A recent attack in Venezuela had four Christians beaten with sticks, cut many times with knives, and forced to eat pages of the Bible.

The four male believers were in a ministry-owned house when eight hooded men broke in, Open Doors UK and CBN News report.

The house in Libertador, a city in Mérida state, was ransacked.

One of the victims says the hooded men covered the believer's faces and then began to beat and stab them.

Using knives, the hooded men carved 'X' repeatedly on the bodies of the Christians and forced them to eat pages that had been torn out of a Bible.

All four believers had recently joined a faith-based drug rehabilitation program called the Restoration House.

The program was founded by Pastor Dugarte, who said threats had been made prior to the attack.

"Weeks before the attack, in the middle of a meeting discussing neighborhood issues, two men said they were going to end the Restoration House because they did not agree with this type of program," Dugarte says.

Drug gangs in Latin America view churches as the enemy because the Christian faith and the teachings of the church encourage people to not become involved in the drug trade, Open Doors UK says.

Dugarte had also been asked for a list of names of the men living in the house, which he refused to provide. A criminal complaint has been filed against the two men who made the threats at the neighbourhood meeting by the pastor, who believes they were behind the attack.

The four men survived the attack but with substantial injuries. Having been released from hospital, one man has injuries to his lungs, head, sustained two broken ribs, and is still in poor health.

Two other men have their arms and legs casted.

Dugarte says he does not plan to close the Restoration House program but says people living there could be in danger.

While Venezuela is not listed on the Open Doors World Watch List, which ranks the top 50 countries in the world for religious persecution, the organization says persecution of Christians has been on the rise in Latin America.