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Michael Ireland is an international British freelance journalist. A former reporter with a London newspaper, Michael is Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service of Lake Forest, California. Michael immigrated to the United States in 1982 and became a US citizen in September, 1995. He is married with two adult children. Michael has also been a frequent contributor to United Christian Broadcasters , a British Christian radio station. His stories for ASSIST News may be viewed at ASSIST News Service Michael's writing activities are a sponsored ministry department -- Michael Ireland Media Missionary (MIMM) -- of Artists in Christian Testimony (ACT) International where you can donate online to his stated mission of 'Truth Through Christian Journalism.'

Monday, June 06, 2011

New Book Challenges Western Church to Learn from Suffering Believers

Authors Seek to Shake Up ‘Comfortable Christians’ With ‘The Privilege of Persecution’ Message

SANTA ANA, CA (June 6, 2011) -- Islamic militants stormed a Baghdad Catholic cathedral, taking 100 hostages in a raid that killed 58 Christians.

Violence against Egypt's Christians this year alone includes the bombing of a Coptic Orthodox church, a policeman who opened fire on Christian train passengers, attacks on churches and Christian gatherings and a military assault on monasteries.

Pakistan’s first-ever Christian cabinet member, who opposed blasphemy laws used against innocent Christians, was assassinated in a hail of bullets by Muslim terrorists.

These believers often count it a privilege to suffer for their faith. Their courage teaches Christians in the West much about following Jesus.In a challenging new book, “The Privilege of Persecution: And Other Things the Global Church Knows that We Don’t” (Moody Publishers), Dr. Carl Moeller, president of Open Doors USA, and David Hegg, senior pastor at Grace Baptist Church (Santa Clarita, California), introduce Western Christians to persecuted Christians who are truly role models for worshippers in the West.

Through a combination of inspiring real-life stories, first-hand experiences on the field and exposition of key Bible passages, Moeller and Hegg examine the "normal Christian life" of Christ-followers. The authors conclude that the suffering church's fruit of vibrant, sacrificial and communal faith is God's intent for the church. The authors explore the areas of community, leadership, worship, prayer and generosity, revealing specific attitudes and actions of suffering Christians that can renew the spiritual lives of Christians in the West.

Moeller says he hopes the book will help Christians in the West “receive a fresh vision and love for the Lord as they read about God’s power at work in the hearts of the persecuted.” Moeller adds that some practical applications for readers of the book include giving of money more sacrificially, praying more globally than inwardly and making worship more authentic.Hegg says that when Christians read the book, his prayer is “they will use their freedom to extend the kingdom of God, rather than residing comfortably in their convenient Christianity.”

“It has been a great concern of mine that America is much too soft and comfortable in their Christian living,” says Dr. Thomas Halstead, chair of the Department of Biblical Studies at The Master’s College (Santa Clarita).

“David and Carl have clearly and articulately contrasted the soft side of American Christianity with that of the persecuted church. After reading this book I hope you too will be more excited and passionate with your walk with Christ. I encourage you to read and learn from this book.”

T.J. Addington, senior vice president for the Evangelical Free Church of America and ReachGlobal, adds: “The book should be required reading for all believers in the West.”“The Privilege of Persecution” is available in Christian bookstores, at www.amazon.com and other websites. For more information, visit http://www.theprivilegeofpersecution.org/.

An estimated 100 million Christians worldwide suffer interrogation, arrest and even death for their faith in Christ, with millions more facing discrimination and alienation. Open Doors supports and strengthens believers in the world's most difficult areas through Bible and Christian literature distribution, leadership training and assistance, Christian community development, prayer and presence ministry and advocacy on behalf of suffering believers.

To partner with Open Doors USA, call toll free at 888-5-BIBLE-5 (888-524-2535) or go to our website at www.OpenDoorsUSA.org.


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