Dr. Jerry Dykstra is Director of Media Relations with Open Doors USA. For almost 60 years, Open Doors has worked in the world's most oppressive and restrictive countries, strengthening Christians to stand strong in the face of persecution and equipping them to shine Christ's light in these places.
Last week, Open Doors released its 2014 World Watch List of 50 countries that are the worst persecutors of Christians. Jerry noted they do this list so that Christians become aware of what's happening in the world to their brothers and sisters in the faith and also how we can pray better for them.
There were 2,123 recorded killings of Christians last year. In addition, two-thirds of the countries on the World Watch List this year saw a growth in persecution in 2013.
While 9 of the top 10 nations persecute Christians due to Muslim terrorism, the #1 nation on the list appearing for the 12th straight time is North Korea. Jim and Jerry looked at this nation in detail discussing why persecution is so prevalent there.
2 surprises included the Central African Republic, a nation that last year was not on the list but is now listed at the #16 spot and the South American nation of Colombia, a nation that jumped from #46 to #25.