. So far, we have been spared. But are we next? When will it be our turn? Should I stay in my bed so that I’ll die in peace, or should I go to the ground floor of the building so that I might be able to escape? But how long should I stay here? Should I try and sleep or is it better to stay awake to feel the moment when Death comes riding on one of these mortars? Wow! Just now, it finally hit us. Shaking this big building I am living in. The windows pushed out violently, and I can hear horiifying screams from everywhere, all around me. Yet, except for the flash of light, there are no lights. I can’t see what’s going on. I can only hear it. I think I’ve decided it’s better to stay in my room and await death. Another mortar just hit…I’m just going to be quiet.”
To this day Moore is uncertain whether or not this pastor survived. But one thing is certain. What happened that night was not an accident. It was the intentional efforts of ISIS to ethnically cleanse their land of Christians.
While so many Christians are being slaughtered in the Middle East, the church in America is doing very little about it. One refugee made this cry for help, “It’s shocking to me that [Americans] are so silent in the face of our genocide. Please help us. Raise your voice for us. Our children are dying. In America you care for your pets so well, can you care for your Christian brothers and sisters who are suffering?”
My guess is that most of us are not insensitive to the thousands of Christians in the Middle East who are being tortured or who are heading for refugee camps daily; we just don’t know what we can do about it. According to Moore, there are two things the church in America can do to help. First, we can pray for our Christian brothers and sisters who are being persecuted. In order to pray intelligently, we need to become informed with what is actually taking place in the Middle East. To understand the plight of these modern martyrs, I recommend that you get a copy of Moore’s book and read it for yourself. Then use the material as a prayer guide while you intercede on behalf of these saints. Second, you can give life-saving provisions to refugees. To learn more about and give generously to these humanitarian efforts, check out World Help at www.worldhelp.net/Iraq and The Cradle of Christianity Fund at www.cradlefund.org.
This is something we are not free to ignore. I cannot in good conscience stand by and do nothing while these atrocities occur. What about you?