By Martin Roth, BosNewsLife Senior Columnist
BosNewsLife's Martin Roth facing storm on social networking service Twitter.
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA (BosNewsLife Columns)-- I found myself in a mild Twitterstorm the other day, if Christians politely disagreeing with one another can be called a Twitterstorm.
It started with a tweet of mine about the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS: “Christianity under threat from ISIS. We must understand the issues. A new book is invaluable.” I then linked to a review I had written on my website of the book “Defying ISIS” by Johnnie Moore.
It's an excellent book, and I concluded my review saying: “This is a short book and a quick read (though not an easy read, given the grim content matter). With Christianity under threat of eradication in the land of its birth, it is vital that all Christians understand the issues. ‘Defying ISIS’ is an excellent starting point.”
Anyway, I soon received a response to my tweet: “@AuthorMRoth Christianity is not under threat. Jesus said he will build his church & the gates of hell will never prevail against it. #ISIS”.
Well yes, Christianity as a whole will prevail. We know that. But Christianity in Iraq and Syria is being eradicated by the depravities of ISIS. That was the point of my initial comment.
So I tweeted back: “Christianity has already been wiped out in North Africa. Now it is being wiped out in Iraq.”
To which my correspondent replied: “@AuthorMRoth Bible prophesied about persecution. Christians are being displaced not wiped out.”
So I tweeted: “Christianity might be growing in China and elsewhere, but it's being wiped out in Iraq. That's my point. It's a tragedy.” I then received the reply: “I understand”, and that was the end of the exchange.
But it set me thinking about how we regard the genocide now being carried out by the barbarians of ISIS. Is it something to be expected – prophesied in the Bible, even - part of the ebb and flow of Christianity? While our faith declines in one part of the globe it rises in another?
Right now Christianity is under attack in the Mideast from Muslim extremists. It is also under attack in the West, and in decline, from the forces of secularism.
Meanwhile it is booming in China and South Korea and parts of Africa, and there is some significant revival occurring in areas of South America.
Of course I and other Christians express joy, and give thanks, for so many new believers. But to describe what is happening in the Mideast as, “Christians are being displaced not wiped out,” is, to my mind almost an insult.
What we are witnessing in Iraq and Syria is a tragedy of almost unmentionable proportions. Every Christian should be grieving.