CONTENDING FOR THE FAITH
‘We must teach the Gospel of Christ even if they kill us’: Philippines archbishop speaks out against government
September 6, 2017 — ChristianToday.com reports: “A Catholic archbishop in the Philippines has told clergy to continue preaching the Gospel even if they are threatened with death and ‘the government is hostile’.
Socrates Villegas, the Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan in Pangasinan said in a homily at Dagupan Cathedral: ‘We must teach even if our voices get hoarse. We must teach even if they threaten us.’
He continued: ‘We must teach even if they kill us and if they kill us, our message will echo even more because the best way to teach is through martyrdom!’
Lingayen-Dagupan is one of the most vocal archdioceses against the government, whose ruthless drugs ‘war’ has claimed thousands of lives in the country.
The archbishop said the times call on pastors not to be afraid and to ‘fill the dark world with the light of Christ’.
Villegas said: ‘In the lights and shadows of life, in the stormy and sunny days, in the persecutions we endure and the triumphs we bask in—the Lord speaks.’…” (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.)
Chinese Christians Beaten While Defending Church Property from Demolition
September 5, 2017 — Breitbart.com reports: “Chinese security officers assaulted a number of priests and laypersons last week in China’s northern Shanxi province as the Christians tried to defend church property from demolition.
Government officials beat Fathers Chen Jun, Gao Binglong, Ma Ning, and Shen Xuezhong as well as several laypersons including Cui Hewen, who was assaulted by workers and suffered injuries to the head. The officials had come to demolish a building belonging to the church, but the priests along with hundreds of laypeople sat in front of backhoes and other heavy machinery to block the demolition work.
Witnessed posted a video of the clash between government representatives and the Christians and the faithful can be heard shouting ‘Jesus save me!’ and ‘Mother Mary, have pity on us.’
Despite the beatings, news of which went viral on the internet, many more Christians went to the site to give their support to the Church, and reportedly some 2,000 Church members gathered at the property to block the demolition, forcing the workers and security officials to leave the venue…”
Pakistan: Christian boy beaten to death in his classroom
September 5, 2017 — ChristianToday.com reports: “A Christian Pakistani teenager was beaten to death by his Muslim classmates on his fourth day at his new school in the Vehari District of Punjab, Pakistan.
Sharoon Masih, 17, was a promising student who had joined MC Model Boys Government High School. Masih was the only Christian in his majority-Muslim form and was reportedly bulled and abused from his first day, his parents told the British Pakistani Christian Association.
Sharoon was named a ‘chura’, a derogatory term used for Christians, and was allegedly told by one student: ‘You’re a Christian, don’t dare sit with us if you want to live.’ It’s also said that there were several attempts to convert Sharoon to Islam.
On August 27, Sharoon was reportedly beaten by many of his fellow pupils in their classroom and died at the scene. Mixed reports have surrounded the on-duty classroom teacher: one report said he ignored the attack, while the teacher himself said he had not noticed it. The school’s head teacher later said that the violence had occurred between classroom sessions with one teacher late to arrive, so no one was on duty. The head teacher has been dismissed from his post…”
Evangelicals Assailed for Affirming Biblical Morality on Sex in ‘Nashville Statement’
August 31, 2017 — Breitbart.com reports: “A new manifesto by leading Evangelical Christians has drawn fire for its embrace of traditional sexual morality based on biblical norms.
The declaration, billed as the ‘Nashville Statement’ and signed by more than 150 Evangelical leaders, reaffirms Christian teaching on God’s creation of human beings as male and female, an assertion that flies in the face of recent attempts to proclaim a nearly infinite ‘gender fluidity’ based on ‘autonomous preferences.’
The authors state that the path to full and lasting joy through God’s good design for his creatures is being ‘replaced by the path of shortsighted alternatives that, sooner or later, ruin human life and dishonor God.’
‘Our true identity, as male and female persons, is given by God. It is not only foolish, but hopeless, to try to make ourselves what God did not create us to be,’ the text reads.
The Nashville Statement immediately came under fire from LGBT activists as well as secular mainstream media, who denounced the document as bigoted, prejudiced and antiquated…” (“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” – Isaiah 5:20. “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” – II Timothy 3:1-5.)