Global headlines have been filled with coverage of the devastating fire that ravaged the historic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France. The French landmark has received an outpouring of support for its repair and recovery. However, lost in the coverage has been the much bigger story of the hundreds of attacks on Christian Churches in France over the past few years – a sign of a nation giving itself over to outright hostility towards the Christian faith.
An Open War On The Christian Faith
Once one digs into the limited coverage of churches that have been desecrated and attacked in the past few years in France, the facts are startling:
“Across Europe, there has been a growing rise in attacks on churches. Countries like France and Germany have seen a spike in violent vandalism, desecrating cherished churches and Christian symbols in recent months and years.
According to the German news site PI-News, every day in France, two churches are desecrated. They report 1,063 attacks on Christian churches or symbols like crucifixes, icons, and statues in France in 2018, marking a 17 percent increase from the year before.
“I think there is a rising hostility in France against the church and its symbols,” stated Ellen Fantini, executive director of Observatory of Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe. “It seems to be more against Christianity and the symbols of Christianity.”
“These attacks are on symbols that are really sacred to parishioners, to Catholics.” she added. “Desecration of consecrated hosts is a very personal attack on Catholicism and Christianity, more than spray-painting a slogan on the outside wall of a church.” (source).
In February 2019 alone, French authorities reported 47 church attacks. Weeks before the Notre Dame fire, the church of Saint-Sulpice was set on fire following a Sunday midday service. Here is just a sampling of some of the other attacks that have taken place in the past year:
- In February, at Saint-Alain Cathedral in Lavaur, congregants found their altar cloth burned and the church’s crosses and statues of saints broken. (source).
- A cross of human excrement was found in the southern city of Nimes. (source).
- A statue of Mary was smashed in a Paris suburb. (source).
- A statue of Jesus was decapitated in an Atlantic seaside resort with the very Christian name of Saint Gilles Croix de Vie (St. Giles, Cross of Life). (source).
This was not the first time Notre Dame Cathedral was imperiled. In 2016, three Muslim women plotted to blow up the church with a car packed with gas canisters. In early April 2019, Ines Madani, 22, was sentenced to eight years in prison for the foiled plot. Madani used the app Telegram – which is popular with Islamic terrorists, to encourage Muslims to commit murders in Syria and France.
At the same time many jihadists celebrated the burning of Notre Dame online. Islamic terror has been rampant in French churches. In 2016, 2 Muslim men stormed a church taking its 88-year old priest and three elderly nuns hostage. The men forced them all to kneel at the altar and performed a ritual (which they recorded on video) before slitting the priest’s throat.
Persecution Of The Christian Church – Prophesied In Scripture
“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin.” – John 15:19-22
Jesus Christ predicted that those who followed Him would suffer hatred and persecution from a lost world that at its core was angry with God. Today, nations like France move far from the Bible in their government, schools and daily life. Many of the churches being attacked teach man-made, heretical doctrines. New Age spirituality and Islam have increased exponentially. And as a result, the willingness to brazenly attack and desecrate the Christian faith has seen a dramatic surge. Now more than ever, France needs Christian pastors and believers who are not afraid to boldly proclaim the Biblical Gospel. The city of Paris needs the light of Christ to shine on what has become a spiritually darkened and dangerous metropolis. But will they do it? Are the Bible-believing Christian churches prepared? Are they mobilized to show the love of Christ and truth of God’s judgment on the lost? Time will tell.
Pray For France
If you are a Christian pray for a revival of Biblical Christianity in this nation. Pray for church to lean on God and His Word in this time of increasing hostility and persecution. And pray for peace in the hearts and minds of those who have attacked or are considering attacking Christians and church buildings out of hatred for their faith. As Jesus Christ explained the issue is not with a building. The hatred is not towards a belief. It is truly anger with the true and living God of the Bible – Yahweh. It is sinful rebellion against the God the lost know exist but are at war against because sin has deceived and blinded them from the truth of God’s mercy.
Jesus Christ suffered on His long march to the cross against people filled wit the same hatred. He was battered, spit on and mocked by people filled with animosity towards the Savior. And yet, as He suffered on the cross, He uttered: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34).
Truly there are many people in France and all over the world who do not know or realize that they are inviting the wrath of Almighty God when they attack the Christian faith. Yet they need forgiveness that comes through the Gospel – faith in Jesus Christ who took that pain, torture and death so that He could take the wrath for the sins of humanity and all who believe and trust in His sacrifice can be freely forgiven. Lord willing, the people of France will realize this before they find themselves in eternal flames.