Pakistan Churches growing despite ‘Blasphemy Law’

( [email protected] ) May 03, 2004 09:05 AM EDT

Pakistan’s ‘Blasphemy Law’ is being “wielded with the effectiveness of a club” reported the Mission News Network. According to news reports, before 1986, only 14 blasphemy cases registered. Since then, over 100 stand accused.

The ‘Blasphemy Law’ allows for an alleged blasphemer to be put in jail at the slightest threat of accusation, upon which he must defend himself against the charges. Documented frequency of this state began in 1986, but a more recent case renewed fervor.

Four years ago a vendor accused two Christians of blaspheming the Prophet Mohammed. The brothers were sentenced to 35 years in jail, but their verdict was overturned last April. Today, although they are free, they remain in hiding. They are among the growing number of Pakistanis, both Christian and Muslim, whose lives have been thrown into turmoil because of false allegations of blasphemy.

For the Christian community, the ‘Blasphemy Law” has had a “chilling effect” on public expressions of faith. However, Evangelist Sammy Tippit of Sammy Tippit Ministries says that people are starving for the Truth. The ministry is aiming to launch a Gospel program in the area in an effort to serve the Pakistan community. “Our broadcast has had a tremendous response. We’ve had literally thousands of phone calls, e-mails, letters, faxes, that have come in from Pakistan and the rest of the region,” Tippit stated.

Tippit says the church continues to grow despite obvious persecution. “My initial response to what is happening is no matter how hard any group would try to stop people from coming to Christ, they can’t do it because God’s spirit is at work, and the church is standing strong.

Pakistan’s Christian community claims to be some four million strong in a country of 150 million.