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CONTENDING FOR THE FAITH

Christian Transhumanism: ‘Ye shall be as gods’

September 17, 2018 — WND.com reports: “Humankind has been trying to appeal its death sentence ever since the serpent in the Garden of Eden whispered those enticing words that persuaded Adam and Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit: ‘Ye shall not surely die’ and ‘Ye shall be as gods.’

Today, it’s not just secular scientists trying to achieve longer, of even eternal, life through better chemistry and technology. Meet the Christian Transhumanist Association, whose members say they are ‘called by Christ to participate in that mission.’

‘We believe that God’s mission involves the transformation and renewal of creation including humanity. …’ the group states in its first of five affirmations.

While the biblical prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel both affirm a future Kingdom of God on earth in which people live a natural life of up to a thousand years again, the question for Christians is whether man’s chemistry and technology is the answer or whether it’s Jesus’ prescription of a spiritual rebirth.

In any case, the CTA is plunging headlong into a marriage with science that has many believers appalled…”  (Revelation 21:5 states: “And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new…” notice, it is not man that will make all things new.  Joseph Farah, in this article on WND.com states: “Two things that seems to be entirely lacking in all the literature of the Christian Transhumanist Association are repentance of sin and an acknowledgement and awareness of God’s sovereignty… Man’s efforts at reaching up to God have always failed, as in the Tower of Babel. Jesus calls on man always to humble himself, obey God and repent of the sin for which He atoned on the cross and through His resurrection. He offers us eternal life through our own resurrection if we follow Him. He doesn’t call on us to meet Him halfway through our own works.”  In Isaiah 65:17 God states: “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come to mind.”  In Isaiah 51:3 we read: “For the Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.”  Cheryl Chumley in the Washington Times https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/sep/7/christians-beware-cult-transhumanism/ sums it up well: “Here’s the thing — and it’s something all Bible believers should consider before joining this A.I.-driven transhumanism drive. It’s one thing to be both Christian and scientist, and to make technological gains that better all of humanity. It’s another thing entirely to elevate science to such a level as to supercede and supplant biblical teachings and godly guidance — to such a point that the Bible becomes a secondary tool or worse, a subordinate consideration to the minds and musings of man.  The first shows an exploration of God’s domain, while still recognizing His omniscience and omnipresence. The second?  The second leads to cult-like worship of human-made technology. And Christians need to beware the difference.  Transhumanism, in its runaway form, is simply a modern version of the false Golden Calf god of biblical days.”) 

China Mulls Major Restrictions on Online Ministries

September 16, 2018 — Christianity Today reports: “Chinese Christians have one month to tell their government what they think of proposed new rules that ban the sharing of prayer, Bible reading, baptism, communion, and other forms of religious activity online.

China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) posted a draft yesterday of new regulations on online religious activities that would ‘forbid the streaming of religious ceremonies (live on the internet), including prayer, preaching and even burning incense,’ reports AsiaNews, which broke the story.

The new measures, contained in 35 articles, are ‘much more restrictive and analytical’ than regulations on religious activities in real life that went into effect in February, according to AsiaNews…”

Chinese Officials Burn Bibles, Close Churches in Crackdown on Christianity

September 11, 2018 — Breitbart.com reports: “The Chinese government’s campaign to ‘Sinicize’ organized religion – to make religion completely subordinate to the Communist Party – grew more aggressive this year and featured the destruction of Bibles, crosses, and entire churches.

Religious freedom activists call it the worst crackdown on Christianity since religious freedom was nominally granted by the 1982 Chinese constitution.

A Fox News report on Monday linked the crackdown with Communist Party leader Xi Jinping’s ascension to dictatorial power and the fulfillment of worst-case fears expressed by underground Christian leaders when Beijing began using government-controlled churches to co-opt the religion…”  (In 2017 China elevated the stature of President Xi Jinping putting him on par with Chairman Mao Zedong who founded the People’s Republic of China in 1949, making him in essence emperor for life, he can stay in power as long as his health allows.  In November of 2017 China told Christians to replace images of Jesus with images of President Jinping in an effort to transform believers in religion into believers of the Communist Party of China.  See the next report.) 

China outlaws large underground Protestant church in Beijing

September 10, 2018 — Reuters reports: “Beijing city authorities have banned one of the largest unofficial Protestant churches in the city and confiscated ‘illegal promotional materials’, amid a deepening crackdown on China’s ‘underground’ churches.

The Zion church had for years operated with relative freedoms, hosting hundreds of worshippers every weekend in an expansive specially renovated hall in north Beijing…

On Sunday, the Beijing Chaoyang district civil affairs bureau said that by organizing events without registering, the church was breaking rules forbidding mass gatherings and were now ‘legally banned’ and its ‘illegal promotional material’ had been confiscated, according to images of the notice sent to Reuters late on Sunday and confirmed by churchgoers…”

Pastors in China Prepare to Lose Their Lives for Preaching the Gospel, Defying Communist Crackdown

September 24, 2018 ChristianExaminer.com reports: “In the face of an ongoing Communist crackdown, pastors in China have vowed to continue preaching the Gospel, even if it costs them their lives.

Aaron Ma, a representative of Open Doors’ Ministry in China, told The Christian Post in an email on Thursday that the watchdog group has so far heard of one case of Bible burning in the country.

‘In this case, the authority confiscated belongings of the churches (including Bibles) and burnt them all,’ Ma said.

The incident, where Communist Party officials burned Bibles and crosses in Henan, was captured on video and shared online earlier this month by activists, including ChinaAid President Bob Fu, whose group monitors the persecution of believers in China.

Concern has also risen over instances where state officials have been forcing some Christians to sign papers rejecting their faith…”  (May God bless and protect these faithful pastors.  In Acts chapter 5, when Peter and the Apostles were imprisoned for preaching, the angel of the Lord opened the prison doors at night and said: “Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life” – Acts 5:20.  The next morning they were brought before the council where the high priest said: “…Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this 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 men” 5:28 & 29. 

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.)

Muslim Extremists Attack Coptic Christian Homes in Egypt

September 3, 2018 — Breitbart.com reports: “Coptic Christian homes in the southern province of Minya were attacked by Muslims protesting their use as places of worship and refuge, the region’s archdiocese said Saturday.

‘Four Coptic homes were attacked Friday by residents from the village and other nearby areas,’ said Bishop Makarios of Minya, about 250 kilometres (155 miles) south of Cairo.

The archdiocese of Minya published a post on Facebook saying ‘extremists’ had attacked the village of Demshaw Hashem because of the ‘existence of a church’, AFP reports.

It said Christian residents of the village use homes and halls for prayer in the province with the highest Coptic Christian population in the country.

‘Extremists attacked Copts, stole quantities of jewelry and money, destroyed household appliances and set fire to property,’ it said, outlining three people including a firefighter were injured…”

Pastor: Muslim Prisoners Storm Christian Prayer, Praise Terrorists

September 18, 2018 — Breitbart.com reports: “A Christian chaplain at a south London prison had his gatherings stormed by pro-terrorist Muslims and was hounded out his job by an Islamic imam accusing him of extremism.

Pastor Paul Song has now been reinstated at Brixton prison after a review into the allegations, which led to the prison ordering him to leave the voluntary job, the Mail on Sunday reports.

He also said he was racially abused because of his Korean origins and prisoners were often forced to convert to Islam. The Muslim chaplain, appointed in 2015, was ‘physically intimidating’ and complained about his resources:

‘Imam Mohamed’s discriminatory agenda was clear from the outset. He began scrutinising the material for each of our courses, commenting that the material was ‘too radical’, and that the Christian views expressed were ‘extreme’…”

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