From Pulpit to Prison

Joel, a pastor in India, was familiar with the risks involved in openly preaching the Gospel in his country, but he never let the dangers interfere with shepherding his flock of eager believers. One Sunday, he arrived at the church with his wife and child and started the service as he usually did. Not long into the worship, a man came and stood at the back of the dwelling. He soon began shouting obscenities and false allegations at Joel and the other believers. The people tried to ignore him but the situation soon escalated when a group of 25 men arrived and began attacking all those in attendance. This group was led by a respected community leader who vehemently opposed the Gospel. They forced the believers outside, took their Bibles, and beat anyone who showed resistance. Joel and his family tried to stay inside, believing they would be safe, but the mob came and seized them, forcing them to join the others. They began to attack Joel, striking him repeatedly on the head and neck. Someone in the group called the police and when they arrived, they did nothing but watch, and even cheered on the abusers. When the savage attack finally ended, the police forced Joel onto a motorcycle and took him to the nearby police station. They put him in a cell, with an officer coming in every few minutes to abuse him further. Several hours later, they tied Joel’s hands behind his back and forced him to walk to another police station 40 miles away. As this was occurring, many believers from Joel’s church interceded on his behalf, fervently praying he would be released. As Joel stumbled along the road like a convicted murderer, the police received a call from their superiors to return the prisoner to the first police station. Joel knew this was the result of the believer’s ongoing prayers. He was forced to sign a blank piece of paper and told to return in a few weeks to pay for the trouble he caused. 

Sadly, this is not an isolated event in this heavily persecuted country. Joel is one of many Indian pastors who face daily pressure to denounce Christ. Like Joel, believers in India remain committed to the Gospel, regardless of what such devotion may physically and financially cost them. They know that Jesus is the only one worth worshipping.

In the book of Joshua 24:14, Joshua instructs the Israelites: Now therefore, fear the Lord and serve Him with sincerity and truth, and do away with the gods which your fathers served beyond the Euphrates river and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.

Pastor Joel’s commitment to the one true God is a testimony to the Lord’s goodness and faithfulness.

They began to attack Joel, striking him repeatedly on the head and neck.

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