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CONTENDING FOR THE FAITH

Faculty at Historic Christian University Revolt after Board Affirms Biblical Sexuality

April 26, 2021 — ChristianHeadlines.com reports: “The faculty of a 130-year-old Christian university in Washington state cast a vote of ‘no confidence’ this week in its board of trustees after the latter stood by the school’s hiring practice and affirmed the biblical teaching on sexuality.

Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of faculty at Seattle Pacific University (SPU) voted in favor of the ‘no confidence’ proposal, while 22 percent voted against it, according to The Seattle Times. About 90 percent of faculty took part in the vote.

The employee handbook says faculty are ‘expected to refrain from … sexually immoral behavior that is inconsistent with Biblical standards, including cohabitation and extramarital sexual activity,’ according to the newspaper. A university ‘Statement on Human Sexuality’ says, ‘We affirm that sexual experience is intended between a man and a woman.’…”  (“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as their’s also wasBut evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.  But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works– II Timothy 3:1-9; 13-17 [emphasis mine].  See the next two reports.)

Christian Pastor Arrested in London for Quoting ‘Homophobic’ Bible Verses

April 30, 2021 — Breitbart.com reports: “Police in London arrested a Christian street preacher for allegedly causing ‘alarm and distress’ to pedestrians for citing allegedly ‘homophobic’ verses from Genesis.

On Friday, Pastor John Sherwood was preaching alongside Pastor Peter Simpson of the Penn Free Methodist Church outside the Uxbridge Underground Station — in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s own constituency.

Writing in the Conservative Woman on Tuesday, Pastor Simpson said that Sherwood preached on the final verses of Genesis 1, saying: ‘God’s design in creating mankind was to set human beings in families, headed by a father and a mother, not by two fathers or by two mothers. The distinction within mankind of just two genders, male and female, made in the image of God, constitutes the essence of God’s created order.’

Simpson said that the police informed them that three complaints were made in response to the street sermon…”

Christian Finnish MP Could Spend 6 Years in Prison for Supporting Biblical Marriage, Sexuality

May 4, 2021 — ChristianHeadlines.com reports: “Päivi Räsänen, a Christian member of the Finnish Parliament, is facing six years imprisonment for allegedly committing three crimes regarding her opinion on marriage and sexuality.

Räsänen, a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland and former chair of the Christian Democrats, has been under investigation by police since June 2019 after questioning the leadership at the Finnish Lutheran church she attended.

At the time, the church had sponsored the LGBT event ‘Pride 2019’ by using an image with a Bible text. In response, Räsänen questioned the church’s leadership in a tweet, which later got her in trouble for committing hate speech. She subsequently underwent several interviews by police regarding her views and waited more than a year for the General Prosecutor to determine whether the prosecution should continue.

According to The Christian Post, Räsänen also faces crimes for comments she made on a 2018 TV show and a 2004 pamphlet where she outlined the official teaching of her own church on human sexuality…”

Is Christian Cohabitation the New Norm?

May 4, 2021 — ChristianHeadlines.com reports: “Recently, researchers at State University of New York determined that descendants of immigrants to the United States typically lost the ability to speak their mother tongue by the third generation. Something similar, but far more serious, seems to be happening with Christians in an increasingly post-Christian culture. Each successive generation is losing the understanding of, not to mention the will to live by, Christian sexual morality.

Two years ago, a Pew Research survey found that half of American Christians think casual sex is ‘sometimes or always’ morally acceptable. The slight silver-lining in that survey was that evangelical Protestants were by far the least likely group to express acceptance of casual sex.

Unfortunately, a new analysis calls into question just how committed the children of evangelicals are to Christian teaching in this area. These numbers reflect a larger trend among evangelicals: with each generation, American evangelicals increasingly adopt the attitudes of the wider culture toward sex and marriage. This time, the behavior in question wasn’t casual sex, but cohabitation.

In 2019, Pew Research reported that a majority – 58 percent – of white evangelicals said cohabitation is acceptable if a couple plans to marry. Views on cohabitation become noticeably less Christian among younger respondents. As early as 2012, the General Social Survey found that over 40 percent of evangelicals in their 20s agreed that cohabitation is acceptable even if a couple has no express plans to marry. And, earlier this month, David Ayers at the Institute for Family Studies found that nearly half of evangelical Protestants aged 15-22 who were not currently cohabiting or married, said that they would probably or definitely cohabit in the future…” (Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it. – Amos 8:11-12.  There is a famine of the Word of God in America, a famine caused by pastors who as Dr. Van Impe often stated “Preach little sermonettes that create Christianettes.  There is no substance to their messages.  Hadden Robinson, author of Biblical Preaching: The Development and Delivery of Expository Messages was lecturing his students on preparation for preaching and said “If it’s a mist in the pulpit, it’ll be a fog in the pews.”  Paul wrote to Timothy: I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry – II Timothy 4:1-5.  Pastors, teach your people!  See the next report.)

‘Woke’ faith includes ‘no Gospel good news’

April 19, 2021 — WND.com reports: “At the recent Idols, Identity Politics, and Lies of Our Age conference sponsored by Patrick Henry College, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, and The American Conservative, professors Daniel J. Mahoney and Joshua Mitchell and author/blogger Rod Dreher explored how identity politics is displacing Christianity.

Summarizing the themes of his recent book The Idol of Our Age, Mahoney argued that social-justice ideology represents an ‘ersatz secular religion’ that casts aside traditional Christian concepts of forgiveness, repentance, and conversion. This ideology is blind to the idea that good and evil run through every human heart and contains ‘all the impetus of religious fanaticism’ with ‘none of the dignity or grandeur of revealed religion.’…

This new religion, according to Mahoney, is characterized by a toxic brew of ‘doctrinaire egalitarianism’ and ‘aggressive secularism’ that is ‘committed to making religion obsolete.’ It rejects Christian and classical-philosophical teachings on ‘moral and personal self-limitation.’ Instead, it favors a ‘liberationist and emancipatory cultural project’ that, in the words of French political theorist Pierre Manent, embodies ‘liberty without law.’…” 

Report: 5.2 Billion People Face ‘Very Severe Violations of Religious Freedom’

April 21, 2021 — Breitbart.com reports: “Nearly one third of the world’s countries, where two thirds of the world’s population live, violate religious freedom, the pontifical charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) reported Tuesday.

Christians are the most persecuted group in the world, according to ACN’s Religious Freedom in the World Report 2021, an 818-word compendium of the state of religious freedom and persecution in the world today.

Persecution on the grounds of religious belief is a growing global phenomenon, the biennial report declares, and religious freedom violations have accelerated and expanded to the point where ‘systematic and egregious attacks are coming from governments, lynching mobs, as well as international terror groups,’ such as Boko Haram or the Islamic State…” (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.  If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin.  He that hateth me hateth my Father also.  If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.  But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.  But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:  And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning” – John 15:18-27.  See the next two reports.)

Report: Religion in China Suffers ‘Most Serious Crackdown Since the Cultural Revolution’

April 23, 2021 — Breitbart.com reports: “Chinese authorities have significantly intensified their crackdown on all religious minorities over the past two years, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) revealed Tuesday in a comprehensive report.

Policy-making in China ‘is more centralised, repression is more intense and wide-spread, and technology is being refined for the creation of a surveillance state,’ declared ACN’s Religious Freedom in the World Report 2021, an 818-page compilation of the state of religious freedom and persecution in the world today.

‘Under the current leadership of Xi Jinping, the prospects for religious freedom — and human rights more broadly — are becoming ever-more bleak,’ the report stated. ‘With no meaningful political liberalisation in sight, repression and persecution will continue and, with the tools of modern technology, become even more intrusive and pervasive.’

‘Freedom of religion in China is currently subjected to the most serious crackdown since the Cultural Revolution,’ it noted, while also providing numerous specific examples of why this is the case…”

Report: China Intensifies Crackdown on Christian House Churches

April 13, 2021 — Breitbart.com reports: “The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has initiated a new spate of persecution against house churches and underground Christian communities, True North reported Saturday.

This month, the Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA) introduced its latest crusade to clamp down on independent groups that act outside of government-approved structures.

In the province of Sichuan, the CCP has published a list of 84 ‘illegal social organizations’ including the Early Rain Covenant Church, an independent Christian association in Chengdu that has been the target of CCP raids and arrests for several years…”

Islamic State Executes Another Coptic Christian in New Video

April 21, 2021 — PJMedia.com reports: “In a video released last Saturday, April 17, Muslims connected to the Islamic State executed a Coptic Christian man in Sinai, Egypt.

The slain was identified as 62-year-old Nabil Habashi Salama. In the video, Salama appears on his knees, with three masked men holding rifles stand behind him. The one in the middle launches into a typical jihadi diatribe: ‘All praise to Allah, who ordered his slaves [Muslims] to fight and who assigned humiliation onto the infidels’ — this latter part is said while the terrorist contemptuously points at the bound and kneeling man before him — ‘until they pay the jizya while feeling utterly subdued.’

The middle speaker continues by threatening ‘all the crusaders of the world’ — a reference to Christians in the West — while singling out the countrymen of the one about to be slain: ‘as for you Christians of Egypt, this is the price of your support for the Egyptian army.’

The speaker then points his rifle at the back of the Christian’s head — even as chants of ‘jihad! jihad! jihad!’ blare out — and fires at point-blank range, killing him…”  (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 report.)

New Chinese Decree Tells Religious Leaders to ‘Support the Communist Party’

April 26, 2021 — Voice of America News reports: “The Chinese government is implementing a new decree on May 1 that will require all religious leaders to ‘follow the lead of and support the Communist Party.’

The decree, ‘Measures on the Management of Religious Professionals,’ states that the preaching and teaching by religious professionals must in no way endanger China’s national security, promote extremism or divide the country.

It also requires religious professionals to resist the infiltration of foreign forces through religion. Religious leaders who violate the new decree will be subject to administrative sanctions and criminal charges…” (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 report.) 

China ‘brainwashing’ Christians to renounce faith, report finds

April 6, 2021 — FoxNews.com reports: “China is attempting to brainwash Christians by holding them in mobile ‘transformation facilities,’ according to a new report.

Radio Free Asia relayed stories last week from a man given the pseudonym Li Yuese, who said he was beaten in a windowless room for nearly 10 months. 

Li said he was detained after authorities raided his house church in 2018. ‘There were no windows, no ventilation and no time allowed outside,’ said Li. ‘I was given just two meals a day, which were brought to the room by a designated person.’

He said authorities ’threaten, insult and intimidate you. These were United Front officials, men, women, sometimes unidentified, usually in plain clothes. The police turn a blind eye to this.’

‘You have to accept the statement they prepare for you.’…”

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