A Newsletter of Opinion on Current Australian Christianity

Christian Persecution

If you go to some Churches you won’t hear anything about the persecution of fellow Christians in foreign countries.

But November has been designated as International Day of Prayer Month for the Persecuted Church.

According to the U.S. Department of State, Christians in more than 60 countries face persecution from their governments or surrounding neighbours simply because of their belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. You can read more at http://www.prophecynewswatch.com/2013/November04/045.html#wHikdUjxj8FBTeU1.99

With the exception of four official state-controlled churches in Pyongyang, Christians in North Korea face the risk of detention in prison camps, severe torture and, in some cases, execution for practicing their religious beliefs. North Koreans suspected of having contact with South Korean or other foreign missionaries in China, and those caught in possession of a Bible, have been known to be executed.

We in Australia need to pray for and financially support these brothers and sisters.  More details on how to do this are given below.

Problems in Syria and Egypt

In Syria, Christians are increasingly becoming the target of violent attacks. Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox groups in Syria say the anti-government rebels have committed “awful acts” against Christians, including beheadings, rapes and murders of pregnant women.

A special ‘Vulnerability Assessment of Syria’s Christians’ conducted by the World Watch unit of Open Doors International from June 2013 warned that Syrian Christians are the victims of “disproportionate violence and abuse.” They warned further that Christian women in Syria are particularly vulnerable to sexual abuse.

One of the few countries at present giving shelter to Syrian Christian refugees is Israel.  The compassion of the Jewish people towards Christians seems to be a long-standing desire to thank believers for the way many of their brethren supported Jewish refugees during the Hitler period in Europe.

In August 2013, Egypt faced what has been called the worst anti-Christian violence in seven centuries: 38 churches were destroyed, 23 vandalized; 58 homes were burned and looted and 85 shops, 16 pharmacies and 3 hotels were demolished; 6 Christians were killed in the violence and 7 were kidnapped.

Love and support for our Christian brethren is a much-needed feature of Western Christianity at the moment.

Iranian Atrocities

Four Christians in Iran will get 80 lashes each this month for drinking wine during a communion service. Ahmed Shaheed, UN special reporter on human rights in Iran, said that it is common practice for Christians to be punished for violating theocratic laws. In the UN report Shaheed wrote: ‘At least 20 Christians were in custody in July 2013. In addition, violations of the rights of Christians, particularly those belonging to evangelical Protestant groups, many of whom are converts, who proselytize to and serve Iranian Christians of Muslim background, continue to be reported.’

An American report estimates 70 million Christians have died for their faith over the last 2000 years, and 45 million have been in the last 100 years.

An average of 100 Christians around the world are killed each month for their faith.

Three worthy Christian groups I can recommend for our support are: Barnabas Fund (Australia), Gospel For Asia and Voice of the Martyrs.  This is how we Christians stick together and show our love for one another.

Anti-Christianity Worldwide

In a recent article in ‘The Age’ a detailed report on the global rise of the persecution of Christians was published.

The author gave a lot of evidence that seems to have been withheld by most of the mainstream media.  No longer does persecution mean the occasional murder or attack on an isolated Christian in an obscure part of the world, but organised pogroms  by Muslim terrorists are becoming more common.

During an attack on the shopping mall in Kenya in September, Islamic terrorists asked people for the name of Muhammad’s mother or to recite a verse from the Quran in order to identify non-Muslims. Somalia.  Most of the western media played down the fact this was an anti-Christian action.

The bloodiest attack on Christians in Pakistan’s history occurred in September 2013. Two suicide bombers exploded shrapnel laden vests outside All Saints’ Church in the old city of Peshawar. Choir members and children attending Sunday school were among 81 people killed. The attack left 120 people wounded, with 10 of them in critical condition.

We need to be told these facts.

And in the west …?

A local researcher has said our Churches often pretend they don’t know about these things because they like to keep their members happy, despite the persecution coming gradually to Australia in the form of laws to protect homosexuality, abortion and other evils.

An American archbishop has said ‘I expect to die in my bed, my successor will die in prison, and his successor will die a martyr in the public square.’

These things are coming upon us, as prophesied in the New Testament. The last of the last days are now here, and our resolve must be to continue in the faith and to look for our redemption in Christ who is certainly coming soon.

 

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