Showing posts with label Persecution. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Persecution. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 03, 2024

Going to the Dogs

“They are all silent dogs; they cannot bark, dreaming, lying down, loving to slumber.”

Our late Shih Tzu was not a silent dog, but he was probably as close as you’ll ever get. He almost never barked, and when he did, about the most you’d get from him was a polite, solitary “Arf.” If you didn’t respond to that, you were on your own.

A non-barking dog is world’s greatest pet when you live in an apartment and want to maintain some sort of decent relationship with your neighbors. But our little guy would not have made much of a watchdog.

Thursday, October 05, 2023

Do You Want to Go Out?

That’s what we used to ask back in the day.

Yeah, I know that was a hundred years ago, before the era of shacking up and then the era of hooking up, and today’s era of everything’s up.

Bear with me: I’m old.

Well, old-er. I’m not giving up my happy delusions of youth just yet. And I’m not so old that I can’t remember what it felt like to ask a girl out. Oh, yes: it was misery … the obligatory lump in the throat and sweaty palms, the tension in the air and the vertiginous moment when she made up her mind … and then … the answer.

Friday, July 29, 2022

Too Hot to Handle: Keeping It Controversial

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Matthew Block at the National Post says it’s a bad time to be religious in Canada.

Now of course he’s looking across the religious spectrum, not just at Christians, touching on everything from proposed government training and certification of imams on to the Quebec government’s plan to ban ostentatiously religious clothing through to the resistance to Trinity Western opening a law school.

Evidently it’s not just terrorism the Canadian government is concerned about, and it’s not just Canada where religious restrictions are either being considered or have already been rolled out.

Tom: I’m not a fan of the hyper-regulatory state, Immanuel Can. Do you see any silver lining here?

Sunday, January 02, 2022

Christ and the Police State

The Rutherford Institute is a nonpartisan organization whose self-appointed mission is to hold the U.S. government accountable to abide by the rule of law, sound the alarm over institutional abuses of power, and educate Americans about reclaiming their constitutionally-guaranteed but steadily-eroding freedoms. Its founder John Whitehead is deeply concerned that America is becoming a police state, and he offers plenty of evidence to back up his claims.

All very important stuff in its own place, I’m sure, but what does it have to do with Christians? Well, Whitehead has written a Christmas post entitled “The Christmas Baby Born in a Police State: Then and Now”, in which he asks the question “What if Jesus had been born 2,000 years later?”

Okay, now I’m interested.

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

Prophetic Trajectories in Matthew

Matthew 10 recounts the commission of the twelve disciples to take the good news of the kingdom to all the cities of Israel.

There is a specifically ethnic character to this set of instructions: “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” instructs the Lord.

At this time and for this specific purpose, the Lord equips his servants with a tool kit you and I do not possess in taking the message of gospel to the world today: he “gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction.”

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Anatomy of a Genocide

Serious efforts to exterminate Jews have happened more than once, and the word of God assures us they will happen again. The book of Esther is the story of a relatively early attempt.

The Medo-Persian empire was not Nazi Germany, and it is not Armageddon, but there are still a few interesting things to be observed about genocides, how such things can even come about at all, and what a persecuted (or soon-to-be-persecuted) minority can learn from them about how best to conduct itself in the face of overwhelming numerical opposition.

Thursday, February 06, 2020

Do You Want to Go Out?

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Sunday, May 05, 2019

Persecution and Wrath

A great number of Christians believe the Church will go through the Great Tribulation.

Reasons for this vary. For some it’s all about heavenly trumpets: how many there are, and when they sound. For others, the teaching of the apostle Paul that the godly “shall suffer persecution” and the words of the Lord himself that “in the world you will have tribulation” tip the scales in favor of a Church that will suffer through the end times along with the world. Others compare the order of events in John’s Revelation visions with the future described by the Lord Jesus in the gospels, leading them to anticipate martyrdom like so many of our fellow believers throughout history. Still others believe the doctrine of the Rapture originated in the 16th century counter-reformation teaching of Papal Rome, and therefore consider it discredited.

All these are arguments from detail.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Faith, Fear and Prudence

Christians are entering troubled times.

I suspect we are already well on our way into a thick and rather gloomy forest, but because the sunlight has been diminishing only a very little bit with each passing step, some of us have been less attentive than others about exactly how far into the underbrush we really are.

When Alex Jones’ InfoWars was recently deplatformed by Apple, YouTube (Google), Facebook and Spotify, few evangelicals noticed or cared. Most have no idea who Alex Jones is in the first place, and many of those who do recognize the name are still getting their news from CNN or other mainstream sources that despise Jones and his ilk and view them as unwanted and amateurish competition.

In any case, Jones’ speedy purge perturbed few. I would argue we need to start paying a bit more attention.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Into the Crucible

“The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts.”

If for some reason you needed to melt gold at home, you could actually do it with an acetylene torch, assuming you have the right sort of container to melt gold in. Gold becomes liquid at around 1,943°F (1,064°C). Once you’ve tried melting gold, silver is comparatively easy, melting between 1,640 and 1,762°F (893-961°C).

The process by which precious metals are refined and purified is intense. Going from solid to liquid can’t be much fun either. If we are to learn anything from the first two clauses of this verse, it is that our Father does not bring us to the place of crisis trivially, nor does he do it in order to leave us as he found us.

Monday, January 01, 2018

Children in the Marketplace

As Rachel Held Evans is always telling us, Christians in the West have it real good. And for once, she’s not completely wrong.

When we compare our current situation to that of believers in Muslim-majority countries today, or to that of the apostles or Old Testament prophets, or to saints throughout the last two millennia who have been persecuted and even martyred for confessing the name of Christ, there’s not a whole lot for us to complain about.

Still, even if it most often takes the form of generalized online carping rather than direct personal attacks, Christians in North America do encounter hostility now and again. Such occasions provide good opportunities to assess exactly what it is to which the unsaved are reacting so negatively.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Mark of the What?

Rod Dreher brought it out of the closet with The Benedict Option.

By “it”, I mean the ongoing discussion in evangelical churches about being “in the world” but not “of the world” in a political climate where the Powers That Be are increasingly disinclined to let anyone opt out of their pro-LGBTQWERTY program, and in which technology has given them the tools to make sure you don’t, at least not without hurting you in a big way.

Wait, what? You say there IS no ongoing discussion about these matters in your local church?

Why am I not surprised?

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Do You Want to Go Out?

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Too Hot to Handle: Canadians Under Siege

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Yesterday, Immanuel Can and I discussed the potential fallout from Donald Trump’s election to the office of president of our esteemed neighbor to the south. For the most part, I think we’re actually pretty upbeat about being evangelicals in a country strongly influenced by a cultural environment that temporarily excludes compulsory politically correct gender pronouns and open hostility against all things Christian.

For Canadian Christians, our situation will probably turn on whether Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes his cues and influences from The Donald or from the inevitable moral drift of the last eight years of Leftist dominance.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Too Hot to Handle: Keeping It Controversial

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Persecution Complex (2)

Rachel Held Evans vs. Reality in ten rounds or less:

Rachel: “For the sake of the gospel, drop the persecution complex.” 

Reality: “Kentucky clerk’s office will issue marriage licenses Friday — without the clerk.”

Rachel: “Not only do American Christians experience complete religious freedom in this country, we also enjoy tremendous privilege.”

Reality: “A Kentucky county clerk [has been] found in contempt of court and held Thursday for her refusal to issue marriage licenses after the Supreme Court decision to allow gays to wed.”

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Persecution Complex

Rachel Held Evans, what would I do without you?

The redoubtable (and frequently doubtable) Ms Evans would like believers to stop feeling sorry for ourselves, and to stop feeding Christian paranoia about looming government persecution. Further, we ought to do it “for the sake of the gospel”.

(That “for the sake of the gospel” is delivered with all the sincerity of the progressive’s “It’s for the CHILDREN!”, I suspect, but let’s let Rachel carry on.)

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Recommend-a-blog (11)

For a regular newsletter, this is grim stuff, no getting around it. It’s not light Sunday afternoon reading before tea.

Which, given the subject matter, is probably what we should expect.

Professing Christians throughout Asia and the Middle East are dying for their faith daily and the Gatestone Institute has the details, if you want them. Many, perhaps most, are our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Do You Want to Go Out?

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Too Hot to Handle: Let’s Make Sure They Hate Us Enough

A more current version of this post is available here.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Painting A Target

If you haven’t read it, Bernie’s previous post on this subject, Reading the Tea Leaves, may be found here.

There remains among many the rosy view that life for the church in North America will continue as it seemingly always has done. There certainly was a time in the not-too-distant past in which church attendance was commonplace, prayer at schools or before city council meetings was far from unusual and the public square welcomed, if not encouraged, Christian ideals and ideas. In those days, only a generation or so ago, a politician was respected for his or her beliefs rather than derided. Today — in Ontario at least — the political litmus test for a candidate is whether or not they marched in the last Gay Pride parade.

It isn’t even worth discussing what happened or why it happened — but those halcyon days where faith and unbelief could co-exist peacefully are very much gone.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Houston Redux

A quick follow up to my post from a couple of weeks ago on Houston Mayor Annise Parker and the subpoenas served by the City of Houston on five area pastors. While it might be a little premature (and a little overdramatic) to use the headline “Fight For Faith”, Fox News reported that the subpoenas, previously redrafted, have now been withdrawn entirely.

With his usual subtlety, former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee had a few words to say on the subject of the issuance of the initial subpoenas:
“They shouldn’t expect the taxpayers to fund their hate-filled, Gestapo-like actions to openly attempt to shut down the free exercise of religion and their attempt to establish a religion of godless secularism.”

Monday, October 20, 2014

The First Amendment, Harassment and Leftist Overreach

The other day, Qman brought up the ongoing news story about subpoenas served on five pastors of Houston churches for their position on … well, we’re not sure now exactly. The City is evidently fishing for something:
“The city of Houston has issued subpoenas demanding a group of pastors turn over any sermons dealing with homosexuality, gender identity or Annise Parker, the city’s first openly lesbian mayor. And those ministers who fail to comply could be held in contempt of court.”
“Homosexuality, gender identity or Annise Parker” cuts a fairly broad swath, but Fox News is already calling it a “war over religious liberty”. Five specific pastors have been named and are collectively represented by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a law firm that specializes in cases to do with religious liberty.