Asia Harvest – The Brutal Persecution of the Chinese Church

A real picture of a Chinese believer named Huang Xikai being tortured by Communist police

“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:8-9).

Although the Apostle Paul didn’t go into detail about the kind of pressure he was under when he visited areas in present-day Turkey, it’s interesting that the Greek words he used here were in relation to what occurs when a heavy stone, weighing as much as 300 pounds, was slowly lowered onto the chest of a restrained person to torture them. The pressure gradually increased as the stone came down, making it almost impossible to breath. The victim was immobilized, unable to move forward or back. They were completely helpless. That’s the kind of pressure Paul experienced when sharing the gospel.

As believers, we often face hardships, but many times we manage to find an escape route, or at least we are able to delay the pain. Sometimes, however, there are no options available, and we must be totally stripped of all props. God is able to bring us to a place of utter helplessness in ourselves or in other people. All we are left with is Jesus, and if He does not sustain us, we will die.

When we get to this place, we will be able to say with Paul that we “rely not on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.” Indeed, God did figuratively raise Paul from the dead on that and many other occasions, and he continued to establish God’s kingdom among the Gentiles until the day God called him home.

In China today, many Christians also feel like Paul did. Since President-for-life, Xi Jinping, announced his plans to clamp down on religion, massive persecution has broken out against God’s people, in ways that have not been seen since Mao’s demonic campaigns to destroy Christianity from the 1950s to the 1970s.

In this newsletter, and subsequent issues, we plan to share a thorough overview of what is going on in China today, especially in relation to the Body of Christ.

(Read HERE the rest of this article.)

28 septembrie – Comemorare Ferenc Visky la Oradea

Platforma Decenu.eu și editura Casa Cărții te invită la un eveniment comemorativ Ferenc Visky și lansarea cărții Prizonierii speranței, editor Francisc Visky. 

Ferenc Visky (1918-2005), preot reformat din mișcarea betanistă, a fost arestat de regim și condamnat la 22 de închisoare (a stat închis însă între 1958-1964). La scurtă vreme după arestarea lui, soția Julia și cei 7 copii (cu vârste între 12 și 2 ani) sunt deportați în Bărăgan și abandonați în câmp. În închisoare, Visky Ferenc se împrietenește cu Richard Wurmbrand și cu alți deținuți de diferite naționalități și confesiuni. După grațiere, a fost repartizat în parohia din Paleu, lângă Oradea, ca să fie mai ușor de supravegheat de către autorități. Își continuă însă întâlnirile și activitățile subversive, iar în 1983 va fi obligat să se pensioneze. Născut la Agriș (județul SM), decedează în 2005 la Oradea.

La eveniment vor participa doi dintre băieții lui Ferenc: Francisc și András. Francisc, cel mai mare dintre copiii familiei Visky, avea 12 ani când au fost deportați în Bărăgan și tot atunci construiește primul său aparat de radio. Va rămâne toată viața un pasionat radioamator și colecționar de aparate radio. Este un povestitor talentat și cu simțul umorului. András este dramaturg și director artistic adjunct al Teatrului Maghiar din Cluj Napoca. Predă la Facultatea de Teatru și Televiziune din Cluj și ca profesor invitat în școli precum Yale, University of California, Osaka University sau University of Michigan. Piesele sale au fost jucate pe scene din SUA, Franța Italia, Polonia, Italia, Ungaria, România etc.

Momentul muzical va fi susținut de trupa: Élő Kövek (Pietre Vii).

Intrarea la eveniment este gratuită, dar cu rezervarea locului în sală. Atenție, locurile sunt limitate!

Evenimentul va fi în limba română, cu excepția pieselor muzicale (care vor beneficia de traducere).

A Message from an Imprisoned Chinese House Church Leader

Pastor Wang Yi & his wife

In October, house church pastor Wang Yi (pictured above with his wife) sat down and wrote a “Declaration of Faithful Disobedience,” as he saw the storm clouds of persecution about to close in on him and his church. He instructed his fellow elders to hold the letter and only release it after he had been arrested more than 48 hours.

That moment came on the morning of Sunday December 9th, when officers from China’s Public Security Bureau raided Wang’s Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu. The church leaders were among 100 believers arrested and taken away that morning. Many have not been heard from since. Just before Christmas, a further 60 church members were detained, with some taken into China’s notorious “black jail” system, where people are tortured mercilessly without anyone knowing their whereabouts. Here is Wang Yi’s declaration:

“On the basis of the teachings of the Bible and the mission of the gospel, I respect the authorities God has established in China. For God deposes kings and raises up kings. This is why I submit to the historical and institutional arrangements of God in China.

As a pastor of a Christian church, I have my own understanding and views, based on the Bible, about what righteous order and good government is. At the same time, I am filled with anger and disgust at the persecution of the church by this Communist regime, at the wickedness of their depriving people of the freedoms of religion and of conscience. But changing social and political institutions is not the mission I have been called to, and it is not the goal for which God has given his people the gospel.

For all hideous realities, unrighteous politics, and arbitrary laws manifest the cross of Jesus Christ, the only means by which every Chinese person must be saved. They also manifest the fact that true hope and a perfect society will never be found in the transformation of any earthly institution or culture but only in our sins being freely forgiven by Christ and in the hope of eternal life.

As a pastor, my firm belief in the gospel, my teaching, and my rebuking of all evil proceeds from Christ’s command in the gospel and from the unfathomable love of that glorious King. Every man’s life is extremely short, and God fervently commands the church to lead and call any man to repentance who is willing to repent. Christ is eager and willing to forgive all who turn from their sins. This is the goal of all the efforts of the church in China—to testify to the world about our Christ, to testify to the Middle Kingdom about the Kingdom of Heaven, to testify to earthly, momentary lives about heavenly, eternal life. This is also the pastoral calling that I have received.

For this reason, I accept and respect the fact that this Communist regime has been allowed by God to rule temporarily. As the Lord’s servant John Calvin said, wicked rulers are the judgment of God on a wicked people, the goal being to urge God’s people to repent and turn again toward Him. For this reason, I am joyfully willing to submit myself to their enforcement of the law as though submitting to the discipline and training of the Lord.

At the same time, I believe that this Communist regime’s persecution against the church is a greatly wicked, unlawful action. As a pastor of a Christian church, I must denounce this wickedness openly and severely. The calling that I have received requires me to use non-violent methods to disobey those human laws that disobey the Bible and God. My Savior Christ also requires me to joyfully bear all costs for disobeying wicked laws.

But this does not mean that my personal disobedience and the disobedience of the church is in any sense “fighting for rights” or political activism in the form of civil disobedience, because I do not have the intention of changing any institutions or laws of China. As a pastor, the only thing I care about is the disruption of man’s sinful nature by this faithful disobedience and the testimony it bears for the cross of Christ.

As a pastor, my disobedience is one part of the gospel commission. Christ’s great commission requires of us great disobedience. The goal of disobedience is not to change the world but to testify about another world.

For the mission of the church is only to be the church and not to become a part of any secular institution. From a negative perspective, the church must separate itself from the world and keep itself from being institutionalized by the world. From a positive perspective, all acts of the church are attempts to prove to the world the real existence of another world. The Bible teaches us that, in all matters relating to the gospel and human conscience, we must obey God and not men. For this reason, spiritual disobedience and bodily suffering are both ways we testify to another eternal world and to another glorious King.

This is why I am not interested in changing any political or legal institutions in China. I’m not even interested in the question of when the Communist regime’s policies persecuting the church will change. Regardless of which regime I live under now or in the future, as long as the secular government continues to persecute the church, violating human consciences that belong to God alone, I will continue my faithful disobedience. For the entire commission God has given me is to let more Chinese people know through my actions that the hope of humanity and society is only in the redemption of Christ, in the supernatural, gracious sovereignty of God.

If God decides to use the persecution of this Communist regime against the church to help more Chinese people to despair of their futures, to lead them through a wilderness of spiritual disillusionment and through this to make them know Jesus, if through this he continues disciplining and building up his church, then I am joyfully willing to submit to God’s plans, for his plans are always benevolent and good.

Precisely because none of my words and actions are directed toward seeking and hoping for societal and political transformation, I have no fear of any social or political power. For the Bible teaches us that God establishes governmental authorities in order to terrorize evildoers, not to terrorize doers of good. If believers in Jesus do no wrong then they should not be afraid of dark powers. Even though I am often weak, I firmly believe this is the promise of the gospel. It is what I’ve devoted all of my energy to. It is the good news that I am spreading throughout Chinese society.

I also understand that this happens to be the very reason why the Communist regime is filled with fear at a church that is no longer afraid of it.

If I am imprisoned for a long or short period of time, if I can help reduce the authorities’ fear of my faith and of my Savior, I am very joyfully willing to help them in this way. But I know that only when I renounce all the wickedness of this persecution against the church and use peaceful means to disobey, will I truly be able to help the souls of the authorities and law enforcement. I hope God uses me, by means of first losing my personal freedom, to tell those who have deprived me of my personal freedom that there is an authority higher than their authority, and that there is a freedom that they cannot restrain, a freedom that fills the church of the crucified and risen Jesus Christ.

Regardless of what crime the government charges me with, whatever filth they fling at me, as long as this charge is related to my faith, my writings, my comments, and my teachings, it is merely a lie and temptation of demons. I categorically deny it. I will serve my sentence, but I will not serve the law. I will be executed, but I will not plead guilty.

Moreover, I must point out that persecution against the Lord’s church and against all Chinese people who believe in Jesus Christ is the most wicked and the most horrendous evil of Chinese society. This is not only a sin against Christians. It is also a sin against all non-Christians. For the government is brutally and ruthlessly threatening them and hindering them from coming to Jesus. There is no greater wickedness in the world than this.

If this regime is one day overthrown by God, it will be for no other reason than God’s righteous punishment and revenge for this evil. For on earth, there has only ever been a thousand-year church. There has never been a thousand-year government. There is only eternal faith. There is no eternal power.

Those who lock me up will one day be locked up by angels. Those who interrogate me will finally be questioned and judged by Christ. When I think of this, the Lord fills me with a natural compassion and grief toward those who are attempting to and actively imprisoning me. Pray that the Lord would use me, that he would grant me patience and wisdom, that I might take the gospel to them.

Separate me from my wife and children, ruin my reputation, destroy my life and my family – the authorities are capable of doing all of these things. However, no one in this world can force me to renounce my faith; no one can make me change my life; and no one can raise me from the dead.

And so, respectable officers, stop committing evil. This is not for my benefit but rather for yours and your children’s. I plead earnestly with you to stay your hands, for why should you be willing to pay the price of eternal damnation in hell for the sake of a lowly sinner such as I?

Jesus is the Christ, son of the eternal, living God. He died for sinners and rose to life for us. He is my king and the king of the whole earth yesterday, today, and forever. I am his servant, and I am imprisoned because of this. I will resist in meekness those who resist God, and I will joyfully violate all laws that violate God’s laws.”

The Lord’s servant,

Wang Yi

November 18 – International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church

PersecutedChristians

Father God,

As one Church, united under your holy headship, and knowing that we are all one family in Christ;

We pray for those who suffer in your name all over the world, our brothers and sisters, who share in that same great gift of salvation through your Son, but who face injustice, oppression and even death because of their faith in you.

We want to walk with them as they journey through the valley of darkness, and we pray knowing that you are a God of compassion, comfort and justice; who always hears their prayers, never leaves them and will forever be their fortress and shield, whatever they face.

 

We pray that you will grant them strength, courage, and protection from those who seek to harm them because they follow you;

Guidance and wisdom for when their path seems impossible to tread, 

And hope for a future where they have the freedom to worship you without fear.

In the name of Jesus, Amen

Richard Rohr – Persecuted for My Sake (Oscar Romero)

Saint Oscar Romero
Saint Oscar Romero

Persecuted for My Sake
Sunday, October 14, 2018

 

You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom. . . .  And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble. —Matthew 5:10,12, The Message

Today Óscar Romero (1917–1980) will be named a saint by the Catholic Church. As Archbishop of San Salvador for the last four years of his life, Romero was a strong, public voice for the many voiceless and anonymous poor of El Salvador and Latin America. When he preached in the cathedral on Sunday mornings, I’m told that the streets were empty and all the radios where on full volume, to hear truth and sanity in an insane and corrupt world.

Here is a man who suffered with and for those who suffered. His loving heart shines through clearly in his homilies:

The shepherd must be where the suffering is. [1]

My soul is sore when I learn how our people are tortured, when I learn how the rights of those created in the image of God are violated.  [2]

A Gospel that doesn’t take into account the rights of human beings, a Christianity that doesn’t make a positive contribution to the history of the world, is not the authentic doctrine of Christ, but rather simply an instrument of power. We . . . don’t want to be a plaything of the worldly powers, rather we want to be the Church that carries the authentic, courageous Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, even when it might become necessary to die like he did, on a cross. [3]

In his homily on March 23, 1980, the day before he was murdered, Romero addressed the Salvadoran military directly:

Brothers, we are part of the same people. You are killing your own brother and sister peasants and when you are faced with an order to kill given by a man, the law of God must prevail; the law that says: Thou shalt not kill. No soldier is obliged to obey an order against the law of God. No one has to obey an immoral law. And it is time that you recover your consciences. . . . In the name of God, then, and in the name of this suffering people whose laments rise up to heaven each day more tumultuously, I plead with you, I pray you, I order you, in the name of God: Stop the repression! [4]

The next day, following his sermon, a U.S.-supported government hit squad shot him through his heart as he stood at the altar.

Only a few weeks earlier, Romero had said:

I have often been threatened with death. I must tell you, as a Christian, I do not believe in death without resurrection. If I am killed, I shall arise in the Salvadoran people. I say so without boasting, with the greatest humility. . . . A bishop will die, but God’s church, which is the people, will never perish. [5]

Romero’s epitaph reads “Sentir con la Iglesia” (“To be of one mind and heart with the Church”); these words were his episcopal motto, his promise to share the suffering and strength of the people he served.

Watch Father Richard’s reflection on Óscar Romero in this 3-minute video.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide – Week of Prayer for Pakistan

pakistan1

Christians and other minority faiths in Pakistan not only face the prospect of being targeted in a violent attack, but also face everyday institutional and social discrimination. A general election is scheduled for 25 July – please pray that the election is free and fair, and takes place peacefully.

Sunday
Pakistan’s blasphemy laws make it a criminal act to insult another’s religion. The blasphemy laws are widely misused to settle personal scores and target religious minorities. Though the majority of accusations are made against Muslims, in some cases where non-Muslims are accused, their entire community may be attacked. Pray today that the blasphemy laws would be amended.

Monday
Last June, Taimoor Raza was the first person to be sentenced to death by the Anti-Terrorism Court for allegedly committing blasphemy on Facebook. Please pray for justice in his case, and that this ruling does not lead to more accusations of blasphemy on social media.

Tuesday
Today please pray for Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of five who has been sentenced to death for blasphemy. She has been on death row since 2010. Pray today for her unconditional release.

Wednesday
In March, 20 men accused of being part of the mob that burned Shama and Shezad Masih to death were acquitted of any wrongdoing. Pray that justice would be done in the case of Shama and Shezad, and that all those involved in their murders would be punished.

Thursday
We’ve seen a worrying increase in the forced marriage and forced conversion of Christian and Hindu girls. These girls, usually just barely teenagers, are abducted, forced to convert to Islam and marry Muslim men who are strangers to them. Often, their families never see them again. Pray that the government and police in Pakistan would take decisive action to stop these abductions.

Friday
Students in Pakistan are exposed to biased curriculum, which breeds discrimination against religious minorities. Religious minority students face discrimination as well as physical and mental abuse from fellow classmates and teachers. Pray today for a change in the education system, and for the introduction of unbiased textbooks and non-discriminatory curricula.

Saturday
Lord, we thank you for the work of our partners in Pakistan, especially the Cecil and Iris Chaudhry Foundation and the National Commission for Justice and Peace. Thank you for their calling to work with religious minorities and seek justice for the oppressed: please bless their work and grant them the physical and spiritual resources they need.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide – Prayer for Eritrea

Thank you so much for your faithful prayers for Eritrea over the years. It’s often difficult to keep faithfully petitioning God during a situation which doesn’t change or worsens; so your perseverance means the world to us and, of course, to the Eritrean people who are suffering under one of the most brutal regimes in the world.

Sunday 20 May
Patriarch Antonios of the Eritrean Orthodox Church has been under house arrest since he was illegally removed from office in 2007. He is allegedly under pressure to resign and make way for a pro-government bishop. He’s in his 90s, surrounded by enemies, and severely diabetic. Ask God to encourage Patriarch Antonios in his imprisonment, granting him strength, faith and perseverance.

Monday 21 May
Patriarch Antonios is one of over 10,000 prisoners of conscience in Eritrea, including many from recognised and unrecognised faith groups who have been detained without charge or trial, in life threatening conditions. Please pray for all those who are imprisoned in Eritrea: for God to comfort them, grant them endurance, and for their unconditional release.

Continue reading “Christian Solidarity Worldwide – Prayer for Eritrea”

Omul evanghelic. O explorare a comunitatilor protestante romanesti

Dragi prieteni,

Vă anunț, cu un sentiment de mare ușurare, că astăzi, înainte de prânz, „după lupte seculare”, care au durat mai mult de… zece ani, am predat la Polirom textele definitive și am semnat contractul final pentru volumul Omul evanghelic. O explorare a comunităților protestante românești. Este vorba de un volum masiv, de circa 650 de pagini, format mare, ce include texte elaborate de 19 autori, din interiorul și din afara mediului evanghelic.

Volumul va apărea în librării cel mai târziu până la începutul lunii septembrie, iar până la finalul aceleiași luni va fi disponibilă și versiunea ebook.

În viitorul apropiat voi voi începe să comunic, din când în când, mai multe informații despre acest proiect editorial.

Până atunci, pentru cei interesați, iată mai jos cuprinsul volumului.

Omul evanghelic – Cuprins

 

Procesul comunistilor din Romania – Cateva consideratii preliminare

Marți 8 mai a avut loc la Palatul culturii din Iași lansarea publică a Proiectului „Procesul comuniștilor”, coordonat de Universitatea Petre Andrei (UPA), împreună cu Institutul de Studiere a Ideologiilor și derulat în colaborare cu mai multe instituții:, Academia Română, Institutul de Investigare a Crimelor Comunismului și Memoria Exilului Românesc, Editura Institutului European, Primăria Municipiului Iași etc.


Georgeta Condur

Proiectul este prevăzut a se desfășura pe durata a doi ani și jumătate, având trei componente: cercetare, judiciară și editorială. Evident, este vorba mai degrabă de un „proces moral”, cei mai mulți dintre cei vizați nemaifiind în viață. Cum însă în România (precum și în celelalte țări foste comuniste) nu a avut loc un proces de decomunizare, asemănător celui de denazificare în Germania, după căderea regimului hitlerist, consider că acest demers este unul salutar și absolut necesar, dat fiind că tinerele generații sunt din ce în ce mai ignorante cu privire la trecutul recent. Mai multe detalii despre proiect puteți găsi pe situl web al acesteia. Continue reading “Procesul comunistilor din Romania – Cateva consideratii preliminare”

Ahed Tamimi – Living Resistance Tour

Ahed Tamimi, presently in prison in Israel, the harsh occupier of her home country, Palestine,  is called ‘the Palestinian Jeanne d’Arc’. She has become, at only 16 years old, the most powerful symbol of Palestinian non-violent resistance to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.

If you want to understand more about why is she considered dangerous to the heavily armed occupier, you may read this well written article, by Nina Fischer.

Urbi et orbi – 1973, Vanju Mare

Danut militar
DanutM, soldat, Vanju Mare, 1973

Urmărind în ziua de Crăciun transmisiunea de la Vatican a mesajului papal urbi et orbi din ziua Crăciunului 2017, care este întotdeauna emoționantă pentru mine (ce să facem, vor spune unii, „un ecumenist va fi întotdeauna un ecumenist!”; la care eu răspund: „amin!”), mi-am adus aminte de un alt Crăciun, de acum exact 44 de ani.

În decembrie 1973 mă aflam într-o unitate militară la Vânju Mare, în Mehedinți, unde făceam armata la termen redus, la intendență, înainte de începerea studiilor universitare economice. Tocmai împlinisem 19 ani. Cele opt luni petrecute acolo au reprezentat una dintre cele mai dificile perioade din viața mea.

Când am ajuns în unitate, purtam deja asupra mea eticheta unui proscris. Pe dosarul meu scria „baptist”, ceea ce, în limbajul militar comunist se traducea prin „sectant”, „retrograd”, „dușman al patriei”, și altele asemenea. Am fost preluat imediat sub observație de ofițerul de contrainformații, securistul unității militare, care a recrutat imediat câțiva informatori dintre colegii mei (delațiunile lor aveam să le găsesc mulți ani mai târziu, în primul meu dosar de urmărire de la Securitate – au fost în total patru la număr, și care acum se află transcris în întregime pe acest blog – dacă vă interesează, găsiți aceste documente, însoțite de comentarii, dând o căutare după expresia „File I-1065”). Au urmat interogatorii umilitoare, batjocuri („nu avem nevoie de savanți pocăiți în țara noastră”, amenințări („nu vei termina niciodată facultatea”, și multe asemenea. Continue reading “Urbi et orbi – 1973, Vanju Mare”

Christian Solidarity Worldwide – A Prayer Diary for Cuba

cuba_map

“God gives us strength based on our faith. We are fighting for freedom. Our Lord said the truth will set you free and we are fighting for this ideal.” Berta Soler is a human rights activist and the leader of the Ladies in White group. Berta exemplifies the courage and perseverance of Cuba’s human rights activists, church leaders and hundreds of others who face daily harassment just because of what they believe.

Sunday

Fếlix Llerena López is a young religious freedom defender who was arrested three months after an advocacy visit to Washington, DC with CSW. He wasn’t permitted to travel and had even been expelled from university. However, the charges against him have now been dropped: praise God for this good news. Continue reading “Christian Solidarity Worldwide – A Prayer Diary for Cuba”

North Korea – A Communist Human Rights Hell

north-korea-infographic

(Source, Christian Solidarity Worldwide)

Turning the World Upside Down, Down Under | Christianity Today

Source: Turning the World Upside Down, Down Under | Christianity Today

Australian Biblical scholar Michael Bird writes on the defetist so-called ‘Benedict Option’ vs the (active resistance) ‘Thessalonian Strategy’, as a way of engaging the militant anti-Christian atmosphere in Australia.

If I had to chose between the two, I would certainly opt for Bird’s suggestion. Dreher’s (falsely) monastic soluton was tried by the fundamentalists in the tweentieth centurry and it utterly failed).

Yet, I would like to offer and extra suggestion, based on the same first century that gave birth to the Thessalonian approach and on my experience as a persecuted Christian for 35 years beehind the Iron Courtain.

What about a ‘Calvary Strategy’, one based on happily carrying the cross and willfully accepting persecution as a normal part of the faitful walk with Christ?

CSW – Prayer Diary: Sudan

Sudan has been on our minds a lot this year with the case of Reverend Hassan, Reverend Kuwa, Mr Jašek and Mr Abdumawla, all of whom were on trial on unjust charges last year. The men went through many months of imprisonment, separated from their families and frequently enduring harsh conditions. But God is good – Rev Kuwa was found innocent of all charges and released in January 2017. Mr Jašek received a presidential pardon and was freed in February, and in May both Mr Abdumawla and Rev Hassan were set free after receiving a presidential pardon. This, of course, exists in a wider context of extreme pressure on Christians in Sudan: let’s pray through the things they’re facing this week (source, HERE). Continue reading “CSW – Prayer Diary: Sudan”

Egyptian Christians Are Made of Steel… and Love

This moving short interview was recorded following a recent suicide attack of Muslim extremists at a Coptic Cathedral in Alexandria, Egypt.

Doru Costache – Christianity at the Crossroads


Fr. Doru Costache

Note: This short text, on the perseccution of Christians in general, and the maartyrdom of the Coptic Church in particular comes from one of my favourite Orthodox theologians, the Romanian Fr. Doru Costache, who serves now in Australia. In the context of the present hysteria, especially in the US, on how they, poor good Christians (who brough foolish Trump to power), are persecuted by the secular world, which does not understad how precious they are, I believe the common sense gospel words in this text have to be heard more largely than on the academic website where they were published. Of course, I do this with the kind permission of Fr. Costache, to whom goes my gratitude.

* * *

14 April 2017 © AIOCS Doru Costache

No, you do not have to expect me to say that the current circumstances are new and that these days Christians must take some unprecedented action or to abolish their past. Neither should you expect me to say something like Christianity being in need of a radical reform today more than yesterday. My interest is in pointing out the need to retrieve something that we seem to have lost in history: our capacity to discern the times and assess our circumstances in a genuinely traditional manner. But let me be more specific.

Just recently, on Palm Sunday, our sisters and brothers of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt have been once again the object of hate attacks on the part of their non-Christian neighbours. And the day before more Christians have been put to death in Syria. And the day before that more Christians have been put to death elsewhere. And days before that a Catholic priest was slaughtered during the celebration of the eucharist in France. And I hear of cases of Christians harassed by their non-Christian neighbours in some parts of Sydney. All this because they, indeed we, are Christian. Continue reading “Doru Costache – Christianity at the Crossroads”

Yeonmi Park – Escaping from North Korea in Search of Freedom

‘Like a jail without bars’: what it’s like working in China with women refugees from North Korea

Hwa-Young* works in China with women who fled North Korea or were abducted by people traffickers and taken across the border. Many of the women are tempted to leave behind a miserable life when they are told there are jobs waiting for them in China. But often they are sold on to brothels or into marriages with poor Chinese Korean men.

Source: ‘Like a jail without bars’: what it’s like working in China with women refugees from North Korea

Please rememer this in your prayers.

‘90,000 Christian martyrs annually’ claim disputed

Global charity Open Doors has disputed the way in which statistics on Christian “martyrs” are collected, arguing that an annual figure of 90,000, recently reported widely, is significantly higher than the accurately verifiable number.

Source: ‘90,000 Christian martyrs annually’ claim disputed

Open Dooes is calling us all to decency and respect for Truth, even, oe especially on such painful subjects andd Christian martyrdom..

Ioan T Morar la Areopagus in Timisoara, cu Sarbatoarea Corturilor

ioan-t-morar-la-areopagus

An Urgent Call to Prayer for Russia – UPDATE

prayer

For years we have watched as huge changes take place in Russia under the increasingly dictatorial rule of President Putin and his administration. Freedom of religion represents a threat to the current political agenda in Russia. Today, few—if any—foreign Christian mission groups have an official presence in Russia, having been pushed out by anti-evangelical regulations. Which is why it is crucial that we continue training national Next Generation Christian leaders in Russia through programs like Mission Eurasia’s School Without Walls. Equipping in-country Christian leaders with the training and tools to make disciples and influence their nation is the only effective approach to sharing the gospel in a country that is so hostile to outsiders.

I am writing today to inform you of a new, extremely alarming anti-missionary bill that is being considered tomorrow by the State Duma—the legislative house of Russia’s Federal Assembly. If passed, the bill would, among many other things, prohibit missionary and evangelistic activity in residential areas of Russia and limit missionaries to acting only on behalf of registered religious groups. I believe this is the most draconian anti-religion bill to be proposed in Russia since Nikita Khrushchev promised to eliminate Christianity in the Soviet Union. Continue reading “An Urgent Call to Prayer for Russia – UPDATE”

Bihoreanul – Lansare sarbatoarea corturilor la Oradea

Source: eBihoreanul Mobile | Stiri pe mobil

Iata un nou articol despre lansarea de la Oradea a cartii lui Ioan T Morar, Sarbatoarea corturilor.

Ioan T. Morar și-a lansat „conserva de Arad” la Librăria Corina – Special Arad

Ziar online cuprinzând știri din Arad, din țară și străinătate, investigații de presă și reportaje locale, cultură, opinie, pamflete, administrație și sport.

Source: Ioan T. Morar și-a lansat „conserva de Arad” la Librăria Corina – Special Arad

Un nou articol despre lansarea de la Arad a cartii lui Ioan T Morar, Sarbatoarea corturilor

Exista si o versiune electronica a cartii lui Vasile Ernu, Sectantii

Sectantii - Vasile Ernu

Un anunt special pentru prietenii mei din strainatate.

Sectantii (eBook)

AUTOR: Vasile Ernu
COLECTIE: EGO-GRAFII
PRET:
25.11 RON
DOMENIU: Memorii, jurnale, corespondenta
ISBN EPUB: 978-973-46-5450-5
ISBN PDF: 978-973-46-5451-2
ANUL APARITIEI: 2015
FORMAT: ePub (Adobe DRM), PDF (Adobe DRM)

Puteti comanda AICI aceasta carte in format digital

Beyond Torture – The Gulag of Pitesti, Romania

O documentary on the most inhumane experiment in the gulag of communist Romania – the so-called ‘re-education’ at the Pitesti prison.

Beyond Torture – An Interview with Fr Roman Braga

Here is a moving and up building interview with Fr Roman Braga, who went through reeducation at the communist prison of Pitesti.

Ioan T Morar – Sarbatoarea Corturilor

morar-Sarbatoarea-corturilor

Citesc cu asiduitate, enorma placere, si deosebit interes ultima carte a domnului Ioan T Morar, Sarbatoarea corturilor. (Am fost nevoit sa merg mai incet, deoarece nevasta mea a reusit sa devoreze prima cartea, asa cum se intimpla de obicei la noi in familie).

Am citeva motive speciale pentru care subiectul acesta ma intereseaza in cel mai inalt grad:

  1. Am in familie (sau mai degraba am avut, caci a plecat deja la cele vesnice) o matusa care a facut parte din ‘miscarea trezitilor’, condusa de Jan Gligor, despre care vorbeste aceasta carte. Matusa mea, pe numele ei Lidia Ababei, a facut din aceasta pricina zece ani de puscarie psihiatrica – pe motiv de delir religios, o veritabila crima in comunism – intr-o clinica de trista amintire (si inca neexplorata ca fapt istoric, probabil pentruca medicii criminali care au condus-o sunt inca in viata, si probabil cu functii mari in sistem) in orasul numit cindva Dr Petru Groza (ce potrivire de nume si ce ironie macabra!). Arestarea a avut loc dupa ce matusa mea a fost excomunicata din biserica baptista in care se inchina, la presiunea Securitatii comuniste si cu larga cooperare a pastorului de atunci al bisericii, Radu Cruceru, un colaborator al acestei institutii opresive, care a avut el insusi un sfirsit tragic, din cite se pare dupa ce a incercat sa rupa legatura cu aceasta (in dosarele mele de urmarire de la Securitate, publicate pe acest blog – vezi categoria File I-1065 – apar multe dintre notele informative scrise de el). In urma tratamentelor inumane aplicate, matusa mea nu a mai fost niciodata un om normal. In cele din urma a emigrat in Statele Unite (am vizitat-o in timpul primei mele calatorii in aceasta tara, in 1991, in Portland, Or.) si a murit prematur in urma cu mai multi ani, posibil si din pricina efectelor nocive ale acelor tratamente.
  2. In virtutea acestei legaturi de familie, si a relatiilor apropiate intre membrii comunitatii evanghelice, din care fac parte, am cunoscut, de asemenea destul de indeaproape, pe mai multi membri ai grupului ‘trezitilor’ din Iasi. Cu una dintre acestea, doamna Lili Anton, profesor la Agronomie, ne-am inchinat o vreme in aceeasi biserica, dupa 1989. Am observat atunci ca dupa persecutiile la care au fost supusi in anii ’70, membrii grupului vorbeau foarte rar si cu precautie despre implicarile lor in acea miscare. In fapt ‘s-au dat cu totii la fund’, ca sa zic asa, preferind activitatile spirituale conspirative, implicarilor oficiale. Cu totii insa au continuat sa fie mentori pentru cei interesati de formare spirituala. Si, din fericire, chiar daca vadeau mai departe anumite inclinatii dogmatice sau spirituale stranii, specifice acelei miscari, in cea mai mare parte s-au pastrat cu totii pe linia ortodoxiei evanghelice.
  3. Dupa o intilnire providentiala, despre care voi vorbi mai tirziu, a povestit in mai multe rinduri cu autorul cartii despre aceasta miscare si despre planurile lui de a scrie o pseudo-fictiune pe aceasta tema. Am incercat chiar, din pacate fara succes, asa cum n-a avut nici el in incercarile lui, sa-i conving pe unii dintre cei care au cunoscut miscarea miscarea dinauntru, sa povesteasca cu el despre experienta lor acolo. Teama si suspiciunile lor funciare i-am impiedicat sa faca asta. In acest punct trebuie sa recunoastem ca noi, cei care am trait mai mult de jumatate din viata sub comunism pastram inca inclinatii paranoice, si vedem inca mai peste tot pericole, informtori si securisti.
  4. Nu am fost prea surprins sa aflu ca unii dinte cei care au cunoscut miscarea trezitilor din perioada ei aradeana au reactionat negativ la vestea nasterii acestui proiect. Si ei, probabil, tot din pricini de paranoia. Nu-i asa, domnule Doru Radu? Sper totusi ca acestia isi vor depasi blocajele, irationale, vor citi cartea, si se vor convinge ca scopul autorului nu a fost nicideum batjocura, ci ca acesta a facut de fapt un serviciu comunitatii evanghelice, fiind chiar, as spune eu, extrem de tolerant cu unele dintre nazbitiile si smintelile teologice care au caracterizat miscarea despre care vorbim aici. Domnul Morar este insa scriitor, nu teolog, si isi poate permite acest lux. Eu unul, nu prea.
  5. Asa cum scriam in alte locuri, dupa cartea lui Dan Lungu, Cum sa uiti o femeie, si cartea lui Vasile Ernu, Sectantii, aceasta este a treia carte din literatura romana recenta (sau poate dintotdeauna) a carei actiune se desfasoara in mediul evanghelic, care a fost cel mai adesea ignorat, ca fiind virtualmente inexistent, si tratat, cel putin pina acum, ca un veritabil paria de spatiul cultural romanesc, pretins foarte tolerant. Interesant este ca toate cele trei carti au aparut la Polirom (felicitari pentru curaj editurii iesene! sper sa si cistige ceva bani de pe urma acestui pariu, caci n-au facut-o doar de amorul artei). De asemenea, mi se pare relevant ca, desi scriu din afara spatiului confesional evanghelic, toti cei trei autori au legaturi de un fel sau de altul cu acest mediu, ceea ce le permite sa scrie cu competenta, credibilitate si simpatie, chiar daca nu toate cele descrise in cartile lor sunt neparat vrednice de admiratie.

Continue reading “Ioan T Morar – Sarbatoarea Corturilor”

Vietnam’s Religion Law ‘created to repress, control’

 

Communism in Vietnam is like a religion, a secular religion. Vietnam is a one-party state, and Article 4 of the constitution gives all the power to the Communist party.

Source: Vietnam’s Religion Law ‘created to repress, control’

The communist regime in Vietnam continues its history of religious repression, in spite of claims of becoming a civilised democratic regime.

William Yoder – The Fellow with His Finger in the Dike. Sergey Ryakhovsky turns 60

M o s c o w – On 18 March, Moscow’s Sergey Vasilevich Ryakhovsky, Senior Bishop of ROSKhVE, the “Associated Russian Union of Christians of Evangelical-Pentecostal Faith”, turned 60. Despite his many detractors in Ukraine and the West, Russian evangelicals have reason enough to thank Ryakhovsky for his efforts in the public and political realm. Russian nationalists have long wanted to prove that evangelicals are foreign, pro-Western half-spies, the lengthened arms of Western governments reaching over and beyond the political divide. The Bishop and his cohorts are doing what they can to keep the nationalists from winning the day. He’s the Dutch boy plugging the dike with his finger, keeping the onslaught from turning into a deluge. He is attempting to keep the public presence of Russia’s Protestants afloat by proving that Protestants are loyal servants of their societies even when they find themselves beyond the reach of NATO and the European Union. Left to their own devices, the West’s pro-Maidan evangelicals would in my view virtually prove the claims of Russia’s nationalist movement.

In an interview published by “Moskovsky Komsomolits” on 21 March, the birthday kid claimed: “I will not hide the fact that the members of our denomination are active in all branches of government.” Yet he also admits in the article that not all of these feel free to express their religious allegiances openly. Publicly, the Bishop tries hard to be up-beat and constructive; he likes to claim that accusations of sectarianism are becoming a thing of the past. In the interview he states: “Let me remind you that I have been a member of the ‘Presidential Council for Cooperation with Religious Organisations’ since 2002 and a member of the ‘Public Chamber’ since 2005. My membership would be cancelled within seconds if the federal government changed its attitude towards Protestants.”

After Ryakhovsky famously posed with President Putin and the heads of Russia’s largest religious faiths in Red Square on 4 November 2014, an “Itar-Tass” press release listed his Pentecostal denomination among the “leading traditional Russian confessions”. “Fortunately”, the Bishop’s location on the right edge of the photo allowed him to be cropped off by some agencies, but the press release itself was sufficient cause for heart attacks on the part of Russia’s nationalist faithful. Continue reading “William Yoder – The Fellow with His Finger in the Dike. Sergey Ryakhovsky turns 60”