Dark Times Come To Nepal
Conversion To Christianity Banned, Christian
Missionaries Told To Leave Country
by Tom Alago
Much Christian attention has been directed towards persecution from Islamic jihadist groups such as ISIS. It is now becoming increasingly clear that the threats of persecution against Christians are actually multi-faceted and extend far beyond the reach of Islamic extremists alone.
It would seem that Christianity is taking center stage as the common enemy in the eyes of many cultures and belief systems worldwide. Could this be mere coincidence, or is it instead a carefully orchestrated campaign; a mere reflection of the age-old spiritual battle between good and evil?
Nepal seems to be the latest hotspot for intensified attacks against Christians and their faith. Nepal’s 31 million-strong population is predominantly Hindu, at about 81%. Christians make up a mere 1.4% of the entire population. A group of Hindu extremists from the Morcha Nepal, or ‘Morcha’ radical group, is now reportedly using leaflets to warn all foreign Christian missionaries to leave Nepal.
This demand follows a series of church bomb attacks in recent weeks. The attacks did not kill or injure but did cause significant damage to property. Incidents of Bible burning by Hindu youth, designed to heighten fear in Christians, have also been reported. Christians are being blamed for “corrupting the country,” while a new Constitution bans people from converting others to their faith.
All Christian organizations and institutions are also considered ‘fair game’. Despite several arrests, the Morcha have yet to stop threatening Christian missionaries to leave the country. Rather, they have proceeded to declare Nepal a ‘Christian-free’ Hindu nation. They have narrowed down their options to Christians in three grim choices:
1. Leave Nepal immediately;
2. Reconvert to Hinduism;
3. Refuse to leave or convert, and die.
The threats have so far seemingly not shaken the faith of Christian believers, of whom sources report that, “Christians continue their mission of dialogue and proclamation of the Gospel of charity toward all.”
Naturally, concerns have been raised about religious freedom in Nepal and the concurrent threat of religious fundamentalism that threatens to kill off the remnants of the Church in Nepal. Christian groups such as Mission Network News (MNN) and Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) suggested that Christians around the world pray for the government of Nepal; for the wisdom of Nepal’s leaders; for the people of Nepal; and especially for Nepalese Christians as they continue to practice their faith under such difficult circumstances.
Presbyterian (PCUSA) mission spokesman Hunter Farrell stated that, whereas there was much concern for the safety of indigenous believers in Christ, the PCUSA’s efforts can still continue through them. He anticipated the growth of the underground church in a similar manner as occurred during the ‘hidden years’ of China’s nascent persecuted church.
So what should the Christian viewpoint be in these challenging and distressing circumstances? Jesus Christ told His followers to expect persecution, but that He would be with the Church through it all, and that the gates of hell would not prevail against it. In addition to the warnings of upcoming persecution, He also offered strength and encouragement with such words as these:
– Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you (Matthew 5:11, 12).
– These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world (John 16:33).