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CONTENDING FOR THE FAITH

Nigerian Christians executed in cold blood by Islamist extremists

July 27, 2020 — ChristianToday.com reports: “Christians are among five Nigerian men to have been executed in Nigeria by Islamist extremists.

The deaths were recorded in a 35-second video posted to YouTube by Eons Intelligence before being removed. 

It showed the men blindfolded and kneeling in front of five militants standing behind them holding AK-47 rifles. 

One of the executioners then spoke to the camera before the executions were carried out to warn other Christians that they would be next if they did not stop sharing the Gospel and convert to Islam. 

‘This is a message to all those being used by infidels to convert Muslims to Christianity,’ one of the executioners said, according to Morning Star News.

‘We want you out there to understand that those of you being used to convert Muslims to Christianity are only being used for selfish purposes…” (In Acts 5, the high priest and the Sadducees arrested Peter and the Apostles and put them in prison.  The Angel of the Lord opened the prison door to release them and told them to “Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life” [Acts 5:20].   The captain and his officers brought them back before the council who stated: “…Did we not straitly command you that ye should not teach in his name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.  Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than man” [Acts 5:28, 29].  After a long discussion, we read in verses 40 – 42: “when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.  And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.  And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.”  Throughout the ages there have been those who have followed this example, obeying God rather than man, and many have paid the price for it.  In Hebrews 11 we have the “Hall of Fame of Faith” and it lists many that were delivered by their faith, but is also says: “…others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:  And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:  They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;  (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.” Hebrews 11:35 – 38.  God’s promise to His people – “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” – Revelation 2:10.  See the next two reports.) 

Over 1,200 Christians killed in Nigeria in first half of 2020 – human rights group

July 16, 2020 — ChristianToday.com reports: “Over 1,200 Christians were slaughtered in Nigeria in the first six months of 2020, according to a human rights group based there.

The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law said the killing of Christians had reached ‘genocidal’ levels, the Nigerian Voice reports.

The perpetrators are Islamist militants and members of the predominantly Muslim Fulani group. 

The report attributes 390 of the deaths to radical Islamist groups like Boko Haram and the Islamic State West Africa Province, both of which are linked to ISIS. 

Some 812 deaths were attributed to Fulani herdsmen who have targeted Christian farming communities…” 

Nigeria: Over Fifty Boko Haram Attacks on Christians in Six Months Go Unreported

July 7, 2020 — Breitbart.com reports: “Boko Haram Islamic terrorists carried out over ‘fifty different attacks on different communities between the end of 2019 to June 2020,’ the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria (EYN) has revealed, most of which were ‘unreported or underreported’ by the media.

As Breitbart News reported, EYN — the largest indigenous Christian denomination in the Northeast of Nigeria — has reported the slaughter of more than 8,370 of its members, including 8 pastors, by militants of the Boko Haram Islamic terror group.

The Reverend Joel Billi, president of the EYN, said last week that the church has been the hardest hit by jihadists of any Christian denomination in the country and along with the deaths more than half of EYN’s 586 church buildings were either burned or damaged by Boko Haram.

The extent of the attacks, amounting to what many consider an authentic Christian genocide in the country, is exacerbated by the seemingly willful silence of the global media…”

Christians told to renounce Jesus or be refused coronavirus aid – ‘Let your God take care of your family’

July 24, 2020 — ChristianToday.com reports: “Christians are being told to renounce their faith in Jesus or have their coronavirus aid support for their families taken away.

Various reports are highlighting the persecution against Christians in countries across south-east Asia and Sudan. Open Doors International’s Jan Vermeer has reported that the organisation has been ‘inundated with reports of Christians telling us their communities would only give them food if they re-converted back to their original faith.’

That has led to some families opting to ‘return to their dominant religion in their country’, however Vermeer has said others have even ‘contemplated suicide’ amid the intensifying persecution they are facing.

The reports from Vermeer have been backed up by Pastor Sam of Open Doors Southeast Asia, who described that in rural Bangladesh ‘governments are giving assistance to a lot of people, but many Christians, especially those who come from a Muslim background or a Buddhist background, are not receiving the support when it goes to the villages.’…”  (In Daniel 3 King Nebuchadnezzar made the image of gold and commanded all people to worship it.  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego would not bow.  We read in Daniel 3:13-18: “Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king.  Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?  Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?   Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.  If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.  But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” [Emphasis mine].  Notice those three words in the last verse.  These three young men knew that God could save them, but if not they still would not worship a false god.  Revelation 2:10 states: “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”  See the next two reports.)

Report: China Forcing Poor Citizens to Trade Faith for Welfare Checks

July 20, 2020 — Breitbart.com reports: “The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is leveraging economic restraints caused by the coronavirus pandemic to coerce increasingly desperate, low-income Chinese Christians to renounce their faith or lose welfare benefits, human rights magazine Bitter Winter reported on Friday.

The economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic has hit China’s low-income households hardest, many of which rely upon state-funded welfare benefits to survive. In recent months, the CCP has reportedly forced Christians across the country receiving state-funded welfare benefits to remove religious symbols from their households and replace them with images of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Mao Zedong; some are told to renounce their faith altogether. If Christians refuse, the state cancels their welfare payments, according to the magazine.

In April, the government of a town administered by Linfen, a city in northern Shanxi province, ordered officials from all local villages to ‘remove crosses, religious symbols, and images from the homes of people of [Christian] faith who receive social welfare payments and replace them with portraits of Chairman Mao and President Xi Jinping. The officials were instructed [by the CCP] to annul the subsidies to those who protest the order,’ Bitter Winter reported…”

Major power orders Christians: Renounce God or we’ll cut off food and housing

June 29, 2020 — WND.com reports: “China’s communist government is warning elderly Christians that they will lose basic benefits if they don’t stop practicing their faith.

Bitter Winter, the online magazine about religious liberty and human rights in China, reports the Communist Party is threatening ‘to take away the last means of survival from elderly believers,’ the government benefits of ‘housing, food, clothing, medical care, and funeral expenses.’

‘A Catholic from Fuzhou city in the southeastern province of Jiangxi has been receiving monthly 250 RMB (about $ 35) from the government since 2018, the year her husband died,’ Bitter Winter reported.

‘At the end of 2019, local government officials threatened the woman, in her 60s, that the subsidy would be withdrawn unless she removes images of Jesus from her home. ‘Because the Communist Party feeds you,’ they told the woman, ‘you must only believe in it, not God.’ Two months later, the pension was canceled because she refused to remove the symbols,’ the report said…”

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