Today, Christianity is often associated with the West. This association causes tension and increases challenges for Christians living in countries who may not get along with or like the West. This means persecuted Christians in places like the Middle East or Asia are sometimes disqualified as a proper citizen because of their Christian faith. Oftentimes, this leads to persecution.
Christianity: from the West or East?
However, Denise Godwin, president of International Media Ministries (IMM), says the idea of Christianity as a Western religion is a 21st-century concept. Historically, Christianity was exported to the West from the Middle East.
“The seven churches of Revelation were in Turkey. And of course, the church began in Antioch and in Israel. You just see all kinds of things in the Middle East, if you look at history, but it’s not currently able to operate as openly there,” Godwin says.
In more recent history, Europe was the major missions-sending continent. Today, Godwin says that the African continent is one of the big contenders in sending missionaries abroad. The Christian Post backs up this claim and even includes Asia in the running. Read more on the topic here.
“Often these people can get into the Middle East or North Africa more easily than a Western person,” Godwin says.
“Christ really is for everyone. It’s coming from different directions, but the media has given us the impression that it’s just a Western religion.”
This impression has Christians across the globe caught in political crosshairs and facing persecution from their governments. But this persecution is not new; history is actually repeating itself. An advantage of this repetition—a plethora of early church leaders who faced similar circumstances and left examples of how to manage.
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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Bethann Flynn