CONTENDING FOR THE FAITH
Stand up for Christian values, says Prime Minister Cameron
The London Daily Standard reports: “David Cameron today attacked a slow-motion moral collapse in Britain and called for a revival of traditional Christian values.
In a keynote speech, he condemned a growing do as you please culture in which people, including political leaders, increasingly feared criticising the bad choices of others.
Whether you look at the riots last summer, the financial crash and the expenses scandal or the on-going terrorist threat from Islamist extremists around the world, one thing is clear, said the Prime Minister. Moral neutrality or passive tolerance just isn’t going to cut it anymore.
Addressing Church of England members at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, he went on: Put simply, for too long we have been unwilling to distinguish right from wrong. ‘Live and let live’ has too often become ‘do what you please’.
Mr. Cameron, whose speech marked the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, said people should openly proclaim the explicit values of Christianity ” (Praise God for Prime Minister Cameron who knows who the real criminals are and calls his people to: “live and let live” Englands Christians to stand for Christ and Christianity Jude 1:3, 4, 10, 12-18.)
Iraq Christians fearful post-US pullout
SpaceWar.com reports: “Iraq’s Christians, markedly fewer in number following attacks on their minority community, are increasingly fearful in the face of a rise in sectarian tensions after the withdrawal of US troops.
Estimated to number more than one million before the US-led invasion of 2003, living primarily in Baghdad, the main northern city of Mosul, and the disputed oil hub of Kirkuk, some two-thirds of the population are estimated to have fled since, with more continuing to leave the violence-wracked country.
Their plight was highlighted by an October 31, 2010, assault on a Baghdad church by Al-Qaeda that left 44 worshippers, two priests and seven security force members dead. According to some accounts, the attack only accelerated the exodus.
We have concerns about the US withdrawal, despite the security forces saying it will be safe, said Louis Sako, Chaldean archbishop of Kirkuk and Sulaimaniyah, the latter of which lies in the autonomous Kurdish region.
There has been a failure to ensure the safety of Christians — the security forces are not sufficiently prepared to ensure the protection of Christians. Even though we have repeatedly asked to raise the level of security, the results are not encouraging.
US troops completed their withdrawal on Sunday [December 18, 2011], leaving security in the hands of an Iraqi force more than 900,000-strong ” (The Lord Jesus spoke about a time of upheaval and great tribulation Matthew 24:21. Pray for our Brothers and Sisters in Christ living in Iraq I Thessalonians 5:17.)
Christians face an uncertain future in North Korea
ChristianToday.com reports: “North Korea has entered a period of uncertainty following the death of its leader Kim Jong-Il at the weekend.
The 69-year-old dictator died unexpectedly of a heart attack, prompting concerns for the stability of the region in the transition to new leadership under his son, Kim Jong-un.
Between 1994 and his death on Saturday [December 17, 2011], Kim Jong-Il led a regime with one of the worst human rights records in the world.
There is no religious freedom in the country and anyone caught practising Christianity faces a lengthy prison sentence or even execution, according to Christian rights groups.
President of Open Doors USA, Dr Carl Moeller, said Kims death marked a significant day in North Korean history.
Though this brutal dictator, who was responsible for so many atrocities, has died, the future is still unknown, he said.
Observers are split over whether the human rights situation will get better or worse under Kim Jong-un. In the face of uncertainty, Mr Moeller called on Christians to pray for the country and the estimated 50,000 Christians being held in North Korean prison camps.
We simply do not know the future of North Korea, but God does, he said.
This is why it is vital that Christians around the world pray for North Korea during this transitional time. Pray especially for the brave Christians inside North Korea.
They are fearful that they might face even more suffering. ” (The world hates Christ, Christianity and Christians. Jesus said in John 15:18: “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.”)
Syria’s Christians ‘caught in the crossfire’
ChristianToday.com reports: “The situation for Syria’s Christians is worsening amid anti-regime protests, Open Doors USA has warned.
Despite international outcry over the brutality of the crackdown on the uprising, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has ignored calls to step down.
In an interview with US TV channel ABC News, he denied issuing orders to kill his own people and questioned the credibility of the UN and its latest report putting the number of people killed since the outbreak of protests at 4,000.
Open Doors said Christians in the country are afraid of what might happen to them in the future, especially if radical Muslims gain power.
The organisations President, Dr Carl Moeller, fears Christians may soon have to think about leaving Syria.
Christians inside Syria are caught in the crossfire as they are in many other Middle Eastern countries, he said.
Until the protests started against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, the Christian community enjoyed some protection. Now they are afraid of the future. Will they have to flee their country like Iraqi Christians have done over the last several years? Please lift them up in your prayers.
There are around 1.5 million Christians in Syria, including 100,000 Christian refugees who fled from Iraq because of violence and persecution there ” (The hatred toward genuine Christians is beginning with greater vengeance by Islamic extremists and terrorists. We are rapidly heading for the Great Tribulation of Revelation 7:14; a time of great persecution, slaughter and death Revelation 6:9; 13:15; 20:4; Revelation 2:10. Many will escape this horrendous hour Revelation 3:10; I Thessalonians 4:16 18.)
Nigeria churches hit by blasts during Christmas prayers
BBC News reports: “Bomb blasts targeting Christmas Day church services in two Nigerian cities have left at least 28 people dead, with three more attacks on other towns.
The Islamist group Boko Haram said it had attacked St Theresa’s Church in Madalla, near the capital Abuja, killing 27 people.
A second explosion shortly after hit a church in the central city of Jos. A policeman died during gunfire.
Three attacks in northern Yobe state targeted a church and security forces.
Two hit the town of Damaturu, and a third struck Gadaka. Yobe state has been the epicentre of violence between security forces and Boko Haram militants.
Boko Haram – whose name means Western education is forbidden – often targets security forces and state institutions.
The group carried out an August 2011 suicide attack on the UN headquarters in Abuja, in which more than 20 people were killed ” (Nigeria is different in that Muslims and Christians are evenly numbered and divided 50 50. Nevertheless these ungodly murderers killed Christians on Christmas Day as they were honoring Jesus. Matthew 23:15, 33 describe them. See the next two reports.)
Nigerian Christians Dismayed by Presidents Security Response
Voice of America News reports: “The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, met with President Goodluck Jonathan at the State House in Abuja to express concern after the Christmas Day church bombings by Boko Haram. The president of CAN criticized the governments security response to Boko Haram and suggested that Christians may have to defend themselves from Muslim militants.
At a news conference after their meeting about the Christmas Day terror attacks, which left at least 39 dead, the president of CAN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, had some harsh words for Jonathan, himself a Christian.
After consultation with the Christian community, which constitutes the majority of the Nigerian population, I have been mandated to convey as follows. The Christian community in Nigeria is deeply sorrowed over the deteriorating state of insecurity and apparent inability of the government to protect and guarantee lives, churches and properties of our members, said Oritsejafor.
Oritsejafor added that concerns are heightened by the lack of high-profile arrests. Boko Haram – which means Western Education is Sinful in Hausa – has been blamed for hundreds of deaths this year alone. The group wants to establish a strict Islamic state in Nigeria – a country nearly evenly divided between Christians and Muslims.
President Jonathan acknowledged the criticism, but said that terrorism is a new phenomenon in Nigeria and that the government is making adjustments to confront it. He called for the assistance of all Nigerians, Christian and Muslim alike ”
Nigeria church attack leaves five dead
ChristianToday.com reports: “At least five people have been killed in an attack on a church in northern Nigeria on Thursday [January 5, 2012].
Pastor Johnson Jauro told the AFP news agency that he was leading the congregation in prayers on Thursday evening when the gunmen stormed into the church and opened fire.
He said the five worshippers killed included his wife.
Although no one has claimed responsibility for the attack yet, it comes after the militant group Boko Haram warned Christians that they had three days to leave the predominantly Muslim north.
The attack on the Deeper Life Church in Gombe is another sign of the worsening situation for Christians in northern Nigeria.
Boko Haram, which wants to impose Sharia law, said it was behind the Christmas Day attacks on churches that killed at least 50 people ”
Extremists infiltrating Christian groups in India
ChristianToday.com reports: “Islamic and Hindu extremists in India are reportedly posing as Christians to obtain information about them and pass it on to radical groups.
The Catholic Secular Forum (CSF) said in a report to the Fides news agency that the radicals have infiltrated churches and Christian NGOs.
They are gathering information about church property and members of the Christian communities, including conversions and baptisms.
The CSF believes the information is being passed on to extremist political parties and terrorist organisations to be used against Christians.
Although Christians in most parts of India enjoy religious freedom, there are pockets in the country, most notably Orissa, where Christians are being targeted by radicals ” (Jesus said: “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.” Matthew 24:9.)
Iranian pastor awaiting execution may face another year in prison
ChristianToday.com reports: “There are unconfirmed reports that an Iranian pastor sentenced to death for apostasy may have to spend another year in prison.
The case of Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani has twice been referred to the Supreme Leader of Iran, who has yet to issue a decision.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide said that a final ruling is expected at any time and that it had received unconfirmed reports indicating that execution may be delayed for up to a year to allow time to convince the pastor to renounce his faith.
The organisation said it had also received reports that another jailed pastor, Behnam Irani, was suffering as a result of frequent assaults by inmates.
He is serving a five year sentence in Ghezel Hesar prison in Karaj for carrying out an action against national security.
The beatings have reportedly been so severe that he now has difficulty walking.
There are reports that the pastor was held incommunicado in a small cell where guards would repeatedly wake him from sleep as a form of psychological torture ” (Revelation 2:10 “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 report.)
Clinton calls for release of Iranian pastor facing execution
ChristianToday.com reports: “US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called on Iran to release a Christian pastor facing death due to his faith in Jesus.
Nearly 200,000 Americans have signed a petition for the US government to intervene and help gain freedom for Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani.
In calling for Nadarkhanis unconditional release, Clinton said, Today, we call on every government to release all prisoners of conscience immediately and unconditionally, including Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani.
The strong words from the US Secretary of State come after nearly 200,000 Americans signed a petition by the American Center for Law and Justice calling upon the United States to help bring about Nadarkhanis release.
Nadarkhani was arrested in October 2009 for speaking out against new policies in the Iranian education system that would force his children to join Muslim students reading from the Koran.
The charge against the married father of two was later changed to apostasy, and he was suddenly accused of attempting to evangelise Muslims. Nadarkhani was quickly found guilty and given the death sentence.
The 34-year-old pastor was the leader of a network of Christian house churches, and is a member of the Protestant evangelical Church of Iran ”