Johnnie Moore Leads Convo to Pray for the Persecuted Church

  • Liberty students encouraged to stand with and pray for the persecuted church around the world.
  • Liberty student Shaddi Abdelwahab shared his story of persecution for his Christian faith while living in Egypt.

Johnnie Moore spoke in Convocation Nov. 6, along with Shaddi Abdelwahab and Pete Holmes, about the persecuted church.

Moore, a former campus pastor at Liberty University, is known for advocating for religious freedom, and Abdelwahab is a Liberty student who experienced persecution for his faith in his home country of Egypt.

Holmes said more than 215 million Christians in the world are persecuted for their faith, which equals one in 12 Christians. According to the Pew Research Center, more than 75 percent of the world’s population lives in an area with severe religious restrictions.

“Persecution is on the rise,” Holmes said. “Probably at no other time in the history of our faith has persecution been so prevalent. Satan has certainly emboldened people around the world to persecute our brothers and our sisters, and the landscape lays before us.”

Holmes said the current generation will begin seeing more persecution than before, and Moore agreed.

“We’ve had more martyrs in the last century than we’ve had in the previous 19 centuries combined,” Moore said.

Moore said it is important to be able to sympathize with the persecuted Christians.

“I wanted to get the stories of these people, because we don’t connect with the numbers,” Moore said. “We connect with the real-life experiences. These are people like us. They’re fathers and mothers and brothers and sisters.”

One of those stories was told by Abdelwahab, who grew up in a Muslim family. Abdelwahab said within his culture, when someone leaves Islam, he or she must be killed.

After Abdelwahab’s family converted to Christianity, his dad went to prison twice and was tortured because of his faith. Abdelwahab grew up in constant fear that his dad would be taken away and thrown in prison again.

Abdelwahab’s school ID in Egypt said he was Muslim because it is illegal to convert from Islam to Christianity, and he had to live a double life. At school, he lived the life of a Muslim, pretending to fast and pray to Allah, and at home, he lived the life of a Christian. He could not take part in church youth activities because the church was too afraid to associate with him.

Abdelwahab came to the United States as a teenager when his father had to give him up for adoption. Abdelwahab said his story is not an unusual one.

“My story is just another story that thousands of teenagers that convert from Islam to Christianity live today,” Abdelwahab said.

However, he said that knowing other Christians around the world support the persecuted church encourages him.

“When you know that you have all of these (blessings), it helps being in oppression,” Abdelwahab said. “Seeing that people care and are going out, that helps build the kingdom of God.”

At the end of Convocation, students were asked to wear bracelets that were handed out at the beginning to show support for the persecuted church. They were asked to take a picture of the bracelet on their wrist and post it on social media with the hashtag #libertystandswith (the persecuted church).

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