All posts filed under: Persecution

Credit: SAITOR/Flickr/Creative Commons

What Christians need today — courage

YouVersion Bible App was created in 2008, since then over 295 million people have downloaded the app for use on their phone, Ipads and computers. According to this year’s stats, so far this year the app is being downloaded 1.4 times every second of the day. In the same time frame, people are also sharing ten verses with friends. But YouVersion also provides the most read verse of the year and in some ways this provides an insight into what believers are facing around the world. Outside of North America, the most read verse is: 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 NASV) In America, the most read verse is similar but with a slightly different twist: 28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28 NASV) The verses portray how things are changing …

Camels crossing a desert in Iran Credit: my life, the Universe and everything/Flickr

Similar to Evangelicals, Roman Catholics are reporting Muslims converting to Christianity

According to World Watch Monitor, on November 12, an Iranian who had converted to Christianity, lost his appeal of a ten-year prison sentence for sharing his faith. In May, Naser Navard Gol-Tapeh, along with three men from Azerbaijan were sentenced to ten years for missionary activity along with trumped-up charges of “actions against national security.” The secret police arrested the four men when they attended a wedding in June 2016. Shortly after their arrest, the Iranians allowed the three Azerbaijans to leave Iran while on bail and then sentenced them in abstention. It is doubtful they will return to complete their sentence. But unfortunately, Naser must fulfill his sentence in the brutal Iranian prison system renown for its torture. Since early spring, human rights groups have noticed Iranian courts are handing out unusually long sentences to Christians for simply sharing their faith. Yet despite Iran’s crackdown on Christianity, or maybe because of it, reports are coming in about the large numbers of Muslims abandoning Islam and embracing Christianity in Iran and other Islamic countries. Even …

East Coweta football team gathering for prayer before a game. Credit: Fox News Youtube capture

Victory: Youth take ownership of their faith at East Coweta high school

It was an amazing story, and despite legal threats from an atheist group, students at East Coweta High School in Coweta County, Georgia have taken ownership of their faith in a big way. At the end of October, the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter of complaint to the Coweta school district that its high school football head coach, John Small, was leading a team prayer before games and demanded that this stop. FFRF argued that this violated the constitution of separation of church and state and they included an image of Small standing with his head bowed during a team prayer. In response, the Coweta school division sent a letter to all staff that they were no longer to take part in any prayer or worship while working in an “official capacity” with the school. It was expected that the team’s prayer sessions would come to an end. However, instead something incredible happened. The players took the initiative to pray before the game and instead of 100 players gathering to pray as …

Alberta Legislature Wikipedia/GPL

Alberta government starts a range war against Christians

The government of the Canadian province of Alberta has allegedly turned down an Edmonton couple for adoption because of their Christian faith. The unnamed couple who go by the initials C.D. and N.D are Evangelical Christians. The couple was even willing to adopt an older child who typically become stuck in the foster system with little hope of adoption. The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) is representing C.D. and N.D. in a court case against the Alberta government to have its decision overturned. The married couple, who are unable to conceive, applied for an adoption in October 2016 and were initially approved by the Catholic Social Services (CSS) a representative of the government’s Child and Family Services (CFS). Then in March 2017, the couple were told the government needed them to answer additional questions on how they would handle their potential child’s sexuality. In its news release, JCCF said the couple responded that they would treat any child “with unconditional love, respect and compassion regardless of what the child chose to do, and regardless …

Anne Hathaway and Denzel Washington at the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize concert. Photo Harry Wad / Wikipedia

Denzel Washington and director prayed every day while shooting ‘Roman J. Israel, Esq’

Denzel Washington, 62, has won two Academy Awards, one for Best Supporting Actor in the 1989 movie Glory and Best Actor in 2001 for his role in Training Days. He has also won a Tony Award and three Gold Globes. Gospel Herald recently interviewed Denzel about his most recent movie, Roman J. Israel, Esq. Though, not overtly Christian, Denzel said the movie is filled with Biblical themes including sacrifice as a man gave up a successful career for a cause he believed in. The movie is scheduled for release on November 22, 2017. In the interview, Denzel shared a couple of things I found interesting. First, Denzel and Dan Gilroy, the producer and writer of the movie, prayed and read a Bible devotional together every day during filming. Denzel said, “Dan and I have been prayer partners during this whole collaboration.” It is tough for Christians to speak out in Hollywood, when fellow celebrities not only oppose faith in God, but blatantly mock it. Such as former Star Trek: The Next Generation star Wil Wheaton …

Kim Clement (1956-2016): YouTube Capture

God’s prophetic voice needed today

As I read about the massacre of 26 people (ages five to 72) in the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, during their Sunday morning service, it struck me how we need God to speak and warn us. Sutherland Springs located 30 miles southeast of San Antonia is a small town of just 400 people. yet somehow evil found its way there. Twenty were also injured in the attack by gunman Devin Patrick Kelley, 26. A former member of the air force, a self-proclaimed atheist and loner, Kelley apparently killed himself after careening off the road in a chase after the shooting. Two days earlier — Friday, November 3, 2017 — a neighbor attacked Christian politician Senator Paul Rand as he returned home. Rand suffered five broken ribs and lung contusions. According to a report on the Daily Caller, another person who lives on the same block alleges the attacker is an “avowed socialist” who fought with other neighbors over politics. Despite this underlying issue, recent media reports suggest that conflicts over landscaping issues …

Painting of Nero's torches also referred to as Christian candlesticks by Henruk Siemiradzki (1843-1902) /Wikipedia

The fiery trials of North Korea described as a ‘life of hell’

In an interview with Fox News, Choi Kwanghyuk said he had never heard of underground churches until he managed to flee North Korea and its brutal dictator Kim Jung-un. After his escape, Choi was granted asylum in the US in 2013 and now lives in Los Angeles. While in North Korea, Choi was a member of  the country’s underground church. Though on paper, North Korea says religion is legal in the country, in reality the only god they are allowed to worship is its president Kim Jung-un. Choi who lived in North Korea’s cold North Hamgyon province told Fox News there were nine members in their church and they were very reluctant to share their faith for fear of being found out because it would result in imprisonment and probably death. Choi added that they had one Bible that they shared between them and they often held church services in a hole that they had dug in the ground as a storage place for kimchi, a spicy pickled cabbage that is considered a national food in …

Salvation Mountain, Colorado Credit: slworking2/Flickr/Creative Commons

How are we to respond?

In mid-October, a small Presbyterian church in Mayesville, South Carolina was vandalized with Satanic graffiti that included crosses drawn upside down, pentagrams and  the word “Satan.” There were over 20 pieces of graffiti spray painted on Salem Black River Presbyterian Church and two of its other buildings. One door was also broken open but nothing was stolen from the church. It was simple act of malicious vandalism. But the church had security cameras and caught video of four people vandalizing the church with the satanic imagery. After police distributed images captured from the video, people began to call in names of the suspects.  The Sumter County Sheriff’s department discovered that all four allegedly involved in the vandalism were from the nearby Shaw Air Force Base. The sheriff’s office have charged four people, Kayla Eilerman, Daveion Green, Clayre Savage and Brandon Munoz, with vandalism, trespass and conspiracy. Meanwhile in Canada, this past August, Trinity Baptist Church located in Burlington, Ontario was set on fire. The fire destroyed the old part of its building, but the fire …

Groom, Texas Credit: maciek/Flickr/Creative Commons

Report: Persecution of American Christians up 133% between 2001 and 2016

A report recently released by First Liberty Institute (FLI) entitled “Undeniable: The Survey of Hostility to Religion in America” outlines the growing number of attacks on religious liberty in America. Founded in 1972, First Liberty Institute fights for religious liberty in the US through advocacy and litigation by providing pro-bono legal defense to those being persecuted or discriminated against for their faith. According to the organization’s report, the number attacks on Christians jumped by 15% between 2015 and 2016. Since FLI started tracking attacks on religious liberty in 2001, the number has increased by 133% over the following five years. In 2011, FLI reported 600 attacks on religious liberty and by 2016 the number had reached 1,400. FLI’s CEO Kelly Shackelford noted that the cases they cited are just the ones that were published. She described them as just the “tip of the iceberg” as many cases of faith persecution and discrimination are simply not reported. This is not even referring to the number of attacks on Christians that now routinely take place in the …

Li River, China Credit: Charlie fong/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

China forbids children from attending church

According to reports coming out of China, several provinces have stepped up their persecution of the Church by prohibiting children from attending religious services. Recently, over 100 churches in the Chinese province of Zhejiang received notice that minors can no longer attend any type of religious activity including church and summer camps. In some jurisdictions, parents were required to sign papers saying their children will not be attending religious services. Officials threatened parents with legal action if they disobeyed. This is not the first time Zhejiang officials had taken a hard-line against Christians. In late 2015, officials ordered the removal of all crosses on government-run churches. When Christians protested, some were arrested and several churches destroyed. Related: Chinese Officials Tear Down More Christian Crosses, Beat Protesters: Breitbart It is uncertain how widespread this recent edict is, but Amnesty International reported receiving news on this prohibition from around the country. In Hunan province, politicians stated they will be investigating both government-run churches (both Catholic and protestant) and the underground churches to make sure they are not …

Coptic Christians were traveling to Saint Samuel the Confessors monsatery (above), when they were attacked by Muslim extremists. Credit: Roland Unger/Wikipedia

As in the Days of Noah — ISIS slaughters 28 Egyptian Coptic Christians?

On Friday, May 26, 2017, a group of Egyptian Coptic Christians were traveling by bus to pray at a monastery when they were attacked by Muslim extremists. Their destination was the Monastery of Saint Samuel the Confessor located a hundred miles south of Cairo, Egypt. At least 28 were killed when the bus and an accompanying half ton truck were stopped by three SUVs containing upwards of ten ISIS militants. After storming the bus, the masked extremists demanded the people on board recite the Muslim profession of faith called the shahada: La ilaha illa Allah wa-Muhammad rasul Allah. English: There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the prophet of Allah. When they were unable to do this, the heavily armed militants opened fire killing. In addition to the deaths, they wounded at least 22. TV images of the attack showed the bus riddled with bullet holes and its seats covered in blood. Coptic Christians make up about 10% of Egypt’s population of 94 million and over the last several years have been under …

Lahore, Pakistan Credit: Usman Malik/Flickr/Creative Commons

Pakistani prosecutor tells 42 Christians to convert to Islam to escape murder charges

After Muslim extremists blew up a Catholic church in Lahore, Pakistan in 2015 killing 14 and injuring 75, Christians took to the streets. In the mayhem that followed, the police captured two Muslim men accused of the brutal bombing and handed them over to a Christian crowd who then lynched the Muslims. After the two Muslim men were murdered, Pakistani authorities arrested 500 Christians and kept most of them in jail for nearly 18 months under brutal treatment that included torture. However, after finding most had nothing to do with the crime, about 450 were let go, leaving 42 men still in prison. The British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA) that is monitoring the situation and providing legal help to the those arrested was horrified by the killing of the two Muslim men, but it said that at least 30 of the men still in jail had nothing to do with the crime. The BPCA then reported on a disturbing story published in a national Pakistani paper, The Express Tribune. The paper wrote about a bizarre …

England's Parliament Building Credit: Jim Nix/Flickr/Creative Commons

In the midst of trials and tribulation lies a ‘Great Opportunity’

Interesting days in England and it probably  indicates what the so-called progressive left eventually wants to see happen in North America. A new law is being debated in England’s House of Commons and if passed, the government’s revised Policing and Crime Bill will see the penalty for a “racially or religiously aggravated offense” increased from its current seven-year imprisonment to 14 years. Since the revised law implies that a person could be thrown in jail for simply offending someone, during the debate UKIP Member of Parliament Lord Pearson asked the following question of the government: “Could such an offense be caused by a Christian preaching the supreme divinity of Christ and thereby denying the supremacy of Muhammad? Would various assembled Muslims be free to regard that as a religiously aggravated offense under this section?” He wanted to know if a person could be thrown in jail for simply stating their belief Jesus is Lord? As an opposition party, UKIP led the charge in England’s decision to leave the European Union. Rather than saying there was …

Nepal Credit: Roberto Saltori/Flickr/Creative Commons

Nepal court sentenced Christians to prison for ‘withcraft’

A court in Nepal has found four Christians guilty of ‘witchcraft’ and ‘violence’ and sentenced them to five years imprisonment. According to World Watch Monitor, the crime the Christians committed was ministering to Seti Pariyar who had been sent to a prayer meeting in June last year by her father-in-law who thought Seti might be possessed by demons. Seti, who struggled with some type of mental illness, attended the prayer meeting, but left early fleeing into a nearby forest. After the prayer meeting ended, members of the church found Seti screaming in the forest and self harming. After praying for her, the group took the woman to her home. A few weeks later, a local businessman shared the incident with the local media who wrote a story on what took place at the church. When news of this came to light, a local resident filed a complaint with the police on the incident, who arrested five Christians and accused them of trying to convert Seti to Christianity. They also accused them of practicing ‘witchcraft’ and …

Islamic State flag and graffiti in Rhone Alpes, France. Credit: thierry ehrmann/Wikipedia

Despite threats against the church, God moves on ISIS leader through a dream

According to USA Today, the Islamic terrorist group, ISIS, is urging radical followers to attack Christians attending New Year’s eve church services. This was based on a report issued by the SITE Intelligence Group, an organization that regularly tracks Jihadist websites, forums and social media. SITE states that Jihadist social media messages are encouraging lone-wolf attacks against churches. The report specifically noted four countries were listed as targets — Canada, US, Holland and France. Confirming this report, the FBI issued a warning to churches in the US to be vigilant about possible ISIS attacks during New Year services. The FBI said it has picked up increased chatter of possible strikes against churches and though there were no specifics it issued a general warning. According to Vocatv, Islāmic groups are increasingly using a social media app called Telegram to communicate with followers. It reported on a similar message in Arabic issued by a user who went by the name Abu Marya al-Iraqi: “for bloody celebrations in the Christian New Year … turn the Christian New Year …

Abandoned Coptic Church in Suez, Egypt Credit: Nathaniel Page/Flickr/Creative Commons

The horrific persecution of the Egyptian Coptic Church

Many consider the Coptic church as the oldest church in the world. It traces its beginnings back to the work of the gospel writer Mark who they believe came to Alexandria, Egypt in 42 AD during the reign of the Roman emperor Nero. For those who believe Jesus died for their sins and rose from the dead, they are our brothers and sisters in Christ. Copts   have been undergoing horrific persecution in the Middle East, most recently with the bombing of St. Mark’s Coptic Church in Cairo on December 11, 2016.  According to Egyptian authorities a suicide bomber was carrying 12 kilograms of TNT when he set it off in the Sunday morning service killing 24. The Copts make up 10% of Egypt’s population of 91 million. Though authorities were quick to condemn the slaughter, there has been a significant increase in Muslim persecution of Christians in Egypt, since the military overthrow of Egyptian president Mohammaed Morsi in 2013, The Muslim brotherhood who backed Morsi, blames the Coptics, who supported the overthrow, for the …

Antioch Church pastor Jimmy Seibert with Chip and Joanna Gaines. Credit: Antioch Church

BuzzFeed article on Chip and Joanna Gaines called a ‘hit piece’ on Christians

Chip and Joanna Gaines, the stars of the popular reality program Fixer Upper on HGTV, have come under fire because they attend a church that does not agree with same-sex marriage and considers homosexuality a sin. On the show that’s in its fifth season, the Gaines work with clients to find and remodel homes. Joanna provides the design and Chip heads the construction. The Gaines attend Antioch Community Church in Waco, Texas. In an article on BuzzFeed, Kate Arthur recently reported on a sermon by the church’s pastor, Jimmy Seibert. Though he called homosexuality a sin, Seibert stated that Christians must show compassion for those in the gay lifestyle. He adds that contrary to popular opinion gays can change, as Seibert has helped many who struggle with same-sex attraction. As soon as that article came out, a handful of Fixer Upper viewers and other secular media such as Cosmopolitan demanded to know where the Gaines stood on same-sex marriage. To this point, the Gaines have not responded. Though the Gaines have been very outspoken on …

Tehran, Iran Credit: rasool abbasi17/Wikipedia

Iran: Despite persecution mass conversions to Christ continue

The Iranian police have been busy these past few months arresting Christians. According to the National Council of Resistance in Iran (NCRI), in September the police arrested 25 Iranians attending a church service in the city of Kerman. Other agencies reported similar raids in August when armed police arrested 11 Christians and confiscated Christian literature in Isfahan and nine more attending a house church meeting in Western Iran. Police also arrested five Christians in Firouz-Kouth County where according to Morning Star News, believers fear this arrest was intended to extract information on leaders of the house church movement in that area. Iran has one of worst records of Christian persecution in the world.  NCRI reported the Iranian government executed seven Christians on Christmas Day 2015. The death penalty can come into effect when a Muslim converts to Christianity. Just recently, the country’s sharia court sentenced three men to 80 lashes each for drinking communion wine at a house church meeting in Rasht. The three, that includes the group’s pastor, are also facing charges involving “action …

China’s insidious attack on the underground Church

The Chinese government has recently instituted an insidious attack on Christians in that country after distributing a survey to all teachers and parents. The communist party who has ruled China for decades is trying to crack down on the rapidly growing Christian population. The changes are being instituted by President Xi Jinping. Described as a fanatical Maoist, he is trying to consolidate the communist party’s control of China. In an interview with the Christian Post, Bob Fu who heads Christian Aid believes the real concern is that there are now more Christians in China than members of the communist party. There are two types of Christian churches in China. One group is controlled by the state through its State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA). These legal churches are required to register with one of three organizations such  as the Three-self Patriotic Movement. There are about 57,000 government-sanctioned churches (both Catholic and Protestant). The second group is the larger unregistered house church movement. It is difficult to nail down how many Christians China has due largely …

Fear not, for I am with you.... Credit: Eric Wagner/Flickr/Creative Commons

Don’t ‘fear’ the coming darkness

An article in the Daily Mail on changes taking place at Canterbury Cathedral in London, England speaks of a significant culture shock coming for western Christians. For years, we have lived in a bubble where we could go through our day not worrying we would be attacked for our faith. But that bubble is bursting or at the very least there is a noticeable leak. Police in England have just announced they will be stationing armed guards at Canterbury Cathedral in England. Built in 597AD, it is one of Britain’s oldest churches.  This is not the church hiring its own security staff, but rather police sending in protection. And in a country where police typically patrol without guns, these guards are armed.  The article added that protection will be given to other unnamed churches and public venus. The police made this decision in response to recent attacks on churches in Europe by Muslim extremists. In July, an 84-year-old Catholic priest in Normandy, France had his throat slit by Islamic extremists in front of his congregation during …

Fall sunset over Zurich, Switzerland. Photo: Werner_B/Flickr/Creative Commons

Swiss agency reports large numbers of Muslims converting to Christ

It’s happening all across Europe — Germany, England, Austria — Muslims are turning to Christ by the thousands. Despite all that is happening, the Holy Spirit is moving. The latest country added to that list is Switzerland. According to Switzerland’s Counselling Center for Integration and Religious Affairs (CCIRA), since 2004 over 2,000 Muslim refugees have become Christians. And it does not appear that the conversion rates will be slowing down any time soon. The ones turning to Christ are mostly Kurds and Afghans. In an interview with a Swiss TV news program, 20 Minutes, CCIRA coordinator Kathrin Anliker said a couple of factors are at play here. First Muslims are increasingly horrified by the brutality of extremists in the Middle East. Just recently a Sharia court in ISIS controlled Mosul, Iraq ordered nine young men to be publicly executed. According to reports, ISIS accused the nine of being members of a resistance movement.  The court ordered the men be tied to iron posts then cut in half with a chain saw. Secondly, Anliker noticed that some of the refugees had …

Photo of Allepo, Syria (Photo Craig Jenkins Wikipedia/Creative Commons) where Muslim extremists captured Karla Mueller insert image (YouTube capture)

Despite ISIL’s torture and rape, Kayla Mueller refused to renounce Christ

On August 4, 2013, American Kayla Mueller, 24, from Prescott, Arizona was working as a humanitarian aid worker in Syria when ISIL captured her and a friend, Omar Alkhani, as they were leaving a Doctors without Borders hospital in Aleppo. Omar who was a contractor for Doctors without Borders was released a few weeks later. Meanwhile, hoping for a ransom, ISIS moved Kayla to various locations throughout Syria. In 2014, the Islamic extremists notified Kayla’s parents of their daughter’s kidnapping. However, nothing could be worked out and  after 18 months in a brutal captivity, Kayla died in February 2015 after an air strike by the Jordanian air force. Recently in an interview with ABC’s news program 20/20, four hostages who shared a cell with Kayla came forward with a story about her remarkable faith in Christ. It appears ISIL was purposefully trying to force Kayla to recant her faith. But in the face of the unrelenting torture, Kayla remained strong to the end. According to ABC, her torture included “verbal abuse, prolonged isolation, sensory deprivation, stress …

Palmdale, California Photo: Jamesb01/Wikipedia

California school backs down in a battle for religious freedom with a seven-year old

A young student who is referred to as ‘C’ is a grade one student at Desert Rose Elementary School in Palmdale, California. Last school term, the school that is part of the Palmdale School District called in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s office because C, who is only seven-years old, was distributing Bible verses and stories written out on paper with his classmates. The problems surfaced last spring, when C’s mother, Christine Zavala routinely included Bible verses and encouraging notes while packing her son’s lunch. C who enjoyed the notes began to share them with his fellow classmates. Afters some of the students requested notes of their own, Christine included verses and even some Bible stories for the other children. The Santa Monica Observer (SMO) wrote that the problems surfaced when in April one of the students told the class teacher about the stories stating “this is the most beautiful story I’ve ever seen.” Now aware of what was going on, the teacher stepped in and told C he was not allowed to share these …

Church (Igesia de Mauque) in the Andean Mountains of Chile. Photo: Pablo Necochea/Flickr/Creative Commons

Church under attack in Chile

According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), since December 2015, arsonists have burned 16 churches to the ground in the provinces of Araucania and Bio-Bio, Chile. The latest church destroyed was San Andres Chapel, which unknown assailants torched on August 9, 2016. Most of the attacks occurred at night while the buildings were empty, but not all of them. A June 9th attack took a more sinister twist when masked men entered the church during an evening service at Senor Evangelical Church in Temuco, Araucania. The armed men ordered the people out before burning the church to the ground. Then in the middle of June when fire fighters and police responded to another church fire set in the middle of the night, they came under gun-fire from unknown assailants. The shooters injured one police officer. The attacks are quite puzzling as Chile has no real history of church attacks as nearly 90% of Chileans consider themselves Christian, either Catholic or protestant. Fires were set at both evangelical and Catholic churches. Though it is uncertain who the …

Market Church in Wiesbaden, Germany. Photo: Kay Gaensler/Flickr/Creative Commons

Muslim refugees in Germany threaten ‘impure’ Christians

According to an article on Breitbart, Christians in Germany’s migrant housing are being forced to hide their faith due to intimidation and death threats by Muslims. At a recent Frankfurt news conference, Mahin Mousapour said that Christians purposefully hide their crosses and Bibles to avoid hate attacks by Muslims. Mousapour is from Iran. A former Muslim, she became a Christian over 25 years ago  and now pastors Persian Father House, an Evangelical Free church in Frankfurt. Fearing reprisal, refugees tell people in their complex that they are only visiting friends when attending her church. Ms Mousapour was joined at the news conference by politician Erika Steinbach who serves as a member of the Bundestag. It is a German equivalent of the U.S. House of Representatives or Canada and England’s House of Commons. Mousapour said Muslims tell Christians that they are “impure as a dog” adding: “Toys of Christian children are being destroyed. Christian asylum seekers are told to not only wash their dishes after eating, but also they must clean the entire kitchen as it would otherwise be ‘unclean’.” …

The Kremlin and St. Basil Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. Photo: Mariano Mantel/Flickr/Creative Commons

Russian government makes it illegal for believers to share their faith privately

The Russian government just passed a bill severely curtailing religious expression in that country. According to reports, Russian President Vladimir Putin has already signed off on the bill and it will come into effect on July 20, 2o16 The legislation was part of a package of bills intended to counter terrorism. However, many are concerned due to its broad reach, the law could be used by local authorities to persecute the Christian church. Among the many features of the bill, evangelism would be limited to regular church services and would only be allowed by people licensed with an organization registered with the government. Essentially, this would stop church members from sharing their faith privately. This can include something as innocent as reading a Bible in the presence of non-believing friends. It also forbids using the internet to share one’s faith which means that people and churches could run foul of the law by simply inviting someone to church via an email. The law that was first drafted in April also prevents believers from holding church …

Eric Metaxas addressing the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr/Creative Commons

Eric Metaxas on ‘authentic’ faith

Eric Metaxas recently gave an interesting speech to a three-day conference called The Bridge. Its theme was the persecuted church. Metaxas is a popular author, speaker and radio host. He has written several books and has appeared as a cultural commentator on Foxnews, CNN and MSNBC. Since the death of Chuck Colsen of Prison Fellowship he has become one of the main voices for the organization’s program Breakpoint. Samuel Smith a writer for Christian Post reported on Metaxas’s hour-long speech in which he said the faith of the North American church has become diluted because of our success. Metaxas said in other parts of the world where Christians regularly face persecution, they have been forced to ask themselves “Do I actually believe this or don’t I?” Until recently, Christians in America have never been faced with this question. Metaxas cited the life of German Theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) who the Nazi Gestapo arrested in April 1943 because of his vocal opposition to Adolph Hitler. Metaxas wrote a book on Bonhoeffer —Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. …

North Korea propaganda Photo: ksevik/Flickr/Creative Commons

Pray because of ‘unreasonable’ and ‘evil’ men

There is a curious passage in the second letter that Paul wrote to the Thessalonians. At the beginning of chapter three, he asks the Thessalonians to pray for him because the world was filled with “unreasonable” and “evil”men. “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you, 2 and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith.” (2 Thessalonians 3:1-2 NKJV) In verse two, Paul was describing the two types of leaders that he was running into as he traveled through Asia preaching the Gospel. He needed to be delivered, literally rescued, from these type of people. The Greek word “atopos” translated unreasonable has several meanings — absurd, improper, unusual, inappropriate and out-of-place. Like the Christians bakers in Oregon who were fined $135,000 (US) because they refused to make a $200 wedding cake for a Lesbian couple. Others were blatantly evil (Greek poneros) — bad or wicked, similar to the one Kenneth Bae encountered. In …

Persecution coming to America. Photo: Karl Schultz/Flickr/Creative Commons

Persecution is Back

Recently, a man ordered a birthday cake for his child’s birthday, and then he cancelled the order. That’s what we know for sure. But this cake cancelling has stirred up trouble around the world. With the cancellation, someone sent a note to the bakery: “Hey actually were going to order our cake somewhere else my husband just found out your Muslim. And I’m not against it but he is because he was in Iraq fighting for our country against your people. He even changed his new doctor because the new one he was referred to was Muslim and he just said somethings and said he doesn’t feel comfortable having you make our cake. I’m so sorry.” I suspect a set up, what we used to call throwing a bomb into a quiet room. One person wrote about the motives of another person, and the original source was never quoted directly, which prevents legal follow up. I think someone was careful. Now the story is a platform for anyone, including me, who wants to make a …

New York City Times Square Photo: Jack Siah/Flickr/Creative Commons

Ominous sign of the times? New York mayor calls for a boycott of Chick-fil-A

A popular US-based fast food restaurant has been in caught up in a fire-storm of protests over the past four years, because the Cathay family — who own Chick-fil-A — are devout Christians and stated publicly that marriage was between a man and a woman. In a 2012 interview with the Biblical Recorder, Chick-fil-A’s Chief Operating Officer Dan Cathay said “we are very much supportive of the family – the Biblical definition of the family unit.” That statement and their financial support of family organizations sparked nation-wide protests by gay activists. However, the protests fell flat as sales at Chick-fil-A restaurants rose by 12% in 2012. So far, the restaurant chain has rather successfully weathered the storm. But things took an ominous turn recently after Chick-fil-A announced it would be opening a third restaurant in New York City. It launched the first one in 2015 and obviously they have done very well sprouting two more restaurants in less than a year. Chick-fil-A’s arrival caught the attention of the city’s political ruling caste. New York Mayor …

Justice for Christians?

Lawsuit launched after university allegedly kicks student out due to Christian beliefs

In 2007, Andrew Cash was accepted at Missouri State University (MSU) to take a masters in counseling. Aside from completing the academic requirements, Cash, 46, also needed to perform an internship of 600 hours and counseling of 240 hours. With a grade point average of 3.81, Cash was easily meeting the academic standards, however, he is now suing MSU alleging the university kicked him out of the program due to his religious beliefs. The Thomas More Society is representing Cash in the lawsuit. The Chicago-based non-profit law firm provide pro bono legal services in cases involving religious liberty. Cash alleges his problems started in 2011 when he was doing an internship at a Christian organization called the Springfield Marriage and Family Institute (SMFI), which had been approved by the university. However, that all changed after Springfield’s director W.K. Boyce was part of a presentation Cash made to his class at MSU. During the address, one of the students asked Boyce if the institute would counsel a homosexual couple. The director stated they would certainly counsel …

Despite persecution, Christianity continues to grow in India, particularly among the lowest Caste. Photo: Ville Miettinen/Flickr/Creative Commons

Despite persecution, Christianity continues to surge in India

Despite the rising tide of persecution against Christians around the world, reports continue to flow in on how God is continuing to move. The latest is India where on April 17, 2016, two Hindu extremists posing as Christians approached pastor Deenbandhu Sameli seeking prayer. The pastor who was in his church in Karanji Village at the time, let the two in. The two men turned on the pastor, beat him and forced Sameli to say “jai sri ram” a reference to the Hindu god Veshnu. The two men then poured gas over the pastor and his wife to force them to convert. However, the two were able to escape before the extremists set them on fire. Yet despite this persecution, Christian Aid Mission (CAM) reports that God is moving in one of the most heavily persecuted provinces in India — Kandhamal Province. Just eight years ago over 100 Christians were killed in this district by riots sparked by Hindu extremists who blamed the August 23, 2008 murder of a popular Hindu monk Laxshmananda Saraswati and …

Photo: ndsunewsdept/Flickr/Creative Commons

North Carolina State University requires permit to talk about Jesus

Grace Christian Life (GCL) is a Christian organization registered with North Carolina State University. The organization recently launched a lawsuit against the university alleging they need a permit if they wanted to talk to anyone about Jesus at the university or even invite them to attend religious events. The Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal organization that takes on free speech issues for Christians, is representing the GCL. According to the group, they received a permit from the university to set up a table displaying materials about their organization. However, they were not allowed to leave their table or distribute materials. ADF believes under the US constitution, the university is not allowed to limit free speech of any group or person, Christian or not. However, in this case it alleges the university even went further and specifically limited the free speech of the Christian organization, while giving other groups freedom to hand out their materials. On its website, ADF alleges: “The group obtained a permit to set up a table in the student union in January …

Will the Bible soon be banned in America? Photo: Joseph Li/Flickr/Creative Commons

Bible persecution?

I was saved during the Jesus people movement that swept North America during the late 60s and early 70s. I ended up going to what can only be described as a Hippy church full of flower girls and long-haired boys. The pastor was the oldest person in our church — I think he was 25 at the time. A good friend of mine during those days was a fellow named Duncan. He stood over six-feet and had hair nearly as long. It was right down to his waist, actually even a bit further. Despite all that hair, Duncan went on to have a very distinguished, professional career. I remember a conversation he and I had back then. We discussed buying dozens of Bibles, building a waterproof box for them and then going deep into the woods and burying them. We suspected at some point it would be illegal to own a Bible in North America, but we would still have our secret stash. We had even decided on which version we would hide — the …

The good news about burning Bibles

Recently, someone burned Bibles in the city of Mosul in Iraq. Christians have left the region, so their enemies burned their books. Someone wants to exterminate Christians, and that is bad news. It is easy to miss that this is also a good news story. Christians are suffering, and that is tragic, but part of this story is good. It’s a picture of disruption. “Innovative Disruption” refers to a new idea that replaces a “market and value structure.” It erodes critical mass which is the minimum amount required to maintain a venture. One good example is the smart phone that you probably have in your pocket. I remember when phones were mostly black and had dials. The system worked well, but now we all want the new thing. Cell phone vendors don’t hate dial phones, they just promote their new thing. Traditional phone companies had us all, their critical mass, and then lost us. Now they are free to sell antique designs to a few, but they need us all in order to succeed. In …