JON VOIGHT’S POWERFUL TESTIMONY

Oscar-winning Hollywood actor Jon Voight recently opened up about his role in the new faith-based film Woodlawn, revealing that it “celebrates the Christian faith and its influence on young people” at a time when discrimination against Christians is rampant both in the United States and across the world. It is due for release in October.

In an interview with Fox News opinion host Tucker Carlson for his daily show on Fox Nation, Voight, an Academy Award-winner who’s been an actor in Hollywood for over 50 years, and is also known for being the father of actress Angelina Jolie, said he was facing hardship following a divorce and his career was struggling when a voice of “wisdom, kindness … clarity” spoke to him. It was then that he realized he was not alone and known by God. 

Voight said he was on the floor when he cried out loud, ‘It’s so difficult.’ Then he heard a voice in his ear tell him: ‘It’s supposed to be difficult.’ “At that moment in time, I knew, I’m not alone,” Voight recalled. “Everything is known. … I am known.”

Voight said that although his parents were devout Catholics, his own faith wasn’t strong up to that point. And while hearing the voice was unexpected, he felt “a tremendous energy” afterward and he began to believe someone was rooting for him. 

Despite having been a person who didn’t believe someone was actually listening to his prayers, after that divine encounter he realized he shouldn’t give up and his life had a purpose.

“Now, I know we’re covered. … Everything we think, everything we say, everything, it’s known. … They say God knows every bird that falls. … We all are known. We’re being observed, and helped and loved,” Voight continued in the interview. “And we’re expected to get up and … do what’s right. … There’s a purpose here. And the purpose here is to learn our lessons and grow. And what’s the big deal? To give to each other, and to be here and be of help.”\

For the next few days, Voight told Carlson he kept having strange things happen to him. “I was drawn to certain things from that point on, and I’ve had many, many experiences. But that was the beginning,” he added.

“So that’s the moment you realized that God is real, knows you and is on your side. What were the implications of that?” Carlson asked. 

“I had to straighten out,” Voight replied. “If I’m going to be a vessel for God, I better be cleaner than I was. I’ve got to be a righteous fellow.” 

Voight said he has always had good role models. He described his parents as being very righteous throughout his life. However, he said, he had fallen off track at that time and it took hearing God’s voice to encourage him to get back on track and be a better person.

I have fear of the Lord. … I got it. … I am afraid of offending God. Because God is everything; God is love, God is all these beautiful things, beauty, everything. And how can I live up to that? I need a lot of help. I think that is the fear of the Lord. It keeps you on track,” he added, explaining that he’s not afraid of being attacked, but fears doing the wrong thing or making a terrible mistake.

In a previous interview with The Christian Post, Voight, who also stars in the movie “Roe v. Wade,” stressed the importance of family and raised concerns about factions in society that are working to dismantle the family structure God designed. 

“Family is so important, and family is being attacked by people who are really trying to tear down the fabric of our society, it’s true,” Voight said at the time. “I don’t want to get into any kind of conspiracy stuff, but it’s really happening. So we have to protect the values of our country and the values of family and guide the focused lives; we have to protect that aspect.”

Testimonies are powerful; make sure you write down your own testimony and then first practice sharing it with close friends, then pray that the Holy Spirit will give you opportunities to share it with unbelievers.

AMAZING TESTIMONIES OF WHAT GOD IS DOING IN IRAN

This amazing article by Daniel Pipes (DanielPipes.org@DanielPipes) President of the Middle East Forum appeared in Newsweek magazine Friday, July 9th 2021.

Something religiously astonishing is taking place in Iran, where an Islamist government has ruled since 1979: Christianity is flourishing. The implications are potentially profound.

Consider some testimonials: 

David Yeghnazar of Elam Ministries stated in 2018 that “Iranians have become the most open people to the gospel.”

The Christian Broadcast Network found, also in 2018, that “Christianity is growing faster in the Islamic Republic of Iran than in any other country.” 

Shay Khatiri of Johns Hopkins University wrote last year about Iran that “Islam is the fastest shrinking religion there, while Christianity is growing the fastest.”

This trend results from the extreme form of Shi’ite Islam imposed by the theocratic regime. An Iranian church leader explained in 2019: “What if I told you the mosques are empty inside Iran? What if I told you no one follows Islam inside of Iran? …What if I told you the best evangelist for Jesus was the Ayatollah Khomeini[, the founder of the Islamic Republic]?” An evangelical pastor, formerly an Iranian Muslim, concurred as far back as 2008: “We find ourselves facing what is more than a conversion to the Christian faith. It’s a mass exodus from Islam.”

As a clandestine phenomenon, the practice of what are sometimes called Muslim Background Believers (MBBs) lacks clergy and church buildings, but instead consists of self-starting disciples and tiny house churches of four to five members each, with either hushed singing or none at all. Its lay leadership, in striking contrast to the mullahs who rule Iran, consists mainly of women.

In another contrast to the government, Iranian MBBs tend to be fervently pro-Israel. They are, explains a documentary, “bowing their knees to the Jewish Messiah—with kindled affection toward the Jewish people.” Converts have even expressed a hope to build a “resistance church” in Iran to counter regime threats to Israel.

Given the Iranian house church movement’s underground nature, estimates of its size are necessarily vague. Open Doors found 370,000 Muslim Background Believers in 2013 and 720,000 in 2020Duane Alexander Miller approximates as many as 500,000, Hormoz Shariat at least one million and GAMAAN even more than that.

The mullahs have usually responded with predictable repression that includes prohibiting Christian missionaries and Gospel preaching. The U.S. State Department reported in 2012 that “government officials frequently confiscate Christian Bibles and pressure publishing houses printing Bibles…to cease operations.” Also, Christians “reported the presence of security cameras outside their churches.”

Iranian authorities routinely arrest and jail MBBs, often for extended periods; for example, the United Nations reported in 2013 on “more than 300 Christians” who were arrested in the prior three years, mostly for vague security-related offenses. An inquiry found that “those arrested have been subjected to intensive and often abusive interrogation.”

The punishment can be severe: In 1990, for example, the Rev. Hossein Soodmand was executed for apostasy. In 2008, the government advanced legislation to impose the death penalty on anyone born to Muslim parents who converts to another faith. Indeed, “as more Iranians convert,” Khatiri notes, “their situation is getting worse.”

“You’re creating problems in the country,” an Iranian convert reported being told during a 2018 police interrogation. In this spirit, Iran’s Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi in 2019 spoke of his ministry’s research into conversions to Christianity, its questioning of ordinary people to explain their motives and its efforts to “counter the advocates of Christianity.” Iran’s leading Islamic seminary sees the domestic fight against Christianity as one of its top priorities, and former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reportedly once vowed to “stop Christianity in this country.” The supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, blames house churches on “Zionists and other enemies.”

Indeed Lela Gilbert and Arielle Del Turco argue that the regime considers Christianity “an existential threat.” And it should, notes Reza Safa, the Iranian-born founder of Nejat TV (“ministering to Muslims living in Farsi-speaking nations”), who titled a book The Coming Fall of Islam in Iran. He sees Iran’s Christians as “an army of God” who are bringing Iran to “the brink of another revolution, this time orchestrated” by a Christian spirit.

If this analysis is even partially correct, the consequences are enormous. The collapse of Khomeini’s regime would not only fundamentally alter the balance of power in the Middle East; it would also likely terminate the region-wide Islamist surge that Iranian revolutionaries forwarded in 1978-79, ending the malign historical cycle that largely began in Iran.

JESUS SECOND COMING

Did Christ at His first coming fulfill all that God promised regarding the establishment of His Kingdom, Israel and the church? At His first coming, Christ provided the means for us to receive the Holy Spirit and be reunited with our Heavenly Father but our “inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time 1 Peter 1:4-5. Peter makes it clear that our inheritance is future. Therefore, many of the covenantal promises of God are still awaiting fulfillment at His second coming. Most of the O.T. prophets spoke of their Messiah ruling and reigning the nations from Jerusalem. The Scriptures are not just focused on redemption. Of course redemption is important, but so is the judgment of Satan and the demons; so is the Kingdom; and so is the glory of God. Even redemption does not always refer to His first coming, as the books of Hebrews and 1 Peter make clear (e.g. Hebrews 1:13-14; 5:9; 9:28; 1 Peter 1:3-9 ; cf. Romans 13:11).

The fast spreading Progressive Covenantalism does not see the church as directly extending or fulfilling Israel as did Replacement Theology. Rather, Christ is the antitype of Israel, who fulfills Israel’s identity, purpose, and mission such that in Christ the church inherits all the covenant blessings. It is Replacement theology with a twist and still fails to view Jesus second coming is when He fulfills all that God had promised. The driving assumption of fulfillment at the first advent endangers unfettered exegesis of “the texts in their context.”

Dr Paul Martin Henebury of Telos Ministries is the source for the information on Progressive Covenantalism. Paul is a Biblical Covenantalist (his description). I agree with his understanding of the Biblical covenants and of creation about 6000 years ago. Paul is a native of Manchester, England and a graduate of London Theological Seminary and Tyndale Theological Seminary (M.T.S., M.Div., Ph.D).