Clearly, Syria is undergoing terrible developments. Some call it a civil war. Others would say that foreign invaders are taking advantage of the chaos that came in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, especially after the fall of Mubarak in Egypt.
In any event, Islamists are creating more and more havoc throughout the whole region.
Syria played a key role in the start of Christianity. It was in a city of Syria that the famous moniker for believers in Jesus was first created. Luke tells us in the Book of Acts: "the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch."
Saul of Tarsus was on the road to Damascus, when Jesus appeared to him and changed him into the greatest missionary ever---Paul the Apostle. He went on to write half the New Testament.
It was out of Antioch, that the early Church sent Barnabas and Paul out on the first missionary enterprise. They were the first we know of to bring the gospel to Europe.
My good friend, Bill Federer, bestselling author and speaker, told my radio audience recently that after Greek (the Koine version of which was the language of the New Testament) and after Latin (the main language for Church writings for more than a millennium), Syriac (a language based in Syria) contained the most amount of Christian writings.
Even now, thousands of Christians still live in Syria, but their lives and future are in jeopardy, as are the lives of many Muslims who do not buy into the Islamist philosophy of the Syrian rebels.
Reports show that our government is funding many of these rebels in Syria or providing them with guns. Most agree that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad is a bad guy. Yet the rebels opposing him include Muslim terrorists committed to the same deadly philosophy of Al-Qaeda, whether directly affiliated or not. Christians in Syria, meanwhile, plead with foreign powers to stay out of the battle and to not support the Muslim rebels.
Saddam Hussein was a bad guy by anybody’s reckoning. But, reflecting the “law of unintended consequences,” the change in government in Iraq has been devastating to Christians---the majority of whom have been killed or driven out by Islamic militants.
For TheDailyBeast, Kirsten Powers wrote, “A Global Slaughter of Christians, but America’s Churches Stay Silent” (9/27/13). She notes, “Christians in the Middle East and Africa are being slaughtered, tortured, raped, kidnapped, beheaded, and forced to flee the birthplace of Christianity. One would think this horror might be consuming the pulpits and pews of American churches. Not so. The silence has been nearly deafening.”
It’s time to shatter the silence and mobilize the prayer warriors. The least we can do is pray.