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Christian Persecution Higher Than Ever as Open Doors’ World Watch List Marks 30 Years

Pierce agreed that church growth despite persecution gives her reason to hope.

“Partly, it’s extraordinary — but incredibly encouraging and challenging — that in a number of countries in the world where it is hardest to live as a Christian, where the consequences are most grave, the church is continuing to grow,” she said.

The 2023 World Watch List covers the period between Oct. 1, 2021, and Sept. 30, 2022.

The United States, notably, is not on the list, though some U.S. Christians have expressed concern about discrimination.

The U.S. has become more secular over the past 30 years since the World Watch List began, Nicolai said. But there’s a “vast difference” between the experiences of Christians in the U.S. and the countries on the World Watch List.

Wherever freedom of religion is being threatened, Christians must pay attention, said Pierce, who is heading Open Doors’ continued presence in the U.S. after its previous U.S. arm parted ways with Open Doors International and relaunched this month as Global Christian Relief.

The U.S. office’s commitment to connecting Christians around the world hasn’t changed, though she noted longtime supporters do need to register again on the new website of Open Doors U.S.

Not only should Christians support those who are persecuted, Pierce said, but also they should learn from them.

“I would say to American Christians that relative to many, many, many places in the world, you have extraordinary freedom,” she said. “Use it well.”

This article originally appeared here