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Jim

Faith under fire

I think the capacity to retain faith under extreme persecution is truly remarkable. This is from the Open Doors web site;


North Korea
Refugees say North Korea right to be ranked no. 1 on World Watch List
For the eleventh consecutive year, North Korea has been ranked as the most difficult place on earth to be a Christian. The mere possession of a Bible in North Korea is often enough reason for a Christian to be executed or sent to a prison camp, along with several generations of their family.
Overwhelmingly, North Korean refugees agree. They state that the complete lack of human rights, including freedom of religion, makes the situation in their country incomparable to any other.
Timothy*, a 24-year-old North Korean, was almost tortured to death after being arrested in China nine years ago, because he was seen as a traitor. He says the government is preoccupied with nuclear tests. "They ignore all freedoms, the human rights level is zero per cent. Religions are not allowed. The leader of North Korea has to be worshipped as god and this will not change unless the regime collapses."
For 15 years Timothy lived in North Korea. He says, "I remember they showed us cartoons and animated movies about bad Christians. The Christian God was a monster for me. However, when I was 11, I witnessed the public execution of a Christian. His crime was that he had hidden tiny Bibles in the roof of his house. The same year a lady was shot. She had escaped to China and went to church there, but a North Korean spy discovered her activities. He had her arrested and sent back to North Korea, where she was also killed in public. I am convinced these practices still occur in my country. As for myself, I learned to trust in God when He saved me from torture and prison. Thanks to Him I am still here."
The Open Doors World Watch List <https://partners.opendoorsuk.org/page.redir?target=http%3a%2f%2fwww.oduk.org%2fnews%2fdocuments%2fWWL_2013.pdf&srcid=11143&srctid=1&erid=1720130&trid=fa68c457-bdd4-4704-b14c-fbb7bc72ce0f  outlines the 50 countries where it is hardest to be a Christian. It measures the degree of freedom of a Christian to live out their faith in five spheres of life - private, family, community, congregation and national life - plus a sixth sphere measuring the degree of violence. In 2012, persecution against Christians rose significantly in Africa, and believers in Nigeria, Iraq and Syria suffered most at the hands of violent extremists.
*Name changed for security reasons
Source: Open Doors

Reminds me of that poster - the one with the empty gallows and the waiting noose;
The slogan read,
"If you were put on trial for your faith, would there be enough evidence to convict you?"
LeClerc

Re: Faith under fire

Hi Jim

Jim wrote:
I think the capacity to retain faith under extreme persecution is truly remarkable. This is from the Open Doors web site;


North Korea
Refugees say North Korea right to be ranked no. 1 on World Watch List
For the eleventh consecutive year, North Korea has been ranked as the most difficult place on earth to be a Christian. The mere possession of a Bible in North Korea is often enough reason for a Christian to be executed or sent to a prison camp, along with several generations of their family.
Overwhelmingly, North Korean refugees agree. They state that the complete lack of human rights, including freedom of religion, makes the situation in their country incomparable to any other.
Timothy*, a 24-year-old North Korean, was almost tortured to death after being arrested in China nine years ago, because he was seen as a traitor. He says the government is preoccupied with nuclear tests. "They ignore all freedoms, the human rights level is zero per cent. Religions are not allowed. The leader of North Korea has to be worshipped as god and this will not change unless the regime collapses."
For 15 years Timothy lived in North Korea. He says, "I remember they showed us cartoons and animated movies about bad Christians. The Christian God was a monster for me. However, when I was 11, I witnessed the public execution of a Christian. His crime was that he had hidden tiny Bibles in the roof of his house. The same year a lady was shot. She had escaped to China and went to church there, but a North Korean spy discovered her activities. He had her arrested and sent back to North Korea, where she was also killed in public. I am convinced these practices still occur in my country. As for myself, I learned to trust in God when He saved me from torture and prison. Thanks to Him I am still here."
The Open Doors World Watch List <https://partners.opendoorsuk.org/page.redir?target=http%3a%2f%2fwww.oduk.org%2fnews%2fdocuments%2fWWL_2013.pdf&srcid=11143&srctid=1&erid=1720130&trid=fa68c457-bdd4-4704-b14c-fbb7bc72ce0f  outlines the 50 countries where it is hardest to be a Christian. It measures the degree of freedom of a Christian to live out their faith in five spheres of life - private, family, community, congregation and national life - plus a sixth sphere measuring the degree of violence. In 2012, persecution against Christians rose significantly in Africa, and believers in Nigeria, Iraq and Syria suffered most at the hands of violent extremists.
*Name changed for security reasons
Source: Open Doors

Reminds me of that poster - the one with the empty gallows and the waiting noose;
The slogan read,
"If you were put on trial for your faith, would there be enough evidence to convict you?"


Matthew 7
16 By their fruits you will know them. Do you gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles?
17 Even so, every good tree produces good fruit; but the corrupt tree produces evil fruit.
18 A good tree can't produce evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree produce good fruit.
19 Every tree that doesn't grow good fruit is cut down, and thrown into the fire.
20 Therefore, by their fruits you will know them.


LeClerc
bnabernard

Re: Faith under fire

Jim wrote:
I think the capacity to retain faith under extreme persecution is truly remarkable. This is from the Open Doors web site;


North Korea
Refugees say North Korea right to be ranked no. 1 on World Watch List
For the eleventh consecutive year, North Korea has been ranked as the most difficult place on earth to be a Christian. The mere possession of a Bible in North Korea is often enough reason for a Christian to be executed or sent to a prison camp, along with several generations of their family.
Overwhelmingly, North Korean refugees agree. They state that the complete lack of human rights, including freedom of religion, makes the situation in their country incomparable to any other.
Timothy*, a 24-year-old North Korean, was almost tortured to death after being arrested in China nine years ago, because he was seen as a traitor. He says the government is preoccupied with nuclear tests. "They ignore all freedoms, the human rights level is zero per cent. Religions are not allowed. The leader of North Korea has to be worshipped as god and this will not change unless the regime collapses."
For 15 years Timothy lived in North Korea. He says, "I remember they showed us cartoons and animated movies about bad Christians. The Christian God was a monster for me. However, when I was 11, I witnessed the public execution of a Christian. His crime was that he had hidden tiny Bibles in the roof of his house. The same year a lady was shot. She had escaped to China and went to church there, but a North Korean spy discovered her activities. He had her arrested and sent back to North Korea, where she was also killed in public. I am convinced these practices still occur in my country. As for myself, I learned to trust in God when He saved me from torture and prison. Thanks to Him I am still here."
The Open Doors World Watch List <https://partners.opendoorsuk.org/page.redir?target=http%3a%2f%2fwww.oduk.org%2fnews%2fdocuments%2fWWL_2013.pdf&srcid=11143&srctid=1&erid=1720130&trid=fa68c457-bdd4-4704-b14c-fbb7bc72ce0f  outlines the 50 countries where it is hardest to be a Christian. It measures the degree of freedom of a Christian to live out their faith in five spheres of life - private, family, community, congregation and national life - plus a sixth sphere measuring the degree of violence. In 2012, persecution against Christians rose significantly in Africa, and believers in Nigeria, Iraq and Syria suffered most at the hands of violent extremists.
*Name changed for security reasons
Source: Open Doors

Reminds me of that poster - the one with the empty gallows and the waiting noose;
The slogan read,
"If you were put on trial for your faith, would there be enough evidence to convict you?"


Perhaps these non christian entities look at the history of the christian religion and apply the scripture quoted by Leclerc,
Matthew 7
16 By their fruits you will know them. Do you gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles?
17 Even so, every good tree produces good fruit; but the corrupt tree produces evil fruit.
18 A good tree can't produce evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree produce good fruit.
19 Every tree that doesn't grow good fruit is cut down, and thrown into the fire.
20 Therefore, by their fruits you will know them.

It would be quite frightening for those of another faith to contemplate a rise of christianity in their midst given it's agenda in the past of persecution and bloodshed and disunity?

Bernard (hug)
Powwow

By another faith bna, I take it you are talking about the faith of the N Korean government. That would be the faith of atheism.
Jim

I'm not quite sure you could describe it as athiesm, powwow.
Oh, it started out as atheist, as all communist governments did - but apparently such systems invariably gravitate to relegiosity of some sort, probably because state atheism satisfies no-one, and therefore, to fill the vacuum, a cult of leadership developed which is eternal. Isn't their first leader Kim-il-Sung, still the "Great leader" even though he snuffed it thirty-odd years ago?
bnabernard

Isn't the norm of these Asian countries to view the leader as a God?

Though no doubt they are against imperialism the same is in their eyes Christianity, but what you have reported is the persecution and slaughter of Christians, not imperialists. One conjectures then that if an imperialist atheist lives in these countries then they would not be persecuted, however, the report emphasises the persecution of those who turn to Christianity of any form.

So what is the fear of the government that supports the persecutions, Christianity or imperialism.
Are the two one?

bernard (hug)
Jim

I doubt you can confuse the Christianity of the persecuted church with the gunboat diplomacy world of the detestable British empire and its nineteenth century European counterparts, Bernie.
For a start, there are no Western well meaning missionaries trying to force believers to live like 'civilised' Europeans - Thank God...literally.
These believers are, for the most part, simply armed with translations of Scripture in their own language, if they can get them* and faith.
No financial pot to attract converts; only faith shared in the God who suffers with His people.

* the work of Open Doors is simply to provide resources for the persecuted church; not to theologise. They help all spectrums of Christianity under fire, from Orthodoxy to Evangelicalism.
bnabernard

Christianity of any form.

The reason I underlined ANY was to draw attention to the tar that sticks.

What is being asked for from the governments is tolerance and the question is, how do the governments regard tolerance when they require a one minded support against what they are basicaly at war with.

Internment was the order of the day when war exist's between two or more nations, therefore hidden/concealed operations are treason against the government.

So am I promoting persecution? no I'm speaking of governments that want one mind, I think this was witnessed when Japan had it's recent problems, the people did not fight over everything that was going, they queued and shared and took sufficient for their needs which unfortunatley showed the christian tolerent countries up.

You Jim speak of your own faith as having no political ties, no king and country but one faith in God united, there in lies a problem for a government that requires unity and support, they will turn against anyone that deems to be independent, Hitler did the same, he had his scapegoat in the jews, and rightly or wrongly was able to draw a focus of blame and unite people in a common cause.

Pocket groups that say ''we are not like that'' unfortunately come with the baggage of those that are like that, and if christianity has a bad name then they are a target where they are a minority.

There is a need for whatever christian groups to come out in support of the existing regimes of their location, is that what the recomendation suggest's to these persecuted people?

Do they say, ''you should be like us as christians'' or do they say, ''though we are christians we are no different from you'' ?

bernard (hug)
Jim

Bernie,
Sometimes standing out is the only option. Going with the flow, compromising the faith, going down the road of blending in isn't what Jesus had in mind for us. Sometimes people pay that price with their lives.

    A guy I was at school with, Shishir Ganvir, was such a one. He was raised in Scotland, but both parents were Indian. He converted to Christ as a teenager, and had the joy of seeing his parents convert, also.  He went to India to pastor a small church in a Hindu nationalist area. When he and his young family arrived, there was a congregation of about twenty or so. Within three years, over eighty believers met regularly...Then  a mob of fundamentalist Hindus broke into his church and the ajoining house. His family escaped, but Shishir was beaten to death. The church was destroyed and the congregation scattered. That was in 1987. Those scattered people, however, with a little help from Open Doors providing Bibles, now founded three separate congregations. The last I heard ( 2010) all three had a total membership of over seven hundred!
bnabernard

1987 one thousand nine hundred and seven years, 2010, pretty much sums it up, two thousand and ten years.

Jim, I just come back to the start having realised that to say what I mean I will be typing all night, I was going to delete but will leave the ramble as it is, ostensibly I look and all I see is well meaning people who leave no legacy and that is how it has been since the day.
Where legacy has been left it turns to shame rather than a beacon to gather to where the wieght is lifted and the burden loosed.

Is the hindu rebelling against a religion he sees as a good thing?

Look to the world and see how wonderful the christian people have made it, is that the message preached to converts, or is it, we can make christianity better than it has been?

A common phrase of mine lately has been 'never mind the quality feel the width' .

The widow of a local vicar has been trying to become ordained, her husband went to colledge with Rowan Williams,.
She wants to help change the church from within? 2013 two thousand and thirteen years,
I afraid I'm minded of that old song, three wheels on my wagon and I'm still rolling along.

What you might be thinking at the moment is that you are not this or not that, you mentioned earlier the evangelists and the orthodox, where exactly are the lines drawn, where exactly is the son of God going to pitch his tent on his return, and who is not in the wrong, not I the other, and then preach the christian message.

Two thousand years and nowhere the unity, nowhere the beacon, tattered flags and crumbling buildings, are we waiting for God or a pheonix to rise from the ashes.
Figs from thorn bushes?

Communities are taking a new road, lively churches, no more icons and and crosses, friendly pastors (my nephews one with the vineyard group who do a reasonable service arround and about) modern attitudes.

A pastor friend goe to the middle east for three to six months a year (well he did, I've not had contact for eight years so I presume he still does) I'm sure James has brothers in his faith that knock on doors and teach.

Why are the people not queing to become part of something good, why are they resisting ?


bernard (hug)
Powwow

Jim,
ALL atheist governments do that. Look at the hero worship of Lenin etc, etc. That's what atheist governments do. The Castro's and there's old Ho Chi of Vietnam, Mao of China. So yes we can call them what they are, atheist. Christians are not the only targets for the N Korean government and if you look at their constitution, they are an atheist country. It's in their constitution. Because they choose to remove God for a man doesn't mean they can't be atheists. They claim to be atheists, I believe them, and who am I to say they really aren't?
Ketty

bnabernard wrote:

Why are the people not queing to become part of something good, why are they resisting ?


Who is the lord of this earth in this time?

To accept the Gospel means self-sacrifice.  Man being man, being by nature self-serving, it's easier to keep the status quo and either knowingly or unknowingly serve the lord of this earth in this time.
bnabernard

Yes Kett I'm afraid I have to agree with you, and it adds to the point I have in mind.
To many jobs being done in to many places without anough hands to the pumps. It's a bit like cutting the heart up into small pieces and sticking them all over the place.

bernard (hug)
Jim

Pow Wow;
Since when did these quasi-communist oligarchies or autocracies take any notice whatsoever of their own constitutions?
N. Korea may well be a theoretically atheist country....but if it is, then it's a crazy, mixed up atheist country!
When Kim Jong Il popped his clogs, the junta declared (quoting here from the Open Doors web site)

  "Our dear leader has gone to join our Great leader. Together let them guard our republic, watching over us as we mourn."

Doesn't seem very atheistic, does it?
What amazes me, though, is that, from the admittedly fragmented evidence, the church survives and even grows slightly there, under the horrendous pressure of the state.
bnabernard

Jim
What would the church give them if it got control?
What has soth Korea got that is better than north Korea?
I'm interested becaus I don't realy know a lot about either other than propoganda.

bernard (hug)
Jim

From the Open Doors site:
Mali
Christians living in fear
Christians in Mali remain fearful for their future as Islamist millitants continue their fight against French and Malian forces trying to regain control of the north of the country.  
Following a military coup in March 2012, Islamist fighters and Tuareg rebels occupied northern Mali, establishing a harsh Islamic regime. More than 250,000 Malians fled to neighbouring countries and about 200,000 others fled south to the capital, Bamako.
Mohamed Habi, a Christian refugee now in Bamako, says: "I gave my life to Christ two years ago but all members of my family are Muslims, which is why my wife and daughter despise me. When the Islamists captured Timbuktu and began their search for Christians to kill, I escaped to Mauritania.
"I implored my wife and daughter to go with me but they refused. My wife asked me to deny Christ and remain with them in the north. But I refused and escaped."
Christian father of seven, Ibrahaim Saydou Toure, was shot during an ambush by Islamist fighters in which 22 people died. "I suffered a gunshot to my face," Ibrahaim says. "I was rushed to the hospital where the bullet was removed. God saved me!"  The bullet blocked one of his nostrils and disfigured his lips. Doctors hope to repair the damage through more surgery.
Open Doors co-workers were able to take four trips to Mali last year to assess the situation and help refugees with housing, food and medical bills. Refugee Zeinabou Walatalhamir said: "We have nine children. If not for this kind of support (from Open Doors) how would we care for and feed our children?"
Due to the rise to power of the Islamists in the north and the subsequent dramatic increase in the persecution of Christians, Mali jumped to No. 7 on the Open Doors 2013 World Watch List <https://partners.opendoorsuk.org/page.redir?target=http%3a%2f%2fwww.opendoorsuk.org%2fresources%2fcountry_profiles.php&srcid=11591&srctid=1&erid=1833096&trid=4716d1c6-ac39-4264-be5b-c2b862a03a1c .

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