Category Archives: Persecution

Nobody knows what happens after death!

By Spencer D Gear PhD

I do some Internet blogging and met this fellow who stated:

There are no answers, and there never will be for the living. And there is no difference in dogmatism of those who say that there has to an after life and those who say there is not. Nobody knows.[1]

I responded: Do you understand your hypocrisy? You claim there is no difference between the dogmatism of those who affirm an after-life and those who don’t. Then you give us your dogmatism: “Nobody knows.”

Meet someone who gives evidence for life-after-death.
Let me introduce you to somebody who knows what happens after death.

Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life. But there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back. After that the end will come, when he will turn the Kingdom over to God the Father, having destroyed every ruler and authority and power (1 Corinthians 15:22-24 NLT).

This same author, the Apostle Paul, writing under divine inspiration, affirmed: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21 NIV).

This kind of evidence led to this statement in the Apostles’ Creed: “I believe in the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.”

“Nobody knows” is arrogance.

I know you won’t like the evidence I’ve provided, but your “nobody knows” position is one of ignorance – even arrogance.
What was Jesus’ view? He said to Martha at the time when her brother, Lazarus, was raised from the dead by Jesus, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live even if he dies, and the one who lives and believes in me will never die [i.e. will never die forever]. Do you believe this?”(
John 11:25-26 NET)

Meet the One who knows what happens at death.

There is most definitely someone who knows where you will be one minute after your last breath. He is the crucified, resurrected and returning Jesus Christ who is alive and well. He is the only one who has provided assurance in life and after death.

You must count the cost of following Jesus with much thought.

  • Salvation is absolutely free.
  • So is joining the army; you don’t have to pay to get into it. Everything you need is provided.[2]
  • Following Christ is like joining the army. It will cost you daily. It will cost you freedom, family, friends, doing things your own way (autonomy), and possibly even your life.[3]
  • I must tell you, a prospective believer, the full truth and nothing but the truth.

See a more extensive discussion on the Gospel and discipleship in, The Content of the Gospel . . . and some discipleship.

Romanian pastor, Richard Wurmbrand, spent 14 years in a communist prison – three of these years were in solitary confinement. Later, he was able to say,

We prisoners have experienced the power of God, the love of God which made us leap with joy. Prison has proved that love is as strong as death. We have conquered through Christ. Officers with rubber truncheons came to interrogate us; we interrogated them, and they became Christians. Other prisoners had been converted… The Communists believe that happiness comes from material satisfaction; but alone in my cell, cold, hungry and in rags, I danced for joy every night… Sometimes I was so filled with joy that I felt I would burst if I did not give it expression… I had discovered a beauty in Christ which I had not known before.[4]

Will you join me in confessing your sin, seeking God’s forgiveness and salvation through Jesus Christ?

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(VOM refers to Voice of the Martyrs, founded by Richard & Sabina Wurmbrand. Image courtesy Persecution Blog, VOM)

Notes:


[1] On Line Opinion, “Death and the Lords of the Universe,” Peter Sellick, 18 January 2021. Sellick is a liberal Anglican deacon. Posted by ttbn, Monday, 18 January 2021 4:38:24 PM (Accessed 19 January 2021).

[2] John F. MacArthur Jr., Faith Works: The Gospel According to the Apostles. Milton Keynes, England: Word Publishing, 1993, p. 253.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Richard Wurmbrand, In God’s Underground (Diane Books), in David K. Watson, How to Find God. Wheaton, Illinois: Harold Shaw Publishers, 1974, p. 65.

Copyright © 2021 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 04 September 2021.

Crooked Lines Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock

They don’t give a journalistic hoot about persecuted Christians!

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(courtesy ChristArt)

By Spencer D Gear

The Bible Society Australia has drawn attention to this absence of reporting Christian persecution by publishing this article by Patrick Sookhdeo in which he stated: ‘In a world where mainstream media largely ignore the plight of Christians, we must make sure we stay informed. We must advocate politically for believers in need, and we must share with them the material blessings God has given us. Above all, we must pray continually (1 Thess 5:17)’ (‘A prayer for the persecuted church’, 28 December 2013).

Could you imagine the following newsworthy story appearing without Christians contacting a secular newspaper or news outlet here in Australia (my home country) or in the country where you live? What will it take to get the news media to quit their biases against reporting the abuse that is happening to Christian minorities worldwide?

What about this travesty of justice?

Christians forced to convert to Buddhism in rural Nepalese village

This report comes from the Barnabas Fund, 12 February, 2015:

A Buddhist monk visiting the predominantly Christian Borang village in Nepal’s Dhading district forced all the Christian villagers to convert to Buddhism and ordered them to stop all Christian worship. Two of the church’s leaders refused to obey the orders and were attacked in response.

clip_image004Nepali Christians gather to worship
stewie811 / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Commissioned by a political leader from the RPP Hindu nationalist party, a Buddhist monk came to the village to preach Buddhism. All of the Christian villagers were locked inside a hall and forced to listen to the Buddhist teachings and to accept Buddhism. They were asked to bow down before a statue, go around the village carrying Buddhist scriptures on their heads, and to place Buddhist flags on their houses.

Refusing to obey the orders, the pastor and elder of the church were attacked. Although the church elder managed to escape, the pastor was captured and beaten for three days. He was then forced to place his finger print on a document stating that he would stop running the church and that he would not report the incident to police authorities or leave the village.

Led by the Buddhist monk, a group of assailants attacked the church on 1 February. They destroyed the furniture and church building and tried to set fire to it. They also attacked the pastor’s home, cutting off the electricity and phone lines. Not allowed to use the phone or leave the village, the pastor is still in Borang. Local Christians told Barnabas Fund today that they are particularly concerned about the health of the church pastor since there is no information about his current condition. The church was unable to meet the following Saturday, the normal day for worship services across Nepal.

Although local police were sent from Setung to the village to find out what happened, the locals, under pressure from the attackers, reported that there had been no problems. The police then returned to Setung without reporting the incident.

Although Nepal is over 80% Hindu, Buddhism holds close ties to the majority religion; the birthplace of its founder is said to be in Lumbini, southern Nepal. Dhading district, however, has the highest number of Nepali Christians, with some villages almost entirely Christian.

Can you imagine that kind of story appearing in our Australian secular media without a Christian prompt? I’ve been so concerned at this lack of coverage that on 23 January 2015, I sent this letter via email to the editor of the Brisbane Times .

Dear Editor,

I read the Brisbane Times online every morning and I’ve read plenty about the Charlie Hebdo magazine terrorism and the killing of 12 people in Paris. But I’ve not heard the same kind of news coverage about what else is happening in other countries as a result of the Charlie Hebdo cartoon of Muhammad. It could be that I have missed your coverage because I could miss some of your news stories. However, could it be that Zinder and Niamey, cities in Niger, are not as large on the news radar as Paris?

However, I think it’s time that you gave extensive coverage to the violence that is happening in other countries as a result of the Charlie Hebdo cartoon. Here is but one example that has reached me via email.

In two days of targeted riots that began on 16 January 2015, violence across the northern African country of Niger has left ten people dead and over 70 churches are reported to have been destroyed. The rioters were protesting against the publication of a cartoon of Muhammad on the front cover of the French Charlie Hebdo magazine in France. More riots and protests occurred across many Muslim-majority countries, including many former French colonies.

Following Friday prayers on 16 January, hundreds of mainly young Muslim extremists took to the streets in Zinder, Niger’s second largest city, burning and destroying all of the city’s churches, as well as the homes of Christians.

The next day, more than 55 churches, pastors’ homes, Christian schools and Christian organisations were burned or destroyed in the capital city, Niamey, as rioters targeted Christians and French-related businesses.

Ten people have been killed in the weekend attacks, one of whom was burned inside a church. And more than 200 Christian families are now being housed in military camps. The army has been deployed and the homes of Christians have been identified and secured. With the authorities overwhelmed by the scale of the violence, Christians have been told to stay together, just in case.

I obtained this information from the Barnabas Fund. If you want further details, including an interview, please contact:

BARNABAS FUND
PO BOX 3527,
LOGANHOLME, QLD 4129

I also gave him the phone and fax numbers and the email address.

No response

Perhaps it is not surprising that I did not receive a response to this email from the editor and a search by Google has not found any of my letter published online. Reporting of the persecution of Christians around the world does not seem to be a favourite topic for the secular media.

More information from Dr Patrick Sookhdeo

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Dr Patrick Sookhdeo (public domain)

Dr Sookhdeo is the international director of the Barnabas Fund. He has a range of articles dealing with persecution of Christians on his own website: Patrick Sookhdeo. In his article, War on Christians (1 Peter 5:8-10), Dr Sookhdeo states:

The world has stood by and looked on. Leaders have condemned but procrastinated. Now the call is to arms: to bomb, to obliterate the Islamic State. But what of the Christian community? They have met with much sympathy. Many politicians and media commentators have expressed their concern for Christians, but still no decisive action has been taken to save them. The real problem is that the Christians have no power, and because of this they are deemed irrelevant. They have no weapons, therefore they are deemed to be no threat. They have no oil, so they have no economic weight. For some politicians it seems better that the Christians should leave the Middle East, for then at least they would not be a complication in the situation.

Patrick Sookhdeo did get mass media coverage in 2004 with The Age newspaper, Melbourne, ‘Islam, the West and the need for honesty’ (October 16). Part of this story, read,

Both sides face hard choices if further slaughter is to be prevented, an outspoken Anglican cleric and authority on radical jihadists tells Tony Parkinson.

According to Patrick Sookhdeo, it is time for plain speaking. If the world is not to become a sectarian slaughterhouse, Western and Islamic societies need to address with honesty the hard choices they face.

“I think the West has made a strategic mistake in seeking to distinguish al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden from the rest of Islam, by arguing they are extremists, and therefore cannot be authentic Muslims,” he says. “This is highly questionable.

“Bin Laden and his people come from an Islamic tradition where jihad is a cardinal principle in the fight against unbelievers. The fact is they have had tremendous backing from Muslims worldwide, many of whom regard bin Laden as a hero.

“In dealing with Islam, you have to tell the truth, and you have to meet it head on. You have to expose and confront the twisted interpretations that encourage, for example, suicidal terror.”

Sookhdeo is an Anglican clergyman based in Britain. He is also an international authority on jihadist ideology, a former Muslim, an author and a lecturer to British and NATO military officers on radical Islam. With many Muslims claiming their religion is being distorted by terrorists and the West, some of his views are controversial, or easily distorted. But during a visit to Australia this week, Sookhdeo insisted that honest dialogue was essential and the need for change urgent. Modern Muslim societies must rethink the more literal interpretations of the Koran, he argues, particularly the elevation of the 7th century edicts of Muhammad at Medina over the prophet’s earlier and more peaceable revelations at Mecca.

What about the Christian community? What will it take for Christian leaders to get off their procrastinating backside and act to deal with what is happening to the Christian communities that are being persecuted?

When will the Australian secular mass media determine that abuse of Christians (persecution) cannot be tolerated any longer and that they will expose this abuse whenever possible, whether it is in Niger, Pakistan, India or Kenya?

pink-arow-small Patrick Sookhdeo, ‘Yes, I criticise certain aspects of Islam, but don’t call me a bigot’ (The Guardian, 27 October 2011).

pink-arow-smallPlight of Middle Eastern Christians’, Rebecca Armstrong, ABC North West Queensland’ (17 October 2013).

pink-arow-small Patrick Sookhdeo, ‘The myth of moderate Islam’ (The Spectator, 30 July 2005).

Please pray for the persecuted church but don’t forget to act for them

snowflake-bronze-smallChristian-run rehab centre in Kazakhstan fined and shut down for three months’ (12 Feb 2015);

snowflake-bronze-smallFears of increased anti-Christian violence as Nigeria’s presidential election looms’ (12 Feb 2015);

snowflake-bronze-smallConditional release for Iranian Christian convert’ (10 Feb 2015);

snowflake-bronze-smallWestern procrastination could put Iraqi Christian lives at risk: comparable with 1939 Jewish refugee refusal’ (5 Feb 2015).

How many of you have contacted your local federal MP to ask what he or she could do in parliament to deal with the persecution issues in many countries? What could the Department of Foreign Affairs do? Imagine a debate on this issue in the Australian federal parliament? Or am I dreaming?

In a comment on the ACL (Australian Christian Lobby) site, Craig Kirk wrote:

Christian Persecution is certainly a world problem, I do a little bit presenting topics on the Persecuted Church in my church on a monthly basis. The persecution is pandemic and in some countries is genocide, unfortunately our liberal press do very little covering this Human Rights Atrocity, in many ways apathy in the West is a shame. The Situation is similar to the atrocities suffered by the minorities in Europe during the 1930- 1940’s while the West remained quiet (‘Persecution of Christians: Dr Patrick Sookhdeo speaking at Barnabas Fund event in Sydney’, 25 Sept 2012).

Copyright © 2015 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 29 August 2020.