Thursday, February 10, 2011

One Million Christian Martyrs

In an article entitled "Christian Number-Crunching" over at First Things, George Weigel shares highlights from the International Bulletin of Missionary Research's annual "Status of Global Mission" report. According to Weigel, this report "attempts to quantify the world Christian reality, comparing Christianity’s circumstances to those of other faiths, and assaying how Christianity’s various expressions are faring when measured against the recent (and not-so-recent) past."

There are a number of things in Weigel's summary that are striking, but this part in particular grabbed my attention:

The provocation in the 2011 report involves martyrdom. For purposes of research, the report defines "martyrs" as "believers in Christ who have lost their lives, prematurely, in situations of witness, as a result of human hostility." The report estimates that there were, on average, 270 new Christian martyrs every 24 hours over the past decade, such that "the number of martyrs [in the period 2000-2010] was approximately 1 million." Compare this to an estimated 34,000 Christian martyrs in 1900.

270 new Christian martyrs every 24 hours and one million Christian martyrs in the first decade of the 21st Century.

As we continue our in-fighting and our efforts to serve as chaplain to a culture increasingly indifferent to a dying mainline Christian institution, this is a sobering reminder of what other Christians are dealing with elsewhere in the world.

Read it all.

1 comment:

Authentic Light said...

One would expect the killing of 1 million people of a particular class to generate headlines about "genocide" or "holocaust." Yet this goes on with nary a peep in the popular press and not much even in the pulpits, at least not where I go to church. But the blood of the martyrs is still the seed of the Church, whether anyone knows about it or not. Sacrifice of self has always been our secret weapon, ever since our Lord spilled his own blood on the cross.

Thanks for bringing this a bit more out into the open.