Persecution, Preparing for Persecution

Here’s a story about persecution, and that is followed by the way not to teach our youth about persecution:

CARROLLTON, Texas, July 28, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ — Gospel for Asia (GFA) officials have confirmed that a senior mission leader in India has been abducted by a terrorist group. On July 23, around 7 p.m., Pastor Ponnachan George was kidnapped by five armed terrorists from the Bible school campus operated by Gospel for Asia in the Karbi Anglong district of Assam, India.

George is reportedly being held in a forest hideout at an unknown location. Death threats have been issued by his captors with demands for an undisclosed ransom amount labeled by GFA officials as “a very large sum.”

Gospel for Asia has sent an E-mail to its supporters urgently soliciting prayer for the safe release of George. The mission agency maintains a policy of non-negotiation with terrorists for money. In similar instances, it has relied solely on prayer and fasting, reporting God bringing about miraculous releases.

“I am reminded in the midst of this critical time that the most important thing we can do is to pray,” said K. P. Yohannan, founder and president of Gospel for Asia. “As we see in Acts 12, when the Apostle Peter was imprisoned, God’s people prayed, and He answered. Will you please join us in prayer for the release of our beloved Pastor Ponnachan? Please also pray for his wife and their two teenage children, who are waiting and entreating the Lord for his safe return.”

A church decided to “capture” kids to teach them about persecution.

PITTSBURGH — A southeastern Pennsylvania church and a youth pastor are facing criminal charges for a mock kidnapping of a youth group that was meant to be a lesson in religious persecution.

The Glad Tidings Assembly of God in Middletown and 28-year-old Andrew David Jordan of Elizabethtown were charged Friday with false imprisonment and simple assault, said Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico.

The church staged the event in March. Mock kidnappers covered the teenagers’ heads, put them in a van and interrogated them. Neither the young people nor their parents were told beforehand that it wasn’t real. The mother of a 14-year-old girl filed a complaint with police.

“This is a sad case for all those involved,” Marsico said, adding that while the church’s and Jordan’s intentions were not necessarily harmful, “they in essence terrorized several children.”

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • Rick

    I remember a guy I worked with who really had a hard time with Christians. When he was in elementary school, he went to a church meeting. They put him and a bunch of kids in a van without windows. Drove them all over town hiding in different basements. At different stops they showed them various movies about the end times. At the last stop, they asked these kids who wanted to be saved or who wanted to be on earth during the tribulation. He said every kid there accepted Christ as their savior, but at 20 years of age he wanted nothing to do with God because of the way he had been manipulated.

  • Rob S

    Prayer in response to the first story. Absolutely, and I will pray. The second story seems like to wrong kind of preparation for persecution. Jesus suggests a different approach in Luke 21:14-15. Not that preparation isn’t necessary, but the preparation ought to focus on our obedience to God, rather than figuring out what to say.

  • PastorM

    This is a real story of persecution, not one such as feeling persecuted for people saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas,” as some Christians do. Indeed, we all need to pray for George and also avoid foolishness such as occurred in the second story.

  • Merv Olsen

    Regarding the Senior Missionary abducted … Gospel for Asia issued a letter 2 days later saying that God HAS an answered prayer and that the missionary has now been released and is safe. Praise God!

  • Reved Up

    I can’t help but ask myself the question, is the divide in our Christianity, between the developing world and the west really that great, where we in the west have to play act, persecution?
    The thing that scares me is that these leaders either thought that their kids were to insulated from the truth, that they had to commit these acts or, that they wanted to prepare them for some form of tribulation in the near future.
    I guess they will be the ones learning about persecution and the loss of personal rights when they are changed.
    It’s so important to teach our kids/youth the truth in love……
    and yes praise God that the pastor has been released because more often than not Christians aren’t.

  • Solemn Bastion

    It is _because_ Christians are not persecuted to death in the US that this kind of foolishness goes on. No Christian in his right mind would mock a persecution–or even drive kids around and show them stupid films–if he were under a death threat.


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