Evangelical families in Mexico lose access to water, services for refusing to deny their faith

Two evangelical families in central Mexico have been threatened with being cut off from essential services or expelled from the community if they continue to refuse to deny their faith and pay a fine illegally levied against them, according to a report.

The families of Nemesio Cruz Hernández and Eligio Santiago Hernández, who are from the First Baptist Church in the La Mesa Limantitla area in Hidalgo state’s Huejutla de los Reyes Municipality, were threatened during a community meeting on Monday, the U.K.-based group Christian Solidarity Worldwide reported.

At the meeting, the evangelical families were forbidden to even speak as they were threatened.

On Aug. 3, community leaders, identified as Jose Marcos Martínez and Julio Alvarado Hernández, had made similar threats and instructed them to stop holding worship services in the home of Bartolo Martínez Hernández, who was also fined for allowing services in his house.

In January 2019, many evangelical families were forced to sign an agreement renouncing their faith. While eight families signed it, the families of Cruz Hernández and Santiago Hernández refused to do so.

The community leaders then blocked the two families’ access to water, sewer services, government benefit programs and the community mill for over a year until they were forced to sign an extra-legal agreement on Jan. 15, 2020, in which they renounced their right to hold religious services.

The agreement said each family would be ordered to pay an illegal fine of $3,000 ($57,700 Mexican pesos). State authorities paid part of the fine, but the families have continued to be threatened with forced displacement in several follow-up meetings throughout 2020 and this year, CSW said, adding that the amount of the fine is based on the costs incurred by community leaders in their efforts to halt any investigation into crimes or human rights violations associated with the case.

In Mexico, such extra-legal agreements are often used in lieu of appropriate justice mechanisms when the rights of religious minorities are violated.

The state officials must intervene “as a matter of urgency,” CSW’s Head of Advocacy, Anna-Lee Stangl, said. “If the state government refuses to protect the rights of religious minorities, the federal government must intervene.” Stangl added: “The government, at both state and federal levels, must address the culture of impunity which has allowed violations like these to go unchecked for far too long, ensuring that families like those of Mr. Cruz Hernández and Mr. Santiago Hernández are free to practice any religion or belief of their choosing without being forced to pay illegal fines or facing pressure to renounce their beliefs under threat of criminal actions including the cutting of basic services and forced displacement.”

This is not a one-off incident of Christian persecution in Mexico, which has risen due to drug cartel violence, persecution by traditionalist Catholics and violent discrimination by anti-Christian left-wing groups, Open Doors USA previously reported.

“Last year, Mexico was [No. 52 on Open Doors USA’s World Watch List]. It’s jumped up a bunch,” Open Doors USA President and CEO David Curry told The Christian Post in an earlier interview. “That would most certainly be around the issues of violence and drug cartels.”

Traditionalist Catholics often persecute Mexican Christians, too, he said. In this way, they resemble many small, rural groups of people practicing ancient folk religions around the world. Open Doors calls this kind of persecution “clan violence.”

“These rural indigenous groups see Christian churches as an outside force. They can harass and bother churches and believers who might be in the community,” Curry said. “It’s within these four states in Mexico: Chiapas, Hidalgo, Guerero, Oaxaca. It’s very localized.”

Source: Christian Post

A Historical Perspective On Church Growth

The rise of monasticism did much to pull the Western Roman church back to spiritual purity, personal holiness, and devotion to Christ. On the other hand, monasticism had many questionable practices and perspectives that border on the extreme of fanatical asceticism for asceticism’s sake. The drive for things like isolation, silence, and mystical experiences are a curious contrasts to Jesus’ call to go and make disciples and engage with sinners in a fallen world.

The laity’s esteem and veneration of a monk’s lifestyle only cemented the perception that true spirituality is reserved for a special class of believers. One has to wonder: If the church had maintained its early and fierce devotion to Christ’s commands to love God and neighbor and to make disciples of all nations -instead of becoming secularized – would monasticism ever had come about as it did? In The Way – Church As We Know It – Damian Gerke

Dear Saint: Cooperate with the Spirit of Almighty God that indwells you. Be all you can be in Christ for your sake and the sake of the lost. Bring your salvation to its ultimate conclusion, Christ-likeness, so you can be light in the midst of this crooked and perverse generation which desperately needs the Savior’s message of redemption. (Phil. 2:12-16)

We should not lock our light away. He intends for it to be on a stand for all to see.

May grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus be upon each one.

Carl

Where Should We Start Our Search For Truth

There is a simple shortcut to truth: start with the Bible first and investigate it thoroughly. Why start there? Not just because the Bible claims to be the only inspired Word of the one true God who created us. It also claims that all of the world’s religions and their scriptures are false and actually in the service of Satan. The Bible calls Satan “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4) and thus the author of its religions. So if the Bible is true, we have saved ourselves a lifetime of vain searching through false systems. 


In fact, we can prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that every word in the Bible is true. The Bible has several unique features not found in the scriptures of the world’s religions, making it possible to substantiate its claims. Christianity is not a philosophy, mystical experience, or esoteric practice [but] is based upon undeniable and historical facts. The Bible stands on a four-fold foundation, every part of which can be examined and verified: 1) prophecy foretelling events and doctrines in advance, 2) fulfillment of those prophecies in detail, 3) secular history testifying to the fulfillment of prophecies and events, and 4) factual data corroborated by archaeology and science. None of this is the case with the teachings or scriptures of any of the world’s religions. —Dave Hunt[Excerpt taken from Seeking and Finding God (Bend, OR: TBC, 2007), pp 66-67) – Berean Call

Mankind Is Without Excuse

We do not serve a cruel God who demands too much. Paris Reidhead, a missionary in Africa for two decades, stated that his motive for going to Africa was that he felt that no one should go to hell without having heard the name of Jesus. After he got to Africa and had spent some time among the people, he found that they had a far more sophisticated concept of the Most High God than he would have suspected.

They had an amazing awareness of sin, freely confessed that they were monsters of iniquity, and continued to serve their tribal deities because they had convinced themselves that the Most High God had given up on them! It is a mistake to say that people don’t know better.


“For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.”—Romans 1:20

Tradition vs Holy Scripture

The Thessalonians of Acts 17 did not reject the message of Christ because of sola scriptura. They rejected the message Paul brought them for the same reason the religious leaders of Israel rejected Jesus.

The Thessalonians rejected the gospel because they did not believe the words of Scripture. They did not deliberate for three weeks and decide that Paul’s words contradicted the Torah; they simply refused to believe, because the words of Scripture clashed with their tradition.

“Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?”—John 5:45–47