Saturday, May 27, 2017
We hear every week of Christians killed in Muslim majority countries. Often the police in these countries will stand by as Christians are dragged out of their houses, churches are burned and property destroyed. According to Open Doors, a worldwide ministry that serves the persecuted church, each month more than 300 Christians are killed because of their faith and over 200 churches are destroyed. While there have been times when persecution has strengthened the church, persecution has also at times completely wiped out Christianity in large areas and left completely absent any witness for Jesus Christ.
We should be concerned because these are our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are reminded that the human rights to life and liberty are inalienable and need to be safeguarded regardless of the political divide. We also care about persecution because we are told that we are one body. In 1 Corinthians 12:26, the Apostle Paul said, “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”
For the first five centuries, Christianity flourished in the Middle East. Modern day Iraq, Iran, Syria, Egypt and Turkey were known as the cradle of Christianity. Three of the five Patriarchs (ruling Bishops) were those Bishops of Alexandria, Jerusalem and Antioch which were major centers and Christian philosophy and teaching. However, by 641, followers of Muhammad conquered much of Egypt and destroyed the Library of Alexandria dating back to Alexander the Great. Syria had fallen to the same Muslim armies a few years before and all the Middle East and North Africa were controlled by Muslim armies within 60 years.
Most non-Muslims don’t understand that Islam is not a religion, but as Dr. Peter Hammond, author of “Slavery, Terrorism and Islam,” noted in his book, “Islam has religious, legal, political, economic, social, and military components. The religious component is a beard for all of the other components.”
While Christianity has always and will always face persecution, the threat to Christianity and much of Western Civilization from Islamic religious, political and cultural demands is by far the greatest evil we have ever faced. It is likely the Islam is the ultimate and final evil that will be brought to a conclusion by nothing less than the return of the King of Kings.
Friday, May 19, 2017
The gospel is the Good News that Jesus Christ, the son of God, was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life and was crucified for our sins. He was raised from the dead on the third day and will come again.
The Bible tells us that if we believe in our heart that Jesus is Lord and confess with our mouth that God raised him from the dead we will be saved.
The early church believed this gospel. All of our rich traditions and theology are great but they add nothing to this simple Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The body of Christ is comprised of everyone who believes this essential Gospel and has embraced Jesus Christ at their savior, their messiah.
It is the gospel the brings us together, it is the essential gospel that brings unity of the faith and revival in the hearts of all in the boy of Christ.
The Apostle Paul was passionate about unity in the church. Listen to his prayer in the book of Romans, chapter 15
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of UNITY among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ
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