by Pastor Cranston Knowles
Persecuted but not abandoned. Struck down but not destroyed. I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation. Romans 1:16
The reported cases of Christians martyred in 2013 has doubled from the report of 2012, with Syria having more Christians killed in 2013 than the total number of reported cases combined for 2012. There were 2,123 martyr killings in 2013, 1,213 of those deaths were in Syria. (CBS News, January 8, 2014 “Survey: Report¬ed Christian ‘martyr’ deaths doubled in 2013.”)
There seems to be two wars in Syria – a civil war that is devastat¬ing the country, and a war against the church which has become the target for Islamist rebels. North Korean Christians have faced intense persecution. Up to 70,000 are said to be living in political prison camps.
There is a move to purge Christianity from Somalia. Christians today are being beheaded, maimed, imprisoned, and tor¬tured…for the mere fact that they are believers in Christ. In light of what is happening in the persecuted Church, and with a burden to bring awareness to the Church of The Bahamas of the persecu¬tion of Christians worldwide, a number of churches have decided to join together in a united effort to send a message that we too are not ashamed of the gospel.
The “I Am Not Ashamed Campaign” is a one year aware¬ness campaign that was launched this March, 2014 and climaxes in March of 2015 with a United Missions Conference and Rally. Churches in the Assemblies of Brethren (in conjunction with the United Missions Department), Abundant Life Bible Church, Cal¬vary Bible Church, Grace Community Church, Temple Baptist Church and others will be on a one year journey to pray for, learn about, speak up, and spread the awareness of the plight of our brothers and sisters who are suffering globally, simply because of their faith in Christ.
Islamist extremists with ties to Al-Qaeda have been at¬tacking communities in the north-eastern region of Nigeria. In Bor¬no state April 9 and 10, 2014, 135 people were killed due to these attacks. On April 14, another 75 were killed with 141 casualties. The numbers are expected to rise. Over 200 pastors have been forced to close their church or have been killed. The words of one of the Nigerian pastors speak volumes: “We are willing to pay the price for our calling.
We don’t only share the Gospel when things are rosy. It is to be done in every situation. Hunger and want will never discourage us. Swords and guns, even the roar of the devil, will only encourage us to stand first for Christ. If we die, our blood will speak about Christ to our killers.”
The “I Am Not Ashamed Campaign” will be in 3 phrases, which define the three levels of involvement.
Phase 1 – Awareness campaign
Phase 2 – United Missions Conference
Phase 3 – The Not Ashamed Rally
The Awareness Campaign begins now with each of the individual churches. There will be prayer initiatives, evangelistic efforts, and constant reminders in our worship services. We have one year to build the momentum for our climactic event.
All sights are set toward the dates March 11-15, 2015. The United Conference will be Wednesday, March 11th through Friday March 13th. There will be training sessions and high pow¬ered keynote speakers from both the Barnabus Fund and Gospel for Asia (two missions’ agencies that deal specifically with the persecuted church). The morning of Saturday, March 14th will be workshops and the evening