Christian News Update #4

Christian News Update #4

Down below, there is a list of various stories circulating around the internet regarding Christianity and some of the trials they face and some of the successes. As I present these stories I will try and report based off what I saw through different sources and give a quick snippet of the story as unbiased as I can and then I would like to give a few things that I noticed while researching these stories. These are the stories that I have chosen to cover this week.

International

  • On May 12, 2021, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken released the annual Report on International Religious Freedom. In this report, Blinken addressed China as responsible for nearly 200 million religious adherents being persecuted. The report addressed that there is genocidal and inhumane acts being committed by China against Muslim Uryghurs, Christian, Buddhists, and various religious ethnic minorities. The State Department recognizes that there is evidence based on survivor testimonies and Chinese government records. The study identifies Xia Baolong, the current head of Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office, as an enemy of religious freedom in his prospective arenas. 
  • On May 10, 2021, Islamic extremists posted a ransom of 30 million (U.S. $73,600) for the release of a pastor kidnapped in Southwestern Nigeria. Otamayomi Ogedengbe is the pastor of Deeper Life Bible Church in Akure, Ondo state. It was in the church that Ogedengbe was led away at gunpoint during a Bible study. On May 13, 2021, the kidnappers contacted the pastor’s family after a few days and claimed that the ransom was non-negotiable. Ondo State police are looking into the abduction. As of 2021, Nigeria leads the world in the number of Christian’s kidnapped with 990. As of 2020, Nigeria is also the country with the highest number of Christians killed with 3,530.   
  • On May 18, 2021, The Church of Sweden (Europe’s Largest Lutheran Denomination), openly identified as a transgender church in an open letter published on their site. The article titled, “Personal Letter to You Who Are Trans”, was written by 6 authors within the church, with 4 of them being priests. The letter is primarily addressed to those who church labels, “trans-excluding feminism”, although it targets other general classifications as well such as “radical-right wing Christian groups”. The church, in an introductory statement, states that the church is “also trans”,  “also consists of transgender people”, and is “described as trans”. The letter is signed by over 1,000 church members from various backgrounds and utilizes the story of Hagar in Genesis 16 to identify with the transgender community. This is not the church’s first move towards “woke” ideology as seen in 2017, the denomination promoted gender-neutral terminology when referring to God.  

U.S.

  • On the Tuesday of May 18, 2021, the Oregon Health Authority updated Covid-19 rules requiring businesses and churches to check the vaccination status of visitors to their institutions. These regulations require the status check and review before visitors can legally return to work or worship without a mask and or without social distancing requirements. This directive also addresses outdoor coronavirus rules and states that when outside, masks are no longer required unless under certain defined circumstances. 
  • During the conflict between Israel and Hamas over the past two weeks, American Christians have offered aid through the funding and delivery of bomb shelters. A notable organization making headway within news publications is The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. On May 19, 2021, the organization supplied the city of Ashkelon, Israel with 13 mobile bomb shelters. These shelters were supplied because of the high demand after the heavy bombardment that the coastal city has taken from Hamas. This organization has been supplying bomb shelters and defensive supplies such as armored vests since 1983. Since 1983, nearly 3,000 bomb shelters have been supplied to Israel with 59 of the bomb shelters being placed within the past 18 months. 

Some Notes:

Today’s news has some interesting pieces to discuss!

First of all, I would like this post to serve as a reminder to the persecution that is ever so prevalent within our world and directed to Christians.

Keep countries such China, Nigeria, and Pakistan in mind throughout your prayer time.

It breaks my heart to hear of Christians (Or any person in that regard) losing there lives and being treated less than what human dignity should be treated.

However, know that the Word of God teaches that this should be an expectation when receiving the salvation Christ provided through His Gospel.

2 Timothy 3:12 states, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution”.

Saying this, the Bible also encourages me through times of persecution or in fear of the persecution I see around me when I am assured that:

Jesus saves our soul, He is our rock, and our shield. He is the predecessor of Christian suffering (John 15:18).

On another note, after reading the letter from the Church of Sweden regarding its identity as a transgender church, I find it dismaying to the see the condition of various limbs of the Body of Christ in such disarray.

Some of the concluding statements of the letter were as follows,

“Whatever you encounter and whatever others say, no one can take away your gender identity and your human dignity. God loves you, just as you are.

We believe in a church and a God who welcomes people beyond power, national boundaries, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender and gender identity. A humanity in all the colors of the rainbow, absolutely fantastic and infinite in its diversity.
We are different and that is good. And God saw that it was good”.

This denomination stands on a foundation rooted in the image of Adam and carnality.

When saying this, I am not directly referring to the transgender cause; although, like many sins in the Bible such a lying, greed, and fornication, it is contrary to God’s Holy and perfect nature and statutes.

(There is hope despite this and I am not arguing that God does not love transgender people, just as they are. He loves regardless. I am arguing however that God is far to good to leave people as they were. We are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). As a church, we are never called to stoop as low to call evil, “good”).

The overall danger that I really see with this denomination (And many like it) is the action of falling into a brain transplant that removes Christ as the head of their lives.

Rather, they replace Him with a man made form of morality that twists the good things of God (Such as His church structure and edifying intention) into nothing more than cheap representation of a church that is not discernible from this present evil world.

This church exemplifies the nature of the situation Paul was addressing in Romans 1:22 when he stated, “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools”.

In the U.S., I find Oregon’s arrogant overstep of authority in the management of churches, to be repulsive and if extensively enforced by government officials, it should be challenged in the court systems.

These oversteps have resulted in some large injustices within other countries such as Canada and Great Britain and the government has no grounds to do this besides the ones that they make mandate by mandate, contrary to the United States Constitution’s first amendment.

There is so much more that I would like to discuss but I am certain this will not be the last news update where issues such as these will be presented. So for now, I will leave this in the realm of HIPAA.

Lastly, I would like to give a moment of appreciation to the Christian’s who have contributed to the safety of the afflicted Israelis.

I encourage prayer for the ever evolving situation in the Middle East and that more will come to know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. Because as always, the world is an uncertain place.

However, what is for certain is the hope that we can have in Jesus Christ and the perfect future He is bringing.

I hope that you have enjoyed the stories selected for this news update. I hope this time has been enriching.

God bless!

Websites Utilized:

christiandaily.com; christianpost.com; svenskakyrkan.se; ktvz.com; christianheadlines.com; news.yahoo.com;

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