Evangelicals and Pentecostal Christians expect - and are prepared to endure - persecution

Evangelicals and pentecostals are more likely to be persecuted for their faith than others Christians, a new report claims.

The Under Caesar's Sword project at the University of Notre Dame examines how different Christian groups respond when faced with oppression in its latest report, In Response to Persecution.

Open Doors' World Watch monitor found Christian persecution is getting worse year on year.Reuters

The report, launched in Washington on Thursday, finds that because evangelical and pentecostals have a more urgent understanding of evangelisation, they actually expect and are prepared to endure persecution.

It adds that evangelicals and pentecostals are seen as being supported by the West, which often adds to their persecution.

'In many countries, evangelicals and pentecostals are comparatively recent arrivals and thus have not established patterns of relating to surrounding populations and governments to the same degree as churches with decades or centuries of history in a given region,' the report reads.

Because of that both hostile governments and non-state terrorist groups view them as more of a threat, it adds.

It finds that evangelicals are more likely to engage in what the report called 'strategies of survival' through which they look inwards and try to preserve their basic life and traditions. They also occasionally engage in 'strategies of confrontation' where they openly challenge their persecutors and accept the possibility of martyrdom.

'In response to persecution, evangelical and Pentecostal Christians are more likely to engage in strategies of survival or, on rare occasions, confrontation,' the report says.

'They are less likely, however, to engage in strategies of association. Mainline Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox Christians, on the other hand, are more likely to respond through strategies of association.'

Looking specifically at Nigeria, the report says: 'Although views do not divide perfectly, Catholics and mainline Protestants tend to favor interreligious dialogue and building ties with Muslims, while evangelicals are skeptical of such engagement and more likely to prioritize evangelization.'

The three-year project encompasses 17 scholars from different centres including Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture, the Religious Freedom Institute, and Georgetown University's Religious Freedom Research Project.