Persecution Rages in China, Elsewhere
Nothing gained by compromise
Today comes a horror story out of China, in which people infiltrated a registered Chinese church in order to disrupt its Body life and to ultimately destroy the church. Finally one Christian was brutally beaten and then, with the cooperation of the authorities, falsely charged and jailed for hurting one of the thugs beating him! http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/2574510721.html
It seems that, if anything, persecution in China is stepping up. The government line for several years was that underground churches should register, and then they will be legitimate and safe. But one of our own forefathers wrote that people who exchange freedom for security will end up with neither.
That seems to be proving itself out in China. The registered churches are free to preach the Gospel as long as it doesn’t encroach on the government’s false totalitarian authority. How far do you think that goes? While people are being Saved and other good things are happening in these churches, ultimately where the Spirit of the Lord is, there must be liberty.
In other words, the battle between freedom in Christ and the Chinese government never stopped. If the authorities are using registered churches as a means of identifying, controlling, and now persecuting Christian activity, then what exactly has the Church in China gained by complying? It would seem nothing.
The ink was barely dry on the Beijing Olympics’ record books when Chinese Christian human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng was abducted. It was not his first time – he had previously undergone brutal torture for his activism. But now he hasn’t been heard from in months, and authorities are unconvincingly denying knowledge or involvement.
Days ago came a story of 21 other Chinese human rights lawyers being denied the right to practice, so it well seems an official crackdown is underway. http://www.christianpost.com…
We need to be interceding for our brothers. It’s hard to imagine what life must be like in such openly hostile lands. But my feeling is we had better be about this business now, because we cannot rely on Western governments remaining friendly to us. The day may well come when we are learning endurance and survival skills from our persecuted brothers abroad.
Iran, Egypt, Pakistan
While I’m at it, let me raise the issue of Iran. Opposition candidate Mousavi may or may not be a whole lot better than Ahmadinejad, but the real issue is fair elections, which these blatantly were not. Setting a precedent of fair elections may open the door to a real reform candidate running at some point. Let’s remember that Iran 1) has a Christian population whose human rights depend on who is in power, 2) has a large electorate that is fed up with the Islamic “revolution”, 3) is a major supporter of radicalism and terrorism, using our oil money against us, 4) officially loathes Israel, and 5) is on the verge of nuclear armaments.
From Egypt come two separate cases of men trying to register as converts to Christianity. Despite conforming to onerous court demands, both their motions were denied. Unsurprisingly, both men are now in hiding because of death threats. Egypt has 80 million people, with 8 million of them being Christian. But the nation is in the grip of deep Islamic coercion. http://www.christianpost.com…
Finally (I could sadly go on) out of Pakistan comes this sick tidbit:
A loose Pakistan-based umbrella group of factions linked to the militant Taliban organization has threatened to kill or rape all non-Muslims to enslave their children and take away their properties, unless they… “embrace Islam”, or pay an Islamic tax known as ‘Jaziva Tax’ to Muslim rulers…
“If the infidels rejected this suggestion they would be killed and they would be responsible for it”, wrote TTP leader Muslim Khan…. And, “The women of these disobedient infidels would be enslaved and raped according to [an Islamic ritual] Mut’a,” he said.
Under Mut’a a Muslim man can, in theory, marry a woman for several hours and after having sexual intercourse can divorce again by saying three times “I divorce you”. The children conceived would be converted to Islam, enslaved and forced to work for TTP, the group added in the letter.
These stories are just samples. The situation is pervasive, rampant, and institutional. Girls in Afghanistan have blinding, disfiguring acid thrown in their faces just for attending school, as the Taliban resurges. We need to be praying for Christians’ safety and provision, and for freedom of religion and conscience in these dark lands, and we need to support agencies such as OpenDoors and Voice of the Martyrs that work toward these ends. When one member of the Body hurts, we all hurt.
Truly this world lies in sin and error, and it is through much tribulation that we enter the Kingdom. But let’s not forget that the Victory has already been secured by Christ Jesus, and that He has been given all authority in heaven and on earth! Let’s stay courageous and determined to keep recovering the devil’s plunder and driving the gates of hell backward.
Marana tha, Lord Jesus!