Red China Rewriting Bible, Churches Must Sing Communist Anthems

(Please pray for our brothers and sisters in communist China. Carl)

China Aid Founder Rev. Bob Fu – who led a house church in China before immigrating to the United States in 1997 to form his watchdog organization of China’s persecuted Church – warned U.S. Congress of the Chinese government’s aggressive move during a House hearing Thursday, divulging details about the plan administered by leading state-sanctioned Chinese denominations geared to “Sincize” Christianity nationwide.

“Religious freedom in China has really reached to the worst level that has not been seen since the beginning of the Cultural Revolution by Chairman Mao [Zedong] in the 1960s,” Fu explained….

He said the state-sanctioned Protestant bodies are “retranslating” the Old Testament in their plan to Sinicize Christianity, while crafting new commentary for the New Testament to give socialist ideals and Chinese culture a more divine feel.

“The plan made it clear that ‘Sinicization of Christianity’ means to change ‘Christianity in China’ into ‘Chinese Christianity,'” Fu made clear. “[The plan] emphasized that ‘the heart and soul of Christianity’s Sinicization is to Sincize the Christian theology,’ – and even proposing to ‘re-translate the Bible or re-write biblical commentaries.'”

Giving an example of the latest outline of the plan, Fu explained that the summary consists of the Old Testament mixed with some Buddhist scripture and Confucian teachings – along with the newly devised New Testament commentary.

“Authorities in China have tightened their grip on the country’s churches by ordering that children are to be banned from joining religious groups,” the United Kingdom’s Daily Mail report. “The ban also prohibits children from attending religious sermons and other activities in several provinces across the country.”

An all-out ban on youth attending services at more than 100 churches was reported this month in just one province alone.

“Earlier this month, over one hundred churches in Wenzhou – China’s Zhejiang province – reportedly received a notice from government officials informing them that young people will be banned from entering churches, according to a report,” the Daily Mail’s Sophie Williams recounted. “Minors are also reportedly banned from participating in religious activities. Members of the church were told not to participate in religious activities, and churches were not allowed to organize a youth summer camp.”

(Haverluck, “China rewriting Bible, churches must sing communist anthems,” OneNewsNow Online, 9/29/18).

Berean Call

Prospects Appear Dim For Religious Freedom in Cuba

The Rev. Carlos Lamelas knows first-hand the diabolical nature of attempts by Cuban authorities to cripple Christianity on the Communist isle.

Refusing to allow government interference in the internal affairs of his congregation, Lamelas was charged with “human trafficking” (allegedly helping Christians to flee the island). He spent four months in jail and endured years of unjust treatment before leaving Cuba as a political refugee in 2011.

Like many pastors, Lamelas initially ran afoul of the government simply for effectively proclaiming Christ.

“When a religious leader attracts a popular following, the G-2 [State Security] mobilizes a team of psychologists to do a psychiatric evaluation and determine if he can be coerced,” Lamelas said. “They will launch a campaign to gather incriminating evidence against him, dispatch young women who try to seduce him or peddlers to offer him black market goods In other words, they are going to entice him to commit some legal or moral offense.”

If a leader is impervious to such duplicity, he said, then arrest on false charges awaits him.

“The only step a church leader can take is simply to be faultless,” he said. “Unfortunately, there are very few who have managed to stand firm and maintain purity against so much pressure.”

Pressure from the international Christian community persuaded Cuban authorities to release Lamelas and eventually drop the false charges against him, but many Christians have not fared so well. One Christian aid and advocacy group found a sharp increase in violations of religious freedom by the administration of Raul Castro in 2012.

U.K.-based Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) counted 120 religious rights violations on the island last year, compared with 30 in 2011. Hundreds of people were affected, with some cases involving entire churches and denominations.

https://morningstarnews.org/2013/01/prospects-appear-dim-for-religious-freedom-in-cuba/

Berean Call

Harvard Study – Benefits of Church Attendance and Prayer

“A study by Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that kids and teens who attend church at least once a week were happier as “20-somethings” than people who did not attend services.

Youth who prayed every day experienced similar benefits, according to the study, with both groups having lower risks of substance abuse and depression as adults, and being more likely to volunteer.

More than 5,000 subjects were followed from eight to 14 years.

“These findings are important for both our understanding of health and understanding of parenting practices,” said study author Ying Chen. “Many children are raised religiously, and our study shows that this can powerfully affect their health behaviors, mental health, and overall happiness and well-being.”

Baptist Message

As a parent of four grown children, I whole heartily agree with the findings of this study. Keep them in Church under good Bible teaching. It will prove to be a great blessing to them ALL their lives.

God bless you!

Carl

Our Priceless Treasure

“The Bible is the most priceless possession of the human race.”

Halley’s Bible Handbook (1965)

For the most part, prior to the time of the Reformation, lay people were not allowed to read the Bible and, in most cases, were not even allowed to have a Bible. The Popes of the Roman Catholic Church of that day decided who could read and have the Bible.

For example:

Pope “Hildebrand ordered Bohemians not to read the Bible. Innocent III forbade the people reading the Bible in their own language. Gregory IX forbade laymen possessing the Bible and suppressed translations. Paul IV prohibited the possession of translations without permission of the Inquisition. The Jesuits induced Clement XI to condemn the reading of the Bible by the laity. Leo XII, Pius VIII, Gregory XVI, and Pius IX all condemned Bible Societies.” Halley’s Bible Handbook

Some groups, such as the Albigenses (1208 AD) and Waldenses, who were fortunate enough to have the Bible, believed it, lived it, and preached it. For this, the Albigenses people group was murdered by the order of Pope Innocent III and the Waldenses were murdered and severely persecuted by the Catholic Inquisition, surviving only in the alpine valleys southwest of Turin, Italy. The authorities burned their Bibles and the people who had them.

With the advent of the printing press, it was impossible for the Popes and civil authorities to suppress the Bible. Men read it and their eyes were opened.

“There was study of the Scriptures in their original languages. Renewed knowledge of the sources of Christian doctrine revealed the vast difference between the native simplicity of the Gospel and the ecclesiastical fabric that professed to be founded on it. The Reformation owed its being to the direct contact of the mind with the Scriptures, and it resulted in the emancipation of the human mind from priestly and Papal authority. ” (Halley’s Bible Handbook)

Out of this revelation of Biblical Truth, men like Luther, a Catholic priest, and millions more threw off the traditions and commandments of men that had kept them enslaved and, for the first time in probably 1100 years, a multitude of people begin to walk in biblical truth as the Savior intended. As a result, the Western nations were changed forever.

Some may say “Why are you writing about something that happened 500 years ago?” It is because I find among the Protestant Church today, especially among the young, an almost total ignorance about the Reformation. If the Protestant Church is to remain free, it must understand the issues that brought about the Reformation. Issues that made millions of people endure being tortured and burned at the stake or drowned instead of expressing loyalty to the Pope and his church.

May you find your Priceless Possession today and begin to let its Light overcome any darkness in your life. May its Truth set you free from the enslaving teachings and commandments of men.

May God richly bless you,

Carl

God’s “Abundant Lovingkindness”

Recently while studying Psalms, I became acquainted with the beautiful Hebrew word “chesed“. David used it in Psalm 5:7 where he is saying that the only way he can enter the Lord’s house is by His abundant lovingkindness, not by any merit of his own.

But as for me, by Thine abundant lovingkindness [chesed] I will enter Thy house, at thy holy temple I will bow in reverence for Thee.”

The Moody Bible Commentary says the following about chesed in this scripture:

“The term “lovingkindness” is chesed which specifically indicates God’s covenant love, His faithful and continual expression of what is best for those who are His own under the promise of Abrahamic covenant.

The Abrahamic covenant in Genesis 12 included three components: land, a nation, and, most importantly to us Gentiles, an expansive blessing. The blessing is to Abraham (a Gentile), his descendants and then to all the families of the earth.

God promised Abraham in Genesis 12: 3

“….and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Note that

God’s love is seeking to ‘push’ His blessing as far as His justice will allow.”

Moody Bible Commentary

We Gentiles should say a big thank you to God for including us in His wonderful covenant.

The Messianic Prophecy Bible Project says the following about “chesed” :

“This other Hebrew word for love is more difficult to translate into English. Chesed is a love that cannot be sentimentalize; it has the attributes of strength, steadfastness, loyalty, and devotion that stem from a covenant between God and Israel or between people.

It has been translated as loving-kindness, mercy, steadfast love, compassion, loyalty, goodness, great kindness, favor and loyal-or leal-love.” (Leal is a old Scottish word that means “loyal and honest”.)

They go on to say:

Chesed does not dismiss the need for holiness and righteousness but, mercifully, despite failings on the part of the Jewish People, makes a way through unmerited kindness toward love for His covenant.

In fact, chesed is quite often paired with the Hebrew word translated mercy and compassion: rachum.  (see Isaiah 54:8; 63:7; Lamentations 3:22)

“And I will betroth you to Me forever, and I will betroth you to Me with righteousness and with justice and with loving-kindness [chesed] and with mercy [rachum].  And I will betroth you to Me with faith, and you shall know the Lord.” (Hosea 2:19–20 [21–22])

“For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, but my loving-kindness [chesed] will not be removed from you, and my covenant of peace will not be shaken,’ says the LORD who has compassion [rachum] on you.”  (Isaiah 54:10)

The Hebrew word chesed also appears in Leviticus 20:17 where the Law states that a man who uncovers the nakedness of his sister has committed a chesed: here it is translated as “a disgrace”.

In writing “chesed,” it suggests that the man has crossed a Divine line, giving chesed the added sense of being “characterized by overflowing and lack of boundaries.”  (Aish)

In this case, chesed is given a negative connotation.  But when holiness is the connotation, the intent is that the one who loves does so without boundaries — an act of love characterized by overflowing grace, mercy and giving.

To summarize, chesed is a love characterized by strength, steadfastness, loyalty, and devotion which is not limited in quantity to its recipient, but overflowing, abundant to meet the needs of His people.

We see this same characteristic of “overflowing” in Romans 5: 17 where Paul writes:

“For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” (Emphasis added)

Here the word “abundance” means “superabundance”. Grace enough to save me with even more grace poured out on top of that! A superabundance of God’s grace poured out for my sins establishing me in His covenant as His child forever. God’s wonderful mercy toward His children!

King David was saved the same way we are. He was looking forward to Calvary by faith and we are looking backwards to Calvary by faith. It truly is by His abundant lovingkindness that anyone, OT or NT, is saved from the guilty and penalty of their sins and enter into His kingdom. He made a Way when there was no way.

Let us give thanks for His loving kindness and the superabundance of His grace in our lives today.

Carl

Christ: The Power and Wisdom of God

“For indeed Jews ask for signs, and Greeks search from wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness, BUT to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ, the power of God and the wisdom of God.”

Corinthians 1:22-24 (Emphasis added)

“What God has done in Christ crucified is a direct contradiction of human ideas of wisdom and power, yet it achieved what human wisdom and power fail to achieve. It does……..deliver man from his bondage….”.

The First Epistle to the Corinthians – HNTC

Carl

Burning Bibles

“When they burned the New Testament they pretended a zeal very fervent to maintain only God’s honor, which they said with protestation, was obscured by translation in English, causing much error. But the truth plainly to be said, this was the cause why they were afraid, least laymen should know their iniquity”.

A Lollard (a follower of John Wycliffe’s teaching, circa 1450)

There was a time when the New Testament could only be read in Latin or Greek. It was men like Wycliffe who dared to make a translation in the mother tongue of the layman. He once told a monk that if he, Wycliffe, had his way the ploughboy would know more about God than him.

Needless to say, Wycliffe was very unpopular with the Pope and, though the Pope could not have him put to death due to his supporters, they dug up his bones years later and burned them for translating the New Testament into the English language.

As you read this, you may think this practice of burning Bibles is only confined to the timeframe of the Middle Ages. But it still occurs today in parts of Mexico and Central and South America. A friend recently returned from Honduras where several years ago they passed out Bibles to every home in a certain village. On this trip he was informed by a native who is a former catholic that the priest had made each family give him their Bible and then he burned them.

Wonder what the priest was afraid of?

Carl