CONTENDING FOR THE FAITH
In Ramadan Massacre, Egyptian Christians Killed for Refusing to Renounce Their Faith in Jesus
May 28, 2017 — Breitbart.com reports: “As more and more details emerge concerning Friday’s Ramadan attack on a busload of Christians on pilgrimage, the more it becomes evident that these 29 martyrs died solely because they were Christians.
Survivors of the attack said that the ten masked Islamic State militants did not merely open fire on the bus full of Christian pilgrims on their way to the Monastery of Saint Samuel the Confesor, but that the victims were made to descend from the bus and asked one by one whether they were Christians before being shot by the assailants.
According to one of the chaplains of the group, Father Rashed, as each pilgrim came off the bus they were asked to renounce their Christian faith and profess belief in Islam, but all of them—even the children—refused. Each was killed in cold blood with a gunshot to the head or the throat.
In a statement Friday, President Donald Trump said the ‘merciless slaughter of Christians in Egypt tears at our hearts and grieves our souls.’
‘Wherever innocent blood is spilled, a wound is inflicted upon humanity,’ the statement said. ‘But this attack also steels our resolve to bring nations together for the righteous purpose of crushing the evil organizations of terror, and exposing their depraved, twisted, and thuggish ideology.’…” (The Church Father Tertullian wrote in the 2nd Century “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church”. This has been demonstrated throughout the centuries. Jim Elliot in 1949 wrote “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” These 29 faithful believers found this to be true on this Friday – “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven” – Matthew 10:32. Revelation 2:10 states: “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”)
Islamic State Supporters Following Coptic Bus Attack: ‘Christians Will Not Have Security’
May 29, 2017 — Breitbart.com reports: “Writing in an encrypted chat room, Islamic State sympathizers and militants celebrated the deadly terrorist attack against a bus of Coptic Christian pilgrims in Egypt on Friday, and warned that Christians in the country should expect more such attacks.
Breitbart Jerusalem obtained access to correspondence posted in a closed chat group that utilizes the encrypted Telegram messaging service. The group serves as an internal Twitter of sorts for IS jihadists and sympathizers, and has been used in the past to issue IS communications.
The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack in which 29 Christian civilians were murdered by gunmen claiming to be security forces as the pilgrims were reportedly on their way to volunteer at a monastery.
“A security team of caliphate soldiers set up an ambush for dozens of Christians as they headed to the church of St. Samuel,” IS announced on Saturday through Amaq, the terrorist group’s media and propaganda arm…” (“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.)
Islam’s Holiest Month Ramadan: A Time When Jihadis Encourage Martyrdom
May 26, 2017 — Breitbart.com reports: “Islamist and jihadi organizations encourage their followers to carry out violent attacks on Ramadan, the holiest month for Muslims, when terrorist groups especially encourage and value martyrdom.
There is usually a spike in jihadi attacks during the holy month, expected to start on Friday this year.
Following the Islamic State’s (ISIS/ISIL) call for violence during the holy month last year, the U.S. State Department-led Overseas Security Advisory Council warned: ‘According to Islamic practice, sacrifice during Ramadan can be considered more valuable than that made at other times, so a call to martyrdom during the month may hold a special allure to some.’
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) notes that Islamist and terrorist groups stress themes of jihad in messages, articles, and sermons published on Ramadan.
Among the Ramadan themes identified by MEMRI, are:
The commandment of jihad, which is of supreme importance at all times, assumes even greater importance during this holy month and gains precedence over all other commandments… On Ramadan Allah grants fighters special strength, despite – or rather by virtue of – their fasting. Those who gain martyrdom during the month of Ramadan are doubly rewarded in Paradise.
Most Muslims follow the tradition of abstaining from eating, drinking, smoking, having sex, and other physical needs each day, starting from before the break of dawn until sunset during the month of Ramadan.
However, other Muslims adhere to the tradition that perceives Ramadan as a month of jihad and martyrdom…” (Unlike the 29 martyrs mentioned in the first article in this section, these martyrs will experience the wrath of God poured out on them. “For, behold, the Lord will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire” – Isaiah 66:15. And “…out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” – Revelation 19:15.)
Record Few Americans Believe Bible Is Literal Word of God
May 17, 2017 — Gallup.com reports: “Fewer than one in four Americans (24%) now believe the Bible is ‘the actual word of God, and is to be taken literally, word for word,’ similar to the 26% who view it as ‘a book of fables, legends, history and moral precepts recorded by man.’ This is the first time in Gallup’s four-decade trend that biblical literalism has not surpassed biblical skepticism. Meanwhile, about half of Americans — a proportion largely unchanged over the years — fall in the middle, saying the Bible is the inspired word of God but that not all of it should be taken literally.
From the mid-1970s through 1984, close to 40% of Americans considered the Bible the literal word of God, but this has been declining ever since, along with a shrinking percentage of self-identified Christians in the U.S. Meanwhile, the percentage defining the Bible as mere stories has doubled, with much of that change occurring in the past three years.
Still, while biblical literalism has waned, the vast majority of Americans — 71% — continue to view the Bible as a holy document, believing it is at least God-inspired if not God’s own words…” (As born-again believers, we accept the Word of God in its entirety as divinely inspired and inerrant. During these last days, we are seeing a continual turning away from this truth. Many ministers have taken it upon themselves to reject the inspired Word of God. This rejection goes against what we know to be true and spoken of by the Word. II Peter 1:19-25 bears record of the fact that men of God were directed as to the words that they should write. II Timothy 3:16 tells us that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”. This verse tells us that Scripture is literally “God breathed”. Other verses you may wish to study are Luke 9:26, Hebrews 1:1,2 and Zechariah 7:12. There are many verses that bear testimony of the record of truth. The Word of God gives a direct warning to those who would tamper with His Word. Revelation 22:18,19 is a fearful admonition to those who would take away from the Word of God. As one begins to deny certain areas of the Bible, it leaves the door open for a further denial of God’s truth. Jesus spoke to this end in John 5:46,47 when he authenticated the words of Moses and the prophets. He said that if one would not believe this record, that same one would not believe His Words. It is a terrible thing to see men turning away from the Word of God. We know that this is a sign of the soon coming of our Lord Jesus Christ I Timothy 4:1.)
Christian pastor in Bible Belt admits personally worshiping Allah
May 16, 2017 — WND.com reports: “A former church has been taken over and converted to a mosque in a rural North Carolina county, and a group of Christian pastors took part in the conversion ceremony in an effort to ‘show mutual respect’ for their Muslim neighbors.
Crosses have been removed from the former church’s facade and steeple, and mosque leader Ali Muhammad turned them over to the group of pastors.
‘What they were attempting to do is honor our tradition and so they wanted to turn the crosses over to us,’ said the Rev. Jim Melnyk, pastor of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Smithfield, a small town in Johnston County about 45 minutes south of Raleigh. ‘They were reaching out to us, and we were reaching out to them.’
Melnyk said he was joined by pastors from the United Methodist Church, United Church of Christ and three different Baptist congregations at Saturday’s ceremony, which marked the official conversion of a former Pentecostal church into a mosque. One lay person from the local Presbyterian Church was also present for the ‘celebration.’…” (Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” – Matthew 7:15. “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” – Acts 20:28 – 30.)