Take a look at Aryn Baker's recent Time article, "Unholy Choices." Baker argues that the recent revolutions in countries like Egypt, Libya and Syria have emboldened Muslims to persecute Christians.
Currently, Christians living in the Syrian town of Raqqa, Baker reports, must pay the equivalent of $650, twice a year. Failure to comply may result in execution.
Facing this kind of persecution, Christians throughout the Middle East are fleeing for their lives. Counting Catholics, Baker notes the number of Christians is declining rapidly.
In the last census of the Ottoman era, conducted in 1914, Christians made up a quarter of the Middle East's population. Now they are less than 5%. Christians in the Middle East represent less than 1% of the world's Christians . . .
If current demographic trends continue, the Middle East's population of 12 million Christians will be halved by 2020.
Baker summarized his point crisply: "Christians may simply not survive the Arab revolutions."
I had the privilege of visiting Cairo just a few months after the 2011 uprising. The Christians I met were excited about the future. But humanly speaking their future looks grim. The threat of kidnappings and church bombings is a daily reality for our Middle Eastern brothers and sisters in Christ.
Intense persecution overseas and the rumblings of increased persecution on the homefront are a good reminder that Jesus meant it when he prayed to the Father about us, "I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one."
Let's continue to pray and plod for the spread of the Gospel in the Middle East.