Christians Urged to Pray for 21 Coptic Christians Beheaded by ISIS on Sunday; Press Obama, Congress to Tackle Christian Persecution
Mark Burnett, Roma Downey, Samuel Rodriguez, Gabe Lyons, Russell Moore,and other religious leaders are asking Christians to observe a minute of silence Sunday for the 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians beheaded by the ISIS terrorists. They are also urging President Obama to do more to address the persecution of Christians.
"We stand convicted and convinced that terror and intolerance cannot, and will not, extinguish the light of God's grace, truth and love," said Rev. Rodriguez, president of The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, who is part of the call for Christians to remember and honor the 21 Egyptian Coptic martyrs.
"We hope leaders around the world will join us in honoring those who have lost their lives, praying for those suffering, and repudiating all acts of terror," added Rodriguez, who represents more than 100 million Hispanic Evangelicals throughout the world, in a statement released by the leaders.
Award-Winning television producers Burnett and Downey; Moore, president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission; and Lyons, founder of Q Ideas, have also joined the effort.
The leaders have created a web page, 21martyrs.com, allowing Christians to download a video that can be played before a minute of silence is observed in churches and Christian gatherings on Sunday.
Islamic State militants in Libya recently released a video showing 21 Coptic Christians being beheaded. The Christians were reportedly whispering the name of Jesus as their heads were being hacked off their bodies.
ISIS, also known as ISIL, is an al-Qaeda offshoot which seeks to form an Islamic emirate in the Levant region through "jihad." It has gained control over large territories in Iraq and Syria.
The video made by the Christian leaders also talks about the Boko Haram terror group in Nigeria, which, too, has killed numerous Christians.
Since the first century, Christians have endured persecution, the video says. Yet in the midst of death, the Church remained alive and hopeful remembering Jesus' promise, "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven," it adds, quoting Matthew 5:10.
"Persecution of Christians wakes a slumbering Church," said Lyons in the same statement. "This call to remembrance and prayer reminds us that the blood of the martyrs has always been the seed for a revived Church. May we remain sober-minded and fall to our knees in prayer for God to stir our hearts to obedience."
The leaders are also urging President Obama and the Congress to do more to specifically address the persecution of Christians by ISIS, Islamic totalitarianism and regimes in the Middle East.
They are calling upon the United Nations to convene a summit on Christian persecution around the world.
The effort is also being led by James Robison, founder of LIFE Outreach International; Johnnie Moore, author of Defying ISIS; Mathew D. Staver, Esq., founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel; Dr. Mark Williams, general overseer of The Church of God; Dr. Doug Beacham, general superintendent of The International Pentecostal Holiness Church; Dr. Glenn Burris, president of The Foursquare Church; and others.