They drove hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims from their homeland from 2016 to 2017. Now many of the same Burmese troops that purged southwest Myanmar have moved north to another beleaguered religious and ethnic minority: the Christian Kachin.
Thousands of Kachin have been driven out of more than 50 villages as of June 2018, adding to a tally of more than 400 villages, 300 churches, and 100 schools destroyed or damaged by soldiers since 2011, according to the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO).
Fleeing their homes and villages has not always offered the Kachin security. Myanmar’s armed forces, the Tatmadaw, have cut off humanitarian aid for scores of camps for internally displaced people (IDPs) in areas controlled by the KIO’s armed wing, the KIA. Meanwhile, Baptist and Catholic churches have stepped up to host many of the camps.
About 130,000 Kachin are displaced in Kachin state and bordering Shan state, fleeing to IDP camps since the Southeast Asian nation’s civil war rekindled after a 17-year ceasefire.
But while the Tatmadaw’s scorched-earth warfare against the Rohingya has been reported on regularly by global news outlets, awareness of similar human rights violations—rape, torture, and murder—against the Kachin has yet to become widespread. A United Nations investigation in March noted that there were “marked similarities” between the violence against the Rohingya and the Kachin.
The eyes of the world turned briefly to the ethnic group during a visit to Myanmar by Pope Francis last fall, where he was welcomed by more than 7,000 Kachin. But since then many feel that the global body of Christ has ignored them.
“The Tatmadaw has forced villagers from their homes …
Rebels in Ukraine’s Luhansk region are reportedly raiding Christian churches.
According to reports, the group, which controls Luhansk, has demanded that churches re-register as a religious organization, but the rebel group is denying approvals for those registrations.
Forum 18, a Norwegian human rights organization, says neither Baptist nor Seventh-day Adventist churches have been allowed to re-register.
There are also reports that Protestant churches have been raided in the past few months. In September, rebels raided a Baptist church in Brianka and the pastor of the church is facing possible punishment for allowing worship without registration.
In another instance, police officers shut down the morning worship service at Revival Baptist Church. Pastor Dmitry Sirbu is facing legal threats for allowing the worship gathering.
In August, armed men reportedly raided Grace Church of God Pentecostal Church in Alchevsk during the church’s worship. The group forced the church to lie on the floor while the men seized church computers.
Andrei Litsoev, head of the Religious Organizations and Spirituality Department of the Culture, Youth and Sport Ministry in Luhansk, hasn’t commented on why the churches are being denied registration.
According to The Christian Post, Catholic churches in the area are waiting to hear on their own applications for registration.
Luhansk authorities say churches need to re-register as part of the 2015 decree that bans mass gatherings and events under martial law.
(Editors Note- We pioneered a Apostolic Church in Oxford England in 1977 Today that church still exists. On my recent trip to minister in the UK I was able to visit with and pray for the new Pastor there and his wife. PLEASE PRAY FOR THE CHURCH THERE)
Oxford University students have voted against allowing a Christian group’s residential camp to take place at one of their colleges over concerns that it is a threat to the ‘mental safety’ of students.
Christian Concern had sought to hold its four-day Wilberforce Academy at Lady Margaret Hall next summer but the plans have been resoundingly voted down by the Junior Common Room (JCR) committee.
The students voted 81 to 8 against the residential camp, with two abstentions, although a final decision will be made by the college’s governing body next week.
The Oxford Student newspaper reports that in the debate prior to the vote, members of the JCR recognised Christian Concern ‘as a real threat to the physical and mental safety of students’.
One student reportedly said: ‘We’re inviting them into our home and we can’t invite people who stand against our values.’
The students’ objections were weighed against the college’s obligations under freedom of speech laws, with the Oxford Student reporting that the college’s adopted position is to protect free speech as the ‘lifeblood of a university’.
‘Recognising the vital importance of free expression for the life of the mind, a university may make rules concerning the conduct of debate but should never prevent speech that is lawful,’ it reportedly states.
‘Inevitably, this will mean that members of the University/College are confronted with views that some find unsettling, extreme or offensive.’
Christian Concern lobbies for traditional marriage and the protection of Christian freedoms, with its legal wing, the Christian Legal Centre, having been involved in numerous high-profile cases, including most recently that of NHS nurse Sarah Kuteh, who lost her job for sharing her faith with patients and offering prayer.
According to its website, the Wilberforce Academy aims to equip students and young professionals ‘for servant-hearted, Christ-centred leadership in public life, having been equipped with a robust biblical framework that guides their thinking, prayers and activity in addressing the issues facing our society’.
An Arab man was documented Thursday during an attempt to escape from police as he drove on the sidewalk and almost trampled the pedestrians who were walking there.
A sapper, a police officer and a traffic patrolman who had been chasing him are seen in the video as they shoot five bullets at the fleeing criminal to try to stop him.
According to police, the motorist drove illegally along the shoulder of the east-west Highway 5 just north of Tel Aviv—to bypass the heavy traffic—and suddenly ran into a police sapper who was on his way to work and ordered him to stop his car. When the man refused and continued driving, the police sapper began to chase him, all the way to the Coca-Cola junction at the entrance to the city of Bnei Brak.
The fleeing driver turned into the Haredi city in an attempt to escape, but was eventually spotted and caught by police.
According to official sources, the rate of involvement of the Arab population in Israel in road accidents far exceeds their representation in the population, both in the degree of involvement and in the severity of the damage. Young Arab drivers are twice as likely to be involved in serious road accidents as compared to the total population. (Source: Yedioth Aharonoth)
Israel Defense Force search-and-rescue teams were deployed Thursday night to assist in the rescue of a Jordanian school bus near the eastern shore of the Dead Sea after it was swept away Thursday in a flash flood resulting from heavy rains in the southern region.
At least 18 people died in the tragedy, including many Jordanian school children and teachers, according to an updated report at 10:00 pm local time.
At least 34 others were rescued, however, in the massive operation that involved hundreds of Jordanian military troops and police helicopters as well as a number of Israeli search-and-rescue helicopters and specialized teams, sent in response to a request from the Jordanian government.
The children and their teachers were riding in the school bus on a field trip when the tragedy occurred, according to Ynet, which quoted two civil defense sources.
“At this time the soldiers are wrapping up rescue operation and will continue to search for those who are still missing to the best of their ability as the weather conditions permit in the area of the flood zone,” said the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.
Volunteer teams of the Etzion and Megillot rescue units were also sent to help locate those who are still missing.
Democrat ministers Rev. Jim Wallis and allies are now touring many states on “Vote Common Good” buses to “flip Congress” and “reclaiming Jesus” to split the evangelical vote before the mid-term elections.
The AAE video features the newly released voice recording of Wallis of Sojourners as he publicly denied that he was a recipient of Soros funding. Soon after, grants disappeared, but journalists found hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants from Soros’ Open Society Foundation to Sojourners. Rev. Wallis later replied, “I didn’t recall,” as he finally admitted the Soros connection.
Kelly Monroe Kullberg, a spokesperson for the AAE, said, “Americans hate manipulation. Most now realize that the demoralization of America is not inevitable; it is being purchased. Anti-American globalists like Soros are funding a growth industry of paid anarchists and political activists to divide and weaken America, including the church. This brief video is a powerful tool and wake-up call to the church and nation.”
In a longer 15-minute video on the AAE site, Soros’ Formula for Killing America, radio host Eric Metaxas, author of the best-selling Bonhoeffer, said, “God help us … please watch this video. Our country hangs in the balance.” James Garlow, former pastor of Skyline Church, said: “Thank God for these fearless producers exposing one of the most sinister, destructive forces to the republic. Listen carefully. Your nation depends on it.”
Kullberg, also editor and co-author of Finding God at Harvard and co-founder of American Evangelicals, added, “If Christians follow the advice of Soros’ ministers, they will unwittingly elect politicians who favor taxpayer funded abortion on demand, gender confusion for children, higher taxes, open borders, criminal ‘sanctuary’ cities, drug legalization and legal attacks on religious freedom. What an anti-Christian and anti-human policy agenda to weaken people and nations. How unloving and cruel.”
Rejecting cherry-picking Bible verses for political power, the AAE urges a return to “the whole counsel of Scripture as the highest love for human beings.”
AAE is a growing, informal coalition of Christians who share the gospel, advance biblical worldview and engage opposition to the faith and nation. The AAE receives no political, government or large foundation funding. Its letter, “A Call to Repentance & Renewal,” has over 4,000 signatories.
A California court has ruled in favor of a church that objected to a property tax.
Valley Baptist Church is thankful that Marin County Superior court is respecting the constitutional rights of churches not to be taxed by their government, says Pacific Justice Instituteattorney Brad Dacus.
“This is a very important case,” he says, “not just for this church and the churches in this particular town of San Rafael. This is a major win for churches across the country.”
San Rafael operated with a voter-approved local property tax designed to fund paramedic services, but PJI argued that the tax was not legal according to the California state constitution. Everyone supports ambulance service, he says, but taxes have to be levied in a way that is legal and constitutional.
“What the government can tax, the government can control,” he warns. “Our founding fathers understood that. We understand that.”
If San Rafael had won the case, Dacus predicts that other cities and states would have created similar taxes on church properties.
In addition to ruling the tax unconstitutional, the Marin court ordered that $13,544 be refunded to Valley Baptist Church, which the church had to produce as a condition for filing the lawsuit.
“The church is going to get their money back,” Dacus says, “and that’s very important in that we would not have complete and full justice unless they received every penny that they were wrongfully taxed by the city of San Rafael.”
It takes real courage for Christians to stand for truth anywhere. But in Cuba? Let’s just say we could learn a thing or two from our island brothers and sisters.
Cuba is considering a change to its constitution that would make it the sixth Latin American nation to legalize same-sex marriage. The government will submit it to a referendum early next year.
Such referenda are not unheard of in dictatorships only, unlike a true democracy, “people” are often expected to rubber-stamp the government’s already-made decision.
But, this time around, the proposed change has run into unexpectedly strong opposition in the island nation just south of Key West. I say unexpected for two reasons. First, since the Cuban Revolution in 1959, ordinary Cubans have not only had no real say in the country’s laws, they rarely dared to make their opinions known. They are this time.
Second, the opposition to same-sex marriage is being led by churches who, ever since Fidel Castro assumed power on January 1, 1959 and especially after he officially declared Cuba a Communist state a few years later, have been in the regime’s cross-hairs.
For decades, both Catholic and Protestant churches have experienced brutal persecution. The Communist government in Cuba has “closed churches, nationalized properties owned by religious organizations and forced the faithful underground.” Believers were often denounced as “social scum.” The government even outlawed Christmas from 1969 until 1997. If you know anything about Latin American culture, that’s a huge deal.
While some churches were allowed to remain open, the Cuban government, like its Soviet patron, exercised tight controls over what was said and done.
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, restrictions loosened somewhat. But “loosened” is a relative term, and Christians in Cuba still live with restrictions that would be unimaginable in the United States. Pastors are still arrested. Unregistered churches are demolished.
This context makes the response of Christians to the proposed change in the Cuban constitution remarkable. 500,000 signatures are being gathered, in a country where petitions are unheard of, to oppose the proposed change. Posters and signs have been made and distributed that read, “I’m in favor of the original design: The family as God created it.”
Rallies are being held, where speakers like Pastor Lester Fernandez say, “We do not in any way approve Article 68 . . . because the Bible condemns it.” Speeches are being met with wild applause.
As Reuters reports, the opposition puts the Cuban government, in quite a bind, “(i)f [the government] wants to prove the public consultation is a real example of participatory democracy, and not, as some opponents say, a fraud.”
To say that Cuban Christians are taking a risk is an epic understatement. An embarrassed dictatorial government may very well take reprisals against those who embarrassed it. Cuban Christians know this and, yet, they still speak out.
Hearing this story, I couldn’t help but think about the contrast with churches closer to home, by which I mean my home. Two years ago, as Colorado prepared to vote on a referendum to legalize physician-assisted suicide, many of us undertook an ultimately fruitless task trying to get pastors and their churches to take a stand on the issue. I was told by more than one pastor here that “it was too political,” despite the fact that, for these pastors and their churches, getting involved was virtually risk-free. There was virtually no risk of a backlash, outside or inside the church. Yet many said nothing and did even less.
Thank God that people like Pastor Lester Fernandez are willing to speak out for “el diseño original.” Sixty years of persecution have strengthened the Cuban church, as it strengthened the New Testament church and countless other churches throughout history.
To state the obvious: we could learn a great deal from, to paraphrase a Graham Greene novel, our brothers and sisters in Havana. At the very least, we owe them our thanks and our prayers.
American evangelicals are “deeply confused” about some core doctrines of the Christian faith—and the fourth-century heretic Arius would be pleased, according to a new survey.
For the third time, Ligonier Ministries has examined the State of Theology in the United States, conducted by LifeWay Research and based on interviews with 3,000 Americans. The survey, also conducted in 2014 and 2016, offers a detailed look at the favorite heresies of evangelicals and of Americans at large.
Ligonier wanted to know what Americans “believe about God, salvation, ethics, and the Bible.”
“Overall, US adults appear to have a superficial attachment to well-known Christian beliefs,” stated the ministry. “For example, a majority agreed that Jesus died on the cross for sin and that he rose from the dead.
“However, they rejected the Bible’s teaching on (1) the gravity of man’s sin, (2) the importance of the church’s gathering together for worship, and (3) the Holy Spirit,” stated Ligonier. For example:
More than two-thirds (69%) of Americans disagree that the smallest sin deserves eternal damnation—and 58 percent strongly disagree. Ligonier finds this “alarming.”
A majority of US adults (58%) said that worshiping alone or with one’s family is a valid replacement for regularly attending church. Only 30 percent disagree.
A majority of US adults (59%) say that the Holy Spirit is a force, not a personal being.
Ligonier cites relativism for such a “casual outlook.” In the survey, 6 in 10 Americans agree that “religious belief is a matter of personal opinion [and] not about objective truth”—and 1 in 3 evangelicals (32%) say the same.
When it comes to Americans with “evangelical beliefs” [see below for LifeWay Research’s four-part definition], the survey found that a majority say:
Most people are basically good (52%)
God accepts the worship of all religions (51%)
Jesus was the first and greatest being created by God the Father (78%)
“However, all these beliefs are contrary to the historic Christian faith,” stated Ligonier, citing Romans 3:10 on sin, John 14:6 on God, and John 1:1 on Jesus. For example, while an overwhelming 97 percent of evangelicals do believe that “there is one true God in three persons,” 3 out of 4 of them attempt to give Jesus first-place honors even though that belief “has been rejected by the church down through the centuries.”
Strangely, while most evangelicals strongly believe in justification by faith alone, they are confused about the person of Jesus Christ. On one hand, virtually all evangelicals express support for Trinitarian doctrine. Yet at the same time, most agree that Jesus is the first and greatest being created by God, which was a view espoused by the ancient heretic Arius.
Arius was condemned at the Council of Nicaea in 325, and again at the Council of Constantinople in 381. Yet the number of American evangelicals who agree with his view has increased from 2016, when 71 percent agreed and 23 percent disagreed, to today when 78 percent agree and 18 percent disagree.
“These results show the pressing need for Christians to be taught Christology, especially as the outcome has gotten worse since 2016,” stated Ligonier. “There is a general lack of teaching today on the person of Christ, a doctrine for which the early church fought so hard.”
(Editor George Duke commented that because of indoctrination on the accepted Trinity many are confused because it is hard for them to understand 3 seperate people sitting on one throne when the word of God is clear. If you would like to know more about the real Trinity then study his bible study on “The Apostolic Trinity vs the Accepted Trinity.” He reveals that the Trinity is one person Body Soul and Spirit, Since God existed eternally as the supreme Holy Spirit, the Father of creation, in order for him to pay the price for our sins he created a body to dwell in. His body being created for his Spirit was called the Son of God. For God (Spirit) was in Christ (Body) reconciling the world unto himself. and you are complete in HIm not Them. ) Most of my books contain the teaching of the Apostolic Trinity.