I have seen what more than 50 countries have to offer. One thing stands out. The countries that offer the most freedom to their citizens are countries with a Christian foundation.
This is especially true of freedom of religion. Where non-Christian religions (or atheism) rule, people are seldom free to practice Christianity. Christians are still being martyred for their faith in such countries today. But in Christian countries, people may practice whatever religion they choose without scrutiny. Christianity is genuinely a religion of freedom.
Iron Curtain Christians who gave years out of their lives in prison camps because they would not deny Christ deserve a lion’s share of the thanks for the new measure of religious freedom others enjoy in those countries today. Their loyalty, bravery and refusal to dilute the faith are beacons of hope to those who still struggle under the heel of tyranny.
And the greatest freedom of all — the freedom of the soul — comes through the Savior of these heroes of the faith, Jesus Christ. One Assemblies of God pastor who was martyred for his faith in 1997 was known in his language as Ravanbakhsh. It means “soul giver.”
The United States is still the freest country on earth. Most of us have paid little for the great freedoms we enjoy.
But somebody paid.
A great cost has been borne by a disproportionate percentage of our citizenry. Some of the stories of those who have paid great prices on the battlefield are in this issue.
In recent years our society has moved in the right direction. We have begun to recognize more fully the great debt we owe to these brave men and women.
This issue is the Evangel’s tribute to them, by recognizing just a few who represent the many thousands. It is also a tribute to our Lord — the source of all true freedom.
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