The Common Ground Christian Network calls American Christians to stand together as their religious liberties are threatened and as others face persecution across the globe. “The backlash to proposed religious freedom laws in Indiana, Arkansas and Georgia comes from a culture that is increasingly uncomfortable with Christians living out their faith in public. Bible-believing Christians must practically and prayerfully support each other,” Carmen Fowler LaBerge, chairman of the CGCN, said. “We must also stand together to support our Christian brothers and sisters in Kenya, Syria, Iraq, Nigeria and those places where the church faces physical threats and extermination.”
Meeting in Washington D.C. in March, the CGCN’s recent meeting focused on issues of religious liberties in North America and globally. Retired VA Representative Frank Wolf addressed the group and told of his new 21sth Century Wilberforce Initiative that advocates religious freedoms.
The meeting included representatives of denominations and individual congregations including Anglicans (ACNA), Presbyterians (PCA, PCUSA, EPC, ECO) Methodists (UMC), and Lutherans (NALC) as well as para-church ministries. Speakers from the Family Research Council, the Center for Public Justice the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, the Institute for Global Engagement and others conveyed the various kinds of threats Christians face. From physical persecution in Africa and the Middle East, to legal intimidation in Europe and North America, the group discussed the many ways religious liberties are restricted.
“As hostility toward Christians increases overseas and at home, Religious Freedom Restoration Acts and even the First Amendment won’t be able to protect us. Working together across denominational lines should be a top priority and will strengthen our message of the good news of Jesus Christ,” LaBerge said.
The 2-day meeting concluded with the CGCN unanimously adopting the following statement of solidarity with persecuted Christians around the world.
Statement of Solidarity with Persecuted Christians around the World
Common Ground Christian Network, approved, March 10, 2015
As members of the one Body of Christ, and knowing that we are exhorted by Holy Scriptures to do good to all, especially to those of the household of faith, (Galatians 6: 10) the Common Ground Christian Network, a coalition of Christians standing together for the cause of Christ, declares its solidarity with Christians around the world, persecuted for the sake of the Gospel.
When one part of the Body suffers, every part suffers with it (1 Corinthians 12: 26). We grieve for the persecution of Christians everywhere, and especially of fellow believers who are threatened with cultural cleansing and genocide at this very moment:
- Middle Eastern Christians – forced to flee their ancestral homes and watch the eradication of their very identity – men, women, and children who are being tortured, enslaved, and slaughtered by ISIS as it works for the expansion of an Islamic Caliphate;
- Northern Nigerian Christians – under constant threat by Boko Haram – whose villages are attacked and burned, displacing hundreds of thousands, and whose churches are bombed, men slaughtered, and girls taken as slaves; and
- Christians in Sudan’s Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile State – targeted for destruction by their own government – forced by the Islamic Republic of Sudan’s constant aerial bombardment and attacks by militias to flee as refugees, or to hide in caves or bush, facing government-orchestrated starvation.
We denounce the evil that destroys life and wages war against Christ and His Church, and we denounce the apathy and passivity that allow it to perpetuate. We commit to intentional, sustained prayer, waging spiritual warfare against this evil. We will speak out on behalf of those whose voices have been silenced or sidetracked. And we will take action on their behalf through organizations providing direct aid, and in our churches, communities, and government.
The Common Ground Christian Network is a group of denominations, organizations, congregations, and individuals who believe that 21st century Christians need to stand together for the cause of Christ. We come from different denominational and theological traditions, but these distinctives are respected and appreciated, not a cause for division among us. The common ground upon which we stand is the affirmation of classical orthodox Christianity. Learn more at www.CommonGroundChristian.com