Monday, August 21, 2006

Persecution Headlines From Around the World


Persecution is Part of the Deal


"Mr. Yohannan says Christians “have only minutes to work and an eternity to enjoy”, yet the heart of the world’s “free” Church “is barely beating.”


He says the churches in free countries are shallow and understand little of the heart of Jesus Christ.


“They are in a dark age like the one that occurred before the Reformation brought about by Martin Luther. If true persecution was to occur in any of these countries I think there would be a great falling away.“Christ calls us to follow him and to be his disciples. The free Church needs to understand that persecution is a normal part of this; [Christianity] is not about God delivering up what they want.


“Someday there will be millions and millions around the Throne and it will all make sense – persecution is a price worth paying,” says Mr. Yohannan."




MUSLIM LAND-GRABBERS ATTACK CHRISTIANS


After a six-year campaign to force the Christian villagers off their lands, Maher’s latest assaults left the village church in ruins. The marauders exploded several hand grenades inside the church, stole everything of value and desecrated Bibles and hymnbooks. They also destroyed two houses adjacent to the church, one by fire. A number of Christian women were beaten and their clothes ripped and partially torn off, an especially painful public disgrace in Pakistani culture.




Massive fines and jail proposed in Uzbekistan for sharing beliefs


If anyone does share their beliefs outside church, it was proposed that they would be fined between 200 and 600 times the minimum monthly salary.



India: Supreme Court Ruling Will Greatly Advance Persecution


Nuns, pastors, bishops and evangelists, as well as Christian aid workers, teachers and social workers, are all immediately at risk of arrest and imprisonment because of their Christian witness. In fact every Christian, actively witnessing or not, is at risk from hostile elements that may exploit the opportunity to bring false charges against them.

Thomas Ë Kempis quote

O God, You Who are the truth, make me one with You in love everlasting. I am often wearied by the many things I hear and read, but in You is all that I long for. Let the learned be still, let all creatures be silent before You; You alone speak to me.
- Thomas Ë Kempis

Handel Wrote His Masterpiece in Just 23 Days

Handel's "Messiah" is a beloved and enduring Christian masterpiece.

On this day 265 years ago, August 21, 1741, George Frideric Handel
shut himself up in his house to begin writing it. Despite having
suffered a stroke, he produced it in 23 days of intense effort.
He was in Dublin at the time at the invitation of the Viceroy of
Ireland, which explains why the work debuted there. Handel later
added to the work's mystique by claiming: "Whether I was in the
body or out of the body when I wrote it, I know not."

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Everyday Fear

August 18, 2006

by Donna Gibson

Fear, one of the most sobering impressions missionaries get when beginning to work among tribal people, grips and controls the lives of the Inapang people on a daily basis.

"Okuma! Okuma!" It's what the Inapang people call a man with the ability to work sorcery on them. And the name has been on everyone's lips in the village where missionaries Dan and Elizabeth Moore serve.

In the Inapang tribe, as in most other parts of Papua New Guinea, you don't get sick, the sickness gets you.

"They believe an okuma can make you sick or die," wrote Dan. "A young boy died last week, a girl was brought to us convulsing and seriously ill, a lady had a miscarriage and two ladies working in the garden say they saw an okuma."

A burning sensation in your ears means that an okuma is close by. Even the call of a black cockatoo nearby brought men running with spears.

"The villagers wonder who will be the next to be killed or made sick," Dan wrote. "The village men decided that one thing they could do was make the village cold."

So a ritual was performed by an Inapang man named Dwan to cool the village.

"It appears that if something is hot that is not a good thing," Dan wrote. They are still looking into the significance of this.

As Dan and Elizabeth strive to grasp the Inapang culture and language, the tribe affords constant opportunities to learn.

"Now a tribal football (soccer) tournament is dominating village life," wrote Dan. "One team was accused of cheating because a man was found to have some things tucked down in his socks. This was to give him power when he plays, and meant he had performed a ritual to help him score."

This sort of cheating is taken as seriously as a positive drug test in other parts of the world.

Pray for Dan and Elizabeth and their co-workers as they seek to understand the Inapang culture.

"We often feel our lack of ability, but are so thankful for His promises to stand on, and that he uses earthen vessels for His own glory," wrote Dan. "We are daily thankful for all of you who are praying, giving and encouraging us in the Lord's work here."

New Tribes Missions

O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing

Old hymns can be a great thing to read and absorb,
and not just sing once in a great while.




O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing
Words: Charles Wesley, 1739
Music: Carl G. Glaser, 1839

1.
O for a thousand tongues to sing
my great Redeemer's praise,
the glories of my God and King,
the triumphs of his grace!

2.
My gracious Master and my God,
assist me to proclaim,
to spread through all the earth abroad
the honors of thy name.

3.
Jesus! the name that charms our fears,
that bids our sorrows cease;
'tis music in the sinner's ears,
'tis life, and health, and peace.

4.
He breaks the power of canceled sin,
he sets the prisoner free;
his blood can make the foulest clean;
his blood availed for me.

5.
He speaks, and listening to his voice,
new life the dead receive;
the mournful, broken hearts rejoice,
the humble poor believe.

6.
In Christ, your head, you then shall know,
shall feel your sins forgiven;
anticipate your heaven below,
and own that love is heaven.

What Happened this Day in Church History

August 20, 1527 • Danish Odense Diet Allowed Lutherans to Keep Preaching.

Historians describe King Frederick I of Denmark as a calm and quiet man. Even when he knew little about a matter under discussion, he knew how to draw out the facts and to find a middle way between competing interests. That is what happened in 1527 when a Diet (Congress) of bishops and nobles met with the king in Odense.

Denmark's bishops were unhappy because Frederick protected Lutheran preachers. On accepting the throne he had promised to punish and kill them. They demanded that he keep his word.

Denmark's peasants complained because the bishops demanded excessive tithes, including some that were illegal. At the same time, in many districts, mass was offered only every third Sunday, and large districts had few priests to meet the people's needs. In Jutland, the peasants had refused to pay tithes and thrown stones at begging friars.

Noblemen were unhappy because the bishops frequently maneuvred to get cases tried in church courts rather than in civil courts so they could collect the fees. They were angry at the bishops for imposing fines on the peasants which cut into their authority as nobles.

Frederick was in a strong position to make a deal. He was badly needed, for if he were driven from the throne, cruel King Christian II, who had offended everyone, would probably return to Denmark.

And so Frederick gave everyone part of what they wanted, while getting what he wanted, too. Sympathetic toward the Lutherans, he said, "The council is well aware that the Holy Christian faith is free, and that none should be deprived of their conscious faith. I am king and judge over the life and property of the kingdom but not over souls." Far from persecuting the Lutherans, he would protect "all who preached what was godly and Christian." As for forcing monks to return to their monasteries or to give up their wives (another demand of the bishops) he replied, "that was their own business, for which they must answer to God: he would neither bid it nor forbid it."

The king told the bishops that the peasants had as much right to complain to him as they did. To accommodate the peasants, Frederick had the bishops stop demanding the "lesser gifts" on butter, altar bread and the like. In return, the king promised to enforce payment of the legal tithes. The bishops were also pleased because the king left them with the spiritual courts.As a concession to the nobles, however, the king said that any fine the bishops charged to the servant of a nobleman had to be paid not to the bishop but to the nobleman.

Everyone had been heard.

On this day August 20, 1527 the Diet of Odense recessed and its agreements were written down. The result was that Denmark marked time. The old system was not overthrown, but the Lutheran reformation went forward in Denmark where, within a few years, it prevailed.

Resources:
  1. Birch, J. H. S. Denmark in History. (London: John Murray, 1938).
  2. Dunkley, E. H. The Reformation in Denmark. (London: S. P. C. K., 1948).
  3. Grell, Ole Peter, editor. The Scandinavian Reformation. (Cambridge University Press, 1995).
  4. Official Denmark. "Church and Religion." (um.dk/Publikationer/UM/English/Denmark/kap1/1-14-1.asp)
  5. Ottosen, Knud. A Short History of the Churches of Scandinavia. (Arhus: Dept. of Church History, Universitetet, c1986).
  6. Oxford Encyclopedia of the Reformation. Hans J. Hillerbrand, editor in chief. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996).
  7. Skarsten, Trygve R. "The Scandinavian Reformation; Ramifications for Lutheran confessional identity," in Let Christ be Christ : theology, ethics & world religions in the two kingdoms : essays in honor of the sixty-fifth birthday of Charles L. Manske; edited by Daniel N. Harmelink (Huntington Beach, Calif. : Tentatio Press, 1999).