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CONTENDING FOR THE FAITH

750 reportedly dead after attack on Ethiopia church

January 20, 2021 — ChristianToday.com reports: “A Belgium-based peacebuilding non-profit is reporting 750 people killed in an attack on Ethiopia church.

The attack was detailed in the January 9 ‘Situation Report’ of the Europe External Programme with Africa (EEPA). 

The non-profit said people who were hiding in the church were brought out and shot in the square in front of the building. 

The attack happened at the Maryam Tsiyon Church in Aksum, also known as the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion.

The church is located in Tigray, a region in the north that is home to many churches and monasteries but also beset by conflict. 

The church is part of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, which has around 36 million members…” (Great persecution will soon overtake most Christians in a majority of the world.  Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. – Matthew 5:10 – 12; If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.  If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.  Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.  But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. – John 15:18 – 21; …When he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held.  — Revelation 6:9; …I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. – Revelation 20:4; and 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.)

Five Christians executed by Islamists over Christmas

January 5, 2021 — ChristianToday.com reports: “Islamist militants executed five Christians in Nigeria over the Christmas period, Release International reports.

Terrorist group Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), a faction of Boko Haram, has claimed responsibility for the killings.

They released a video saying the deaths were a ‘warning to Christians in all parts of the world and those in Nigeria’.

The five executed Christians are understood to have been among 11 people kidnapped on Christmas Day from Garkida town, Adamawa State, in north-east Nigeria. 

Their deaths were filmed, with footage showing them kneeling with their hands tied behind them before they were shot dead. 

The victims were all men and were asked to state their names before they were killed. 

The men gave their names as Uka Joseph, Sunday, Wilson, Joshua Maidugu and Garba Yusuf, but also said as their last words ‘I am a Christian’, Morning Star News reports…”

Muslim Supervisors Kill Two Christian Women in Pakistan, Sources Say

January 12, 2021 — ChristianHeadlines.com reports: “Police in Lahore, Pakistan on Jan. 4 recovered the bodies of two Christian sisters whose Muslim supervisors pressured them to convert to Islam before killing them, sources said.

Mushtaq Masih said that police informed him on Jan. 4 that officers had found the decomposed bodies of his 28-year-old wife, Sajida Mushtaq, and her sister, Abida Qaiser, bound and bundled into sacks in an area drainage ditch. Sajida Mushtaq, a mother of four, and Qaiser had been missing since Nov. 26.

‘My wife often complained of harassment by her supervisors, but she used to tell me that she was handling the situation well,’ Masih told Morning Star News. ‘After she went missing, one of my relatives shared with us that Sajida had confided in her that her supervisors, Muhammad Mumtaz and Naeem Butt, used to pressure her and Abida to convert to Islam and marry them.’…”

40 Chinese Communist Party Agents Raid House Church, Arrest Pastor, Worshippers

January 5, 2021 — ChristianHeadlines.com reports: “Forty officials in China’s Taiyuan city raided a house church and detained the worshippers and the pastor, The Christian Post reports.

The man and pastor whose home was raided, An Yankui, told International Christian Concern that this is the second time his home was raided in the last one and a half months.

Five women were detained in addition to the pastor. Further, the officials confiscated the church robes and other books. However, the officials did not detain the pastor’s wife, as they had five children.

The five women were released around midnight but An Yankui is still being detained for an additional 15 days…”  (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.) 

Christian Population in China Could Reach 300 Million by 2030, Despite Persecution

January 28, 2021 — ChristianHeadline.com reports: “Dr. Ron Boyd-MacMillan, director of Strategic Research of Open Doors recently predicted a surge in Christianity in China as the population of believers may increase to 300 million by the year 2030, The Christian Post reports.

Boyd-MacMillan told the Express UK that the reason the Chinese Communist Party, under President Xi Jinping’s leadership, persecutes Christians is because they fear that the church will grow stronger in numbers. 

‘We think the evidence as to why the Chinese Church is so targeted, is that the leaders are scared of the size of the Church, and the growth of the Church,’ he noted.

‘And if it grows at the rate that it has done since 1980, and that’s about between 7 [percent] and 8 percent a year, then you’re looking at a group of people that will be 300 million strong, nearly by 2030,’ Boyd-MacMillan continued…”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan Demands Shuttering of Churches and Other Places of Worship

January 11, 2021 — Breitbart.com reports: “London mayor Sadiq Khan has written to Boris Johnson requesting the immediate closure of all places of worship to curb the spread of coronavirus cases.

Churches and other places of worship have been allowed to stay open during the current lockdown, but Mr. Khan has asked that they be forced to close in a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The mayor has declared a ‘major incident’ as the coronavirus infection rate has surpassed one per cent in the Greater London area. Khan said that such a state of emergency is justified because London’s hospitals risk being ‘overwhelmed.’

‘Our heroic doctors, nurses and NHS staff are doing an amazing job, but with cases rising so rapidly, our hospitals are at risk of being overwhelmed,’ Khan said Friday. ‘The stark reality is that we will run out of beds for patients in the next couple of weeks unless the spread of the virus slows down drastically.’

‘We are declaring a major incident because the threat this virus poses to our city is at crisis point,’ Khan said…”

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