We've seen Afghanistan dominating the recent news. We've seen the chaos mount after the Biden administration announced, then carried out, its total withdrawal of troops. We've heard the stories of people, especially Christians, living under extreme levels of persecution as the Taliban has taken control of the government.
But Todd Nettleton, host of Voice of the Martyrs radio and the Forbidden Faith podcast, sees these headlines a different way, and he wants us to know one critical fact: The danger for Christians in Afghanistan started long before the recent U.S. withdrawal and Taliban takeover.
"It has always been dangerous to be a follower of Christ in Afghanistan," he tells Dr. Steve Greene on a recent episode of Greenelines on the Charisma Podcast Network. "It has always been dangerous to say, 'Yeah, I was born in a Muslim family. But I'm not a Muslim anymore; I'm a follower of Jesus.'"
The true danger for Afghan Christians, Nettleton says, doesn't start with the government. Instead, "It starts with your own family members," he says. "It starts with your dad or your big brother, who says, 'No, no, no, we are a Muslim family; you cannot be anything other than a Muslim and be part of our family.'
"And so the important thing for people to understand is it didn't suddenly become dangerous to be a Christian on Sept. 1, when the Taliban took over," Nettleton says. "It's always been dangerous to be a Christian there.
"Here's the exciting thing about Afghanistan," he adds. "There are Christians in every part of the country. In every province, there are people, Afghan people, who are following Jesus Christ.
"And many of those people—in fact most of those—chose to stay in the country, in spite of seeing the Taliban rise, in spite of seeing the Taliban take over, knowing full well the danger that the Taliban brought, knowing full well their interpretation of Sharia law and what it would mean to be found out as a Christian, they chose to say with the idea that, 'Listen, this is where God has placed us," Nettleton says. "'God is certainly able to protect us, and if He chooses not to protect us, we are willing to suffer and even die for the name of Christ.'
"That's the powerful part of the story that I don't think is being told loudly enough about what's happening in Afghanistan," he says.
For much more from Todd Nettleton of Voice of the Martyrs on persecuted Christians across the globe and how you and your church can pray for them on Nov. 7, the 2021 International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, as well as at other times, listen to the entire episode of Greenelines at this link and check out Nettleton's own podcast, Forbidden Faith, also on the Charisma Podcast Network. Find Nettleton's book, When Faith Is Forbidden, wherever fine books are sold, and subscribe to Greenelines on your favorite podcast platform for more inspiring stories like this one.
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Dr. Steve Greene is the publisher and executive vice president of the media group at Charisma Media and executive producer of the Charisma Podcast Network. His book, Love Leads: The Spiritual Connection Between Your Relationships and Productivity, is now available.
Leaders, Dr. Greene wants to help you understand the spiritual connection between relationships and productivity. Read his new blog, here.
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