By Sophie Saint-Firmin, News Editor
Christians claim to have seen a “sign from God” after an Evangelical church in Kyrgyzstan was firebombed, leaving only a Bible unscathed.
Baptist Church in Kaji-Say, Kyrgyzstan, was destroyed after militant Muslims threw Molotov cocktails into the establishment, setting it ablaze in the early hours of Jan. 3. According to The Daily Mail, the church suffered extensive damage, but the flames ceased just short of an open Bible; even the altar cloth beside it was completely burned.
Release International, an organization based in the U.K., claimed the unharmed Bible was a product of divine intervention. “There is no doubt the church in Kyrgyzstan will survive – and continue to preach the gospel,” stated a member of the church’s partner company, Operation Mark.
Recently, the church had been facing intense opposition, and it believes its outreach efforts are what prompted the attack. The Christian Post stated that, aside from facing problems with the church, tensions with the government have resulted in the creation of laws forbidding any kind of missionary work. In addition, unregistered churches there are prohibited from gathering together.
In October 2017, Pew Research Center ranked Kyrgyzstan among the top 10 nonreligious nations that are hostile toward both Christian and other religious institutions. The rise in tension between Muslims and Christians in Kyrgyzstan is so potent that militants are digging up the corpses of Christian converts from Muslim cemeteries, stated Release International.
Release International’s Chief Executive Paul Robinson said, “Most Christians there are unable to lead ordinary lives. They can be arrested for reading the Bible in a public place like a bus or train, or for telling other people about Jesus. Often the homes of local believers can be searched and their belongings confiscated by the police. Everyday Christian activities, such as praying together or doing a Bible study, can be deemed ‘illegal.’”
Kyrgyzstani police claim there were no injuries in the firebombing attack and, despite a lack of eyewitnesses, they are still investigating the scene.