International Christian charity Open Doors has published its annual World Watch List ranking the top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted. This year’s World Watch List reveals the fact that persecution of Christians worldwide has increased in more countries and with more intensity than before. The shark increase of persecution of Christians in the Middle East threatens the demise of Christianity in the region.
Topping the list for the 13th consecutive year in a row is North Korea. The most rapid growth of persecution was seen in Africa, while targeted attacks in the Middle East resulted in a mass exodus of Christians. Open Doors Watch List
Last month, Open Doors released its 2015 World Watch List, an annual survey of the most dangerous and difficult places in the world to be a Christian. This year’s report uncovered some startling and worrisome trends. In every region of the world — Africa, Asia and even in the Americas — persecution of Christians is growing. There was not one country on the 2015 list that decreased its acts of violence and persecution from the previous year. The escalation of violence over the past year was so great that the threshold used to create the list had to be increased. With nearly twice the number of Christians persecuted over the previous year, it’s clear why Christians should be very concerned.
What may not be as clear is why everyone else should care.
What all Americans must understand is this: Ending the persecution of Christians is not just morally right; it is in our national interest. When we promote and defend freedom of religious expression throughout the world we are making the world safer for oppressed peoples, we are promoting a value that keeps extremism of any kind in check.
After 13 years of creating the World Watch List in its modern form, Open Doors has observed that the persecution of Christians is a lead harbinger for discord in the wider society. If history teaches us anything, it is to pay attention to the signs that warn of geopolitical upheaval; in particular, the restriction of religious minority groups. When religious minorities are first marginalized within a society, then targeted for attacks without notice from the free societies around the world, a purge is the next logical step in the mind of extremists.
For example, more than a decade ago, Christians in Iraq worshipped in relative peace. Even under the brutal dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, they faced no greater threat to their freedom than the general population of Iraq. But now Iraq ranks third on the World Watch List as one of the most brutal places for expression of the Christian faith.
“There is far more violence in the Bible than in the Qur’an; the idea that Islam imposed itself by the sword is a Western fiction, fabricated during the time of the Crusades when, in fact, it was Western Christians who were fighting brutal holy wars against Islam.” So announces former nun and self-professed “freelance monotheist,” Karen Armstrong. This quote sums up the single most influential argument currently serving to deflect the accusation that Islam is inherently violent and intolerant: All monotheistic religions, proponents of such an argument say, and not just Islam, have their fair share of violent and intolerant scriptures, as well as bloody histories. Thus, whenever Islam’s sacred scriptures—the Qur’an first, followed by the reports on the words and deeds of Muhammad (the Hadith)—are highlighted as demonstrative of the religion’s innate bellicosity, the immediate rejoinder is that other scriptures, specifically those of Judeo-Christianity, are as riddled with violent passages.
More often than not, this argument puts an end to any discussion regarding whether violence and intolerance are unique to Islam. Instead, the default answer becomes that it is not Islam per se but rather Muslim grievance and frustration—ever exacerbated by economic, political, and social factors—that lead to violence. That this view comports perfectly with the secular West’s “materialistic” epistemology makes it all the more unquestioned.
Therefore, before condemning the Qur’an and the historical words and deeds of Islam’s prophet Muhammad for inciting violence and intolerance, Jews are counseled to consider the historical atrocities committed by their Hebrew forefathers as recorded in their own scriptures; Christians are advised to consider the brutal cycle of violence their forbears have committed in the name of their faith against both non-Christians and fellow Christians. In other words, Jews and Christians are reminded that those who live in glass houses should not be hurling stones.
Newsweek will begin the New Year with an article on the Bible that is little more than a screech. An Albert Mohler article stated, “So, when Newsweek, now back in print under new ownership, let loose its first issue of the New Year on the Bible, I held out the hope that the article would be fair, journalistically credible, and interesting, even if written from a more liberal perspective.”
“But Newsweek‘s cover story is nothing of the sort. It is an irresponsible screed of post-Christian invective leveled against the Bible and, even more to the point, against evangelical Christianity. It is one of the most irresponsible articles ever to appear in a journalistic guise.”
A closer look at the Newsweek cover story by Michael A.H. Back. I’m going to give a few details to show why this is, as the comment above claims, “an irresponsible screed of post-Christian invective leveled against the Bible and, even more to the point, against evangelical Christianity. It is one of the most irresponsible articles ever to appear in a journalistic guise.”
This part of this article is completely wrong:
“No television preacher has ever read the Bible. Neither has any evangelical politician. Neither has the pope. Neither have I. And neither have you. At best, we’ve all read a bad translation—a translation of translations of translations of hand-copied copies of copies of copies of copies, and on and on, hundreds of times.
About 400 years passed between the writing of the first Christian manuscripts and their compilation into the New Testament. (That’s the same amount of time between the arrival of the Pilgrims on the Mayflower and today.)”
First error: “Translations of translations of translations of hand copied copies of copies of copies, and on and on, hundreds of times…”
Actually, the oldest manuscripts of the NT are from the second century, and are likely only a few dozen copies out from the originals; maybe even closer than that. And no modern bibles are translations of translation of translations. All of them go back to the Greek, which is NOT a translation, as there is no evidence any of the New Testament was written in Aramaic originally. Greek is the original language of the NT.
The Life Way online survey, conducted in August, asked 1,137 Americans about the frequency and content of their prayers. Most prayers are personal. American pray 82 percent typically focus on their friends and family or their own problems (74 percent).
About 12 percent of Americans that pray say they pray for government leaders. Americans who pray say they pray for sports teams (13 percent), compared with 21 percent who say they have prayed to win the lottery.
Of Americans who pray 83 percent think some of their prayers are answered. 25 percent say all their prayers are answered. Few said none of their prayers were answered (3 percent).
China wants to establish a “Chinese Christian theology” suitable for the country. Wang Zuoan, a senior official for religious affairs, says China supports the development of Christianity within the country. but “the construction of Chinese Christian theology should adapt to China’s national condition” and “should be compatible with the country’s path of socialism”, the state-backed China Daily reports.
China’s government is engaged in a chilling three-phase campaign to eradicate unregistered Protestant churches, reports Charisma Magazine. The Chinese government is also targeting registered churches and their leaders. In Wenzhou, one of China’s most Christian cities, the government de-Christianized the skyline by removing crosses from churches , demolishing churches and arresting Christians. Sanjiang Church in Wenzhou, an impressive eight-stories with a congregation numbering in the thousands was bulldozed by the government.
A Chinese Christian theology is state created with the world-view of China’s communist government. China has a five-year government plan to promote its version of Christianity that will promote “correct” Christian theology with a “range of publications, exchanges, discussions and evangelism”, reported the Hindustan Times.
This new “Chinese Christian theology,” a Chinese Christian authority Gu Mengfei explained the year-old Chinese push to promote “correct” Christian theology encourages pastors and laypeople alike to extract moral teachings in line with Biblical times and with other religious faiths, reports The Week . China is taking the moral teachings in Christianity and leaving all the rest. No theology. No salvation . China’s government is co-opting Christianity making the state god.
A Pew survey related to belief in God: 53% of the public says it is not necessary to believe in God in order to be moral and have good values, while 45% believes it is necessary.
Morality Apart From God
Written by Ray Cotton
Recently, I became aware of a professor at one of the local colleges whose goal is to convince his students that you can have a system of ethics without a belief in God. Now I agree with him that holding his position is theoretically possible, but I said to him that such an ethical system is one built on sand. It would not stand the test of time nor the waves of adversity.
The U.S.S.R. tried to build an empire on godless atheism, and it failed miserably. Today in Russia we still see the results of the ethics of atheism. You would think that the Russians, having suffered so much under a totalitarian regime, would strive to do the right thing in appreciation for their new freedoms. Many have, but Russia today is torn apart by crime, greed, lawlessness, and immorality. Why? Was it merely too much freedom too soon, or are they still reaping the rewards of the ethics of atheism?
Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. Matthew 24:7
Commentary: The word nation here is from the Greek term ethnos. The Greek term ethnos literally means a tribe, nation, or people group, which refers to ethnic groups. In the Bible, it refers to all non-Jewish nations. One of the signs of the end time is a marked increase in conflict between ‘nations’ i.e. tribes, or nations, or ethnic groups.