An eminent Anglican priest known as the "Vicar of Baghdad" has just presented two contrasting images of Christianity in Iraq.
In a Fox News interview on Tuesday, Canon Andrew White said Christianity is "over" in the region from which the faith originated.
However, on the same day, he posted a message on his Facebook page, saying, "God is not dead ... despite the terrible persecution of much of the Church today in Iraq and the Middle East."
White went on to say that God "is alive and doing the greatest things ever. Resurrections, healing and angels are part of daily life. We in the western world just do not know of the real majesty, glory and presence of Jesus."
In the Fox News interview, White drew a bleak image of Christianity in the region, saying, the "time has come where it is over, no Christians will be left."
He noted the calls made for Christians to stay in the regions to maintain the faith's "historical presence," but commented that this has now "become very difficult," adding that "the future for the community is very limited."
White said the Christians who have been driven out of their homes in the Middle East by the Islamic State are saying one thing: "There is no way they are ever going back. They have had enough."
Fox News noted the sharp decline in Iraq's Christian population. It said 30 years ago, some 1.4 million Christians inhabited the country. The number fell to around 1 million after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. Last year, it was estimated that less than 250,000 are left, with the numbers continuing to go down.
White directly appealed for American support. "If there is anything I can tell Americans it is that your fellow brothers and sisters are suffering, they are desperate for help," he said. "And it is not just a matter of praying for peace. They need a lot — food, resources, clothes, everything. They need everything."
Earlier on Saturday, White spoke at Truro Anglican Church in Fairfax, Virginia, where he again appealed for U.S. support for the Christians struggling to survive in the Middle East.
"There cannot be peace [in Iraq] without provision ... when people don't have what they need it's very difficult to make real or lasting peace," he said, according to a church member interviewed by The Christian Post.
White went on to explain that even though the number of Christians remaining in Iraq has been greatly reduced, God's presence remains in the region where He continues to transform lives.