Even though many pastors died or fled the civil war that ravaged Liberia for seven years, Christian leaders believe the church is emerging stronger than before.

"Despite these difficulties brought about by the civil war, I see the church of Liberia being resurrected all over again," says Emmet Veslar Hunter of the Association of Evangelicals of Liberia. "I can foresee a better leadership emerging in the Liberian church."

George Queniseari of the Monrovia Evangelical Church says many exiles have returned to seminaries and Bible colleges. "Many others are still planning to return to the country for God's work," he says.

The gospel is needed as never before, according to Hunter. "The church is experiencing a tremendous infiltration of heresy," he says. "Most ministers of the gospel have either been killed or fled the country, so many false teachers are now taking over the churches. People are getting involved in all sorts of occult practices and immorality."

Despite these problems, Queniseari says the "fire of revival is burning" among faithful Christians who are "burning with zeal to work for God."

The civil war was the result of tribal rivalry and ethnic cleansing by major ethnic groups in the country who sought to control political power (CT, June 17, 1996, p. 60). The war resulted in the massacre of more than 150,000 people and 750,000 others losing their homes.

Some Christians were tortured and killed because of their faith. Missionaries and aid workers fled the final round of anarchy (CT, May 20, 1996, p. 78). With the recent inauguration of a new democratic government, the church in Liberia is now preoccupied with the task of helping in the reconciliation.

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