Countering Chaos and Confusion


Jan Markell & Michele Bachmann

 

Jan Markell of Olive Tree Ministries and former Congresswoman (and a former GOP candidate for President) Michele Bachmann discuss the Left-Wing (should be read as Dem-Marxists) instituted chaos in America forcing a Leftist ideology down the throats of Americans and Christians.

 

JRH 10/11/20

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VIDEO: Countering Chaos and Confusion

Posted by Prophecy Update Videos

187K subscribers – Oct 9, 2020

 

For more Olive Tree Ministries Resources click here: http://www.olivetreeviews.org. Jan Markell features Michele Bachmann for two weeks. In this program, Michele warns that the Left plans to try every tactic imaginable using chaos and confusion to defeat Donald Trump and to re-make America—or to re-imagine us, as a globalist paradise. What can the Christian and the Church do? We use the mobile app found at http://www.oneplace.com.

 

All the signs of the last days are converging at the same time. Bible Prophecy is happening right before our eyes and like birth pains, the predicted events are happening more frequently and more intently. Never, in the history throughout the world have so many forces, including economic, scientific, techno-logic, ecologic, cultural, geopolitical, moral, spiritual and religion, converged together to bring this world that’s already teetering over the edge into the abyss, to a point of no return. Jesus said when you see all these signs happening, know that I am near, even at the door.

For more in-depth studies, commentary, and analysis of Bible Prophecy and End Times events visit our web site www.prophecyupdate.com and sign-up for our free newsletter…

 

Biblical Perspective on Government Mandated Mask


Mask mandates are a form of political control not science based health. Such mandates that include mandatory self-quarantining of the healthy and social distancing are based on political COVID fear more than science. There is plenty of science verified solutions for COVID discounted by Leftist power-brokers and greedy Big Pharma doctors/scientists that could have made lives normal. THIS POST addresses Mask Mandates, Christian Civil Disobedience and those – even Christian leaders –  who are subservient to totalitarianism which is un-Constitutional and un-Biblical manipulation. (I encourage you to specifically take the time to listen to the fiery audio sermon of Pastor Matt Trewhella.)

 

JRH 8/25/20

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Biblical Perspective on Government Mandated Mask

EKKLESIA SPECIAL EDITION

 

EKKLESIA – Facemask Special Edition

 

Posted by Daniel Navejas

August 23, 2020

Facebook Group OKLAHOMA CONSERVATIVES FOR FREEDOM

 

A Biblical Perspective on Government Mandated Mask & The Doctrine of Lesser Magistrates:

 

As the government begins to institute mask mandates, Christians must seriously consider what our response should be. In these tumultuous times it is even more crucial that we KNOW & LIVE the TRUTH!

 

The issue of mandating masks is extremely controversial, but it is also vitally important. We believe the God ordained role of Government is to PROTECT, not to infringe on the liberties that GOD has given us. Blind compliance with unjust and tyrannical demands is neither Godly nor biblical, and the road of compromise and compliance ALWAYS leads to enslavement, persecution and tyrannical dictatorships.

 

But in the midst of this we have begun to see the Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrates, practiced across the nation. (click here to download a free PDF: https://caperepublic.files.wordpress.com/2019/04/matthew_j._trewhella_the_doctrine_of_the_lesser_magistrate.pdf?fbclid=IwAR1FezEeJ-fUh1lYQtaBQf9g5F8hp8riwvlHwjM1n_eMhekbKPZQCqTDMNA).

 

Pastor Matt Trewhella, the author of the Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrates, recently preached a sermon on the issue of mask mandates explaining biblically and historically why it is no small matter. (Audio: https://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=72120161361809&fbclid=IwAR3lvj7csU-2dT9kW2_hd__RdTp8T4y_Cv-V6vF23Q0Se1siOk9l6rlBYtQ [Direct Audio: https://www.sermonaudio.com/saplayer/playpopup.asp?SID=72120161361809])

https://www.sermonaudio.com/saplayer/playpopup.asp?SID=72120161361809

Here in Oklahoma communities have begun to demand that city councils and Mayors be held accountable for these unconstitutional orders. The message is clear, if you are unwilling to listen and represent us, then you will be RECALLED & REPLACED.

 

A group called Unite Norman has collected over 2,400 signatures, enough to place two city council members on a recall ballot. They need 18,000 signatures to place the Mayor on recall. The link above will take you to the Facebook group if you would like to get connected to them as more and more communities began to follow suit.

 

BIBLICAL AND HISTORICAL PRECEDENT

 

1Pe 2:13-17 “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme…”

 

We do not have an emperor who is supreme. The supreme ruler of the land is not a person but law—our Constitution. Even the President is subject to the Constitution. Therefore, in order to honor 1 Pet 2:13, we must oppose lawlessness. Robbing a convenience store is lawlessness, but it is also lawless for a politician or policeman to violate the supreme law of the land. It is my duty as a Christian and a citizen to oppose those who violate the law which is the Constitution. Laws contrary to the Constitution are invalid and in order to oppose lawlessness, we must NOT comply with invalid laws. [Blog Editor: Bold text indicates Blog Editor extreme agreement.]

 

Rom 13:1-7 “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities…”

 

Context is very important here. For the people to whom this was written, the governing authority was an emperor and ecclesiastical leaders. Neither of these are elected or in any way beholden to the people they rule. Our form of government could not be more different.

 

We literally select and HIRE our leaders, as an employer does employees, who then work FOR us. When they do not adequately perform the task for which we have chosen them, they hear from us, and, if needs be, are removed. It’s government by consent of the governed. When those we have chosen as leaders abuse their power, our lack of consent to their atrocities is the first recourse to halting the tyranny, and it is our duty to do so.

 

Our duty, I repeat, both as citizens of a self-ruled republic, and as Christians obeying the ultimate rule(r) of our country. Indeed, our refusal to consent is the first line of defense against tyranny.

 

The primary obstruction before a power-hungry politician is, “The people will not go along with it”.

 

Sadly, power-hungry politicians have lately discovered that the people will in fact go along will all manner of abuses, even clamoring for more, when they are afraid of a virus. This is a very dangerous precedent.

 

The duties of the responsible American citizen are vastly different from those of the Roman or Israeli citizen. Alexander Hamilton said:

 

“If it were to be asked, what is the most sacred duty and the greatest source of security in a Republic? The answer would be, An inviolable respect for the Constitution and Laws… It is by this, in a great degree, that the rich and powerful are to be restrained from enterprises against the common liberty—operated upon by the influence of a general sentiment, by their interest in the principle, and by the obstacles which the habit it produces erects against innovation and encroachment. It is by this, in a still greater degree, that caballers, intriguers, and demagogues are prevented from climbing on the shoulders of faction to the tempting seats of usurpation and tyranny… a sacred respect for the constitutional law is the vital principle, the sustaining energy of a free government… There are indeed great and urgent cases where the bounds of the constitution are manifestly transgressed, or its constitutional authorities so exercised as to produce unequivocal oppression on the community, and to render resistance justifiable.”

 

James Madison said:

 

“It is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties. We hold this prudent jealousy to be the first duty of citizens, and one of the noblest characteristics of the late Revolution. The freeman of America did not wait till usurped power had strengthened itself by exercise, and entangled the question in precedents. They saw all the consequences in the principle, and they avoided the consequences by denying the principle.”

 

Hamilton again, in the Federalist Papers stated:

 

“If the federal government should overpass the just bounds of its authority and make a tyrannical use of its powers, the people, whose creature it is, must appeal to the standard they have formed, and take such measures to redress the injury done to the Constitution as the exigency may suggest and prudence justify.”

 

“What did Jesus do about such ordinances that ran contrary to the HIGHER LAWS?”

 

This quoting of our nation’s architects could go on for pages. But to return to Scripture, when Jesus walked the earth, many times He healed people on the Sabbath. He could certainly have waited one more day, and been in compliance with the Pharisees’ rules. But He deliberately chose not to. What is His justification for this “rebellion”? I would suggest that in Israel’s government of that day, the Torah was their Constitution, and the laws of the Pharisees were comparable to our city ordinances. What did Jesus do about such ordinances that ran contrary to the higher laws? In at least some instances, He defied them to make a point. When He and His disciples were walking through a grain field on the Sabbath, they began to eat the ears of grain as they walked. The Pharisees strongly objected; this too was against the rules. Jesus let them do it, and gave the Pharisees a lesson on Israeli history.

 

Paul insisted on his civil rights, and did not comply with directives to the contrary. Acts 16:36-39 says:

 

“And the jailer reported these words to Paul, saying, ‘The magistrates have sent to let you go. Therefore come out now and go in peace.’ But Paul said to them, ‘They have beaten us publicly, uncondemned, men who are Roman citizens, and have thrown us into prison; and do they now throw us out secretly? No! Let them come themselves and take us out.’ The police reported these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Roman citizens. So they came and apologized to them. And they took them out and asked them to leave the city.”

 

What about the blacks in the 1960s? Many black Christians engaged in much civil disobedience. They sat at lunch counters where the “law” said they could not sit. I can’t see a compelling argument for this law violating anyone’s conscience. It wasn’t a sin for them to sit elsewhere. They could have followed the rules and still eaten, gotten to work on the bus, etc. But the law was unjust and they made a point of defying it in hopes of changing it. Does Scripture really condemn this stand for justice? Especially under a government designed to accept such rebukes.

 

And what of the Jews? If the law says to put this star of David identification on, there’s nothing immoral about that; the Christian ones among them should obey, right? In The Boy on the Wooden Box, a memoir of a Jew on Schindler’s List, the importance of “taking alarm” early on in abuses is echoed:

 

“Meanwhile, in Krakow, the Germans tightened their grip on us. Jewish parents could no longer reassure children with the phrase, ‘It will soon be over,’ and a new phrase surfaced: ‘If this is the worst that happens.’…When forced to hand over our radio to the Nazis, we silently repeated the words; whenever a German was near, we whispered to ourselves, ‘If this is the worst…’”

 

Blind obedience to government, even in America, is ill-advised. “Perhaps the following historical event, as recorded in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown, will serve to illustrate the incompleteness of the obedience perspective alone.

 

On November 5, 1864, Major Scott J. Anthony assured Black Kettle and a party of approximately 600 Cheyenne Indians that if they returned to their camp, they would be safe under the protection of nearby Fort Lyon. Black Kettle had been to Washington, D.C., met President Lincoln, and been given a large American flag which he flew over his tent with the promise from Col. Greenwood that no soldiers would fire on him as long as he flew this flag. Black Kettle and his tribe went peacefully to Sand Creek, obediently remaining under the umbrella of the authority of the United States government.

 

On November 26, 1864, Major Anthony and the Fort Lyon troops, along with Col. Chivington and 600 reinforcements, attacked Black Kettle and his people at sunrise. As the soldiers opened fire on the sleeping Indians, women and children rushed to huddle around Black Kettle’s tent which flew the American flag. The soldiers paid no attention to flags or cries for peace, but proceeded to massacre the Indians in a most brutal manner, killing 105 women and children and 28 men. (All but 35 of the men were gone on a hunting party, leaving the camp unprotected.) Black Kettle was under…authority…The Indians who didn’t believe Major Anthony and refused to camp [under authority] were unmolested. Black Kettle was not an advocate of war, but a voice for peace among his people. [Blog Editor: Here is the Thoughtco.com account that differs only Chief Lean Bear met with President Lincoln]

 

Thomas Jefferson once said:

 

“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be. The functionaries of every government have propensities to command at will the liberty and property of their constituents. There is no safe deposit for these but with the people themselves; nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free, and every man able to read, all is safe.”

 

It is the duty of responsible citizens to do their own research and not to trust the “government experts”. Men, with power, usually have ulterior motives, and it is for our safety that we must determine to the best of our ability (and with the internet we have greater powers than ever before) whether their advice is valid or tainted with ulterior motives and self-interest. The necessary action taken after such knowledge is gained is not the foot-stamping of rebellious teenagers but the responsible action of adults who are not gullible.

 

“All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree.”—James Madison

 

We at the Ekklesia believe government instituted mask mandates are ENTIRELY outside their jurisdiction and is nothing less than TYRANNICAL. While individuals and private business have every right to choose to wear and enforce masks on their own property, the government DOES NOT have that right. Let us therefore consider carefully and prayerfully how we ought to interpret passages such as Romans 13 in light of context, additional Scriptures, historical precedent, and present times.

 

To learn more about The Ekklesia of Oklahoma or donate to further our efforts visit our website: www.ekkok.com

 

To learn more and even discuss what you can do to protect the rights of your community and city you can send a private message or email Pastor Daniel Navejas directly at daniel.navejas@gmail.com

#NOmaskMandates #AbolishAbortion #SaveOurChildren

______________________________

Edited by John R. Houk

Embedded links by the Editor. Direct links (except direct audio sermon with embed by Matt Trewhella) are by Pastor Daniel Navejas.

 

China: 84-y-o Christian ordered to pray to Xi over God…


Chinese Muslim Uyghurs are being persecuted the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) today in the same way Jews were persecuted, used as slave labor and killed by Nazis of the past. Now don’t get me wrong, I am no friend of Islam due to the religion’s own Supremacist Antisemitism and Anti-Christian hate. YET I am NOT in favor of harming one single human being for their religious/ideological beliefs. I believe any person doing harm in the name of religion and/or ideological beliefs should be held accountable according to their crime or crimes.

Accountability is exactly what nations need to demand for the crimes of the CCP committed against Chinese citizens. The Uyghurs come to mind, the COVID infected Chinese come to mind. BUT what I want to highlight NOW are a group of Chinese citizens completely forgotten by the West where freedom is supposed to exist.

 

Those Chinese citizens are Christians being severely oppressed being tole how to think and believe … OR ELSE. (**Just a brief aside… The Biden/Harris Dem Party ticket is a formula for CCP-like actions against American Christians!)

 

READ what is happening to Chinese Christians to enforce Communist rule in China!

 

JRH 8/16/20

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China: 84-y-o Christian ordered to pray to Xi over God; cross replaced with image of CCP ruler

 

By Leah MarieAnn Klett, Christian Post Reporter

August 14, 2020

The Christian Post

 

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during the opening session of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on October 18, 2017 — REUTERS/Aly Song

 

Authorities in China replaced a cross in the home of an elderly Christian man with an image of Xi Jinping and ordered him to pray to the country’s president instead of God as part of the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to “sinicize” Christianity.

 

The 84-year-old man in Shanxi Province, China, was among a number of Christians in several provinces ordered to remove Christian imagery from their homes and replace them with pictures of Communist leaders, religious rights magazine Bitter Winter reported.

 

“The township [Chinese Communist] Party [CCP] secretary asked me to take down and throw away the cross and told me to pray to Xi Jinping from then on,” the unidentified Christian told Bitter Winter. “Xi Jinping is a man, not God. I feel saddened for the cross being taken down, but there is nothing I can do.”

 

Similar reports have emerged from at least five provinces over the last few months, with authorities urging believers — often low-income households reliant on government assistance — to replace crosses and images of Jesus in their homes with posters of Communist Party leaders, or lose welfare benefits.

 

In June, a village official in Lin County repeatedly ordered villagers through social media to remove all religious symbols from their homes, Bitter Winter reported.

 

“He stated that the cross symbolized heterodox teachings, which should be purged as per orders from higher authorities. If not, they will be held criminally accountable. The official stressed that impoverished households must replace the symbols with images of Xi Jinping,” the outlet said.

 

Officials in Lin County threatened to cancel poverty alleviation allowances if Christians refused to discard their faith-based books and other items. One Christian told Bitter Winter that every household was ordered to display portraits of Xi and that residents were to provide photos of themselves beside them.

 

In the southeastern province of Jiangxi, officials tore down crosses and other Christian imagery in the homes of officially recognized Three-Self Church members. When challenged, the officials told believers they were implementing state-issued orders.

 

“Though reluctant, the impoverished Christians had to remove the symbols since the officials threatened to cancel their subsistence allowance if they disobeyed. People must follow the party that gives them money, not God, the officials claimed,” Bitter Winter said.

 

It was previously reported that in April, the government of Xinyu city in the southeastern province of Jiangxi canceled a disabled Christian’s minimum living subsidy and a monthly disability allowance of 100 RMB (about $14) because the believer continued to attend worship services despite government orders.

 

In 2017, CCP officials visited believers’ homes in Yugan county of Jiangxi province and removed 600 Christian symbols from Christians’ living rooms, and hung 453 portraits of the Communist leader in their place, according to a report from the South China Morning Post.

 

SCMP, a newspaper that kowtows to the communist regime, claimed the move was part of a state-sponsored campaign to alleviate poverty in the region since some CCP members believe families’ faith is to blame for poverty.

 

“Many poor households have plunged into poverty because of illness in the family. Some resorted to believing in Jesus to cure their illnesses,” the head of the CCP campaign told SCMP. “But we tried to tell them that getting ill is a physical thing, and that the people who can really help them are the Communist Party and General Secretary Xi.”

 

Last year, authorities with the CCP removed the Ten Commandments from nearly every Three-Self church and meeting venue in a county of Luoyang city and replaced them with the president’s quotes.

 

Following the implementation of revised religious regulation rules in February of 2018, Communist officials have shut down churches, arrested congregations, and attempted to rewrite the Bible in efforts to free religion from perceived foreign influence.

 

China’s campaign to sinicize religion originated in a speech by Xi at the National Religious Work Conference in April 2016. At the time, Xi stated that in order to “actively guide the adaptation of religions to socialist society, an important task is supporting China’s religions’ persistence in the direction of sinicization.”

 

Persecution watchdog Open Doors USA ranks China at No. 23 on its list of 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian. The nonprofit notes that while China’s constitution protects the right to religion, houses of worship are often tightly controlled and even shuttered if deemed too large, too political, or invite foreign guests.

_______________________________

© 2020 The Christian Post, INC. All Rights Reserved.

 

Defund the Police?


I just read a fantastic Christian perspective on those calling for the defunding of police from Evangelist Tony Cooke from his 7/15/20 email. I mention the date for as of today, I cannot locate the sermon/article/newsletter posted on his ministry website TonyCooke.org.

 

Rev. Cooke essentially says individuals should examine themselves in their operation of duty rather than castigating entire needed professions by the corrupt actions of individuals.

12 I beseech[a] you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your [b]reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. – Romans 12: 1-2 NKJV

 

A GREAT APPLICABLE WORD!

 

JRH 7/22/20

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Defund the Police?

 

Tony & Lisa Cooke (Ministry Photo)

 

By Tony Cooke

Sent July 15, 2020 11:00 AM

Sent via Tony Cooke Ministries

 

Dear Friend,

As numerous voices began calling for the defunding of police across our nation, I was reminded of a time when soldiers came to John the Baptist (in the light of his preaching of repentance) and asked what they should do. Interestingly, John did not tell them that they belonged to a corrupt profession and that they should all resign. Here is the context of that communication along with John’s instructions to tax collectors.

Luke 3:12-14 (NLT)
12 Even corrupt tax collectors came to be baptized and asked, “Teacher, what should we do?”
13 He replied, “Collect no more taxes than the government requires.”
14 “What should we do?” asked some soldiers.
John replied, “Don’t extort money or make false accusations. And be content with your pay.”

Note that John did not call for the abolition of collecting taxes or of the military. Rather, he called for integrity and ethical conduct among those in such positions. Let’s look at both the “corrupt tax collectors” and the soldiers, because there is a connection.

Israel was under Roman occupation in the first century, and tax collectors were notoriously corrupt. At the higher levels, tax collectors “bought” their positions by monies paid into the public treasury (hence, they were sometimes called publicans). Tax collectors were known for charging higher taxes to individuals than what the Roman government required and padding their own pockets.

As a result, these tax collectors were despised by the people. Jews like Matthew and Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-9) were considered traitors to their own people—they had sold out to the hated occupiers, the Romans—and were enriching themselves in the process. For a Jewish family, to have a tax collector in the family was a disgrace, and according to some accounts, their testimonies would not be accepted in a court of law and their offerings would not be received in the synagogue.

The soldiers who came to John the Baptist asking, “What should we do?” were most likely not Roman soldiers. They were probably Jews who worked under King Herod and assisted the tax collectors to ensure that maximum taxes were received. No doubt they would have received kickbacks from excessive taxes that were taken from the people.

Other translations of John’s admonition to the soldiers shed helpful insight:

(NKJV) “Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages.”

(ESV) “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.”

(KJV) “Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.”

(MSG) “No shakedowns, no blackmail—and be content with your rations.”

This word that John uses literally means, “to shake violently.” The word is related to the Greek word for “earthquake.” In other words, John did not want these soldiers to use threats, intimidation, or violence in their dealings with the people to extort money from the people.

Let me repeat, even though there was pervasive corruption associated with these professions in the first century, John did not denounce these occupations in their entirety, nor did he call for their dissolution. He did command repentance and righteousness. He wanted to see the hearts of men changed so that the people would be treated fairly and equitably.

When Jesus selected his disciples, a couple of amazing things happened that are often overlooked. First, Jesus called one of these despised tax collectors to be among the twelve.

 

Matthew 9:9-13 (NLT)
9 As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him.
10  Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners.
11 But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?”
12 When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.”
13 Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”

When Matthew invited others to join the dinner with Jesus, he invited “many other tax collectors and other disreputable sinners.” Why? Because those are the only people who would have associated with Matthew. The Pharisees called all of these people “scum.” Notice that instead of putting anyone down, Jesus simply states that sick people need a doctor and that he had come to call those “who know they are sinners.”

But this is just where it begins to be interesting. In Luke 6, the names of the twelve apostles are listed. Verse fifteen provides four of the names, and that grouping begins with Matthew and ends with an individual named “Simon the Zealot.”

The Zealots were a fierce, nationalistic group of Jews who absolutely despised the Roman occupation of their land. Some of them would have gladly killed a Roman without a second thought, and the only people they hated more than the Romans were their fellow-Jews who cooperated with the Romans.

To place Matthew (a tax collector who worked for the Romans) and Simon the Zealot on the same apostolic team would have seemed like complete insanity! These two men would typically never be in the same room together, much less work collaboratively on a team that required love and unity. It would only be through divine regeneration and transformation that two individuals from such divergent political and philosophical backgrounds would be able to embrace a cause greater than either of them had ever known.

While no management consultant would have ever encouraged Jesus to select such incompatible people to be his team, Jesus knew exactly what he was doing. Jesus had come to break down all barriers and give people new hearts. It is only through the new birth and the renewing of the mind that the most bitter of enemies can become the dearest of brothers.

Jesus had said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do” (Matthew 9:12). We will never understand what is going on in our society today until we recognize that sin permeates the history of humanity. All elements of society are tainted by sin. However, some sins are more egregious (at least in the eyes of society) than others.

Lust, greed, envy, gossip, pride, and many other sins are rarely acknowledged, and while others are shocking and scandalous. There are bad people who do bad things in every profession. It makes news:

 

  • When a preacher commits adultery

 

  • When a teacher molests a child

 

  • When a law enforcement officer crosses a line and brutalizes an innocent (or guilty) individual

 

  • When a doctor or dentist exploits a patient

 

  • When a financial advisor bilks an elderly investor out of their savings

 

  • When a politician or CEO embezzles funds

 

Yet we know things like this happen, and it is grievous when it does. Let me repeat: Sin permeates the history of humanity. All elements of society are tainted by sin. In the meantime, we should thank God and pray for every good preacher, every good teacher, every good law enforcement officer, etc. We need men and women of virtue in every sphere of life and society.

As a minister of the gospel, I believe our nation needs revival, but we also must have a revival in our individual lives. We are at a crossroads, and multitudes of people need to choose which direction they are going to go.

Two thousand years ago, a similar choice was presented. Jesus or Barabbas?

There is an imperative lesson here because Barabbas was likely a Zealot, of the same party as Simon. Simon may not have embraced violence as Barabbas did, but this story is fascinating.

Mark 15:7 (MSG)
There was one prisoner called Barabbas, locked up with the insurrectionists who had committed murder during the uprising against Rome.

The crowd had to make a choice between two men: the one who sought to solve things by violence or the one who sought to heal people through love. Confronted with Jesus and Barabbas, the mob regrettably chose Barabbas.

People can easily miss a fascinating point pertaining to the name of this other individual. In some translations (based on a variant Greek text), you will see him called Jesus Barabbas. Translated, Barabbas means Son of the Father. So, as Pilate stood before the angry mob, he offered them “Jesus of Nazareth,” or a person with a similar name, “Jesus Son of the Father.” Despite the similarity of their names, the two men could not have been more different.

 

  • Barabbas stood for complete lawlessness.

 

  • Jesus came to fulfill the old law and to introduce a new law. The new law would create “one new man” from backgrounds as diverse as Jew and Gentile, Tax Collector and Zealot.

 

  • Barabbas represented violence and destruction.

 

  • Jesus represented a new day of truly bringing people together and changing their hearts… people as radically different as Matthew (the tax collector) and Simon (the Zealot).

 

In the course of their lives, many people are going to have to decide which Jesus they are going to follow—the One who is truly the Son of the Father and the Prince of Peace, or the one who in essence is a counterfeit, offering a “solution” that only ends in death and destruction.

As I look at the word of God, I see it condemning the abuse of power. That is why John the Baptist gave those directives to the tax collectors and the soldiers. The vulnerable are not to be exploited and abused by those in power.

I also see the Bible condemning the use of violence to achieve one’s ends. That is why when Peter acted like a Zealot, took out a sword, and assaulted the High Priest’s servant, Jesus told him to put away his sword. Further, Jesus said, “Those who use the sword will die by the sword” (Matthew 26:52, NLT).

I recognize that those who do not recognize the Bible’s authority will not likely embrace biblical principles, but believers must be wise and recognize what we are called to do in this hour. Society will not change unless hearts are changed, and hearts will not change until the Lordship of Jesus Christ is honored and the Holy Spirit is allowed to have his way in our lives.

As we labor, love, preach, and pray, may the influence of the gospel and the love of God move us powerfully in the direction foreseen in days of old:
Habakkuk 2:14 (NKJV)
For the earth will be filled
With the knowledge of the glory of the LORD,
As the waters cover the sea.

_______________________________

Unless Authorship Otherwise Noted
Text Copyright © 2001 – 2019, Tony Cooke

 

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Church Leadership in Pakistan


I have received a rare submission from Shamim Mehmood on the state of Christians in Pakistan. Pakistani Christians are very persecuted peoples by the Muslim majority. In this submission there is the appearance of Christian clergy corruption in property matters and ordination. With all the persecution experienced by Pakistani Christians it is sad the Christian leadership is experiencing this inner turmoil. Below is Shamim’s report.

 

Bishop Humphrey Sarfaraz Peters 10/22/19

 

JRH 7/9/20

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Church Leadership in Pakistan

 

By Shamim Mehmood

Sent 7/5/2020 9:52 PM

 

Islamabad – Pakistan: The bishop of Peshawar, Bishop Humphrey Sarfraz [Most media spell “Sarfaraz”] Peters found in hot water – the congregation questioned his consecration as bishop after a decade.

 

Reportedly the bishop Humphrey Peter has been involved in selling the church properties and other proscribed provisions against the rules and procedure of the Church of Pakistan. A number of first investigation reports (FIR) stand filed against him at different police stations all around the province of Khayber Pakhtankhwa [Alternate spelling: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa].  The church also questioned his consecration which reportedly does not fulfil the requirements of the Church of Pakistan’s rules and procedures.

 

Bishop Mano Rumal Shah

 

A decade ago, Humphrey Peters went to England with the help of a dimissorial letter by the then Bishop of Peshawar Diocese, Bishop Mano Rumal Shah. The letter transposed Humphrey S. Peters to the Bishop of England Diocese of Oxford to ordain him in the Holy Orders. In his letter, Bishop Shah said that one of the members of our clergy Humphrey S. Peters was among the leading critics of the blasphemy laws of Pakistan, and very active in efforts to have this law annulled because it is a great hurdle in our missionary purposes. He has written numerous articles against this law and speaks out in open meetings against the legislation. This has put the life of Humphrey S. Peters in great danger and on his request the undersigned has given him this dimissory letter for your Diocese.

 

Later, Humphrey S. Peters came back to Peshawar and claimed the Bishophood of Peshawar Diocese without meeting the requirements of the priesthood. Here it may be in order to give some details of eligibility criteria of a candidate for Bishop. To occupy this important position in Christian hierarchy, one must be a deacon, Presbyter Ordination by diocesan Bishop. He or she must have served as presbyter in-charge at a parish for at least six years and have minimum of a three-year theological degree from a recognized seminary. Bishop must also be in possession of a good moral character.

 

It is to mention that Humphrey Peters took over the seat of bishop in 2011 with the help of some associates illegally.

__________________________

Edited by John R. Houk

Text embraced by brackets and embedded links are by the Editor.

 

© Shamim Mehmood

 

Choose Your God Wisely


Justin Smith submitted an Easter/Christian Rights message. The Easter part probably could have waited to next week because tomorrow is Palm Sunday rather than Easter. Palm Sunday represent the triumphal of Jesus into Jerusalem on a white donkey colt with the populace hailing the Lord Jesus with Hosanna to the son of David with palm branches and clothing laid in the path to honor Jesus. One week later a Sadducee/Pharisee Sanhedrin infused crowd shouted for the Lord’s crucifixion.

 

AND thank God for that Crucifixion because that led to the Resurrection of the Lord and Salvation for every person who believes in every generation.

PAY ATTENTION to the Christian Rights portion of Justin’s message. There are large numbers of Christians trying to congregate to worship the Risen Savior. Those Christians are being vilified by the MSM, the Dem Party and ironically vilified by many Christians gripped by the fear of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

In full disclosure on a personal level, I don’t have a lot of hitch in my get-along anymore. The result is I’ve been attending my Church online long before the ChiComs unleashed COVID-19 on the world.

 

BUT in this time of social distancing if Churches can figure how to meet without infecting others after Church, then BY GOD – congregate and worship even as fear is spread to hamper Christian worship.

 

JRH 4/4/20

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Choose Your God Wisely

We Call Ourselves “The Faithful”

 

By Justin O. Smith

Sent 4/4/2020 11:41 AM

 

Christ is risen! Truly, He is risen! Alleluia!

 

Today, faithful Christians in America are being tried and tested more than they ever have been in recent years, even the past century, as we prepare to worship God at this most holy season that commemorates Passover, the Last Supper and the Resurrection on Easter Day. Many troubling earthly matters have made life difficult for millions of our countrymen and people across the globe, as difficult as any time many have seen in this lifetime, and as one may think on the influence, or lack thereof, of the Spirit of God in our daily lives, one must wonder that we are not more concerned and anxious in preparing ourselves and our families for the events and inherent government evils currently lurking at our doors; for although this world is temporary, not one jot or tittle of the Lord will go unfulfilled.

 

With that said, every single Christian man, woman and child and every hungry questioning and inquiring soul seeking comfort and solace should be in attendance in Church this Easter Sunday, despite any and all “orders” and “mandates” handed down, after a grim cavalcade of data sheets, bad and false information and “experts” seemingly enabled the reins of power to be snatched from the executive, during this so-called “crisis”.

 

We call ourselves “the Faithful” and Christianity “the Faith”. Isn’t now the best time to exhibit some of that faith we are always holding up for the non-believers to see?

 

Are we so afraid of this virus, that we will actually comply with government orders and allow our right to assemble to be suppressed and essentially removed, based on an arbitrary whim of a politician? Can we not at the very least gather and hold hands in front of the Church altar for the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who came to earth and shed His blood in sacrifice, so that we might all be redeemed of our sins and receive salvation? You can always wash Your hands before and after.

 

Everybody certainly is free to worship as they see fit; however, don’t say you are “faithful” if you are living in such fear of death that you cannot or will not even walk through the Church doors to worship the God you say you love, or you, the pastors and priests, cannot stand before your congregations and deliver your Easter sermon in person over fear of the virus or fear of what the government response may be.

 

Is it so easy to turn your back on Your faith?

 

Recall that Jesus first received and endured a public flogging before his crucifixion. The Roman centurions flogged Jesus repeatedly with whips made of leather, jagged pieces of bone and iron balls, heavily bruising and lacerating His flesh, as they tore into his underlying muscles and cut Him into a horrific mass of bleeding flesh, so terrible to see for anyone with any compassion and a trace of love for their fellow man and all humanity.

 

As Isaiah 52:14 in the King James Bible recorded for posterity: “As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men“. Basically this tells us Jesus was so disfigured that the people were astonished, because one could barely recognize a person was underneath all the visible brutality and blood.

 

Following His Resurrection, Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene, as we know from many accounts such as Mark 16:9-10: “Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept.” But, He also remained on earth for the next forty days speaking to His followers, and there are no less than ten infallible proofs of His Resurrection offered in Scripture; Scripture also records that He ascended into Heaven, from Mount Olivet near Jerusalem, flanked by two angels as his Apostles stood by and witnessed it all.

 

We Christians understand the fellowship necessary in the Church to keep it alive and flourishing, and we train and teach our children in our ways, until the day they are baptized and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, which brings me joy as I recall my own grandchildren’s baptisms, in the Church and, when the weather permitted, outside in Drake’s Creek, with the frogs and snakes and all. We are baptized, we die and we rise with Christ.

 

And yet, the authorities would have us turn our backs on the One True God and our faith, without so much as a nod towards our right to freely assemble and worship, as we see fit. As reported by OneNewsNow on April 3rd, Mayor Bill de Blasio has threatened to close the Church down permanently if they refuse to abide and comply with his orders to close their doors: “(The police will) inform (church leaders) that they need to stop the services and disperse. If that does not happen, they will take additional action up to the point of fines and closing the building permanently.”

 

Attorney Brad Dacus, fellow at the Pacific Justice Institute, declared: There is absolutely no authority for the mayor (de Blasio) to engage in such a draconian, tyrannical practice, and to make such a threat in times like these shows a complete insensitivity to the rights of citizens in his town.”

 

On Monday, March 30th, in Florida, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister arrested Dr. Rodney Howard-Browne, after receiving an “anonymous tip” that he was still holding large church services at The River at Tampa Bay Church, in violation of a local “safer-at-home” order, that is obviously so illegitimate, illegal and UnConstitutional on more levels than one can mention here. He was arrested at his home and charged with “unlawful assembly” and violating public health emergency rules, misdemeanors carrying a 60 day jail sentence and a $500 fine.

 

Also recently, according to WAFB-TV (CBS News), Pastor Tony Spell of Life Tabernacle Church, near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was charged with six misdemeanors, after he repeatedly and rightfully defied Governor John Edwards orders prohibiting gatherings of ten or more people in one location. This past Sunday, March 29th, there were 1,265 people in attendance, and for each ten people, according to authorities, a separate charge can be placed that carries a 6 month jail sentence.

 

In a March 30th email and a separate statement to WAFB, Pastor Spell declared: “We have a constitutional right to congregate. We will continue. … The virus, we believe, is politically motivated (and I agree ~ JOS). We hold our religious rights dear and we are going to assemble no matter what someone says.”

 

Thank God at least two state governors, Gregg Abbott of Texas and Ron DeSantis of Florida, are exhibiting a bit of good common sense and pushing back against the harsh tactics of many so-called “leaders”. Both men have noted that “attending religious services conducted in churches … and houses of worship” are essential services and activity.

 

But how despicable it is to find that people are pointing their finger at others who are not causing them harm in the slightest, as these accusers hide behind a mask of anonymity, cowards that they are. A gathering of Christians doesn’t affect anyone who is standing on the outside, looking in and acting as a government informant on the Christians terrible “crime” against the state, unless the informant should accidentally hear the Word of God in the process. And how repugnant it is that one of our Fundamental God Given Rights is now frowned upon and penalized by the Leviathan as “unlawful assembly”.

 

The government, the Leviathan, and its new “Law” pleases those among us too innocent and dumb to know better, as it compares its small power to God’s Eternal Might and demands that Christians, and all Americans, accept the delusion of the State as our God, with instant and unquestioning obedience, while it also tries to justify lockdowns through this “pandemic”.  And, it has been emboldened by those large numbers of clergy genuflecting to the State, and many within its ranks today proceed to use the “safer-at-home” orders to eviscerate the remainders of our shredded liberty.

 

I’ll be in Church Easter Sunday, or kneeling in prayer outside its locked doors, and I hope many of You will join me there. Do not follow the Leviathan into any betrayal of Jesus Christ. Stand as one Church for Our Lord and Savior and take joy in the salvation that has come through His sacrifice upon the Cross for us all, all who acknowledge Him as the One True God, who came to earth and defeated Satan and Death, in order to usher in a new age and a New Covenant with Man.

 

That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”  John 3:15-17 King James Bible

 

Let us praise God for the bold believers and our courageous Christian Brothers and Sisters and Church leaders rebelling against tyrants and defying our “Rulers”, and in addition, we must pray that the Faithful throughout America follow their lead, challenging this arrogance of elected government officials and unelected bureaucrats, just as Believers across history have done. And let us stand firm, strong and staunchly together with friends and family, in defiance of government diktats, and open the churches to millions across America on Easter Sunday, throwing off the government’s chains of deceit and fear, as we, the Church, gather for the most precious and wonderful of Christian celebrations, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior.

 

And don’t forget. He has promised to return.

 

And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him; and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.”  ~ Revelation 6:1-2

 

In closing, I will leave You all with the one most important question You will ever answer in Your lifetime, as it was once put to all America in song, ‘When the Man Comes Around’ by Johnny Cash, who sang: “The hairs on your arm will stand up at the terror in each sip and in each sup. Will you partake of that last offered cup or disappear into the potter’s ground when the man comes around?

 

And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself. And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, it is not unlawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood. And they took counsel, and brought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in.”  ~ Matthew 25:5-7 King James Bible

 

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”  ~ Matthew 26:26-28 King James Bible

 

He is risen. He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!

 

By Justin O. Smith

______________________________

Edited by John R. Houk

Embedded links are by the Editor.

 

© Justin O. Smith

 

Islamic Hatred of Christians in Pakistan Evident


Saleem Masih murdered by Sher Doga in Pakistan (Photo foundIndependent News Coverage Pakistan)

 

Posted by John R. Houk

© March 12, 2020

 

Do you think Islam is evil? Here is a video from Peace Worldwide on Youtube (it’s in Urdu but you get the picture of anguish) which a Muslim murdered a Christian Gospel singer. Below is the video and below the video is the description of how the murder occurred written in English.

 

VIDEO: CHRISTIAN MAN MURDERED BY A PAKISTANI MUSLIM LANDLORD BECAUSE OF HIS FAITH IN CHRIST

Posted by Peace Worldwide

260 subscribers –  Mar 12, 2020

 

#PakistaniChristians #Genocide #persecution

 

This happened in Pakistan’s village called Bughyana in Kasur District. A Muslim landlord who is also a member of current government’s man Political Party killed a Christian man from that village because he was a Gospel Singer and that Muslim landlord didn’t like Gospel songs. He attacked his house, kidnapped him and tortured him in different ways including electrocution for days until he died. Now the government, Police or Courts of Pakistan are not doing anything because the man who died is a Christian and they just don’t care about a Christian. Pakistani Christians are facing genocide right now. Pakistani Government is actively involved in killing Christians everyday, they specifically target young Christian men. It seems like a crime to be a Christian in Pakistan. Please pray for this man’s family and share this video so more people can see the true face of Pakistan. You can’t find that kind of news on Mainstream Media which is why we need your help in spreading it. Pakistani Media always criticize India and other countries but at the same time they hide news in their own countries. This Christian woman who is speaking in the video has to hide her face because if she is recognized then Pakistani secret agencies will kidnap her and she will be disappeared forever.

 

When I finger point the reality of Islam, the race-baiters

Come out of the woodwork like cockroaches and scream, “ISLAMOPHOBE!” I’ll get over it but I expect the usual Social Media banning. In fact I would not be surprised if Youtube censors this 2 minute and 45 second video in one fashion or another.

 

If you think the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic is bad, try being a committed Christian in an Islamic dominated nation.

 

The Youtube description lacks details such as names and specific motives. I believe I have found more details from a Vatican News post from 3/5/20:

 

Pakistan’s religious leaders condemn brutal murder of young Christian

Pakistan’s Christian and Muslim leaders are calling for justice for the killers of Saleem and for stopping violence against Christians.

 

March 5, 2020 – 17:20

Vatican News

 

Outrage and condemnation are running high in Pakistan’s Christian communities following the brutal murder of a 22-year old young Christian in Kasur district, in Punjab Province.

 

Saleem Masih was attacked whilst taking a bath in a tube-well pool belonging to an influential local Muslim landlord.  Accusing him of polluting the pool water, his killers tortured him brutally causing multiple fractures and internal and external injuries all over his body.

 

The murderers kept him for about three days before returning the body to his family.  Taken to a hospital in Lahore Saleem succumbed to death on 28 February after three agonising days.

 

Several Christian and Muslim religious leaders met in Lahore on Wednesday to address the issue and plan their action, the Vatican’s Fides news agency reported.

 

At the meeting, chaired by Anglican Bishop Azad Marshal Raiwind of the Church of Pakistan, were present, among others, Father Francis Nadeem OFM Cap, Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Interreligious Dialogue and Ecumenism (NCIDE) of Pakistan’s Catholic Bishops’ Conference (PCBC), Pastor Emmanuel Khokhar and Islamic leader Muhammad Asim Makhdoom.

 

All present “expressed deep regret” over the episode, a sign of widespread intolerance towards Christians, and also over the inaction of the police to prevent the crime and releasing the perpetrators soon after.

 

“It is the state’s responsibility to provide security to all citizens of the country without any kind of discrimination. All citizens, of all religions, are equal, contribute to the development of their beloved nation and deserve equal rights,” Fr Nadeem told Fides.  “We are a nation and live under a single Constitution and a single flag. The state must enforce these fundamental principles,” he added.

 

Bishop Azad Marshal declared he will file a “First Information Report against the criminals and will not step back until the perpetrators receive the appropriate punishment”.

 

The assembly of religious leaders expressed While expressing pain and bitterness at the persecution of Christians in Pakistan, the assembly of religious leaders also recalled the sufferings of Muslims in India, inviting both countries to avoid discriminatory laws and behaviour and respect the “principle of citizenship”.

 

The assembly decided to appeal to human rights organizations of the world “to take immediate action to stop violence against Muslims in India and against religious minorities in Pakistan”.  It also planned to appeal to the government of Pakistan take practical measures to avoid this type of incident in the future and bring the perpetrators of Saleem Masih’s murder to justice and actively promote interreligious harmony in Pakistan.  (Source: Fides)

 

(Copyright © 2017-2020 Dicasterium pro Communicatione – All rights reserved.)

 

The Christian Post (CP) provides even more details. Search engine examinations only points to Peace Worldwide on Youtube about the murder victim being a Gospel Singer. Either Peace Worldwide video dated 3/12/20 got the details wrong or yet another incident of persecuting Christians in Pakistan has taken place. Below are the CP details:

 

Pakistani Christian man tortured to death for bathing in well water; family wants justice

 

By Samuel Smith, CP Reporter

MARCH 04, 2020

Christian Post

 

A 22-year-old Christian man was beaten to death in Pakistan’s Punjab province by men who accused him of “contaminating” water in a well owned by a Muslim farmer.

 

Sources have told human rights organizations that Christian laborer Saleem Masih from the Kasur district of Punjab was chained, dragged, and beaten with rods by a landowner and four other men around Feb. 25.

 

Masih died from his injuries on Feb. 28 at Lahore General Hospital, according to the U.K.-based Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement.

 

Masih’s older brother told the Union of Catholic Asia News that Masih was tortured for two hours for washing himself off in a tube well owned by a Muslim landowner who has been identified as Sher Doga.

 

“We have to take a bath after unloading husk from a trolley. Even the cold weather doesn’t matter. The itching from chaff, stuck in our clothes, disturbs our sleep,” Nadeem Masih was quoted as saying.

 

“They threatened him with dire consequences when he cleaned himself after unloading a vehicle last week. They accused him of desecrating their water. He was already being warned about making TikTok videos in farms belonging to Muslim landlords.”

 

Masih was discovered lying in Doga’s cattle farm with serious injuries on Feb. 25 in Bhagiana village, where many Christians work as farm laborers.

 

Nadeem Masih said local women informed him that they heard Masih moaning in pain around 7 a.m.

 

“He told the police about being chained, beaten and electrocuted by four men,” Nadeem Masih said. “They rolled a thick iron rod over his entire body. He was like a crushed sugar cane from a juice machine.”

 

Although Masih was taken to a hospital for surgery, he died from organ failure.

 

According to UCANews, Doga was arrested but later released. The high court in Lahore accepted a bail petition from the suspects who accused the Masih of stealing.

 

CLAAS Director Nasir Sayeed said in a press release that Doga summoned the police himself. Sayeed accused Doga of bribing police since police pressed Masih’s family to settle the matter.

 

According to Sayeed, Doga justified the crime by saying that Masih “committed a crime by dirtying” the well water.

 

“The Masih family had to plead with the landowner to free Saleem Masih so they could take him to a hospital for medical treatment,” Sayeed reported.

 

Ghafoor Masih told CLAAS that he wants justice for his son.

 

“Those who have killed my son must be punished for taking the law into their own hands and killing him for nothing but for being Christian,” Ghafoor Masih was quoted as saying.

 

According to Sayeed, it will not be easy to get justice for Masih because the “perpetrators are so influential.”

 

“The Pakistani police is often biased when it comes to the matter Muslims and non-Muslims,” Sayeed said.

 

Michelle Chaudhry, president of the Cecil and Iris Chaudhry Foundation, said in a statement that the “horrific act of violence is once again a grim reminder that intolerance in the name of religion in Pakistan has escalated beyond the rule of law.”

 

“Unfortunately, in Pakistan, when it comes to the religious minorities anyone is free to act as a prosecutor, judge and executor,” Chaudhry explained. “We cannot allow this to go on; impunity around violence against religious minorities in Pakistan has to end.”

 

Pakistan is ranked as the fifth-worst country in the world when it comes to Christian persecution, according to Open Doors USA’s 2020 World Watch List. Christians have often been victimized by societal persecution in the predominantly Muslim country.

 

In 2014, two Christians from Kasur were burned alive in a brick kiln by a Muslim mob after they were accused of desecrating a copy of the Quran.

 

“It is unacceptable that Christians in Pakistan still face discrimination and hatred on account of their religious identity,” CSW Executive Mervyn Thomas said in a statement.

 

“The government of Pakistan must take decisive action against the perpetrators of hate and those who carry out such crimes. We also urge the authorities to fully commit to the long-term work of overcoming the prejudiced mindset toward religious minorities in society.”

 

In a Feb. 26 tweet, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan warned that ” anyone in Pakistan targeting our non-Muslim citizens or their places of worship will be dealt with strictly.”

 

“Our minorities are equal citizens of this country,” Khan wrote.

 

According to UCA News, over 1,000 Christians attended Saleem Masih’s funeral held at an evangelical church in front of his home. Reportedly among those in attendance was Ejaz Alam, Punjab’s minister on human rights and minority affairs.

 

Masih’s killing has inspired the social media hashtag #JusticeForSaleemMasih.

 

© 2020 The Christian Post, INC. All Rights Reserved.)

 

JRH 3/12/20

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BLOG EDITOR (In Fascistbook jail since 1/20/20): I’ve apparently been placed in restricted Facebook Jail! The restriction was relegated after criticizing Democrats for supporting abortion in one post and criticizing Virginia Dems for gun-grabbing legislation and levying protester restrictions. Rather than capitulate to Facebook censorship by abandoning the platform, I choose to post and share until the Leftist censors ban me completely. Conservatives are a huge portion of Facebook. If more or all Conservatives are banned, it will affect the Facebook advertising revenue paradigm. SO FIGHT CENSORSHIP BY SHARE – SHARE – SHARE!!! Facebook notified me in pop-up on 1/20/20: “You’re temporarily restricted from joining and posting to groups that you do not manage until April 18 at 7:04 PM.”

 

In the Wake of a Tragedy


My friend and frequent blog contributor Justin Smith resides in the great State of Tennessee. On Saturday March 3 several tornadoes ravaged portions of Tennessee. Twenty-five people perished and many lost their homes.

 

President Donald Trump aboard Marine-1 flies over Tornado devastation Cookeville TN 3/6/20

You may have heard it said Rome was not built in a day? Neither will these victims of nature find relief and restoration in a day. If you know a way to donate for victim relief PLEASE do so. Justin mentions one organization that I have embedded the link: Middle Tennessee Emergency Response Fund. I’d be surprised if that was the only way to give so if you know a reliable relief effort for these tornado victims please participate. Below are Justin’s thoughts on the terrifying tornadoes.

 

JRH 3/9/20

 

BLOG EDITOR (In Fascistbook jail since 1/20/20): I’ve apparently been placed in restricted Facebook Jail! The restriction was relegated after criticizing Democrats for supporting abortion in one post and criticizing Virginia Dems for gun-grabbing legislation and levying protester restrictions. Rather than capitulate to Facebook censorship by abandoning the platform, I choose to post and share until the Leftist censors ban me completely. Conservatives are a huge portion of Facebook. If more or all Conservatives are banned, it will affect the Facebook advertising revenue paradigm. SO FIGHT CENSORSHIP BY SHARE – SHARE – SHARE!!! Facebook notified me in pop-up on 1/20/20: “You’re temporarily restricted from joining and posting to groups that you do not manage until April 18 at 7:04 PM.”

**********************

In the Wake of a Tragedy

Lives Lost and Heavy Hearts – God Shall Wipe Away All Tears

 

By Justin O. Smith

Sent March 7, 2020 8:44 PM

 

“And ye now therefore have sorrow; but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice … .”  ~ John 16:22

 

Tennesseans were reminded, in all too stark a manner, that our lives are so fragile at best and we will never know the day or the hour of our deaths, when four tornadoes blasted through Middle Tennessee in the early morning hours of March 3rd, at speeds of between 165 and 200 miles per hour in some cases. They were taken by surprise in Putnam County and the Greater Nashville Area, even though several news channels were broadcasting continuous warnings, and when they heard the freight train roar of the tornado, many had just enough, barely enough, time to make it to some semblance of safety, but some did not and were swept up in the whirlwinds that took their lives.

 

Despite the constant alerts from WSMV-4 Nashville, East Nashville residents only had about six minutes to get to safety and out of the way of an EF-3 tornado’s deadly 165 mile per hour winds, according to the Tornado Warning for Davidson County, and one resident, Danielle Theophile, told WSMV, “I got the warning and in less than ten minutes you could just feel the pressure, my ears were popping (and) we all ran downstairs and just huddled together.”

 

Linda Leath told of her and her husband being awakened at 2:00 a.m. (CST) by a tornado alert on her phone, and a minute later the tornado tore through their Cookeville home. They managed to keep from being sucked out of their home by hanging on to heavy furniture for dear life, with Linda ending up between her bed and a cedar chest.

 

In the aftermath of the worse tornadoes Tennessee has witnessed in seven years, a state of emergency was declared and first responders attended to the dazed and hurt people and spent the next three days in a process that included clearing and searching through the rubble and devastation for any survivors and the dead. Initially, they transported at least 156 people to local area hospitals, with several hundred more that followed [over 300 by some counts], and in due time, they determined that twenty-five poor unfortunate souls lost their lives in this disaster.

 

Reported by the Washington Post on March 3rd: “Tuesday morning’s destruction stretched for 50 miles across four counties. at least 48 buildings collapsed in Nashville, according to Fire Chief William Swann. Officials said gas leaks were ‘a major concern’ in the tornado’s wake. About 250 electric poles were downed or damaged, according to Nashville Electric Service.”

 

As bad as that may sound and as terrible the damage was in places like East and North Nashville, Lebanon, Mt Juliet, Hermitage, and Donelson, Putnam County was at ground zero of this tragedy, and it was hit much harder. It was later determined that an EF-4 tornado with sustained winds of 200 miles per hour had hit, destroying much of the city of Cookeville in the process, with eighteen of the tornado’s victims dying in this county.

 

On March 6th, a day after he declared a major disaster for the area and ordered federal aid to help the recovery efforts in Davidson, Putnam and Wilson Counties, President Donald Trump flew into Nashville on Air Force One to take a look at the devastated area and meet with Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and other elected officials and the victims of the area. He also surveyed a great deal of the damage from the air, in the Marine Force One helicopter. During the course of his visit to Cookeville, Pres. Trump stated, “This is real devastation like you’ll hopefully never see again.”

 

Due to numerous other such tragedies that he has dealt with over the past three years, as he planned his visit to Tennessee, President Trump also had previously remarked and noted: “Our hearts are full of sorrow for the lives that were lost. Those tornadoes — I’ve seen many of them during a three year period, and I’ve gotten to see the results. And they are vicious if you’re in their path.”

 

At one point, the President added, “You’re great people; it’s a great state.”

 

Many of you, my fellow Tennesseans, and others across the nation who may be reading this, may know one or many of those who were affected by this tragedy, just as I do.

 

Ashley King Burns – stiff upper lip near rubble

A dear friend of mine, Ms. Candice Temple, a Murfreesboro, TN resident, saw her family home destroyed. It was a home that had been in her family for fifty-eight years and where she lived as a child, and even in the face of this terrible event, Candice and her cousin, Ashley King Burns, managed smiles and gave thanks that family members had come out of it alive, including Candice’s mother, who lost everything. And, as they sifted through its ruins, they even took a moment to have themselves a little picnic on the stoop of their old home place, as they reminisced over all the happy times they had seen there, as children.

 

The home of Candice Temple’s Grandparents – destroyed

Exhibiting the spirit and the strength of the people of Tennessee, Candice had planted an American Flag in the roots of a large downed tree, and she exclaimed [in a recent Facebook post]: “We are cousins helping our families and we are proud Americans as well!!!! I had to put the flag up in our yard (well the roots of the tree). Our roots run deeper than any tree and no tornado can stop our LOVE or our Family.”

 

Candice Temple near Flag atop tornado ripped rubble

From all across the state and the nation, people and organizations have come to help in the cleanup and the rebuilding, as thousands of volunteers have descended on the hard hit areas, with tarps, tools and other equipment, including bobcats and bulldozers. There has also been a good number of donations coming from as far away as Canada, and it wasn’t even a matter of days before the resource center of Hands On Nashville had 20,000 volunteers to do work in each of the affected areas. The response has been outstanding, so far.

 

Several #NashvilleStrong operations have come to the forefront of the relief effort, and in fine fashion, Nashville’s Country Music artists have come to the rescue. Taylor Swift recently donated one million dollars to the Middle Tennessee Emergency Response Fund, that allocates resources and support to effected communities, as well as nonprofit organizations focused on helping survivors. And showing they are indeed part of the community, the Tennessee Titans NFL professional football team matched her million dollar donation.

 

As Reverend Frank Gordon, pastor of North Nashville’s Fourteenth Avenue Missionary Baptist Church, observes: “Most of the folks that I have talked with, black and white, all of our heads are pretty much in the same place. We have been through these things before with tornadoes and floods in Nashville. Each time that I recall it has happened, the major thrust in the community has been everybody pulling together.”

 

Unfortunately, twenty-five Tennessee families are now suffering the tragic loss of a loved family member who was taken from this world too soon in their minds and hearts. One such person, Larry Redmond, tells of stepping onto the porch of what once was his sister’s three bedroom home, in Putnam County, and seeing it gone, after he received a call at 3:00 a.m. from his nephew that the tornado had hit them. Redmond would later find the bodies of his sister, Cathy Selby, and her husband, Keith, approximately sixty yards away from where their home used to stand.

 

Speaking to Victor Oquendo of ABC News, Redmond said, “One night, one storm, killed them both.”

 

And the curious thing about the forces of nature, and the natural disasters associated with them, is that they don’t care if you are a Republican or a Democrat. Justine Arreche, a Bernie Sanders supporter, would later tell the Washington Post, “There’s nothing like crying in your half-bath, begging the dog to come in with you.”

 

If there was ever any doubt in anyone’s mind on the tenuous hold we all have on life, this one night certainly should remove it. There but for the Grace of God go I.

 

Tennessee and the Greater Nashville Area have faced such trials and adversity before, and there isn’t any doubt, for those who live long enough, the community will see tragedy come again, bringing a grief of such magnitude that it can only be extinguished over time through an intense personal journey, at one’s own pace. However, the efforts of everybody from all walks of life in Tennessee to help alleviate some of the hurt from this deeply sad point in time has been a thing of beauty and a testament to the special character found in the people of our state, as #NashvilleStrong has been seen everywhere of late; and those who call Tennessee and Nashville home should bear in mind this same strength sets this region apart, a strength that lies within the heart of the people who build their homes and make their lives here in Middle Tennessee.

 

“… God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away.”  ~ Revelation 21:4

 

And in closing, what better expression can be made than the wonderful words delivered by Ellie Holcomb, a singer-songwriter, who spent the night huddled in her basement with her three children and a few “sweet neighbors”, until the sun rose. And she offered the following poignant words: “Our hearts are grateful for breath in our lungs, but heavy for all the lives, homes, and businesses lost. In the same breath, the sun came up today and there was a community rising up strong from a terrible storm, hands and feet sowing up with love and chainsaws and water and food. I’ve never been more scared in my life, but I’ve also never been more sure that there is comfort and hope to be broken and shared with one another in the wake of a tragedy.”

 

By Justin O. Smith

+++++++++++++++++++++++

BLOG EDITOR (In Fascistbook jail since 1/20/20): I’ve apparently been placed in restricted Facebook Jail! The restriction was relegated after criticizing Democrats for supporting abortion in one post and criticizing Virginia Dems for gun-grabbing legislation and levying protester restrictions. Rather than capitulate to Facebook censorship by abandoning the platform, I choose to post and share until the Leftist censors ban me completely. Conservatives are a huge portion of Facebook. If more or all Conservatives are banned, it will affect the Facebook advertising revenue paradigm. SO FIGHT CENSORSHIP BY SHARE – SHARE – SHARE!!! Facebook notified me in pop-up on 1/20/20: “You’re temporarily restricted from joining and posting to groups that you do not manage until April 18 at 7:04 PM.”

______________________________

Edited by John R. Houk

Photos supplied by Justin Smith. Embedded links are by the Editor.

 

© Justin O. Smith

 

The Malevolent Influence of Pope Francis on Biblical Christianity


John R. Houk

© March 8, 2020

 

In full disclosure I am the kind of Christian that has Protestant roots from Pentecostal-Charismatic and (gasp) Word of Faith. As such even many a Protestant would classify me a heretic. Even so my Christian heritage places great stock in the inerrancy of the Holy Bible. Those that criticize my Christian pedigree largely do so due my understanding of Holy Scripture.

 

With my “full disclosure” being said, I’ve typically counted people as Believers that stand with Christian basics such as Jesus Christ is the Son of God born of the Virgin Mary (fully God and fully human); Jesus was scourged and Crucified by Roman soldiers at the behest of an illegal night trial by fearful Jewish leaders (excluding pro-Jesus leaders) of the Sanhedrin; Jesus died on that Cross and was placed in a tomb; three days after His death Jesus arose in bodily Resurrection to Glorification with pre-birth Divine prerogatives restored. Jesus the Son sits at the Right hand of the Father guiding Believers by their Holy Spirit until Jesus returns in Power Bringing the Kingdom of Heaven to Earth.

 

For me that includes Roman Catholics. Indeed, I was a huge fan of Pope John Paul II and had respect for Pope Benedict XVI. BUT the current Pope Francis who hails from Argentina appears so Left-Wing he seems to admire unbiblical Communist principles even contradicting Biblical teachings on homosexuality (See Also HERE) and unborn baby-killing.

 

Pope Francis and Communism

 

 

 

 

 

It is not surprising that anti-Catholic Protestants are beginning to look at Pope Francis as an Antichrist candidate. Yet take note many of the above articles criticizing and very displeased with Pope Francis’s dilution of morality and faith (keep in mind Communism is anti-religion as part of its core principle) are from Roman Catholic origins.

 

Pope Francis Antichrist Pondering

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Protestants for centuries have been trying to pin the Antichrist moniker on Popes for centuries. Dear God, the whole point of the Protestant Reformation occurring in the early 1500s was due to corrupt Popes more concerned about power and greed than the message of Christ.

 

Is Pope Francis yet another Pope corrupted? If so, the corruption might differ from the political power and material greed of yesteryear and gravitate more toward Globalist Eco-Marxism seeking human control over Individual Liberty. Check out this Roman Catholic criticism from The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP.org).

 

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BLOG EDITOR (In Fascistbook jail since 1/20/20): I’ve apparently been placed in restricted Facebook Jail! The restriction was relegated after criticizing Democrats for supporting abortion in one post and criticizing Virginia Dems for gun-grabbing legislation and levying protester restrictions. Rather than capitulate to Facebook censorship by abandoning the platform, I choose to post and share until the Leftist censors ban me completely. Conservatives are a huge portion of Facebook. If more or all Conservatives are banned, it will affect the Facebook advertising revenue paradigm. SO FIGHT CENSORSHIP BY SHARE – SHARE – SHARE!!! Facebook notified me in pop-up on 1/20/20: “You’re temporarily restricted from joining and posting to groups that you do not manage until April 18 at 7:04 PM.”

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Resisting the Grave Errors in Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation Querida Amazonia

 

By Luiz Sérgio Solimeo 

March 3, 2020

Tradition, Family and Property

 

Pope Francis (TFP.org Photo)

Resisting the Grave Errors in Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation Querida Amazonia

 

On February 2, Pope Francis finally made public the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Querida Amazonia. It was eagerly awaited: With joy by those seeking a new and desacralized Church, and with concern by those who love the Church.

 

The Errors in the Synod’s Prior Documents Were Not Condemned

 

Querida Amazonia neither corrected nor condemned the grave errors in the Synod’s previous documents, both the Instrumentum Laboris,1 and the Final Document, titled The Amazon: New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology.2 Instead, the Apostolic Exhortation retained those documents’ inspiration, namely the pantheistic evolutionism of the modernist heresy and Fr. Teilhard de Chardin, S.J.

 

Consequently, the serious criticism from cardinals and bishops that the Instrumentum Laboris contains heresies and is implicitly pantheistic remains valid.3

 

Querida Amazonia Quotes Poets, but not Fathers of the Church

 

Querida Amazonia does not quote Church Fathers and Doctors,4 as would be expected in a pontifical document. Instead, it highlights communist writers and poets. This makes the papal document almost surreal.5

 

On the other hand, Querida Amazonia attributes to the Amazonian indigenous peoples beliefs and customs that do not exist there. They belong to natives from other regions. Such is the case, for example, with the Pachamama “goddess”—which became the symbol of the Amazon Synod. Pachamama is not worshiped by the Amazonian indigenous people, but by those of the Andes mountain system.6

 

A Fictional Amazon

 

Like the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon region itself, Pope Francis’s Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Querida Amazonia does not discuss the Amazon region as it is. Rather, the exhortation dreams of a Utopia, “an imaginary place or state in which everything is perfect,”7 calling it Amazonia.

 

The Amazon Synod and the Vatican’s Radical Environmentalism

 

Like the “noble savage” (or good savage) dreamed up by eighteenth century Enlightenment philosophy, the denizens of Querida Amazonia are also fictional: Perfect, pure, and wise indigenous living in direct contact with a pristine Nature, a world where both jungle and tribesmen are as yet “uncorrupted” by progress and civilization.

 

Since the “noble savage” myth pervades all of the Pan-Amazon Synod’s documents, the Synod itself, and is one of the keys to understanding Querida Amazonia, it is worthwhile to explore it a bit more.

 

Querida Amazonia and Rousseau’s “Noble Savage”

 

Writing in 2004 on the myth of the good savage, Canadian professor Jany Boulanger offers interesting insights on the topic:

 

“Free, sensual, polygamous, communist, and good: these are the common features, highly caricatured, of the inhabitants of this ‘best of all worlds.’ … Without a doubt, Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778) is recognized as the one who most shared this myth by defending this idea, which runs through most of his work: ‘Nature has made man happy and good, but society makes him depraved and miserable.’”

 

For Rousseau, civilization and private property are evil. Prof. Boulanger continues:

 

“In his philosophical essays, Discours sur les sciences et les arts (1750), and Discours sur l’origine et les fondements de l’inégalité parmi les hommes (1755), Rousseau claims that man’s primitive state leads him toward virtue and happiness because his very ignorance of evil prevents it from spreading. The development of his intellect and his search for luxury, property, and power, encouraged by social institutions, are what cast man out of a paradise possibly closer to Nature.”8

 

Querida Amazonia and Aboriginal “Wisdom”

 

And so it is for Querida Amazonia as well. For Pope Francis, the Amazon’s so-called original peoples have not been “corrupted” by social institutions. They have preserved an “ancestral wisdom,” which they should transmit to the civilized world. Moreover, their “wisdom” must inform “Gospel inculturation” in the Amazon region.

 

A grouping of phrases from the exhortation Querida Amazonia illustrates the decisive role it ascribes to the natives’ so-called ancestral wisdom:

 

“The wisdom of the way of life of the original peoples” (no. 22).

 

Integration into urban life “disrupts the cultural transmission of a wisdom that had been passed down for centuries from generation to generation” (no. 30).

 

“Even now, we see in the Amazon region thousands of indigenous communities…. Each distinct group … in a vital synthesis with its surroundings, develops its own form of wisdom” (no. 32).

 

“For centuries, the Amazonian peoples passed down their cultural wisdom orally, with myths, legends, and tales” (no. 34).

 

“The wisdom of the original peoples of the Amazon region ‘inspires care and respect for creation, with a clear consciousness of its limits, and prohibits its abuse’” (no. 42).

 

“To protect the Amazon region, it is good to combine ancestral wisdom with contemporary technical knowledge, always working for a sustainable management of the land while also preserving the lifestyle and value systems of those who live there” (no. 51).

 

“For the Church to achieve a renewed inculturation of the Gospel in the Amazon region, she needs to listen to its ancestral wisdom” (no. 70).

 

“[W]e are called ‘to be their friends, to listen to them, to speak for them and to embrace the mysterious wisdom which God wishes to share with us through them.’ [103] Those who live in cities need to appreciate this wisdom and to allow themselves to be ‘re-educated’” (no. 72).

 

Does Grace “Suppose Culture”?

 

The concept of indigenous “ancestral wisdom” is one of Querida Amazonia’s central points. Where would this so-called wisdom come from? What is its nature? The papal exhortation claims that it was supposedly transmitted “orally, with myths, legends, and tales.” However, the exhortation says nothing about its origin and nature. Is this “mysterious wisdom” of natural or supernatural origin? Is it the result of grace or primitive revelation? Since Pope Francis claims that this “ancestral wisdom” should “inculturate” the Church, then it would seem likely that he considers it to be of divine origin, immanent in man. That is also what the modernist heresy sustains.9

 

The word “inculturation” is used twenty times in Querida Amazonia. It partners, as it were, in tandem, with the “ancestral wisdom” myth. But if the natives already possess wisdom and goodness (“the goodness that already exists in Amazonian cultures” – no. 66), then the role of the Church is not to convert them. Instead, the Church “brings it [the supposed goodness] to fulfillment in the light of the Gospel” (no. 66).

 

A Mission That Baptized No One in Fifty-Three Years:
The Flawed Evangelization Model of the Pan-Amazonian Synod

 

The Apostolic Exhortation exaggerates the role of culture, using the term forty-five times. It urges a dialogue with, an understanding of “Amazonian sensibilities and cultures from within” (no. 86). But Pope Francis goes far beyond this when he changes the classic theological axiom that “grace presupposes nature”10 to affirm that “grace supposes culture” (no. 68).11

 

Now, according to the classic definition, grace is “a supernatural gift of God to intellectual creatures (men, angels) for their eternal salvation, whether the latter be furthered and attained through salutary acts or a state of holiness.”12 Hence “[o]nly a rational or intellectual nature is susceptible to grace since it is by means of grace that the rational creature is lead to its ultimate perfection, which consists in the vision of God’s essence (visio beatifica).”13

 

In asserting that grace “supposes culture,” the human and angelic natures seem to be confused or identified with culture, which has a pantheistic flavor.

 

Inculturate the Church in “Ancestral Wisdom”

 

If grace supposes culture, then it follows that Querida Amazonia wants to inculturate the Gospel in the “ancestral wisdom” of the natives.

 

Indeed, one reads in the exhortation:

 

For the Church to achieve a renewed inculturation of the Gospel in the Amazon region, she needs to listen to its ancestral wisdom, listen once more to the voice of its elders, recognize the values present in the way of life of the original communities, and recover the rich stories of its peoples. In the Amazon region, we have inherited great riches from the pre-Columbian cultures. These include “openness to the action of God, a sense of gratitude for the fruits of the earth, the sacred character of human life and esteem for the family, a sense of solidarity and shared responsibility in common work, the importance of worship, belief in a life beyond this earth, and many other values (no. 70).14

 

These Are the Destructive Goals of the Pan-Amazon Synod

 

This “ancestral wisdom” of the Amazonian aborigines with which Pope Francis wants to inculturate the Gospel included the practice of cannibalism and polygamy.15 Thirteen ethnic groups in the Amazon region still practice infanticide, with some support from Brazil’s Indigenous Missionary Council.16 It is impossible to reconcile these practices with the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

[Link embedded in photo]

Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

 

Ecclesiastical Tribalism and Pentecostalism

 

The dream presented in the Querida Amazonia of a Church “inculturated” in the tribal molds was foreseen by the great Catholic thinker Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira in 1976 in his essay Revolution and Counter-Revolution:

 

“Obviously, it is not only the temporal realm that the Fourth Revolution wants to reduce to tribalism. It wants to do the same with the spiritual realm. How this is to be done can already be clearly seen in the currents of theologians and canonists who intend to transform the noble, bone-like rigidity of the ecclesiastical structure – as Our Lord Jesus Christ instituted it and twenty centuries of religious life molded it – into a cartilaginous, soft, and amorphous texture of dioceses and parishes without territories and of religious groups in which the firm canonical authority is gradually replaced by the ascendancy of Pentecostalist “prophets,” the counterparts of the structuralist-tribalist witch doctors. Eventually, these prophets will be indistinguishable from witch doctors. The same goes for the progressivist-Pentecostalist parish or diocese, which will take on the appearances of the cell-tribe of structuralism.”17

 

Following in the Steps of Teilhard de Chardin

 

As part of this inculturation of the Church with indigenous “culture,” Querida Amazonia has parts that evoke the Church-condemned pantheistic evolutionism of Fr. Teilhard de Chardin, S.J., the so-called mystic of the “cosmic Christ.”18

 

The Apostolic Exhortation states that “the indigenous peoples of the Amazon Region express the authentic quality of life as ‘good living.’ This involves … communal and cosmic harmony” (no. 71). Querida Amazonia then goes on to this pantheistic-flavored Teilhardian tirade:

 

Certainly, we should esteem the indigenous mysticism that sees the interconnection and interdependence of the whole of creation, the mysticism of gratuitousness that loves life as a gift, the mysticism of a sacred wonder before nature, and all its forms of life.

 

At the same time, though, we are called to turn this relationship with God present in the cosmos into an increasingly personal relationship with a “Thou” who sustains our lives and wants to give them a meaning, a “Thou” who knows us and loves us (no. 73).

 

Querida Amazonia continues, citing Pope Francis’s Teilhardian encyclical Laudato Si’, “Similarly, a relationship with Jesus Christ, true God and true man, liberator and redeemer, is not inimical to the markedly cosmic worldview that characterizes the indigenous peoples, since he is also the Risen Lord who permeates all things. …[T]he Son of God has incorporated in his person part of the material world, planting in it a seed of definitive transformation” (no. 74).

 

The Anti-Pastoral Work of the Amazon Synod. What You Need to Know

 

Again citing Laudato Si’, the Apostolic Exhortation states:

 

The inculturation of Christian spirituality in the cultures of the original peoples can benefit in a particular way from the sacraments since they unite the divine and the cosmic, grace, and creation. In the Amazon region, the sacraments should not be viewed in discontinuity with creation. They “are a privileged way in which nature is taken up by God to become a means of mediating supernatural life.” They are the fulfillment of creation, in which nature is elevated to become a locus and instrument of grace, enabling us “to embrace the world on a different plane (no. 81).

 

Still citing Laudato Si’, the document suggests that matter is divinized and presents the Eucharist as a “fragment of matter”: “In the Eucharist, God, ‘in the culmination of the mystery of the Incarnation, chose to reach our intimate depths through a fragment of matter.’ The Eucharist ‘joins heaven and earth; it embraces and penetrates all creation’” (no. 82).

 

It is clear in these passages, perhaps more than in other places, how Pope Francis’s new document exploits the Amazon and its indigenous peoples, using them as a mere pretext to spread evolutionary cosmic pantheism.

 

Will “Pachamama” Worship Be Part of an Inculturated Liturgy?

 

The exhortation explains the liturgy’s inculturation: “‘[E]ncountering God does not mean fleeing from this world or turning our back on nature.’ It means that we can take up into the liturgy many elements proper to the experience of indigenous peoples in their contact with nature and respect native forms of expression in song, dance, rituals, gestures, and symbols. The Second Vatican Council called for this effort to inculturate the liturgy among indigenous peoples” (no. 82).

 

A telling illustration of how to do this Amazonian inculturation in Church ceremonies was the worshipping of the Pachamama goddess (Mother Earth) done on October 4, 2019, in the Vatican Gardens, then in Saint Peter’s Basilica, and in a procession with two bishops carrying the idol on a kind of float from the Basilica to the hall in which the Synod Fathers gathered. Pope Francis was present on all these occasions and gave the Pachamama idol a blessing during the first one.19

 

Having Worshipped Pachamama, Pope Francis Now Disparages Mary’s Co-Redeeming Role

 

In Querida Amazonia, Pope Francis seeks to justify all these ceremonies worshipping the Pachamama goddess:20 “It is possible to take up an indigenous symbol in some way, without necessarily considering it as idolatry. A myth charged with spiritual meaning can be used to advantage and not always considered a pagan error” (no. 79).

 

Querida Amazonia also reiterates the moral laxity of Amoris Laetitia: “[T]he Church must be particularly concerned to offer understanding, comfort, and acceptance, rather than imposing straightaway a set of rules that only lead people to feel judged and abandoned by the very Mother called to show them God’s mercy” (no. 84).

 

Not a Victory for Conservatives

 

Since Querida Amazonia does not mention the ordaining of married men (viri probati) as priests or women as deaconesses, some conservatives claimed victory. It is true that many liberal Catholics were looking forward to this step, and the Final Document called for it. Thus, in a sense, one can say that the omission was a conservative victory. However, as we will see below, it was not a true victory, but a pyrrhic one.21 Pope Francis transcended the issue, addressing it on a much higher plane and in a devastating manner. The sad truth is that Querida Amazonia points to a change in the priestly ministry and liturgy that achieves the same results in practice, without appearing to do so. This subversive change is in line with the new Church’s understanding of grace and the sacraments.

 

Querida Amazonia points out the way ahead for progressives in the form of a rhetorical question: “Inculturation should also be increasingly reflected in an incarnate form of ecclesial organization and ministry. If we are to inculturate spirituality, holiness, and the Gospel itself, how can we not consider an inculturation of the ways we structure and carry out ecclesial ministries?” (no. 85).

 

Listen to the Amazon Indians Not Liberation Theologians!

 

True, the document states that only an ordained priest can consecrate and “preside at the Eucharist” (see nos. 86–90). However, it also says that Amazonian inculturation “requires the stable presence of mature and lay leaders endowed with authority … requires the Church to be open to the Spirit’s boldness, to trust in, and concretely to permit, the growth of a specific ecclesial culture that is distinctively lay” (no. 94).

 

These “mature and lay leaders” sound very much like the Synod’s “viri probati.” Since the type of authority these male or female mature and lay leaders will receive is not made clear, bishops or episcopal conferences may interpret it as they see fit. This is how the bishops of Malta and Argentina interpreted Amoris Laetitia regarding the admission of divorced and “remarried” Catholics to Holy Communion.22 And, just as those bishops received the pope’s approval and that approval was proclaimed Church magisterium and incorporated into the Acta Apostolicae Sedes, so also now, one can reasonably foresee that Pope Francis will similarly approve these new “Church with an Amazonian face” inculturation steps implemented by bishops in Brazil, Peru, Congo, India … or elsewhere.

 

Inculturating the Priestly Ministry in the New Lay Church

 

This methodology seems all the more likely since Querida Amazonia, as seen, exhorts the fostering of “a specific ecclesial culture that is distinctively lay.” If, as discussed above, “grace supposes culture,” and culture must be clearly and distinctly lay, are we not headed to a lay Church in which the priest’s role is reduced to the consecration of the Eucharist and the absolving of sins, and he is stripped of all authority and superiority over the non-ordained laity?

 

Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernandez, of La Plata, Argentina, a close friend, ghostwriter for, and adviser to Pope Francis, made a very important remark on this secularization of the Church in an article published by L’Osservatore Romano on February 17, 2020.23

 

Why Priestly Celibacy?

 

After stating that the Pope in Querida Amazonia did not close the door on married priests but only refrained from dealing with the matter, the archbishop states:

 

“In any case, the ecclesial dream expressed by Francis gives new impetus to the renewal of the Church. His appeal to create a ‘distinctively lay’ Amazonian Church (no. 94) is particularly strong. That is why Francis demands that the laity be ‘endowed with authority’ (no. 94). This entails reviewing a way of understanding the priesthood that relates too much to its power in the community. Francis explicitly talks about it in points 87 and 88. Francis specifies that, when it is said that the priest is a sign of Christ the Head, it must be understood as the source of grace, especially in the Eucharist, and not as a source of power. Therefore, the leadership of communities can be entrusted to lay leaders endowed with authority who can create a more participatory Church.”

 

Along the lines of a “distinctively lay” Amazonian Church, one of the reasons Pope Francis presented for not ordaining women as deaconesses is that to do so would be “clericalism”: “It would lead us to clericalize women, diminish the great value of what they have already accomplished, and subtly make their indispensable contribution less effective” (no. 100).

 

An Intermediary Stage Toward a New Synodal Church

 

In addition, it must be pointed out that, the pope has failed to sign an official teaching document of the Church using the classic formula: “Given in Rome, at Saint Peter’s, etc.” In signing the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Querida Amazonia, Pope Francis employed a new and unconventional formula: “Given in Rome, at the Cathedral of Saint John Lateran…

 

This is not a meaningless detail. On the contrary, it signals yet another step toward creating a new Church that is no longer hierarchical and monarchical—with the Pope as its Supreme Authority—but, instead, an egalitarian “Synodal Church” in the mold of the schismatic and heretical Orthodox churches which are governed by synods of bishops. In this new synodal church, the pope would become merely the primus inter pares—the first among equals, having a primacy of honor, no longer a primacy of jurisdiction.

 

Indeed, while Saint Peter’s Basilica symbolizes the pope’s universal power (with the tomb of Saint Peter, Prince of the Apostles, in its crypt), the Basilica of Saint John Lateran is the cathedral church of the Diocese of Rome, of which, the pope is the bishop. By abandoning the classic formula for signing a papal document “at Saint Peter’s…” Pope Francis appears to signal that he is acting only as Bishop of Rome, not as the pope. He does this in a “synodal” document in which he strongly insists on the Church’s “synodality.”

 

Nothing Was Corrected, and New Errors Were Added

 

Except for its form, Pope Francis changed nothing of the Synod’s prior documents in this new exhortation. Querida Amazonia presents the same errors contained in the Synod’s Instrumentum Laboris and Final Document. Appearances were altered, but the essence remained the same. Worse, other errors were added, including doctrinal confusion on grace and culture, the sacraments, and the priestly ministry.

 

Given its depth, global scope, and, above all, its undermining of the papacy and the priesthood, the Synod of Bishops on the Amazon region, and its documents, including the Apostolic Exhortation Querida Amazonia, are symptoms of a crisis the likes of which Holy Church has never known.

 

In the face of this situation, we cannot fail to render special veneration to Saint Peter and all popes who shone for their sanctity on the pontifical throne. The errors and attitudes of Pope Francis should not lead anyone to sedevacantism, the disparagement of the papacy, or diminishing the authority and powers conferred by Our Lord on Saint Peter and his successors. To resist Pope Francis’s error is not to revolt, which is never legitimate. Rather, it is filial obedience. It is to imitate Saint Paul, who resisted Saint Peter on the issue of the Judaizers (Gal. 2:11).24

 

Convinced that Our Lord will be with His Church every day until the end of time, and confiding in the Blessed Mother’s promise at Fatima, that finally, her Immaculate Heart will triumph, with God’s grace, we must continue the fight, resisting every infiltration of error and evil into the One, Holy, Roman, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

 

Footnotes

 

  1. Pan-Amazon Synod, “The Working Document for the Synod of Bishops,” at http://www.sinodoamazonico.va/content/sinodoamazonico/en/documents/pan-amazon-synod–the-working-document-for-the-synod-of-bishops.html, accessed Feb. 26, 2020.
  2. “Final Document of the Amazon Synod,” at http://www.sinodoamazonico.va/content/sinodoamazonico/en/documents/final-document-of-the-amazon-synod.html, accessed Feb. 26, 2020.
  3. See Maike Hickson, “Walter Cardinal Brandmüller: ‘Everything Is at Stake at the Amazon Synod,’” LifeSiteNews, Oct. 17, 2019, https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/cdl-brandmueller-everything-is-at-stake-at-the-amazon-synod; Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke and Bishop Athanasius Schneider, “A Crusade of Prayer and Fasting: To Implore God that Error and Heresy do not pervert the coming Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon,” https://www.ncregister.com/images/uploads/BurkeSchneider.pdf, accessed Feb. 26, 2020.
  4. Except two references en passant to Saint Thomas Aquinas which do not provide support for the document’s theological framework.
  5. The poets quoted are communists or socialists: Pablo Neruda, Vinícius de Morais, Juan Carlos Galeano, and Amadeu Thiago De Lello. Poetess Sui Yun’s work is spoiled by eroticism and scorn for moral norms. On the latter, see Ignacio López-Calvo, Dragons in the Land of the Condor: Writing Tusán in Peru (Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press, 2014), 144.
  6. Pachamama is a goddess revered by the indigenous people of the Andes. She is also known as the earth/time mother. In Inca mythology, Pachamama is a fertility goddess who presides over planting and harvesting, embodies the mountains, and causes earthquakes.” Wikipedia contributors, “Pachamama,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Pachamama&oldid=940223563 (accessed Feb. 28, 2020).
  7. “Utopia,” Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries, https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/utopia, accessed Feb. 22, 2020.
  8. Jany Boulanger, “Le Mythe du bon sauvage,” Encyclopédie Syllabus – Section Littérature – le XVIIIe siècle (Cégep du Vieux Montréal), http://www.cvm.qc.ca/encephi/Syllabus/Litterature/18e/bonsauvage.htm (our translation and emphasis), accessed Feb. 17, 2020.
  9. See Pius X, encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis, Sept. 8, 1907, no. 7, http://www.vatican.va/content/pius-x/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-x_enc_19070908_pascendi-dominici-gregis.html.
  10. Summa Theologica, I, q.2, a.2, ad 1.
  11. Pope Francis’s use of “grace supposes culture” at no. 68 in Querida Amazonia is a quote from no. 115 of his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, which he issued on Nov. 24, 2013.
  12. J. Pohle, “Actual Grace,” in The Catholic Encyclopedia (New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909), retrieved Feb. 18, 2020 from New Advent, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06689x.htm.
  13. Dr. Rudi de Velde, Aquinas On God: The “Divine Science” of the Summa Theologiae (Farnham, Surrey, UK: Ashgate Publishing Limited), 151.
  14. Except where otherwise noted, the emphasis is ours.
  15. Marta Iansen, “A Poligamia Entre Indígenas (E Como os Missionários Jesuítas Lidavam com ela),” História & Outras Histórias, Sept. 9, 2016, https://martaiansen.blogspot.com/2016/09/poligamia-entre-indigenas.html; Giovana Sanchez, “Como eram os rituais de canibalismo dos índios brasileiros?” Super Interessante, Nov. 22, 2018, https://super.abril.com.br/historia/como-eram-os-rituais-de-canibalismo-dos-indios-brasileiros/.
  16. “Tradição indígena faz pais tirarem a vida de crianças com deficiência física: A prática acontece em pelos menos 13 etnias indígenas do Brasil. Uma tradição comum antes mesmo de o homem branco chegar ao país,” O Globo-Fantástico, Dec. 7, 2014, http://g1.globo.com/fantastico/noticia/2014/12/tradicao-indigena-faz-pais-tirarem-vida-de-crianca-com-deficiencia-fisica.html; Sandro Magister, “Infanticide in the Amazon: There Are Those Who Defend It, Even in the Church,” L’Espresso-Settimo Cielo, Oct. 9, 2019, http://magister.blogautore.espresso.repubblica.it/2019/10/09/infanticide-in-the-amazon-there-are-those-who-defend-it-even-in-the-church/; Ana Paula Boni, “Infanticídio põe em xeque respeito à tradição indígena,” Folha de S. Paulo, Apr. 6, 2008, https://www1.folha.uol.com.br/fsp/brasil/fc0604200811.htm; Rita Segato, “Que Cada Povo Trame os Fios da Sua História,” Conselho Indigenista Missionario, Sept. 17, 2007, https://cimi.org.br/2007/09/26510/.
  17. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, Revolution and Counter-Revolution (The American Society for the Defense of Tradition Family and Property, Spring Grove, PA, 1993), 162.
  18. See Arnaldo Vidigal Xavier da Silveira, “Notes on the Unacceptable Philosophy and Theology of Laudato Si’,” TFP.org, Aug. 2, 2017, https://www.tfp.org/notes-unacceptable-philosophy-theology-laudato-si/.
  19. “Video Shows Pope Francis Blessing Controversial ‘Pachamama’ Statue,” LifeSiteNews on YouTube, Oct. 24, 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Wjdkrfj5OI; Jeanne Smits, “Cardinal Burke: ‘Diabolical forces’ Entered St. Peter’s Basilica Through Pachamama Idolatry,” LifeSiteNews, Dec. 10, 2019, https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/cardinal-burke-diabolical-forces-entered-st-peters-basilica-through-pachamama-idolatry; Anne Kurian, “Les titres du lundi 7 octobre 2019 – L’Amazonie, c’est aussi en France: Les Amérindiens et les Afro-Américains en Guyane française,” Zenit, Oct. 7, 2019, https://fr.zenit.org/articles/les-titres-du-lundi-7-octobre-2019-lamazonie-cest-aussi-en-france/.
  20. On the Pachamama “goddess,” see Juan Antonio Montes, “Pachamama, Just a Symbol or Also an Idol?” PanAmazonSynodWatch.info, Oct. 26, 2019, https://panamazonsynodwatch.info/editorial/pachamama-just-a-symbol-or-also-an-idol/.
  21. “A victory that is not worth winning because so much is lost to achieve it.” “Pyrrhic victory” Merriam-Webster https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Pyrrhic%20victory, accessed Feb. 26, 2020.
  22. See Fr. Raymond J. de Souza, “With ‘Querida Amazonia,’ It’s ‘Deja Amoris’ All Over Again,” National Catholic Register, Feb. 14, 2020, https://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/with-querida-amazonia-its-deja-amoris-all-over-again.
  23. Victor Manuel Fernández, Archbishop of La Plata, “Apporti innovativi di ‘Querida Amazonia’,” L’Osservatore Romano, Feb. 17, 2020, http://www.osservatoreromano.va/it/news/apporti-innovativi-di-querida-amazonia [our translation]; see also Maike Hickson, “Pope’s Ghostwriter, Advisor Claims Francis Blazed Path to Married Priests in Amazon Exhortation,” LifeSiteNews, Feb. 20, 2020, https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/popes-ghostwriter-advisor-claims-francis-blazed-path-to-married-priests-in-amazon-exhortation.
  24. “But when Cephas was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.” The Douay-Rheims Bible.

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The Malevolent Influence of Pope Francis on Biblical Christianity

John R. Houk

© March 8, 2020

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Resisting the Grave Errors in Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation Querida Amazonia

 

© 2020 The American TFP. All rights reserved.

 

Lessons From Palestinian Rule Over Bethlehem


The facts on Muslim rule over Christians (many if not most of Arab descent) where pseudo-Palestinians have governed are disturbing. It would make a Leftist Multiculturalist proud because the facts include the horrors of depopulation.

 

JRH 2/26/20

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BLOG EDITOR: I’ve apparently been placed in restricted Facebook Jail! The restriction was relegated after criticizing Democrats for supporting abortion in one post and criticizing Virginia Dems for gun-grabbing legislation and levying protester restrictions. Rather than capitulate to Facebook censorship by abandoning the platform, I choose to post and share until the Leftist censors ban me completely. Conservatives are a huge portion of Facebook. If more or all Conservatives are banned, it will affect the Facebook advertising revenue paradigm. SO FIGHT CENSORSHIP BY SHARE – SHARE – SHARE!!! Facebook notified me in pop-up on 1/20/20: “You’re temporarily restricted from joining and posting to groups that you do not manage until April 18 at 7:04 PM.”

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Lessons From Palestinian Rule Over Bethlehem

 

By Dov Lipman

January 28, 2020

Honest Reporting

 

The minaret of a Muslim mosque at Bethlehem’s Manger Square is reflected in a gold crucifix during the 2002 Christmas Eve procession outside the Church of the Nativity. (Photo by David Silverman/Getty Images)

 

What is so special about Bethlehem?

 

For Jews, the town’s holiness stems from its description as the burial place of Rachel, Jacob’s beloved wife (Genesis 35:19). Later on, the story of Ruth largely revolves around Bethlehem as the childhood home of King David and the place where he was anointed as king (Samuel I 16:1-13). Jewish tradition teaches that the Messiah will come from Bethlehem (Micha 5:2-5).

 

Christian tradition teaches that Bethlehem was the birthplace of Jesus (Matthew 2:1–12, Luke 2:4–20, and John 7:42). The Church of the Nativity was built by Constantine the Great in the 4th century CE over a cave believed to be the very spot where Jesus was born.

 

Bethlehem Now and Then

 

Sadly, this holy city has also become a city of contention.

 

The 1947 United Nations Partition Plan proposed placing Bethlehem, which is just six miles southwest of Jerusalem, under UN control as part of the Jerusalem international zone. During the War of Independence in 1948 which broke out after the Arab countries rejected the partition plan, the Arab Legion took control of Bethlehem. During these 19 years the Christian population declined from in the thousands.

 

Israel took control over the city in June 1967 during the Six Day War. The Christian residents asked Israel to annex the city and make it an official part of Israel but Israel rejected the idea, holding out for the possibility of it returning to Arab hands in the context of a peace agreement.

 

Bethlehem-Jerusalem Map

 

From 1967 until 1995 Bethlehem thrived. Christians came on pilgrimages to the Church of the Nativity in the millions and Jewish worshippers flocked to the revered Tomb of Rachel. Local vendors, restaurants, and hotels experienced great success as people from all faiths felt free to visit and walk the city streets.

 

But then in 1995, Israeli negotiations with the Palestinian leadership led to the Oslo II Accords in which Israel agreed to hand over civilian and security control to six cities – Jericho, Tulkarem, Nablus, Qalqilya, and Bethlehem.

 

Bethlehem’s longtime Christian mayor, Elias Frej, begged Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin not to give the city which has a majority Christian population over to the Palestinian Authority. He was afraid what Muslim rule would do to the Christians living there. But Israel, seeking a breakthrough in its relationship with the Palestinians, handed Bethlehem over to Palestinian rule on December 21, 1995.

 

Rachel’s Tomb

 

This led to a period of horrific unrest in and around the holy city. Palestinian snipers began shooting at Jewish visitors to Rachel’s Tomb and even killed IDF soldiers who were protecting those worshippers. At times, the holy site which was fortified with concrete walls and roofs, had to be closed because of the threats from Palestinian terrorists.  At other times visitors could only travel to the holy site in armored vehicles.

 

Aside from the attacks against Rachel’s Tomb, Bethlehem became a home base for terrorist cells and the launching pad for terror attacks against Israeli citizens. Its proximity to Jerusalem made the capital vulnerable. A few examples:

 

  • Dec. 5, 2001: Palestinian terrorist Daoud Ali Ahmed Saad was sent by the Islamic Jihad base in Bethlehem to blow himself up in the heart of downtown Jerusalem. He did so, seriously injuring five civilians.

 

  • Feb. 18, 2002: Palestinian terrorist Yasser Said Moussa Uda was sent by a Fatah/Tanzim terror group in Bethlehem to blow himself up next to a roadblock on a highway outside Jerusalem. He killed an Israeli police officer and seriously injured two civilians.

 

  • March 2, 2002: Sent by a Fatah/Tanzim terror cell in the Bethlehem district, Muhammad Ahmed Abd El-Rahman Derameh was transported to Jerusalem where he blew himself up next to worshippers leaving a Jerusalem synagogue. He was driven there by Ashraf Hajajara who also lived in the Bethlehem district.

 

  • March 17, 2002: Sent by an Islamic Jihad terror cell in Bethlehem, Akram Ishak Abdullah Nabatiti blew himself up at a major Jerusalem junction, seriously injuring 25 people.

 

  • March 29, 2002: Palestinian terrorist Ayat Mohammed Latfi al-Akhras from the Bethlehem district blew herself up in a main Jerusalem supermarket, killing two civilians and injuring 22.

 

  • March 31, 2002: Fatah operatives in Bethlehem prepared a bomb in a backpack and sent a 16-year-old boy to Jerusalem. The boy  blew himself up next to a health clinic, injuring six civilians.

 

Thus, Bethlehem became a base for Palestinian attacks against Israelis in Jerusalem. The mounting  casualties forced the Israel Defense Forces to enter the city repeatedly to search and arrest the terrorists. Israeli forces also worked to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure in the city. Not only were numerous suicide bombings thwarted, security forces also uncovered mortars and infrastructure for the production of rockets.

 

Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity

 

Israel also had no choice but to construct the security barrier which envelops Bethlehem, giving it the feeling of a city under siege. These measures sharply reduced the number of successful terror attacks, but with a Hamas terror cell strongly entrenched in Bethlehem, attempts continue.

 

Christians and their holy sites suffered terribly from the fighting, especially the Church of the Nativity during a month-long siege. On April 2, during the IDF’s Operation Defensive Shield of 2002, Israeli forces moved to arrest a number of Palestinian fugitives in the city. Fifty fled to the church compound where they held 200 monks hostage. After 38 days, the siege ended peacefully with the Palestinian fugitives agreeing to go into exile, some to Gaza and others to Europe. Israeli security forces found 40 explosives left behind in the church compound, a number of which were booby trapped.

 

Bethlehem’s Declining Christians

 

Aside from the challenges created by the security conflict, Christians see how radical Muslims persecute Christians throughout the Middle East and see that this has been happening since the Palestinian Authority was given control of the city. Examples of Palestinian Muslims intimidating their Christian neighbors include:

 

  • Land theft either by force or by forged documents, with little to no recourse in the PA justice system.

 

  • Muslim men harassing Christian women verbally or sexually.

 

  • Christian businesses forced to pay protection money.

 

  • Discrimination against Christians in job opportunities.

 

  • Churches being broken into, looted or vandalized.

 

  • Muslims who convert to Christianity face ostracism, assaults, even murder.

 

  • Kidnapping and forced conversion of Christians.

 

 

All of this has led to a significant decline in the Christian population in Bethlehem.

 

Bethlehem’s Shepherd’s Field

 

Whereas Christians used to make up a majority of Bethlehem’s residents, today, after 25 years of Palestinian control over the city, Christians make up only 20% of its population. (A similar occurrence took place in Gaza where 5,000 Christians lived in 2005 when Israel pulled out. After 14 years of Hamas rule,  only 1,000 Christians remain, and churches are often demolished.)

 

The situation in now Palestinian controlled Bethlehem stands in stark contrast to Israeli controlled Jerusalem, just six miles to the north. In Jerusalem the Christian population can practice their faith freely and securely. The Jerusalem municipality even provides free Christmas trees to Christian residents.

 

In fact, Israel is the only country in the Middle East in which the native Christian population increased since 1948. By the end of 2019, Israel’s Christian population stood at 177,000, having grown 1.5 percent according to the Central Bureau of Statistics.

 

The lesson is clear. Christians thrive with total religious freedom in Israeli-controlled areas, and suffer when Israel yields control to radical Palestinian forces.

 

Featured image: Rachel’s Tomb via Wikimedia Commons; Church of the Nativity CC BY-SA Dan; Shepherd’s Field CC BY-NC fabcom;

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