There is something inherently evil about a faith that uses unarmed, 84-year-old priests as propaganda fodder for a global Jihad.
But that’s what two Islamic extremists, soldiers of the so-called Islamic State, did on July 26th, 2016. They stormed into a church in a quiet suburb of Rouen, France, and forced Father Jacques Hamel, who was leading the Mass, to his knees. They then slit his throat at the altar. The camera rolled and one of the terrorists shouted what a witness referred to as a “sermon” in Arabic.
This news story was chilling to us, because it’s exactly what happened in the capital of Southern Kordofan in the Islamic Republic of Sudan. Thousands of residents fled to the UN compound in Kadugli, thinking it would be a safe haven from the Sudan Armed Forces. But the compound was guarded by Egyptian soldiers, allied with Sudan, and they opened the gates.
Agents from the National Intelligence and Security Services (the Sudan government’s Gestapo) went in and began pulling people outside, where their throats were slit like goats— one after another.
The criteria for those being selected for execution was any one of three things: 1) Ethnic Nuban (black), 2) Member of the SPLM-N opposition party, or 3) Christian.
All this happened in June of 2011, long before the horrific images of executions of Westerners wearing orange jump suits began flooding the Internet.
The war against Islamic extremism is nothing new in Sudan. It has been the status quo for Sudan’s Christian community for a long time.
We’re happy to say that we’re fighting back— but not with weapons of this world.
If what we watch in the news teaches us anything, it’s that there is no way we can kill our way out of the problem of Islamic extremism. Yes, there will always be a time and a place for self-defense. But what about a strong offense? How do we fight back?
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Cor. 10:3-5
“We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world—right up to this moment.” I Cor. 4:12-13
This is how we fight and win. We do the opposite of our enemies. When they curse, we bless. When they kill, we have mercy. When they wound, we heal.
This is what the church in the Nuba mountains of Sudan has been doing since that tragic day in Kadugli when so many of their friends and family members were slaughtered. The Nuba church lives under constant threat of attack, from the land and air, yet its ministry of hope and reconciliation continues to this day.
Since 2011, PPF has distributed tens of thousands of Bibles in local languages, hundreds of thousands of gospel tracts in English and Arabic, solar-powered audio Bibles, and motorcycles and quad bikes for mobile evangelists. We’ve also sponsored Pastors’ conferences so they can support and encourage each other in their work. We’ve even sponsored Bible translation teams for tribes still needing the Scripture in their language.
All of these projects are funded by gifts to PPF’s Discipleship and Evangelism Program. When you support D & E, it’s like passing spiritual ammo to the front.
So this work represents a true spiritual offensive. With your help, it will continue.
We can’t do anything without God working through the generous hearts of our supporters and ministry partners. You have come alongside us and been responsible for filling our hands so we can give to others.
Now is the time for the Church to rise up and engage. Spiritual apathy or pacifism is no longer an option. The war has come to us. The enemy is not on a distant battlefield. He’s in our neighborhoods, our work places— even our churches. But we already know the outcome is victory. We know our role is to usher in this outcome through sharing the love of Christ in word and deed.