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-The Lack of Response to Stories of Christian Persecution?

by Dr. D ~ April 23rd, 2014
The Christian Martyrs' Last Prayer

                            (The Christian Martyrs’ Last Prayer: Wikipedia)

In the last year or so there have been dozens of stories of Christian persecution all around the world but particularly in the Middle East. In fact it has been estimated that over 100,000 Christians a year have been killed for their faith in the last decade.

Then there are reports nearly every week of the religious liberty of Christians being compromised even in America. In spite of the stories and reports most American Christians have been mostly silent and unresponsive to the vast majority of these events.

Why?

One obvious answer is the fact that the major American media is not reporting all of these events and when they do they slant it in such a way that any religious ties and motivations are obscured or under reported. This is particularly true when Muslims are involved in the persecution of Christians in order to lessen the perceived escalation of Islamophobia in America.

Another reason is that so many in the media are substantially secular in their world view and it is difficult for them to conceive that religion would be so important to some people. So much so that belief would be at the foundation of most of their actions and motivations. For most in the media, from their experience, politics would seem to be a more likely motivation so that is what they look for and the angle they write about.

So when Christians in America read about what is happening in the Middle East, the emphasis is upon the political conflicts and not that Christians are literally being singled out for persecution and death so it lessens the effect.

Another possible reason for the lack of response from American Christians may have to do with their current preoccupation with their own economic problems caused by the worst recession since the Great Depression. Christian leaders and pastors are in the midst of responding to their own problems caused by the realities of shrinking budgets brought on by diminished contributions.

For what ever reason, many of us who are ‘watchers on the wall’ who try to call attention to the truth about what is happening around the world and even in our own country are perceived as being alarmists. However, the truth about what is happening to Christians around the world is even greater than any of us could ever begin to exaggerate about.

If you want to know what I am talking about, read the following article which catalogs many of the most recent stories of persecution both domestic and foreign. Believe me it is astounding when read all at once in one article. Most of the events we have written about on this site but it is utterly shocking when all of them are put together on one page:

“Are All These Christians’ Complaints of Persecution Just So Much Empty Whining?”

*Top

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-Evangelicals at the Crossroads on Homosexuality

by Dr. D ~ April 22nd, 2014
Bible Study 2

                                                   (Photo credit: DrGBB)

The American culture is changing so fast when it comes to homosexuality and same-sex marriage that it is hard to keep up with the latest developments.

Evangelical Christians in particular are having a hard time of it as their once respected Biblical positions on homosexuality and marriage are increasingly being perceived as being on ‘the wrong side of history’ and contrary to the abundant love which Jesus taught.

The effect of all of this cultural movement is that evangelical Christians are now or will soon be at a crossroads where they must choose between a high view of Scripture and possibly be marginalized by the dominant American culture or abandon traditional Biblical teaching, accept a more liberal view of scripture, and go along with the cultural flow.

The recent World Vision debacle demonstrates where we now are and the choices ahead. On March 24, the World Vision directors decided to change their policy and hire Gay Christians who were in committed same-sex marriages. They cited as an excuse the fact that some of the 50 denominations involved with their organization now sanctioned same-sex marriage. They also noted that it was a divisive issue that had ‘torn apart’ several churches and that World Vision wanted to avoid that kind of disputation. Instead they found themselves in the middle of a firestorm. After a major outcry and loss of considerable support from conservative evangelical Christians, World Vision caved in and reversed their decision 2 days later. This time the choice was made to stick with the Bible and a high view of scripture.

The time may soon be upon us when the choice may not be all that easy for some because the stakes are being raised in the dominant culture nearly every day. Yesterday we posted on a proposal in California to ban judges who had ties with the Boy Scouts. If you take the very same reasons for the ban to a logical conclusion than Bible believing Christians could easily be the next group to be excluded.

As the pressure comes to bear on Bible supporting Christians and churches across the nation, some members may choose to leave the increasingly controversial conservative  congregations for more socially acceptable churches and denominations. Some pastors may even respond to the losses by finding ways to re-interpret those troublesome homosexual passages in the Bible.

Those who continue to maintain a traditional high view of scripture may find themselves increasingly being marginalized and even demonized by the larger culture. Soon there may be a real price to pay for Biblical faith and evangelicals may be tested and forced to choose between the Bible and a respected place in 21st century America.      *Top

Here’s a link to one of the best articles I have ever read on this issue. It includes an extensive review of a book which attempts to re-interpret the ‘homosexual’ passages in the Bible from a supposed Bible-believing perspective:

“God, the Gospel, and the Gay Challenge — A Response to Matthew Vines” by Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr.

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-California: Proposal to Prohibit Judges with Ties to Boy Scouts

by Dr. D ~ April 21st, 2014
Original Boy Scouts of America emblem

                              (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is a new proposal in the State of California to prohibit judges from having membership ties with the Boy Scouts.

According to the ‘Ethics Advisory Committee’ of the state Supreme Court, the Boy Scouts are discriminatory against homosexuals and atheists so state judges should be free of any ties with that sort of organization.  Here’s the story from SFGate:

The state Supreme Court’s ethics advisory committee wants the court to prohibit California judges from membership in the Boy Scouts…

Banning scout membership would "promote the integrity of the judiciary" and "enhance public confidence in the impartiality of the judiciary," the ethics committee said Wednesday.

The ethics committee’s unanimous recommendation is another sign of a changing climate that has included increasing public, political and judicial support for same-sex marriage.

<Read the whole article>

Response: Is this really just the beginning? If the Boy Scouts are now considered to be an ‘undesirable’ discriminatory organization since they still do not allow Gay leaders and ask for members to affirm a belief in God can conservative Christians who support the same positions soon also find themselves on the same prohibited list? The rationale would be that everyone is still free to believe whatever they like but judges must be free from any exclusive discriminatory beliefs and ties.

The cultural climate is changing so fast in America it really hard to keep up. Recently in the news, several well qualified Christian professors had a hard time getting tenure at universities. Also in the past year were the stories of several students who were dropped from counseling majors because of their Biblical views. Then there have been a number of accounts of Doctors, pharmacists, and allied health workers who got in trouble for refusing to participate in abortions. Not to mention the Christians business owners who have found themselves in the middle of lawsuits over their refusal to participate in same-sex marriages.

As incredible as it might seem in a nation where religious liberty is supposedly supported by the Constitution, conservative Bible believing Christians might soon find themselves being barred from all sorts of different occupations, professions, and businesses.            *Top

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-Happy Resurrection Day

by Dr. D ~ April 20th, 2014
RESURRECTION

         (RESURRECTION: Luz Adriana Villa A.)

He is Risen! He is risen indeed!

Happy Resurrection Day to you and all of yours.

Here are some timely remarks given by President Obama at the recent Easter Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC:

“So this Easter Week, of course we recognize that there’s a lot of pain and a lot of sin and a lot of tragedy in this world, but we’re also overwhelmed by the grace of an awesome God.  We’re reminded how He loves us, so deeply, that He gave his only begotten Son so that we might live through Him.”

“And in these Holy Days, we recall all that Jesus endured for us — the scorn of the crowds and the pain of the crucifixion, in our Christian religious tradition we celebrate the glory of the Resurrection — all so that we might be forgiven of our sins and granted everlasting life.”

“More than 2,000 years later, it inspires us still. We are drawn to His timeless teachings, challenged to be worthy of His sacrifice, to emulate as best we can His eternal example to love one another just as He loves us.”

“And of course, we’re always reminded each and every day that we fall short of that example.  And none of us are free from sin, but we look to His life and strive, knowing that ‘if we love one another, God lives in us, and His love is perfected in us.’” (1 John 4:12)

Response: For once I agree with every word he said. May the Lord bless us all and this nation on this very special day.            *Top

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-NYC: Redemptive Reversal- Churches Can Use Public Schools After All

by Dr. D ~ April 19th, 2014
English: City council member Bill De Blasio sp...

     (Mayor Bill De Blasio: Wikipedia)

In a redemptive reversal just in time for Resurrection Day (Easter), New York City officials have decided to allow churches to rent public school buildings after all. Here’s the story from Citizen Link:

Churches across New York City were celebrating last weekend. Not only because it was Palm Sunday, but because, after a 19-year legal battle, they were allowed to stay in the rented public school buildings where they meet.

Even though the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the city’s right to ban religious services in public school buildings in January, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced he was going to allow the churches to stay put.

<Read the whole article>

Response: A great redemptive story for the Holy Week. After 19 years of litigation the churches get to stay and continue to minister particularly to the poor in New York City neighborhoods where finding adequate and inexpensive places to meet is exceedingly difficult.

Ironically it is the new leftist mayor who saw the light and lead the way to reopen the door to the ministries. In an article in The Blaze, Mayor de Blasio was quoted as saying:

“I believe that a faith-based organization has a right like anyone else … to use that space,”

This is a great day not only for New York City but for churches all around the country who rent public buildings and were concerned about examples and precedents being set that might doom their own facility arrangements.             *Top

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-Good Friday: “It’s Friday, But Sunday’s Coming”

by Dr. D ~ April 18th, 2014

Here it is again. My favorite message of all time for Good Friday is by Dr. Tony Campolo. It has become a tradition on this blog to post it every year on this day.

Here is a link to the famous tape and where it can be downloaded.

image

The whole tape is great but the best part is at the end when Tony Campolo recalls one Sunday when he had a little preaching competition with the head pastor at the church where he attends.

Dr. Campolo tells how he preached the perfect sermon in every way and had taken the congregation to ‘the heights of glory’. As he sat down beside his pastor, Dr. Tony patted him on the knee and simply said, “Top that.” The older black pastor looked at him and said, “Boy, watch the master.” Then Dr. Campolo recalls for us the very brilliant message which followed.

The following is a short printed version of the 45 minute sermon–the printed version doesn’t really do justice to the original, but you can at least get an idea what the last part is like:

It’s Friday. But Sunday’s coming—

It was a simple sermon, starting softly, building in volume and intensity until the entire congregation was completely involved, repeating the phrases in unison. The sermon went something like this.

It’s Friday. Jesus is arrested in the garden where He was praying. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. The disciples are hiding and Peter’s denying that he knows the Lord. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Jesus is standing before the high priest of Israel, silent as a lamb before the slaughter. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Jesus is beaten, mocked, and spit upon. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Those Roman soldiers are flogging our Lord with a leather scourge that has bits of bones and glass and metal, tearing at his flesh. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. The Son of man stands firm as they press the crown of thorns down into his brow. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. See Him walking to Calvary, the blood dripping from His body. See the cross crashing down on His back as He stumbles beneath the load. It’s Friday; but Sunday’s a coming.

It’s Friday. See those Roman soldiers driving the nails into the feet and hands of my Lord. Hear my Jesus cry, “Father, forgive them.” It’s Friday; but Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Jesus is hanging on the cross, bloody and dying. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. The sky grows dark, the earth begins to tremble, and He who knew no sin became sin for us. Holy God who will not abide with sin pours out His wrath on that perfect sacrificial lamb who cries out, “My God, My God. Why hast thou forsaken me?” What a horrible cry. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. And at the moment of Jesus’ death, the veil of the Temple that separates sinful man from Holy God was torn from the top to the bottom because Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Jesus is hanging on the cross, heaven is weeping and hell is partying. But that’s because it’s Friday, and they don’t know it, but Sunday’s a coming.

And on that horrible day 2000 years ago, Jesus the Christ, the Lord of glory, the only begotten Son of God, the only perfect man died on the cross of Calvary. Satan thought that he had won the victory. Surely he had destroyed the Son of God. Finally he had disproved the prophecy God had uttered in the Garden and the one who was to crush his head had been destroyed. But that was Friday.

Now it’s Sunday. And just about dawn on that first day of the week, there was a great earthquake. But that wasn’t the only thing that was shaking because now it’s Sunday. And the angel of the Lord is coming down out of heaven and rolling the stone away from the door of the tomb. Yes, it’s Sunday, and the angel of the Lord is sitting on that stone and the guards posted at the tomb to keep the body from disappearing were shaking in their boots because it’s Sunday, and the lamb that was silent before the slaughter is now the resurrected lion from the tribe of Judah, for He is not here, the angel says. He is risen indeed.

It’s Sunday, and the crucified and resurrected Christ has defeated death, hell, sin and the grave. It’s Sunday. And now everything has changed. It’s the age of grace, God’s grace poured out on all who would look to that crucified lamb of Calvary. Grace freely given to all who would believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross of Calvary was buried and rose again. All because it’s Sunday.

At the end of the message the pastor shouts out:

It’s Friiidaaaay!

And the whole congregation responds:

But Sunday’s Coming!

*Top

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-Chilling: Flyers in Eastern Ukraine Demand that Jews Register and Pay a Tax?

by Dr. D ~ April 17th, 2014
English: Eastern Ukraine. Filled with red - al...

        (Eastern Ukraine: Wikipedia)

Here’s a shacking and chilling development in Eastern Ukraine. Not only has some of the declarations and actions of Putin reminded folks of the Nazi/Hitler ramp up to WWII but now some of the Russian ‘separatists’ who have taken over the government in Eastern Ukraine may be following in Nazi footsteps with their treatment of Jews.

Flyers have been printed and distributed to the Jewish community demanding that they register, declare their possessions, and pay a ‘special’ tax.  Here’s the incredible story from The Blaze:

The Jewish community in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine was stunned earlier this week when flyers were distributed calling on all Jews age 16 and older to register with separatists, list real estate and vehicles they own and pay a special tax, or face deportation, loss of citizenship and confiscation of their property.

The International Business Times reported that the flyer ordered Jewish citizens to register at one of the government buildings that was taken over by separatists earlier this month and that a special registration fee of $50 due May 3 was being levied.

The Israeli news site Ynet wrote that the leaflet specified what documents Jewish citizens would need for the registration process.

“ID and passport are required to register your Jewish religion, religious documents of family members, as well as documents establishing the rights to all real estate property that belongs to you, including vehicles,” the document read according to Ynet’s translation from Russian.

<Read the whole article>

Response: The Russian news service is denying that it is an official policy of the new Russian separatist ‘People’s Republic of Donetsk’ and I doubt that the Russian authorities under Putin would be quite this stupid. However the flyers were handed out near the Donetsk synagogue by “three unidentified men wearing balaclavas and carrying the flag of the Russian Federation” and they are causing quite a concern and a controversy among the Jewish community in Donetsk.

While the leaders of the separatist movement may deny any involvement in the flyers or the chilling anti-Semitic policy it proposes, some connected with the separatists may have originated and distributed them. Since those distributing the flyers were wearing ‘balaclavas’ I have a suspicion that they might have actually been Muslims who are either a part of the Russian separatist movement or pretending to be in order to cause further controversy. The idea of a special tax reminds me of the Muslim ‘Jizyah’ which is levied against Jews and Christians living in Muslim dominated countries.

For sure it is really difficult under the current chaotic conditions in Donetsk to ascertain the entire truth of this matter. Regardless of who is actually behind the flyers it is a chilling reminder that there are still people out there who would like to mimic the Nazi treatment of Jews. It is particularly outrageous that it is happening during the Jewish Passover and the Christian Holy Week.             *Top

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