Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Covert persecution on the rise in Indonesia

This church was shut down by authorities in Indonesia.
(Photo: Compass Direct News)
Covert persecution tactics are increasing in Indonesia, with Christians facing church closures and violent attacks.

Mission Network News recently interviewed VOM’s Greg Musselman regarding the increased opposition. Below are excerpts from the article.
If [the] trend of persecution continues through the year, marginalization of Indonesian Christians will have increased by 50%. This will be the third year in a row that persecution has gone up. 
However, the trials Christians in Indonesia face don’t always make the news. 
Greg Musselman with Voice of the Martyrs Canada says, “The persecution is not as violent [in Indonesia] as in places like Nigeria, which gets a lot of coverage, but it’s an ongoing situation there. Christians are marginalized, and with the rise of more of a militant Islam, there’s concern that it’s going to become even worse in Indonesia.”
While violent persecution still happens in Indonesia, Musselman says that even the passive-aggressive restrictions on the church need to be taken seriously. “[In] Indonesia, because it’s just more subtle pressure on Christians, it has a very devastating effect on people who are willing to reach out….When it’s more violent, [people] have to make a decision, ‘Are we willing to spread the Gospel in the face of such danger?’” 
“It’s an ongoing, always underlying [pressure in] the life of the church there. In some ways they accept that and say, ‘Well, this is just the way it is.’” Musselman begs the question, “When do you speak up and say, ‘Enough is enough and we’re going to meet no matter what and the government can’t do this to us?' Does that fuel more persecution?” 
Despite all this, the church in Indonesia is steadily growing. 
Musselman was encouraged by meetings he had with Indonesian believers in underground Bible colleges and discipleship training centers. “The passion of these young people to go and plant churches, and the amazing stories that we’re hearing [about people] coming to Jesus Christ…they’re phenomenal stories.” 
Please be praying for safety and growth of the church in Indonesia. “I can only see that this more sophisticated persecution from the militant Islamist side—which is the issue in Indonesia—is getting stronger,” says Musselman. “The church needs to be even stronger than the persecution coming at them.”
To read the full report, click here. For more information about Indonesia’s persecuted Church, visit our Indonesia Country Report.

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