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From the editor
This issue of The Lutheran Witness is 40 pages, eight longer than most, and jam-packed with information on a topic we don’t discuss much: persecution.
Why take the extra time and space to discuss this “mark of the Church,” this suffering that Christian brothers and sisters endure for the sake of Christ and His gifts of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper?
Because His promises are true, His grace sufficient, even in the midst of torture, death, job loss, government infringement.
Hear excerpts from an LCMS pastor, currently teaching in Nigeria, who outlines what some Christians are enduring, all while confessing the Gospel in all its truth, in all its purity.
As the Church Catholic is celebrating the resurrection of our Lord and His imminent victory over sin, death and the devil, we in the Sub-Saharan Africa, specifically Nigeria, are having a different experience altogether. Our celebration is done with mixed feelings as an Islamic sect called “Boko Haram” has vowed to utterly eliminate every element of Christianity in the country.
Below is a synopsis of Boko Haram attacks on Christians in the last few weeks:
1) On the 24th of March, 35 people were killed and many others seriously injured when an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded in Ngurosoye Market Square, a Christian-dominated market, in Borno State.
2) On the same day (24th of March), over 20 seminarians were slaughtered at the Catholic Junior Seminary in Adamawa State, while many others escaped with serious injuries. This attack was carried out at night about 2:00 a.m. according to the Premium Time Newspaper of March 25 after the celebration of the Annunciation of our Lord by the true Church.
3) On the 29th of March, over 47 high school students were slaughtered at night at the Government Secondary School, Maiduguri. The students killed were all Christians who were selected from their Muslim counterparts, as each student was asked to confess their faith either as a Christian or Muslim. (Similar to the Decius persecution of the Roman Empire, and that of the Old Ghana Empire — in 1076 A.D. — when the Almoravids, another Islamic sect, wiped out non-Muslims in modern day North-West African region.)
4) April 1, five police officers were killed in a bomb blast at the police station that consisted primarily of Christian officers, including the head officer.
5) On the 12th of April, two hundred (200) candidates for JAMB (a pre-university entrance examination similar to the SAT examination in the U.S.) were killed in one center since it is primarily, if not only, Christians who prepare to attend college/university.
6) On April 15, Boko Haram abducted 223 school girls to an unknown destination. At the time of this report, less than 30 of the girls who are Muslims have been released; the rest of the girls’ whereabouts are still unknown.
Despite these attacks and tragedies, we believe that our resurrected Lord Jesus Christ has conquered it all. Hence we join the Church Catholic to proclaim that Christ is risen! He is risen indeed. Hallelujah!
Adriane Heins, Managing Editor
The Lutheran Witness