History of the Gospel in Libya
Before the Arab Invasion in the 7th century, Libya had a rich faith heritage. This is obvious, not only through the writings of the church fathers, but also through the archeological remains that we can see today. For the most part, the church ceased to exist and wasn’t present again in any form until the Italian Invasion in 1911. Even so, Catholicism was not embraced by many Libyans. Through the 42 years that Qaddafi was in power, the government allowed the International community to have churches for the expatriates working there, though Libyans were not allowed to have any involvement with these fellowships.
As the Arab Spring of 2011 surprised the world, Libya took center stage as the country endured a bloody civil war which left thousands of Libyans dead and a nation divided following the death of Qaddafi. Libya as a whole has been very separated along ideological lines as well as tribal and regional loyalties. Since the end of the civil war there has been regular fighting throughout the country between various militias. The country has yet to see a government that is able to impose any type of law and order over the heavily armed population.
The current situation in Libya is fluid and rapidly evolving. As there continue to be rivalries and infighting for power, daily life has taken on a new norm as the citizens grow accustomed to insecurity and lack of stability. It’s not uncommon for there to be a gun battle in the evening lasting into the night and for the next morning for things to go back to business as usual after the glass is swept up and the casualties dealt with. In many ways, life outside of the main cities goes on as normal.
Believers in Libya today
Though it’s impossible to know an exact number, it’s possible that there are more Libyans in the Kingdom of God today than in any other time in the past several hundred years. Though this is encouraging, it is definitely nothing to be satisfied with as this still amounts to very few believers. The majority of these believers are either secret believers or had to flee the country because of their faith. Those that share their faith with their family and friends are subject to heavy persecution.