Death Penalty for Evangelism

By Collin Hansen

The last two months have provided bloody reminders that following Christ can be deadly. In July, brothers Rashid and Sajid Emmanuel were murdered outside a courtroom in Faisalabad, Pakistan, where they had been charged with blasphemy. Rashid was a gospel preacher affiliated with an Acts 29 Network partner. Then last week, Taliban militants in neighboring Afghanistan killed 10 aid workers on a Christian medical mission. The Taliban claimed the victims had been evangelizing Muslims.

My own thoughts:

Such murderous acts are not all that new in the history of Christianity. Jesus said if people hated him, they would hate his followers. He didn’t say our good works would make us immune from such hatred. To the contrary, in fact. These works, such as the selfless ministry of the International Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, sometimes make us easier targets.

As to the comments that seemingly condone killing those who dare to ‘proselytize’–a loaded word I hate–they turn the ideal of religious tolerance on its head. I find it ironic that people can wind up being so intolerant when defending religious tolerance. What, after all, can be more intolerant than to wish people with whom you disagree to be dead? It’s one thing to say that people who do ministry in Muslim-majority lands may be unwise or even imperialistic, though I don’t; it’s entirely another, however, to say they deserved what they got.

About Stan Guthrie

Stan Guthrie is an editor at large for Christianity Today magazine and for the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview. His latest book is God's Story in 66 Verses. He also is author of All that Jesus Asks: How His Questions Can Teach and Transform Us, Missions in the Third Millennium: 21 Key Trends for the 21st Century, and A Concise Guide to Bible Prophecy. He is co-author of The Sacrament of Evangelism. Besides authoring, writing, and editing books, Stan is a literary agent, bringing together good authors, good books, and good publishers. Stan writes the monthly Priorities colum for He has appeared on National Public Radio's €œTell Me More,€ WGN's Milt Rosenberg program, and many Christian shows, including The Eric Metaxas Show and Moody Radio'€™s €œNew Day Florida.€ A licensed minister and an inspirational speaker, he served as moderator for the Christian Book Expo panel discussion, Does the God of Christianity Exist, and What Difference Does It Make?
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