Venezuelan Churches Feel Subtle Persecution

by | Jul 14, 2011 | Charisma Archive

Venezuela has formed a major alliance and a significant trade relationship with Cuba since the election of President Hugo
Chavez in 1999.

Chavez has described Cuba’s dictator, Fidel Castro, as his
mentor. As the warm relationship
continues to intensify, it’s bringing along with it a growing sense of concern for
religious freedom.

Castro’s attitude toward the church has been decidedly
unfriendly. However, according to Voice of the Martyrs Canada, over the last
year the government shifted away from higher profile forms of oppression to
putting pressure on pastors and other Christian leaders.

The concern, says VOMC spokesman Greg Mussleman, is that because
of the Chavez admiration for Cuba, Venezuela may be adopting a similar mindset
and ideology. Mussleman spoke with
Colonel Nelson Castro (unrelated to Fidel Castro), a Venezuelan church leader, about
his concerns. Castro’s first comment
was, “The church in Venezuela in the past has been very active and has done a
lot of evangelical campaigns.”

Then, says Mussleman, came agreement. “We don’t see the more
demonstrative persecution—church buildings set on fire, or people thrown into
prison—but more subtle kinds of persecution that causes people to
compromise.”

Many church leaders have gone
along with the radical socialist government or kept a low profile to avoid
problems, but it backfired. Mussleman goes on to
say that the current scenario is proof of that. “What you’re seeing is a situation where
pastors have compromised, and Col. Castro is saying that this kind of
persecution is intensifying for those who stand up and preach the Gospel.”

Subtle persecution keeps governments under the radar of the
United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. Rather than a direct hit, it’s a campaign of
discouragement. “Where a lot of the
pastors now are starting to stand up and speak the truth, they’re running into
problems. Again, it’s subtle,
where people are losing their jobs, their churches, or some buildings have been shut
down. They won’t allow them to meet.”

Mussleman notes that on the face of the issue, it looks like
there is freedom. “You can have
Christian radio stations in Venezuela if you agree to some very strict
regulations. One of those regulations is that you cannot speak out in any way
against the government.”

However, that regulation can put a preacher afoul of the
law. “Some of the teachings of Scripture, in our allegiance to Jesus Christ,
would be seen as an affront to the government. So if you’re not close to the
government and going along with what they’re saying, you won’t be granted a
license to operate a radio station.”

The same is true for those trying to keep their churches
above ground. However, says Mussleman, “If
you’re not close to the government, or if you’re in any way seen as outside of
their control, they won’t grant a license or permits to build new structures or
renovate the  existing structures.” As a result, many churches are going
underground.

That’s good and bad news. Castro warns: “I firmly believe that there is
going to be a law passed that will modify the way churches gather, and there
will be a price to pay. I think that is what is ahead.”

Mussleman responds: “Pray that the church in Venezuela will
mature. With persecution and the difficulty the church is facing, pray that the church
will be strong, the leaders will be strong, and they will be preparing their
people in what the Bible says about persecution and difficulty.”

The time for compromise is over. Castro says, “Preaching the gospel will always bring
consequences, but we have to continue to preach Christ as Jesus as our King, no
matter what that brings.”

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

Why Did God Give ‘This’ to Me?

Why Did God Give ‘This’ to Me?

It’s a question I frequently hear. It’s one I’ve asked. And maybe it’s one you’ve asked, too. The question is, “God, why did You give this to me?” This can be any number of issues, from emotional or psychological struggles to symptoms or sicknesses, disabilities or...

No Evil Can Stop What God Has Planned

No Evil Can Stop What God Has Planned

I sense it. And I perceive a growing number of people in massive proportions sense the increasing momentum of power and might worldwide. Something is on the horizon—something more eerie and ominous than what the people of the world have ever before experienced. Even...

Curt Landry: 6 Ways to Open Your Heart and Mind to God’s Voice

Curt Landry: 6 Ways to Open Your Heart and Mind to God’s Voice

We are told that we must listen to God’s voice when we need to make important decisions. What does the Bible say about hearing God’s voice? How do we apply this to our everyday lives? 7 Bible Verses About Hearing God’s Voice “So then faith comes by hearing, and...

Abortion Restrictions Don’t ‘Force Religion’ on Women

Abortion Restrictions Don’t ‘Force Religion’ on Women

After the Supreme Court ruled last week 6-3 that there is no constitutional right to abortion, pro-life supporters cheered while angry pro-choice activists took to the streets to denounce the decision. Abortion advocates carried placards and shouted slogans such as...

Prophetic Word: The Books Are Open and the Scales Have Tipped

Prophetic Word: The Books Are Open and the Scales Have Tipped

As we were coming into the month of June, the halfway point of the year, the Lord began to speak to me that we are at a tipping point. How we position and posture ourselves in this month will set the tone for the next six months. A tipping point is a series of small...

The United States: Birthed in Prophetic Symbolism

The United States: Birthed in Prophetic Symbolism

One of the most amazing facts about the Founding Fathers of our nation is this: The one referred to as the "voice" of the revolution (John Adams) and the one referred to as the "pen" of the revolution (Thomas Jefferson) both died on the same day—July 4, 1826—exactly...

RECENT ARTICLES

Charismatic Christian Spreads Spirit-Filled Hope, Boldness and Truth to the U.S. House of Representatives

One of the most high-profile, outspoken, freedom-fighting and influential conservative members of the U.S. House of Representatives is a Spirit-filled, Charismatic Christian. Colorado Rep. Lauren...
Are You Being Trapped by This Wily Scheme of the Enemy?

Are You Being Trapped by This Wily Scheme of the Enemy?

A predator ensnares his prey with a trap meant to weaken and disarm the life so easily enticed by the bait set before it. Once the predator catches his prey, his goal is to steal, kill and destroy. Do you know this is exactly what the enemy is trying to do to you...

3 Things God Can’t Do

3 Things God Can’t Do

 Most people will be surprised and may even gasp at that statement. You mean there are some things God can't do? Yes, it’s true. He can do anything except for these three things. {eoa} Bill and Annette Wiese founded Soul Choice Ministries in 2000 for the purpose of...

Kingdom Economics: When Things Don’t Go as Expected

Kingdom Economics: When Things Don’t Go as Expected

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Before the invasion, many—probably most—Western analysts expected the war to last from a few days to a few weeks due to Russia’s vastly superior military might. However, the Ukrainians surprised everyone. Due to the bravery...

Why There is Power in Your Song

Why There is Power in Your Song

Do you have a great voice? If so, then sing! Do you have a horrible voice? If so, then sing! There is power in the song. God gave you your vocal cords, voice and ability to sing. There has never been a culture in which music was not part of society. We see music...

How Would an Encounter in Heaven Transform Your Life?

How Would an Encounter in Heaven Transform Your Life?

Have you ever wondered what heaven was like? What does a person see and experience when they are in heaven? Is the arrival in immediate when a believer dies? These are great questions and ones that Rabbi Felix Halpern can answer. A mix-up in medicine brought about a...

Pin It on Pinterest

[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]