By Joyce Mwangi, GAFCON Media Team
Sobering accounts of rape, murder, torture and other forms of persecution challenged GAFCON 2013 delegates in Tuesday afternoon’s plenary session. Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of the Barnabas Fund, spoke of Christian persecution around the globe. From the terrorizing of small towns outside of Damascus to the systematic destruction of Christian communities in Iraq, Sookhdeo drew a picture of faithful Christians under attack in multiple areas of the globe. Expressions of Christian persecution are not limited however to violent ones said Sookhdeo. The NATO analyst said that secular humanism is deadly force to the marginal Christianity that exists in the West. Archbishop Ben Kwashi of Jos, Nigeria, has seen concerted attacks on his people and other Christians in central Nigeria. Despite the extreme difficulty this adds to life, Kwashi claimed that “persecution does not make evangelism difficult, it makes life difficult.” Sudanese Anglicans may be a testament to the truth of this. According to Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul, during the decades-long civil war in Sudan, 2 million Christians lost their lives. Despite that, the Church of Sudan grew from 1.5 million to 4 million during that time.
The Rev. Paul Perkin, Rector of St. Mark’s Battersea Rise in the Church of England spoke of places where the Church in England is growing however the good news was accompanied with bad. Perkin cited alarming statistics on the beliefs of Church or England clergy. Andrea Minichiello Williams, CEO of Christian Concern and the Christian Legal Centre, shared that in the past three months, authorities detained three street-preachers in the UK. Williams encouraged the delegates to resist such restrictions on freedom of speech and freedom of religion.