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Anyone who wonders why missions are necessary, just need to consider the devastating impact on women when the church fails to fulfill the Great Commission.
These are some of the shocking facts which were revealed at a focus group on the plight of women in heathen societies:
There are over 27 million slaves in the world today, most of them women.
Iran has one of the highest records of runaway girls and women worldwide with an estimated 300,000 a year. Iran is a nation of 34 million women who face discrimination simply because they are female. Girls as young as 13 years old have been stoned to death and girls as young as 16 years old have been publicly hung. There are 84,000 women living on the streets of Tehran as prostitutes. There has been a 635% increase in the number of teenage girls in prostitution in Iran. Sleeping with 9 year-old girls is legitimised by Islamic Sharia law as a legal “marriage”. Battering women is dignified by references to surahs in the Quran. Domestic violence is common in Iran with, for example, 150 Kurdish women committing suicide, the majority of them by setting themselves on fire, in one nine-month period.
In India 24,000 women are deliberately burned to death each year. This is connected with the demands by the husband’s family for the wife’s parents to pay a dowry to the family of the groom, before, during and after the wedding. When the dowry payments are not up to the perceived standards, the wives are routinely tortured until the parents give in to the demands.
In Buddhist Thailand, at least 200,000 women and children work in prostitution. One third of these are under the age of 18. Girls as young as 6 years-old are exploited in prostitution in Buddhist Thailand.
In Islamic Pakistan there are officially over 1,300 ‘honour murders’ each year. These are women murdered by a male family member who perceive that they have brought dishonour upon the family. Victims of ‘honour killings’ are virtually ignored by the community and, in many cases, the women are buried in unmarked graves and all records of their existence are wiped out. In many cases these women who are perceived to have brought disgrace upon the family are only guilty of having been the victim of rape.
The 81 million women in Pakistan suffer some of the worst cases of gender-based injustice. Female illiteracy is 77%. Only 16% of girls are enrolled in school. The maternal mortality rate is as high as 340 per 100,000 live births. 99% of the babies thrown into gutters, trash bins and on sidewalks in Karachi are girls. Nearly 50% of women who report being victims of rape are jailed by the state! In one year Pakistani men killed 280 women and disfigured 750 from intentional acid attacks. Up to 90% of women in Pakistan experience domestic violence.
Islamic Afghanistan is one of the 10 poorest countries in the world. Life expectancy for women in Afghanistan is just 42 years. Afghanistan is the only country worldwide to ban girls from secondary education. Schools for girls have been attacked and set on fire. Outside of the capital city, Kabul, 91% of the girls under 18 don’t go to school.
In communist China the state ‘one child policy’ imposed since 1980 has produced the largest, the highest and the longest gender imbalance in the world. The male surplus rose to 120 boys for each 100 girls. Women who are up to nine months pregnant with their second or third child may be taken to the hospital by Regional Population Control officials for induced abortion or infanticide.
Under the Islamic doctrine of Purdah, women are secluded in strict Islamic societies. In Bangladesh, women have been attacked with acid because they were brave enough to be seen in public without a veil. Purdah is carried to such extremes that Islamic women often suffer from softening of bones, eczema and ulcers due to lack of sunlight.
Of the world’s nearly one billion illiterate adults, two thirds are women. Two thirds of the 130 million children worldwide who are not in school are girls.
Globally one out of three women has experienced rape or sexual assault.
Life expectancy for women is as low as 34 in Sierra Leone.
Every year up to 3 million women lose their lives as a result of gender-based violence or neglect. As Swiss Ambassador, Theodor Winkler observed: “The number of women who die because of gender related violence, deprivation and discrimination is larger than the casualty toll of all the wars of the 20th Century combined!”
From studying the records of the Edinburgh World Missions Conference of 1910, it was clear that most of the speakers assumed that Christianity would soon become the dominant religion of every nation on earth and all other religions would collapse before the end of the 20th Century.
The Disastrous World Wars
What no one at the 1910 conference could have envisaged was the devastating impact of two world wars on Europe. The heartland of the church, and of mission sending agencies, wiped out millions of one another and at the end of it Europe was no longer the greatest economic, political and spiritual power on earth. Prior to 1914, Christian nations ruled almost all of the world. The 19th Century was the greatest century of missions. Europe was succeeding in bringing the Gospel of Christ, literacy, civilisation and the rule of law to the most remote and primitive parts of the globe. However, after two world wars, Europe went from being a majority church-going population to a spiritual wasteland where only small percentages of each nation still attended church. And the vacuum left by Europe’s abandoning Africa and de-colonialisation was quickly filled during the Cold War by the Soviet Union and Red China with their virulent communism and anti-Christian atheism.
Targeting Non Combatants
During the First World War, 85% of the casualties were soldiers. Today the vast majority of victims in wars are non-combatants, civilians, mostly women and children.
Retreat and Withdrawal
The devastating and far reaching results of Europe’s retreat from civilizing the world, and of Christians’ withdrawal from impacting society, is clearly seen in the shocking statistics of heathen nations which by now should have been thoroughly evangelised and discipled. That is, if Christians in Europe and America had not been so busy bombing cities and killing millions of fellow Christians.
Female Genital Mutilation
150 million women are victims of Female Genital Mutilation. Every year another two million girls are victimized by FGM. In Djibouti 99% of the girls go through this mutilation. In Eritrea 98%. In Somalia 98%. In Sudan 95%. The nations which practice Female Genital Mutilation also have the highest mother mortality rates in the world. Aside from the extreme pain, shock from blood loss, gangrene, and tetanus caused from unsterilized equipment, many deaths result from haemorrhaging and blood poisoning.
The missionary leaders who gathered in Edinburgh in 1910 would never have believed that by 2010 Europe would have become mostly secular and that the countries at that time that were being evangelised, civilized and discipled, would have, in many cases, returned to such pagan savagery.
Every year, worldwide human trafficking into the prostitution industry nets 250,000 from Asia, 100,000 from the former Soviet Union, 175,000 from Central and Eastern Europe, 100,000 from Latin America and 50,000 from Africa. Up to 50% of these are under the age of 18. Globally over 9 million people each year die from hunger and malnutrition. Massive urbanization and the destruction of productive farms, such as in Zimbabwe, corruption and unworkable socialist policies have resulted in about 850 million people globally being malnourished. 54 countries do not produce enough food to feed their own populations. Most of these countries are in sub-Saharan Africa. There are 10 million children worldwide engaged in the sex industry. Each year at least one million children are forced into prostitution.
The pornography industry is a $57 billion global enterprise. 72 million people visit pornographic websites each year. That makes over 200,000 every day. A search in google on the word ‘porn’ returned over 165 million pages.
Approximately 56 million abortions take place each year worldwide. That is 126,000 a day, 87 every minute, almost 2 every three seconds. Abortions account for 80,000 maternal deaths globally each year.
Infections occur in 70% of abortions. Up to 80 million people worldwide suffer from infertility.
An African peasant woman typically works 16 hours a day trudging long distances to fetch fire wood and water, planting and harvesting crops, and cooking and caring for her family. The average man in India works 1,212 hours a year and the average woman 3,485 hours a year.
There are over 10 million refugees and 25 million internally displaced people worldwide. 80% of the world refugees are women and children. Asia and Africa host the majority of the worlds’ refugees and internally displaced people.
Officially AIDS has killed more than 25 million people since 1981. Africa has 12 million AIDS orphans. There are over 40 million people worldwide living with HIV/AIDS.
The Holiness of God Demands Repentance and Obedience
When we remember that God is a Holy God, a God of Justice and a God of Wrath we should tremble. God will Judge the whole world in righteousness. God now commands all men everywhere to Repent. Nothing is hidden from God’s sight. God who sees all challenges us: “Who will rise up for Me against the evildoers? Who will stand up for Me against the workers of iniquity?” Psalm 94:16
“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.” Ephesians 5:11
“Deliver those who are drawn toward death, and hold back those stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, ‘surely we did not know this’, does not He who weighs the hearts consider it? He who keeps your soul does He not know it? And will He not render to each man according to his deeds?” Proverbs 24:11-12
“Open your mouth for the speechless, in the cause of all who are appointed to die. Open your mouth, judge righteously and plead the cause of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 31:8-9
Dr. Peter Hammond