You need to become aware just horrific the persecution is against Christians globally. Check out these links from the monthly Religious Freedom Report sponsored by the Acton Institute – Institute on Religion and Democracy.
Religious Freedom Report
Sent: 8/25/2014 1:19 PM
August 2014 Issue
Institute on Religion and Democracy
The Religious Freedom Report is a monthly update about the persecution of the Church worldwide. It is a joint project of The Institute on Religion & Democracy in Washington D.C., and the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty in Grand Rapids, Mich. If you do not wish to receive this newsletter, simply click the unsubscribe button on the bottom of the page. Thanks for reading.
It happened this past June in Wuxi Village. According to the Associated Press, the government hired a crew to cut down the metal cross atop the Wuxi Christian Church in Zhejiang Province (just south of Shanghai on China’s east coast). The day after they sawed it down, a church member welded the cross back in place and was brought in for hours of questioning. A week later, down came the cross a second time only to be put back by another church member.
Why is the world silent while Christians are being slaughtered in the Middle East and Africa?
A group of 11 sick, disabled and elderly Iraqi Christians --including an 80-year-old woman with breast cancer -- defied terrorists who ordered them to convert to Islam or be beheaded, saying they preferred death to giving up their faith.
The recently-elected Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) the Most Rev. Foley Beach has issued a call to prayer and action on behalf of persecuted Christians in the Middle East.
If You Don't Stop Evil, Evil Spreads [Originally bad link – Found link at DetroitNews.com]
It reads like something from a history book or a class lecture about something decades and even centuries ago in a time period where we were less equipped to handle it. But it is happening right now, to our own people, in a time period where we have sophisticated military, high-tech equipment and the ability to get status updates in real time.
The new Egyptian government had pledged to rebuild the churches, but they may face too much public opposition actually to be able to do that. After all, the Muslim Brotherhood supporters in Egypt haven’t all vanished into thin air, and rebuilding the churches is just the kind of thing that could provoke them.
Indignation and outrage in the Christian community of Lahore (Pakistan) after the rape of a 12-year-old Christian girl.
Amnesty International said the victims, some just babies, were snatched from villages and face the prospect of being forced into marriage or sold as sex slaves.
Iraqi civilians are being subjected to “barbaric” sexual violence committed by Sunni Islamic State (IS) jihadist fighters, the U.N reports.
ISIS’ Islamic justice condemns women for the immorality of having their faces uncovered. Meanwhile they’re raping young boys.
"They took the women and the young girls. The men were killed with butcher's knives,” one young woman told FRANCE 24.
Saeed Abedini, a pastor who holds American citizenship and has been captive in Iran for nearly two years, faces new dangers and death threats from fellow prisoners, say his family’s representatives.
Boko Haram—a Hausa phrase meaning “Western education is a sin”—is an Islamic terrorist group whose stated aim is the establishment, by force, of a strict, sharia-law theocracy in Nigeria.
We are Christians working to reaffirm the church’s biblical and historical teachings, strengthen and reform its role in public life, protect religious freedom, and renew democracy at home and abroad.
To lead the fight rallying Christians to champion biblical, historic Christianity and its role in democratic society, and to defeat revisionist challenges.
Christianity and Democracy
by Reverend Richard John Neuhaus
A Statement of the Institute on Religion and Democracy
Jesus Christ is Lord. That is the first and final assertion Christians make about all of reality, including politics. Believers now assert by faith what one day will be manifest to the sight of all: every earthly sovereignty is subordinate to the sovereignty of Jesus Christ.
The Church is the community of believers who bear witness to that claim. Because the Church is pledged to the Kingdom proclaimed by Jesus, it must maintain a critical distance from all the kingdoms of the world, whether actual or proposed. Christians betray their Lord if, in theory or practice, they equate the Kingdom of God with any political, social, or economic order of this passing time. At best, such orders permit the proclamation of the Gospel of the Kingdom and approximate, in small part, the freedom, peace and justice for which we hope. At worst, such orders attempt to suppress the good news of the Kingdom and oppress human beings who are the object of divine love and promise.
The First Political Task of the Church
The first political task of the Church is to be the Church. That is, Christians must proclaim and demonstrate the Gospel to all people, embracing them in a sustaining community of faith and discipline under the Lordship of Christ. In obedience to this biblical mandate, Christians have a special care for all who are in need, especially the poor, the oppressed, the despised and the marginal. The Church is called to be a community of diversity, including people of every race, nation, class, and political viewpoint. As a universal community, the Church witnesses to the limits of the national and ideological loyalties that divide mankind. Communal allegiance to Christ and his Kingdom is the indispensable check upon pretensions of the modern state. Because Christ is Lord, Caesar is not Lord. By humbling all secular claims to sovereignty, the Church makes its most important political contribution by being, fully and unapologetically, the Church.
While our first allegiance is to the community of faith and its mission in the world, Christians do not withdraws from participation in other communities. To the contrary, we are called to be leaven and light in movements of cultural, and economic change. History is the arena in which Christians exercise their discipleship. Because our hope is eternal and transcendent, Christians can participate in society without despair or delusion. We do not despair of the meaning of history, nor do we delude ourselves that our efforts are to be equated with establishing the Kingdom of God. The fulfillment of history’s travail is the promised Rule of God, not the establishment of our human programs and designs.
Towards an Open Church
God has given us no one pattern for the ordering of societies or of the world. For almost two millennia Christians have pursued their mission within a variety of social, political, and economic systems. Among Christians today, as in times past, there are significant disagreements about the most appropriate and effective ways to advance freedom, justice, and peace in the world. That Christians are to pursue these goals should be beyond dispute. Disagreements about how they are to be pursued need be neither surprising nor destructive. In making political decisions, we are all subject to error. Through prayer, we decide in the courage of our uncertainties. We strive to credit the intelligence and good intentions of those who decide differently. Especially within the believing community we must, in the words of Reinhold Niebuhr, avoid portraying our conflicts as a war between “the children of light and the children of darkness.” Our unity in Christ is greater than whatever may divide us.
Within our several churches, disagreement about the meaning of social justice should not merely be tolerated; it should be cherished. We are pledged to the goal that our churches be open churches. An open church engages sympathetically the diversity of Christian views both within and outside denominational structures. An open church welcomes dissent on contingent judgments about the right-ordering of society; this strengthens the search for truth and helps correct error. An open church makes decisions in the light of day, not in the shadowed corners of bureaucratic power. An open church has leaders eager to engage in the fullest consultation with all its members. An open church addresses social issues not so much to advance a particular position as to inform and empower people to make their own decisions responsibly. An open church understands that the Church speaks most effectively when the people who are the Church do the speaking, and leaders speak more believably when they speak with the informed consent of those whom they would lead.
Sometimes leaders can and should disagree with the views of the majority. To disagree, however, is not to disregard the views of others. Leadership in an open church is marked by … READ THE REST