Opendoors: Sri Lanka’s Religious Climate
By Press Release Opendoors On December 12, 2013
We sat down and interviewed a church leader from Sri Lanka regarding the status of Christianity in his country, and the things he talked about and the answers he gave were stunning:
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- RELIGIOUS LIBERTIES: Although religious freedom is protected in Sri Lanka's laws, individuals and groups who perpetrate attacks against religious minorities are seldom ended, let alone prosecuted.
- LOCAL ATTACKS: The presence of Buddhist extremists in eastern and southern Sri Lanka usher in a new wave of attacks against believers this 2013. These include threats to pastors with growing ministries, harassment of congregations attending Sunday worship, destruction of church buildings, and shutdown of Christian ministries.
- BODU BALA SENA: (BBS) is translated in the Sinhala language as "Buddhist Power Force." This year, BBS has been responsible for several, seemingly coordinated brutalities against religious minorities, such as Christians and Muslims.
- MOBILE MEETINGS: Rather than meet as a congregation, more Sri Lankan pastors now hold worship services in houses, among small groups of believers. They travel from village to village, visiting these house church meetings every Sunday to preach and encourage believers.
- ARE CHURCHES MULTIPLYING?: The number of Christian churches in northern Sri Lanka is growing, not because of increased evangelism, but because of church splits. After the Sinhala-Tamil civil war, foreign funds poured into the north, enticing Christians to break away and start their own congregations, causing division in the body of Christ.
- A CHANCE FOR PEACE: During the 30-year civil war in north Sri Lanka, many evangelical Christians have chosen to stay in the war-torn districts, and continued their ministries. Because of this, they enjoy a degree of goodwill among the Sri Lankan Tamils. It can be an open door for God's people to be channels of his peace and reconciliation.
- YOUTH REVIVAL: There is deep spiritual hunger among the Buddhist youths. More of them are coming to Jesus Christ every day, and the church in Sri Lanka needs to be prepared in discipling a new generation of believers.