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.