Four Christians in Libertador, Venezuela were horribly attacked on February 16, 2021 at a drug rehabilitation center being operated by the House of Restoration, a church in the city.
According to a report by Open Doors, the group was assaulted by eight hooded members of a local drug gang associated with the Communist regime of President Nicolás Maduro Moros.
When the regime’s socialist policies resulted in the utter collapse of the country’s economy, Maduro’s government reportedly linked up with drug lords to ensure additional revenue.
Though none of the church members were killed all required hospitalization. The attackers brutally beat the believers, stabbed them, forced them to eat pages out of the Bible, carved large crosses on their backs with knives and broke ribs and limbs.
In addition, members of the attacking group also pronounced curses on the believers and the church.
In an interview with Premier Christian News, Dr David Landrum, a spokesman for Open Doors noted:
“The cutting of crosses into the bodies of these young Christians, and the forced eating of pages of the Bible is deeply disturbing.
“This premeditated attack has all the hallmarks of the local ‘collectives’ of the Maduro regime.”
This shows how Venezuela has become a dictatorial narco-state which is violently opposed to the drugs rehabilitation work of the church.”
According to Pastor Dugarte, a few weeks prior to the attack members of a narco gang had asked for a list of those being rehabilitated at the center, which the pastor refused to provide.
The motives for the attack not only reflected a hatred for religion, but apparently the main drug dealer in the area was concerned that the church’s rehab center was cutting into drug sales.
This is not the first time that money has been a factor in the persecution of believers. A similar incident took place in the city of Ephesus, that was home to a massive temple dedicated to Artemis, who was considered both the goddess of hunting and a fertility goddess.
An inscription found in the ancient remains of Ephesus suggests that the city had been dedicated to Artemis.
The temple in Ephesus was considered one of the major wonders of the ancient world and was a significant source of tourism and wealth in the city. According to ancient records, there was also a large bank associated with the temple.
When the Apostle Paul first brought the gospel to Ephesus, he was largely ignored. However, as Christianity grew, it resulted in people leaving the ancient practices associated with Artemis (Acts 19:19).
Because of this, the silver workers in the city, led by a man named Demetruis, stirred up a riotous crowd claiming that the Apostle and his associates were impacting the sale of Artemis goods (Acts 19:23-27).
The rioters actually seized two of Paul’s associates and dragged them to a large stadium in the city. Fortunately, a local city magistrate was able to calm the protest and gain the release of the two believers, because they had not blasphemed Artemis or robbed the temple, which was obviously a problem because of the temple’s wealth (Acts 19:37).
As Demetrius whipped up the crowd against the Christians, he had accused them of robbing Artemis’ glory, perhaps a veiled suggestion they were also stealing from the temple (Acts 19:27).
Similar to what happened in Venezuela, money can play a role in the persecution of believers. As the Apostle Paul noted the “love” of money is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10).
READ: Venezuelan Christians forced to eat pages of the Bible, have ‘crosses’ etched into their bodies AND Four Venezuelan Christians forced to eat their Bibles AND Christians knifed, forced to eat pages of the Bible in horrific Venezuela attack