Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world. In today's edition. In today's edition:
- Chinese Pastor on the Run
- Less Religious Freedom for Christians in Iraq?
- Message of Love Preached Among Insurgents in Nepal
- Adrian Rogers: The End Times in Our Time
Chinese Pastor on the Run
Voice of the Martyrs
A Chinese house church leader is on the run from Public Security Bureau officers after his church was raided February 9. Chu Wei, age 40, leads a group of over 50 house churches in China. He and his wife, Yin Yan-ling, 37, were among 12 people arrested when PSB officers raided their church in Huaibei City, Anhui Province. The twelve were held all day and interrogated by police, who then asked the Christians to sign a form renouncing their faith and their attendance at "evil cult" gatherings. Some signed the documents, and all twelve were released later that day. The following day, Yin was again taken to the police station for questioning. She was ordered by officers not to talk about God -- even in the family’s home. She also heard police say that her husband would be sent to a camp for "re-education through labor." When police allowed Yin to leave, she immediately warned her husband, and the two of them went into hiding at an undisclosed location. The Voice of the Martyrs learned this week that Yin had returned home to her children, but Chu remains in hiding from police. "This is reality for most of China’s Christians," said Todd Nettleton of The Voice of the Martyrs. "The government wants to control religion, while the unregistered churches give their first loyalty to Christ. It’s time for the world to know that religious freedom in China is a myth."
Less Religious Freedom for Iraqi Christians?
Wolfgang Polzer, ASSIST News Service
Christians in Iraq are worried that they may enjoy less religious freedom in future than under Saddam Hussein. They are concerned that the recently ratified interim constitution does not give sufficient protection for individual religious expression and does not allow a change of religion. Christian and human rights organizations are concerned about the role of Islam in the so-called Transitional Administrative Law. It will remain in force at least until 2005 and probably serve as a model for the future constitution. US chief administrator Paul Bremer had hinted that he would not accept any attempt to establish an Islamic Republic. Muslim representatives wanted Islam to be the sole source of law. That was replaced by a more moderate phrase making Islam "a" source of law. This means that while not every aspect of the rule of law is determined by Islam, no law may go against the tenets of Islam. The one million Christians in Iraq are also concerned that the constitution makes no mention of their rights, although it does take into consideration the Kurdish and Shi’ite minorities. The mainly Eastern Catholic and Orthodox but also evangelical Christians are worried that their freedom of religious expression may be more reduced than under Saddam Hussein. While a brutal dictatorship to be sure, Hussein’s secular regime had no preference for Islam.
Mission Moment: Message of Love Preached Among Insurgents in Nepal
Christian Aid Mission
Over the past decade a Maoist insurgency has been operating in the mountain kingdom of Nepal. Both insurgents and security forces were present at a recent Hindu festival where a Christian minister was distributing gospel tracts. The Marxists approached him with questions and were told that there was only one fight, that between Light and darkness, and that believers would win the war with Love. The insurgents became interested, and more and more gathered to hear the missionary. This, in turn, attracted the security forces that also approached. The insurgents started to run away, but the missionary told them to remain and listen without fear. The security forces then questioned the minister about what he was doing and asked for some of the tracts to investigate. The missionary again shared the Message and stated that peace would be returned to the country. Both sides heard the gospel and some in the security forces asked for prayer. (http://www.ChristianAid.org)
Adrian Rogers: The End Times in Our Time
Author and pastor Dr. Adrian Rogers says the signs of the times already reveal God's plan for bringing His people into full redemption. In his newest book Unveiling the End Times in Our Times, Rogers says although many people view the Book of Revelation as confusing or frightening, the final book of the Bible gives a proper understanding of where history is headed. "I tell people in the introduction to this book that there is an overriding theme; that is, the triumph of the Lamb. We know that we know that the kingdoms of this world will become the Kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ," he says. "Therefore, we don't go around with headline hysteria." The well-known pastor admits that the Book of Revelation is often misunderstood and misused -- but that a proper understanding of the book will give believers hope. "The Book of the Revelation is not meant to be informational, but transformational," he explains. "When you hear and read the words of this prophecy, the Bible says you will be blessed." Rogers says there are two books the Devil hates: Genesis and Revelation -- "because in Genesis, the Devil's doom is pronounced; and in Revelation, it's carried out."