Christian persecution in China

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Chinese Christian under restraint, 2014. From video on World News Site.

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From Daily Telegraph news report, By Tom Phillips, in Shanghai, 5:17AM BST 29 Apr 2014

The Sanjiang church in Wenzhou, a wealthy coastal city in Zhejiang province with one of China's largest Christian populations, was reduced to rubble on Monday night

The Sanjiang church in Wenzhou, a wealthy coastal city in Zhejiang province with one of China’s largest Christian populations, was reduced to rubble on Monday night.



China Aid releases:

2015 Annual Report on Chinese Government Persecution  <<–Link

Wednesday, May 18, 2016. In 2015, China Aid documented 634 cases of persecution.

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Chinese Pastor Jailed For Refusal To Remove Cross From Church

26 February 2016,  Report by The WorldNews (WN) Network and reported by BBC News.

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NY Times Story May 22, 2016: link–>> Decapitated Churches in China’s Christian Heartland.

Quotation from the NY Times story: Several clergy members in the region said they were under pressure to demonstrate their loyalty to the Communist Party. Some churches, for example, have begun extolling Mr. Xi’s campaign to promote “core socialist values” — a slogan meant to offer a secular belief system that bolsters the party’s legitimacy.

Another quotation: A senior church leader, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said he and others had agreed to take down the cross because they feared the church would be demolished if they did not. People were on the verge of losing their jobs, he added, and church elders felt they had no choice but to call on parishioners to give in.

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Opposing Views website- World:

China Clamps Down On Religious Believers

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From Open Doors website:

China remains one of the most complicated countries on the World Watch List as it is multi-faceted and incredibly diverse. While a considerable portion of the country’s persecution is suffered by small groups of Christian converts among the Tibetans and the Muslim Uighurs, Christians among the main Han majority face continuing restrictions as well. While the campaign of breaking down crosses in the province Zhejiang seems to have come to an end, church meetings continue to be disrupted and stopped. Authorities see the meetings as threats when foreigners, media or large groups of people are involved, one example being in the province Guangdong. The curbing of reporting and social media after explosions in Tianjin in August 2015 also serve to limit Christian freedoms. The government’s goal of maintaining power and social harmony includes the control of all religions, including the quickly growing Christian minority.

Open Doors Link: https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/world-watch-list/china/

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There is also persecution of anyone who seeks basic human rights:


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Pray for a Stranger

Almost all of the prayers in Bible-book studies, at group meals, in family settings, are for ourselves — our little groups we feel close to, our loved ones & friends. Sometimes it’s prayer or thanks for good weather for a particular event. Sometimes it’s for health and safety, again for ourselves and friends we think of, who are on our prayer list. Sometimes it’s for our country’s well-being.

Seldom — like never? — have I observed a group prayer for total strangers, people in desperate circumstances far away, whom we don’t know and will never meet, who can’t have the slightest impact our lives. They are not on our prayer lists — personal or church. They don’t come to mind when we have our little self-absorbed prayer of thanks over the delicious meal just served to our group at a carefully selected nice restaurant.  It’s so safe, so comfortable – so about us.

Next time you’re in one of these close little comfortable groups and someone says: “let us pray”, think outside of yourselves and your immediate surroundings, and see yourself as so blooming lucky and blessed that it’s almost criminal for you to ask for anything else for yourself. Think of some half-starving refugee who has lost her country and security. Pray for her, and others like her, that there is a merciful God that will by some miracle relieve the suffering for as many of these needy people as you can stand to think about before retreating into your “ME” cocoon.

Here’s an example:

Justine Ndizigeyemana, 47, in Nyarugusu, Tanzanian UN Refugee camp. Her husband was shot in their home in Burundi in 2005, and she was raped by soldiers, from whom she contracted an STI that she is still being treated for.


She has been a refugee throughout her life, repeatedly leaving Burundi during conflicts in the 70s and 90s. When she arrived at Nyarugusu camp, she took in two orphans to look after alongside her own children, but she is worried for the future as she doesn’t have any money.
There is inadequate security in the camp, which has maurauding bands of killers and thieves. The United Nations can only raise $1 for every $10 it needs to feed and shelter these refugees.

Pray for a stranger.

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Picture by Phil Moore/Oxfam
in
the Guardian online: April 23, 2016.

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List of Blogs for ‘viewsnewsblog’

MAP: Where Christians are Persecuted in the World

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Christian Persecution in Pakistan:

Christian persecution in India:

Christian persecution in China (photos & news items):

Christian persecution in Nigeria (Photos):

Christians flee growing persecution in Africa and Middle East (news article).


Posts & Links below to history and information on Islam:

There cannot be Peace with Islam – quotes from Islamic scholars & Muhammad.

Islam oppresses other religions, women, & attacks free societies.  (Photos & brief descriptions from many different countries).

Largest GENOCIDE in History (Islam’s Massacre of Hindus):

Crusades were response to Islamic attacks & atrocity in Europe.

Website: “Religion of Peace” with accurate history of Muhammad, Islam, updated News on Islamic terror and actions world-wide. Statistics on number of attacks & casualties. Invaluable site to keep informed on Islam in the world.

Detailed & accurate life of Muhammad on “Religion of Peace” Website. This is necessary to understand why hundreds of millions of Muslims support violent jihad, following the example of Muhammad.

Erdogan is a Big Baby: photo humor.

Islam and the Christian Genocides in Turkey.   Valuable, brief & readable history of Armenian Genocide on ‘Gates of Vienna’ Website.

Germany & UK in race for the most jihadists! (Graphic):


Other World Crisis News:

Burundian refugees in Tanzania – in pictures:


Posts on the Word, God, and Jesus:

Word of God and words of men

Word of God vs. words of men (Short version)

“I AM” – the God of Exodus 3:14

224 Verses affirming Jesus Christ as the sole source of salvation, eternal life, truth, the Way, access to the Father, & dominion

Testimony for the Resurrection of Jesus

Longer is later? Not Necessarily.

Was Jesus a Yahad?

Pray for a Stranger – Essay

Satirical Lord’s Prayer for U. S. Public Schools:

Mostly White Congregations does not mean Racism.

Pictures & text for offering sympathy

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Backup Blog for Christian Persecution: Various Countries

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Was Jesus a Yahad (or Essene)?

Was Jesus a Yahad or Essene?

by Stephen E. Schlarb

There is a difference of opinion on the Qumran community being Essene or Yahad. Either way, this article makes the argument that Jesus had specialized training at Qumran, before entering into his public ministry.

John the Baptist refers to Jesus as the ‘Lamb of God’ (John 1:36). John apparently recognized Jesus and knew of his mission right from the start. Could they both have known each other as adults at Qumran?
Jesus had learned some specialized teachings as an adult, beyond carpentry, and at a place unknown to his critics in Galilee:
In Matthew 13:54-56
He came to His hometown and began teaching them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?  Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this man get all these things?”

Jesus stated:

“there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.”  Mk. 4:22, Mat. 10:26, Luke 8:17.
The Pharisees and Sadducees did not hide their teachings. The Yahad hid their teachings, confined them to the initiates, and taught that their wisdom should not be shared with common people and sinners.

Jesus revealed his teachings to sinners and outcasts. Jesus could have been a Yahad who rebelled at keeping the spiritual truth away from the most needy people.
It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mk. 2:17.

The Yahad Charter in column 11 (3,14) Dead Sea Scrolls: “By His (God’s) righteousness is my transgression blotted out. Through His exceeding goodness shall He atone for all my sins.”

If Jesus learned this with the Yahad, he may have realized that someone had to fulfill this role for the salvation of not only his people, but for all people. Otherwise the religious practices themselves were futile.

Jesus’ first 3 Beatitudes (Mat. 5:3-5) –
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

5 Blessed are the gentle (or humble), for they shall inherit the earth.

In the Qumran Scrolls (part of the Dead Sea Scrolls), there is Thanksgiving Hymn 33 which contains the following:

“Blessing to the humble, troubled of spirit, and those who mourn.”

In 1QM (14,7) there is the term, “needy in spirit” or “poor in spirit”. This is interpreted by experts in Hebrew as meaning “needy of God”, regardless of how much money a person has.

The Qumran scrolls are dated from approximately 250 B.C. to about 65 A.D. They are in Hebrew and Aramaic, and were solely in the possession of Jews. The references to “poor in spirit” were phrases already known to Jews who had access to this teaching.

Jesus could have left the Yahad group and determined to bring the higher spiritual teachings to outcast and rejected people. Eventually this would lead to the inclusion of not only outcast Jews, but all people (Mat. 15:21-28).

Jesus saw himself as the agent – the Son of Man in Daniel 7:13 – and referred to himself as such many times:
Mark 2:10, 2:28; 8:31, 8:38; 9:9, 9:12, 9:31; 10:33, 10:45; 13:26; 14:21, 14:41, 14:62.

Jesus may have had a ‘Messiah complex’ – he may have seen his role as the sacrificial Lamb of God for all the people. Or, Jesus really is the sacrificial Lamb of God.
 

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Word of God vs. words of men (Short version)

Reconciliation within PC(USA) could be well-served by a systematic approach to discerning what is the ‘Word of God’ vs. what are the ‘words of men’. (Refer to the 1967 Confession, I.C.2. The Bible):

“The Scriptures, given under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, are nevertheless the words of men, conditioned by the language, thought forms, and literary fashions of the places and times at which they were written. They reflect views of life, history, and the cosmos which were then current.”

 

The Bible is comprised of both the Word of God and the words of men. This is exemplified in Jeremiah 1:1-2a:
“The words of Jeremiah… to whom the word of the Lord came ….”

Letting Jesus be our teacher, here are 8 examples of what could be considered the “words of men” in their own time and culture, and not as immutable commands from God.
1. Dietary laws in Lev. 11, Deut. 14, contradicted by Jesus in Mark 7:18-20, et. al.

2. Divorce law in Deut. 24:1-4, versus Jesus in Mat. 5:31-32 & Mat. 19:3-9.

3. Work on the Sabbath in Exodus 20:10, Deut. 5:14 (“but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work.”)  In Luke 6:1-11, Jesus works to gather grain on a Sabbath, and heals a man with a withered hand on another Sabbath.

In Numbers 15:32-36: The killing of a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath.
Verse 35: Then the Lord said to Moses, “The man shall surely be put to death….”
If that policy is the immutable Word of God, then when was the last time you murdered someone for working on the Sabbath?

4. Stoning the adulteress as per Lev. 20:10, overturned by God’s mercy in Jesus’ actions in John 8:3-11. “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”

5. Eye for an eye retaliation law in Exo. 21:24-25, Lev. 17:20, Deut. 19:21, replaced by Jesus in Mat. 5:38-48 and Luke 6:27-37.

6. Worship in Jerusalem alone as the one acceptable place: Deut. 12:5, 1 Kgs 8:29,30, 1 Kgs. 11:36, 2 Chron. 6:6. This is contradicted by Jesus’ revolutionary statement to the Samaritan woman in John 4:21-24. By endorsing worship of the Father “in spirit and truth” outside of Jerusalem, Jesus is negating the Temple sacrifice regime in Torah.

7. The oppression of women is given in 1 Timothy 2:11-15:
“A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet….”

Modern experience with women in authoritative positions would make a 1st century apostle rewrite some letters. Jesus himself confronted the prejudice against women by example in the Gospel of John 4: 7 – 42. He spoke his message to a Samaritan woman who was looked down on by Jewish society. Jesus delivered to the woman his famous “living water” message, and told her of worshiping the Father in “spirit and truth”, and not in Jerusalem. He also revealed to her that He was the Messiah, the Christ. These were the most serious spiritual messages that Jesus entrusted to a foreign woman, scorned by men of that time.

She conveyed her experience with Jesus to the men of her village.
“From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman.”  John 4:39.

 

8. Sheol the end point after death, in Gen. 37:35 and Num. 16:33. In the Old Testament, physical death resulted in the person becoming a barely-existing “shade” in Sheol, beneath the earth’s surface. In the O.T. after death, there is no eternal life in heaven, no fellowship with God, nor even the remembrance of God. (Ps. 6:5; 88:3-5; 115:17; Isaiah 38:18).

Jesus gives a completely different teaching, which is the ultimate refutation of death: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).   Most Christians accept Jesus as the authority in word and deed  – “the Word of God incarnate” in the 1967 Confession; “the Word made flesh” in John 1:14. Then we may conclude that the 8 refuted Biblical examples (above) are not the immutable and perfect Word of God.

by Stephen E. Schlarb.  All Bible quotes NASB.

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Longer is later? Not Necessarily.

Longer is later? Not Necessarily.

by Stephen E. Schlarb

A favorite assumption of many Bible scholars is that when there are two or more versions of a particular New Testament text, the shorter version is closer to the unaltered event, while the longer version contains later interpretations and additions.

One glaring case of this is in the Beatitudes delivered by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:3-12 (or on the level place in Luke 6:20-23). Specifically, we will examine the first Beatitude,
“Blessed are the poor
in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Mat. 5:3) and
Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” (Luke 6:20).

The usual modern scholarship gives the nod to Luke for writing the Beatitudes in their more primitive, therefore more original content – i.e., without spiritual interpretation which is considered a later add-on. Matthew is interpreted to have added the “in spirit” to the “poor”, and to have added Beatitudes beyond the supposedly original four given in Luke. (Refer to The Interpreter’s One-Volume Commentary on the Bible, 1971, page 682).

Why could it not be reasoned that Matthew was a witness to this sermon of Jesus, and that he accurately recorded what Jesus said? Luke came many years later (with Paul’s mission to Jerusalem) to interview people with 1st, 2nd, or 3rd-hand recollections.
Matthew (Levi) wrote careful reports to the authorities on his tax collections. It is reasonable to conclude that Matthew recorded Jesus’ teachings accurately and even meticulously in writing at the time Jesus delivered them.

Later, in Matthew 9:9, Jesus calls to Matthew to “Follow me”, and Matthew immediately gets up and follows him. This indicates that Matthew had previously heard and was familiar with Jesus’ teachings.

In the Qumran Scrolls (part of the Dead Sea Scrolls), there is Thanksgiving Hymn 33 which contains the following:
“Blessing to the humble, troubled of spirit, and those who mourn.”

In 1QM (14,7) there is the term, “needy in spirit” or “poor in spirit”. This is interpreted by experts in Hebrew as meaning “needy of God”, regardless of how much money a person has.

The Qumran scrolls are dated from approximately 250 B.C. to about 65 A.D. They are in Hebrew and Aramaic, and were solely in the possession of Jews. The references to “poor in spirit” were phrases already known to Jews, such as Jesus, and were obviously not invented by some Christian author of Matthew.

Considering all facets of this matter, it is reasonable to conclude that Matthew recorded Jesus’ statements accurately.

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224 Verses affirming Jesus Christ as the sole source of salvation, eternal life, truth, the Way, access to the Father, & dominion

224 Verses affirming Jesus Christ as the sole source of salvation,eternal life, truth, the Way, access to the Father, & dominion

by Stephen E. Schlarb

Matthew.                10:22.   10:32, 33.   13:36-43    13:47-50.    19:14.    19:29.    24:30, 31.
                                          25:31-33, & 40, 41, 46.

Mark.                       8:38.    10:14.    13:13.    13:26, 27.

Luke.                       9:26.    10:16.    12:8, 9.    21:17,19.    21:36.    22:20.    24:46, 47.

John.                       1:1, 14.    3:16, 18, 36.     5:22,23,24.    6:40, 47.      8:19,31, 32, 42.

                                    10:9, 28, 30.     11:25,26.     12:48-50.    14:6, 7, 9.    15:5, 6.      20:31.

Acts.                       4:12.   10:42, 43.      16:31.    17:31.      26:18.

Romans.                 3:22, 23, 24.    5:1, 2, 8-11.    6:23.    8:1, 9b, 14, 16, 17.   10:9, 10.

1 Corinthians.          8:6.     11:25, 26.    15:3-4.    15:23, 24, 25.     15:57.
2 Corinthians.          5:10, 15, 17, 18, 19, 21.

Galatians.                1:4.     2:16.    3:26, 27.

Philippians.             1:11.    2:5-11.    3:9, 20, 21.

Colossians.             1:13-20.     2:9, 10.     3:1,3.

Ephesians.               1:5, 7, 10, 20-22.     2:4-8, 12, 13.     3:11, 12.

1 Thessalonians.      4:16, 17.    5:9, 10.

2 Thessalonians.      1:7-9.

1 Timothy.                 1:15, 16.      2:5,6.     6:14-16.
2 Timothy.                 1:9, 10.    2:10-12.    3:15.
Titus.                          3:5-7.

Hebrews.                   1:2, 3.    2:9, 10, 14.     5:9.    7:25.     9:14, 15.     9:28.

                                            10:10, 12, 14, 19, 29.       12:24.

1 Peter.                      1:3-5.    1:13.    2:24.    3:18, 22.

1 John.                       1:7b.    2:22, 23.    3:23.    4:14, 15.    5:5, 11-13.
2 John.                       1:9.

Jude.                          1:4d, 21, 25.
Revelation.                 1:5, 6, 17, 18.     3:5.    5:9.     12:10, 11.     19:11, 13, 15, 16.
                                           21:22-24.     22:13, 16.
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