(Reading time: 2 - 3 minutes)

in cross rainbow flickr
Photo: Flickr / Jan Smith

On the same day that the two churches were bombed in Egypt, five churches in India -- in five different states -- were also targeted. The incidents included the disruption of worship services and prayer times; the arrest of pastors and their wives, as well as other church members; and in one of the cases, the violent beating of a pastor. As a result, church groups have called for extra security to be provided for churches during the Easter season, and for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.

The Evangelical Fellowship of India released a statement on April 11th, in which it criticized the targeting of Christians on special days of worship:

"We urge the respective state governments and the central (federal) government to not only take note of these violations, but also to take action to curtail the non-state actors who function with impunity. It is important, especially now as we are in the Passion Week; for, going by the trends so far, it seems the incidents may escalate during Good Friday and Easter.

"It does not reflect well on the world's largest democracy if incidents like these continue to hound religious minorities. We also request that the state...be held accountable and responsible for enforcing the rule of law, so that minorities can live in peace and without fear."

Four of the five states in which the incidents took place are ruled by the Hindu-nationalist BJP -- President Modi's party. While the so-called "anti-conversion laws" appear to protect against forced conversions, in reality, they discriminate against minority groups by forbidding them from any form of evangelism.

The National Council of Churches in India announced that the sudden spurt in anti-Christian violence is a "signal" that Hindu nationalist groups like the BJP and RSS "are going to use the communal card in the most blatant way" -- by teaching majority-Hindus that minorities like Christians and Muslims present a threat to the Hindu nation. To learn more about the country of India, click here.

While the spiritual forces of darkness in the heavenlies may try to hinder the Gospel from going forth, we know according to God's Word that the enemy's wicked schemes won't succeed -- for greater is He who is in us, than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4). May this be a living reality for the Christians in India who need the Lord's strength and empowerment to continue faithfully serving Him amid opposition. Also pray that the eyes of the spiritually blind will be opened so that they can clearly see and acknowledge Jesus as their Saviour -- the Lamb of God who valiantly conquered the power of sin and death on the cross so that they may have eternal life.