LOSS OF JOB FOR STANDING UP FOR GOD’S VALUES

Russell Berger, the former CrossFit exec who lost his job after tweeting that celebrating pride is sin, recently gave his side of the story in a lengthy interview on Apologia Radio.

“I think it’s a really sobering and a disheartening example of where we are as a culture,” Berger said to Durbin. “Simply by expressing those views, which again have been pretty standard views for the historic Christian faith over thousands of years, that view is no longer tolerated and in fact it’s a view that’s so divisive and so intolerable that it’s the kind of thing you can’t say and expect to keep your job.”

Berger urged Christians to be prepared, because at any moment the social media “mob” could be turned on you.

Image: Screenshot

“It’s a really powerful and important lesson that all Christians should be aware of. This is a very common and very effective strategy that’s being employed by a certain segment of the LGBTQ community in terms of basically silencing any view that disagrees with their beliefs,” he warned. “You just need to be aware of that and be prepared for that should you make the decision to weigh in on a subject like I did. You have to understand that the pressure will be applied to you, but it will also be applied  to your employer, it will also be applied to your family members, it will be applied anywhere where those who are outraged by what you said think they can harm you. And that’s just the reality of the situation unfortunately.”

Jesus warned us that persecution comes with standing up for Him and God’s values particularly in the “last days”.

Already we are seeing a great falling away in the church as it compromises with the world’s values, once again it was prophesied in Scripture. Many of the large denominations have approved gay marriage and homosexual and transgender church leadership.

WILL CHURCHES BE ABLE TO TEACH GOD’S VALUES ON MARRIAGE AND SEX?

The following is taken from an article in The Australian by Michael Sexton May 29, 2018, it reveals the nation has largely rejected God, HIS Word and His values and persecution of believers who hold to the inerrancy of God’s Word is not too far off.

The Ruddock inquiry into religious freedom, instituted by the Australian Federal Government in the wake of the legislation authorising same-sex marriage, has completed its work but its findings have not been made public yet. In many ways the real issue is one of freedom of speech and is not a problem confined to religious bodies.

Image result for pictures of Israel Folau on the Rugby field

It has been said that the complaints of some of the Rugby Australia sponsors about Folau’s statements raise an issue of freedom of speech. But it is a fact — sad or otherwise — of modern Australian life that a highly paid sportsman or sportswoman cannot continue to make public statements, especially unfashionable ones on moral questions, that alienate sponsors and expect to survive, given the views that dominate almost all public institutions in this country and the boards of most large corporations.

But, the real issue of freedom of speech in this area is whether churches will be able to continue their traditional teachings in pulpits and schools in the light of state and territorial legislation that makes it illegal to engage in conduct that offends or otherwise injures the feelings of individuals on the basis of, for example, their participation in same-sex marriage.

CHURCH IN EGYPT GROWS DESPITE JIHADIST SLAUGHTER

“The mood is very, very good amongst Christians who are living in Egypt. Not because the situation is good or bad—that is not the reason,” Sameh Hanna, pastor of an evangelical church in Cairo, told Premier. “We have two kinds of news—earthly news, which is very ugly, very discouraging and I think in the West, you get only the earthly news—a bombing here or there.” “But there is heavenly news,” added Hanna. “We know what is going on spiritually. We see things that not everybody is seeing. We see things you are not hearing. We see the multitude coming to the knowledge of Christ from every background, so this brings joy to us.”

Egypt has the largest Christian community in the Middle East. Officially, Coptic Christians comprise about 10 percent of Egypt’s 96 million population. About one million are members of the evangelical community. According to Open Doors, Christians are facing “unprecedented” levels of persecution.

Egyptian Christians shout slogans as ambulances transport the bodies of victims killed in the bombing of Cairo's main Coptic cathedral after the funeral.

Egyptian Christians shout slogans as ambulances transport the bodies of victims killed in the bombing of Cairo’s main Coptic cathedral. (REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

“The rise of radical Islamist groups has only exacerbated Christian persecution, affecting believers in their villages, neighborhoods and workplaces,” said Open Doors on its website.

Each year, Open Doors publishes a list of countries where it is most difficult to live as a Christian. Egypt ranked 17th on this year’s list.

“Believers from a Muslim background, as in many countries, bear the brunt of persecution, often from their families who may punish them for abandoning the Islamic faith,” said Open Doors in a statement. “However, the Coptic church, which in the past has been tolerated because of its size and historical presence, is now being targeted, too.”

Some experts say that since Egypt’s president Abdel-Fattah el Sisi came to power in 2014, the conditions for Coptic Christians have improved.

“He has done some things that no leader in Egypt has ever done in all 1,400 years of Islamic rule in Egypt,” claimed Dr. Michael Youssef, founder of Leading the Way ministry. Michael Youssef and several other prominent American evangelical leaders met with Egypt’s president last year in what was described by some attendees as a historic  meeting.

“He [Sisi] has warmed up to Christians,” Youssef told CBN News. “He has appeared for Christmas celebrations at the Coptic Cathedral and in every way, he has reached out to the Christian community.”

Earlier this year, Sisi told Coptic Christians that Egypt would prevail over Islamic extremism. “You are our family, you are from us, we are one and no one will divide us,” the president said.

Four Islamic jihadists were killed on Sunday in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula as part of the government’s ongoing campaign to rid the region of terrorists. In addition to targeting Egyptian soldiers, police officers and civilians.  jihadists have also killed scores of Christians in church bombings and shootings.

Facing little contest, president Sisi won a second term in office this month after winning 97 percent of the vote in a presidential contest. Many Coptic Christians, who remember what life was like under the Muslim Brotherhood,  voted for him.

Youssef told CBN News that he believes Sisi is the best man to rule Egypt at the moment. “He literally is trying to break down all these barriers that were created through the years,” said Youssef, author of the new book, The Hidden Enemy. “I really believe he is God’s man, God raised him up {because} people will say that if it wasn’t for Sisi, you would have had 15 million Christian refugees from Egypt and they look at the neighbouring countries and they would say, ‘Thank God for Sisi’ and the Christians particularly are very grateful.”

extract from article in Charisma Magazine by George Thomas/CBN News

 

 

 

OHIO PARENTS MAY LOSE CUSTODY OF 17-Y-O CHILD FOR NOT SUPPORTING GENDER TRANSITION

An Ohio court is set to determine Friday if the parents of a teen girl, who identifies as a boy, should lose custody because they object to hormone treatments and a “gender transition” process on medical and religious grounds.

God is already judging America. Moreover, He has His prophets (e.g. Jonathan Cahn) clearly demonstrating it’s God’s judgement and that it will escalate unless the nation repents and stops sinning. Whilst there has been some positive moves under Trump, same sex marriage and transgender issues involving children, as reported here, do not augur well for the church. Increased persecution is imminent, and Jesus prophesied “great falling away” will follow.

CNN reported Tuesday on a Hamilton County court’s ongoing proceedings involving the parents of a 17-year-old girl — neither of which can be named per court instructions — who want the court to intervene in order to stop her from receiving hormones and therapy. The treatment was recommended by a “medical team” working with the teen and who considers such treatment a “life-or-death situation.”

The parents, however, want custody of their child because they believe that by allowing the grandparents to have custody “it would simply be a way for the child to circumvent the necessity of parents’ consent,” said Karen Brinkman, their attorney, according to court transcripts. Brinkman contended that given the mental state of the teenager, she is in no position to make such a life-altering decision.

The parents, she continued, “have done their due diligence contacting medical professionals, collecting thousands of hours of research,” and believe that the administration of hormones are not a “medically necessary form of treatment” and that it “would do more harm than good.” Not all of the details surrounding the case have been made public.

“If the judge rules in favour of the ideologically driven gender clinic, the ability of all parents to protect their children of any age from all aspects of this social and medical experiment will take a tremendous hit,” said Michelle Cretella, president of the American College of Paediatricians in an interview with The Christian Post Wednesday.

She noted that such a delusion is a disorder of the mind; that gender dysphoria is distinctly unlike a disease of the body like diabetes, asthma, or cancer; and that no long term evidence exists showing that encouraging a child’s delusion prevents suicide.

Furthermore, she stressed, “there is no evidence that any gender dysphoric child’s suicidal feelings are due to parents’ refusing to go along with the delusion. It is more likely that whatever has caused the child’s depression and suicidal thoughts is also triggering the gender dysphoria.”

The CNN report presumes the maleness of the girl and employs the pronoun “he” throughout the entirety of the piece. Medical experts from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Centre, which has been working with the teenager, testified in court that the father’s refusal to call the child by her chosen name and the parents’ rejection of his daughter’s gender identity have caused her to have suicidal feelings. CNN also featured the words of Dr. Michelle Forcier for supporting commentary, who is a professor at Brown University and longtime LGBT activist paediatrician who works with children as young as four who think they are transgender, though she is not involved in this specific case.

“If your child had asthma and was turning blue, you wouldn’t deny them their albuterol inhaler or say ‘let’s wait,’ ” Forcier said. “If this were cancer or diabetes, we wouldn’t be having this conversation, but people get funny when it comes to medical care when gender is involved, and that’s harmful.”

Cretella made a point to tell CP that Forcier’s remarks are “unscientific.” “A child suffering from gender dysphoria has a fixed belief contrary to physical reality. This is a delusion,” she said, and “a delusion is not any person’s ‘authentic self.'”

 

“Since there are no long term studies regarding the use of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones in young children and teens, this entire enterprise is, by definition, an experiment upon a minor — and a dangerous one at that given the life-long permanent side effects.”

In November of 2016 the teen contacted a crisis chat service to say she did not feel safe in her parents’ home and alleged that her father told her to commit suicide because she was “going to hell anyway.” Her lawyer said in court that her parents’ decision to enroll her in Catholic school where she had to wear dresses and go by her birth name contributed to her trauma and increased suicidal ideation.

The teen also said she was forced to sit in a room and listen to Bible readings for over six hours at a time, according to the complaint; the parents had reportedly stopped the mental health counselling she was receiving and opted for a Christian alternative.

PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS INCREASING IN CHINA

An evangelical megachurch was destroyed by Chinese Communist authorities late last year in the country’s northern Shanxi province, sparking fears among Christians that the persecution they suffer will soon get worse.

China Aid said that Chinese military police detonated explosives inside Golden Lampstand Church in Linfen, destroying the $2.6 million house of worship, which was owned by the Christians who worshipped there.

A demolition crew broke apart the remaining pieces of the church after the explosion with diggers and jackhammers.

Lampstand’s head Pastor, Yang Rongli, had previously spent seven years in prison on charges of assembling a large crowd to disturb traffic order, and has been under police surveillance since his release in October 2016.

Describing the demolition, the pastor was quoted as saying that at first, police surrounded the church.

“Patrol wagons guarded the church. Workers smashed the church’s glass. At this point, excavators are digging into the church, but we are not allowed to enter or watch.”

“The village head and the police from the local police station warned all the believers against entering the church. Now, we really have no idea what is going to happen.”

The order to demolish the church reportedly came from China’s top officials, who control the military police.

“The repeated persecution of Golden Lampstand Church demonstrates that the Chinese government has no respect for religious freedom or human rights,” said ChinaAid President and founder Bob Fu.

“ChinaAid calls on the international community to openly condemn the bombing of this church building and urge the Chinese government to fairly compensate the Christians who paid for it and immediately cease these alarming demolitions of churches.”

The Guardian reports that a Catholic church in the neighboring province of Shaanxi was also demolished in a similar fashion last month, which is stoking fears among Christians that the widespread crackdown on churches continues in full force.

As many as 1,200 crosses have been removed from churches in Zhejiang province since 2015, with officials arguing that many of the demolitions have been down to building code violations.

A local pastor, who asked not to be named, said that he saw “more police than I could count” at the site, preventing worshippers from approaching.

“My heart was sad to see this demolition and now I worry about more churches being demolished, even my own,” he said. “This church was built in 2008, there’s no reason for them to destroy it now.”

The Associated Press noted that the evangelical megachurch had a congregation of 50,000, and had been targeted by police on a number of occasions. Officials reportedly hired thugs to smash the church and take its Bible during the crackdown in 2009, when Rongli was arrested.

Christians have protested against church demolitions, with a video captured in Shanxi in August showing a clash between Catholics and government representatives who were using bulldozers to destroy church property.

As mentioned in my last post, approximately 215 million Christians now experience high, very high, or extreme levels of persecution; that means 1 in 12 Christians live where Christianity is “illegal, forbidden, or punished,” according to Open Doors researchers.

 

 

ONE IN TWELVE CHRISTIANS EXPERIENCE HIGH LEVELS OF PERSECUTION

Open Doors released today its 2018 World Watch List (WWL), an annual ranking of the 50 countries where it is most dangerous to follow Jesus. Approximately 215 million Christians now experience high, very high, or extreme levels of persecution; that means 1 in 12 Christians live where Christianity is “illegal, forbidden, or punished,” according to Open Doors researchers. When did you and your church pray for our persecuted Christian brother and sisters? I confess my dereliction of duty in this regard.

Kim Jung-un’s country hasn’t moved from the No. 1 spot on the list for 16 years in a row. “With more than 50,000 in prison or labor camps, such a ranking is little surprise for the totalitarian regime that controls every aspect of life in the country and forces worship of the Kim family,” Open Doors reported.

But rivaling it this year is Afghanistan, which ranked No. 2 by less than a point. North Korea’s total score was 94 (on a 100-point scale), pushed above Afghanistan’s 93 by a 0.6 difference in their violence rating. In the other five categories measured—private life, family life, community life, national life, and church life—both countries received the worst scores possible.

The rising persecution in Afghanistan “is a tragedy considering the efforts being made by the international community to help rebuild Afghanistan are failing to ensure freedom of religion,” stated Open Doors USA President and CEO David  Curry. “Reports of violence and human rights atrocities from North Korea are pervasive, while the situation faced by Christians in Afghanistan may be underestimated. It is hard for Westerners to imagine a second country could nearly meet the levels of persecution seen in North Korea, but Afghanistan has reached that level this year.”

Afghanistan has almost always been in the top 10, marked the fifth worst overall over 25 years of Open Doors research. Over the past several years, the majority-Muslim country has been inching its way up from No. 6 in 2015 (81 points) to No. 4 in 2016 (88 points) to No. 3 in 2017 (89 points).

Where Is Persecution the Most Violent?

Trailing a few spots behind at No. 5, Afghanistan’s neighbour Pakistan recorded the most violence against Christians last year. The country also scored the highest in church attacks, abductions, and forced marriages, according to Open Doors.

It also recently drew the ire of President Donald Trump, who last week cut off  Pakistan’s military aid over frustrations with alleged Pakistani assistance given to terrorists in Afghanistan. The same day, the US State Department announced the addition of Pakistan to a new “special watch list” of governments or entities that “engage in or tolerate” severe religious freedom violations, yet aren’t bad enough to be named a “country of particular concern.”

Nigeria (No. 14), where Boko Haram operates, and the Central African Republic (No. 35) ranked second and third for violence. The US Commission on International Religious Freedom has recommended that the State Department add Pakistan, Nigeria, and the Central African Republic to its list of “countries of particular concern.” (So far, they have not been added.)

What’s the Biggest Threat to the Persecuted Church?

Rounding out the top 10, following North Korea and Afghanistan, are Somalia (No. 3), Sudan (No. 4), Pakistan (No. 5), Eritrea (No. 6), Libya (No. 7), Iraq (No. 8), Yemen (No. 9), and Iran (No. 10).

It’s not a coincidence that all of these countries—except North Korea and Eritrea—are predominately Muslim. In fact, “Islamic extremism remains the global, dominant driver of persecution, responsible for initiating oppression and conflict in 35 of the 50 countries on the list,” Open Doors stated.

The Islamist movement is “the part of Islam which embraces a clear political agenda for bringing nations under Muslim domination and shariah law,” according to Open Doors. The movement has three parts: individuals and networks that use violence to advance their political goals; those who reject any system based on non-Islamic law but who aren’t violent; and those who interact with society by voting or campaigning for Islamic law.

The Islamist movement manifests itself in Muslim-majority countries by trying to radicalize society, and in Muslim-minority countries by radicalizing Muslim communities,” Open Doors stated.

One example: “Every day six women are raped, sexually harassed, or forced into marriage to a Muslim under threat of death due to their Christian faith,” Open Doors reported. This number is likely low, since it includes only reported incidents. It also points to the double persecution—for both their gender and religion—that Christian women face in much of the world.

The majority of the countries on the list saw an overall increase in persecution from 2016 to 2017 (30 of 50). Five of the six countries where persecution increased the most were majority-Muslim, with the notable exception of India, which moved from No. 15 in 2017 to No. 11 in 2018.

What’s the Newest Threat to the Persecuted Church?

“Radical Hinduism and Indian nationalism are driving factors in the increasing levels of unrest and instability Christians face,” Open Doors reported. “In 2014, India scored only 55 points, while during the 2018 reporting period, [WWL] researchers assigned 81 points to the nation—one of the fastest and most intense increases seen.”

India’s Hindu nationalism has been growing since the election of nationalist Narendra Modi to prime minister in 2014, and was highlighted by the election of nationalist president Ram Nath Kovind last summer.

Under Modi, religious freedom violations against Christians—such as social exclusion, abuse, and imprisonment—have spread unchecked. In 2017, Open Doors counted more than 600 persecution incidents, though “most cases actually remain unreported, so the true number is much higher,” the organization said. (At the same time, Compassion International’s 589 Indian centers serving 145,000 children were shut down without explanation.)

India’s religious nationalism has swelled over its borders, spilling into neighbouring Nepal and catapulting that country onto the list—and halfway up it, at No. 25. In October, Hindu-majority Nepal took aim at evangelism by criminalising religious conversion; the Pew Research Center has noted increasing social hostility there as far back as 2015.