Why Don’t Christians Help…Christians?

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In 1969, at the age of 21, I was sent to the Soviet Union. I was a young American Jew who spoke Hebrew and Russian and who practiced Judaism. My task was to bring Jewish religious items into the Soviet Union and the names of Jews who wished to leave the Soviet Union out of that country. Upon returning to the United States, I became the national spokesman for the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry, one of the most effective organizations for Soviet Jews in the world.

As such, I spoke before synagogues of every denomination, Hadassah groups, Jewish federations, Jewish groups on college campuses. If there was a Jewish organization, it cared about the plight of Soviet Jews. For decades, virtually every synagogue in America had a “Save Soviet Jewry” sign in front of it.

Over time, the plight of the Soviet Jews awakened me to the plight of all Soviet dissidents, whether secular ones — such as that great man, the physicist Andrei Sakharov — or Christian.

The latter were particularly persecuted. Though my work was with Soviet Jewry, I had no trouble acknowledging that Soviet Christians often had it worse. Few Soviet Jews were killed or locked away in dungeon-like conditions by the Soviet authorities, but Soviet Christians were.

At some point in my early years, it dawned on me that I had not seen a single church with a “Save Soviet Christians” sign. Even more amazingly, I encountered Christian clergy — Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox — at every one of the scores of Soviet Jewry rallies at which I spoke. But while these wonderful Christians were outspoken on behalf of Soviet Jews, they were nearly all silent regarding — or even simply ignorant of — the dire plight of Soviet Christians.

Making matters worse, the world’s most famous Christian evangelist, the Rev. Billy Graham, went to the Soviet Union in 1982, and in his talk at a church told Christians to obey the authorities — the same authorities who were rounding up Christian dissidents inside and outside the very church at which Graham spoke. As columnist George Will wrote at the time:

“The Washington Post reports that when Graham spoke in two churches, both ‘were heavily guarded, with police sealing off all roads leading to them. Hundreds of KGB security agents … were in the congregation.’ Graham told one congregation that God ‘gives you the power to be a better worker, a more loyal citizen because in Romans 13 we are told to obey the authorities.’ How is that for a message from America? Graham is America’s most famous Christian. (Aleksandr) Solzhenitsyn is Russia’s. The contrast is instructive.”

This history is repeating itself.

In the Muslim world, Christians are being murdered, churches are being torched, entire ancient Christian communities — the Iraqi and Palestinian, for example — are disappearing.

And, again, 2 billion Christians react with silence. There are some Christian groups active on behalf of persecuted Christians around the world. They do important work, and are often the primary source of information on persecuted Christians. But they would be the first to acknowledge that the Christian world is overwhelmingly silent when it comes to the persecution of Christians in the Muslim world.

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  • QSuzy

    This is a very good question and I don't know the answer.

  • Fred Dawes

    me to QSuzy

  • Fred Dawes

    sad to say you are right and someday most Christians will pay for that and the price tag will really be high as hell can make it.

  • inmateprof

    The only group I know of is the Voice of the Martyrs. Their mission is to help the persecuted church. It is a great organization that I encourage Christians to tithe to. I'm sick of the mega-churches, purpose driven life, prosperity gospel churches. We have become so selfish as a body. God has blessed this nation so we can help our brothers and sisters, but we aren't. We need new buildings, speakers, and rec. rooms for the youth.

  • Jim

    Their ministers do not tell them that they should.

  • http://www.heavensmydestination.blogspot.com Nicodemus

    This is a complex issue and would take much time to reply to well and in a balanced way.

    Part of the reason relates to the dangers of anti-intellectualism in certain sectors of Christianity and in this context I would refer you to the address of Charles Malik, " The Other Side of Evangelism," see Christianity Today, November 7th 1980, page 40. For his original address see The Two Tasks (Wheaton III: Bily Graham Centre, 2000). It was given as the inaugural address at the dedication of the new Billy Graham Center on the Campus of Wheaton College. From sufficient attention to the intellectual basis of our faith springs the rationale for taking on vested political interests including all forms of totalitarianism and becoming involved in poilitics more generally.

  • http://www.heavensmydestination.blogspot.com Nicodemus

    Francis A. Scaheffer's book "A Christian Manifesto" lays a framework for civil disobedience and I think there is a clear case for that as well as the case for peace and order and sustaining that by contributing positively to society.

    Also the fact that as Irving Kristol pointed towards in one of his essays, the fact that historical Christianity focuses on "belief" has an impact, so we see ourselves as a community of belief rather than faith and not primarily centred on political programs. So there is no case in my view for any form of theocracy for conservative Christians.

    It is hard to take though when those who appear at times most in the stream of defending the rights of Christians not to be murdered or targeted are not themselves Christians and yet I personally am very grateful for that support.

    Thank you.

  • Russell

    American Christians have focus issue due to a wide variety of Social,Work,and Entertainment distractions. The best we can do is talk it up with our fellow Christians both friends and leaders alike. Help bring awareness to the church by providing facts and asking for the churches to set up some sort of financial support system with on the sean originations. Most importantly to prey and give as opportunity presents . Just giving would be pointless without the power of the Holy Spirits support. So talk it up.get a financial system in play and Prey!

  • http://www.heavensmydestination.blogspot.com Nicodemus

    I think it is also very difficult for those who might be prepared to take up the cause to do so when the resources are not seemingly available to enable those with the gifts and abilities to do so free from fear of loss of work opportunity and threats as a result when they also have families. Just as the Pakistan Christian recently murdered commented before his death, he chose not to marry for fear of the threat of death.

  • Troy Pearsall

    This problem runs deeper that Christina failing to support our brothers and sisters in different country. I have seen Christian fail to support a dieing Christian right next door to them. We support anything the world says is ok but we forget to support our own.

    There can be two Churches on the same street one corner pentecostal the other baptist they pass each other going to worship each Sunday, yet they could not tell you the name of one Pastor of the church on the opposite corner if it wasn't for the marquee.

    They act as though their church is fighting the devil all by themselves and the world is just watching and waiting for them to realize victory. Most churches are not even to pay rent on their building so of course they are unable to meet the needs of the local community. Is there any wonder they can't meet the needs of their brothers and sisters around the world that are suffering for Christ?

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