ZhangKai, let's talk about freedom
editors at TCLQ.ORG
Tue Oct 21 09:24:14 MDT 1997
No matter what man may do to stifle the Word of God in Russia, China,
Africa, India, the US, around the globe, the blood-stained banner of Christ
will be waved, the Truth of God will prevail, and men everywhere will be
free in Christ. For every man imprisoned or slain, another will rise in his
place. Dictators, do your worst.
What say you about Peter Xu, ZhangKai?
>UPDATE ON CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION
> Prepared by
> WORLD EVANGELICAL FELLOWSHIP
> RELIGIOUS LIBERTY COMMISSION
> October 1997
>This Update on Christian Persecution provides examples of how Christians
>are facing discrimination, harassment, and persecution worldwide because
>they call on the name of Jesus Christ.
>Encourage your church, Bible study, friends, and family to pray for the
>persecuted body of Christ, and participate in the International Day of
>Prayer for the Persecuted Church. This important season of prayer begins
>on September 28 culminating on November 16 when over 50,000 churches across
>America will join in prayer. A Resource Kit to help you pray effectively
>can be ordered by calling toll-free 1-888-LETSPRAY (1-888-538-7772). A
>$15.00 donation is requested. Fellow Christians are counting on us.
>For more information visit the website!
>WEF GRANTED CONSULTATIVE STATUS TO THE UNITED NATIONS
>World Evangelical Fellowship received special consultative status to the
>Economic and Social Council of the United Nations in August 1997.
>"The status as special observer in the UN gives evangelicals worldwide an
>important platform from which to speak out and act on behalf of
>evangelicals facing religious persecution. Through the UN, World
>Evangelical Fellowship will be able to interact directly with the decision
>makers from governments throughout the world. It allows the WEF Religious
>Liberty Commission to build bridges directly with those who affect national
>policy decisions." states Johan Candelin, director of the WEF Religious
>It is now possible for each of the WEF 111 national and regional
>evangelical fellowships to bring their religious liberty concerns to the
>Economic and Social Council of the United Nations through the WEF Religious
>The Commission on Human Rights, which will be the main forum for WEF, is
>under the authority of the UN Economic and Social Council. The Commission
>on Human Rights meets each spring in Geneva, Switzerland. United Nation
>status is very important because, through WEF, evangelicals have a legal
>position and worldwide representation.
>REVISED RUSSIAN RELIGION BILL ADOPTED
>On September 19, 1997 the Russian Parliament overwhelmingly adopted a
>revised religion bill that will curtain religious rights. The Law on
>Freedom of Conscience has drawn sharp criticism. The bill names Russia's
>Orthodox Church as the country's preeminent religion and pledges respect
>for "traditional" faiths, including Islam, Buddhism, Judaism and
>Supporters of the bill say Russia needs to protect itself from foreign
>sects and cults which have been coming into the country since the 1991
>breakup of the Soviet Union.
>Critics say the influential Russian Orthodox Church is backing the measure
>as a way to prevent other Christians, such as Catholics and Protestants,
>from operating freely in Russia.
>One of the most controversial clauses says that religious groups must be
>present in Russia for 15 years before they can publish or distribute
>religious literature or invite foreigners for preaching activities. Only a
>handful of religious groups were allowed to operate during the Soviet era,
>with its official ideology of atheism, and therefore do not meet the
>ANALYSIS OF NEW RUSSIAN LAW
>Dr. Mark Elliott, of the Institute for East-West Studies, noted authority
>and expert on religion in Russia, presents a balanced appraisal of The Law
>on Freedom of Religion.
> If the new law is implemented and enforced:
> It could lead to the largest expulsion of missionaries from a single
>country since China after 1949.
> It will require an enormous enforcement bureaucracy.
> Since Russian administrative practice has always been more important than
>Russian law, enforcement will almost certainly be uneven possibly to the
>benefit of Evangelicals.
> 10 years of remarkable opportunities (1988-97) have created an strong
>Evangelical infrastructure to enable them to weather the coming storm.
>Christian growth in China soared after missionary exodus.
> The 14 other former Soviet republics with 25 million Russians will
>probably assume greater importance as Western ministries become more
>involved with new outreach.
> The political advantages enjoyed by Orthodoxy in the short run will most
>likely prove disastrous in the long term.
>The Evangelical Lutheran Mission of Khakassia has been at work in this
>Russian republic for over two years. On September 30 they received an
>official letter from Khakassian authorities declaring that their
>registration has been canceled in accordance with the new "Law on Freedom
>of Conscience and Religious Organizations." They will no longer be able to
>own property, to legally conduct evangelistic efforts, to draft official
>documents, or to sign contracts and agreements. Pray for the Christians of
>Khakassia whose government is harshly enforcing the new Law on Freedom of
>PETER XU GIVEN 10 YEAR SENTENCE
>China's famous Christian prisoner Peter Xu (Xu Yongze) was sentenced to 10
>years in a labor camp on September 25, 1997 in Zhengzhou, Henan province,
>according to sources in his house church movement. The sentence is the
>harshest sentence handed to a Christian believer since 1982 (length of
>sentence has yet to be officially confirmed by Chinese government).
>Little has been heard of the 56 year old house church leader since his
>arrest on March 16. Tried for the criminal charge of "disrupting public
>order", Xu refused to defend himself. He is entitled to appeal the
>sentence and can now see family members.
>The case is pivotal because Peter Xu is the leader of one of the largest
>house church movements in China. The government of China has attempted to
>label him a cult leader which could set a precedent for the way the Chinese
>government will deal with the unofficial house church leadership.
>Family members have asked for prayer and that concern be expressed to
>Chinese officials through appropriate channels. This should not be done in
>a manner that could be construed as trying to pressure the Chinese
>government, as this could close the door to effective future communication.
> Evangelical observers close to his movement believe his arrest and
>sentencing to be a clear case of religious persecution from a Chinese
>government increasingly intolerant of unregistered house churches in recent
>years. Pray for continued freedom of worship throughout China.
>US DENOUNCES SUDAN
>United States Senators denounced Sudan's Islamic government for oppressing
>Christian and animist separatists in a 14-year civil war that has killed at
>least 1.5 million people. The US government is re-establishing a
>diplomatic presence in Khartoum in an effort to pressure Sudan to stop the
>bombings, village slaughter, kidnaping, child slavery and forced
>Islamization. Ask God to comfort Sudan's oppressed believers. Pray that
>US government pressure will succeed in ending the civil war.
>OFFICIAL OPPOSITION TO THE GOSPEL INTENSIFYING IN MONGOLIA
> 9,000 "Jesus" film videos were seized by customs officials in April 1997.
>In May 10,000 illustrated children's Bible books and 600 Bible cartoon
>videos were confiscated. Justice minister J. Amarsanaa said Christianity
>should be restricted because it represents a "threat to national security."
> Mongolia's Christian community has experienced dramatic growth since the
>country changed from communist dictatorship in 1991. Ask God to touch
>Amarsanaa's heart and thank Him for the advance of the gospel in Mongolia.
>REGISTRATION DILEMMA IN CROATIA
>The newly formed Evangelical Alliance in Croatia, a WEF member, faces a
>real challenge. It survived the first round of dialogue with the Croatian
>government about church registration. The next step will be more
>Pending government legislation would have made it impossible for any
>denomination with less than 30,000 members to become registered. With
>Croatia's evangelicals numbering 5,000, this could have been disastrous.
>As evangelicals cooperated, the legislation was amended.
>Now the challenge is how to register. The government desires each of the
>larger denominations to register separately, leaving the smaller
>denominations with no official status. Pray for wisdom and unity to
>BIBLES SEIZED IN VIETNAM
>In July 1997, police seized more than 500 Bibles, training books and videos
>from a major house church in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Two weeks earlier
>church leader Pastor Tran Dinh Ai was arrested and detained for five days.
>Pray for the spread of the gospel in Vietnam.
>PLIGHT OF KAREN PEOPLE IGNORED
>"They burned my home. I moved, but they burned that home too. Now I have
>nothing left." says a woman in a refugee camp on the Thai-Burmese border.
>The Myanmar (Burmese) military have a strangle-hold on minorities,
>including the Karen people. Karen Christians often are persecuted for
>refusing to aid Burmese authorities in drug trafficking. Troops enter a
>village, set fire to homes and churches, rape the women and kidnap boys to
>serve as porters for the army. Up to 40% of the 2.6 million Karen are
>Christian. Ask God to strengthen these people that they may be a strong
>witness for Christ. Thank God that radio programs from Far East
>Broadcasting Co. are heard in the region.
>INDIAN EVANGELIST KILLED
>An Indian evangelist, Mangal Pande, was killed and five co-workers were
>seriously injured when militants attacked them in their sleep. The group
>was conducting gospel meetings in Bihar. Pray that the blood of this
>martyr will yield a harvest for the Kingdom in eastern India.
>SRI LANKA UNDER ATTACK
>A national Christian youth camp in Kuliyapitiya was attacked and burned in
>May 1997. Villagers assert the area is predominantly Buddhist who are
>against Christians being in the area.
>Men armed with swords and poles visited houses of believers in June 1997.
>Parishioners were threatened and told not to attend church services.
>Pastors are threatened with death for conducting Sunday worship. Pray for
>Christians in Sri Lanka as they represent less than 1/2% of the population
>yet have been given a great urgency to reach Sri Lanka for Christ.
>CHURCH ATTACKED IN NORTHERN IRAQ
>Grace Evangelical Church in the Northern Iraqi city of Dohuk was attacked
>on September 18 by a mob of stone-throwing Muslims. Following the attack,
>four armed men returned to threaten Iraqi Pastor Yusef Matti with death if
>he did not leave immediately. Matti was informed by Dohuk Police Chief
>Ahmed Nazar that local authorities could offer no protection for his wife
>and three children.
>This attack occurred five months after a Kurdish Christian was shot to
>death in one of three officially permitted Christian bookstores managed by
>Matti. Matti is the only Protestant pastor in Northern Iraq and has seen
>his small Dohuk congregation grow to more than 100 since he arrived after
>the Gulf War. Pray for the oppressors of Christians, that they may
>experience repentance and salvation.
>PAKISTAN WOMAN MURDERED
>Rahila Khanum, a 22 year old Pakistani Muslim woman, ran away from home in
>June 1997 when her family, hearing of her interest in Christianity,
>arranged for her to immediately marry a Muslim relative. Rahila was
>attending Bible studies. When her family discovered her in hiding on July
>16, she was immediately murdered by a male relative. Upon his arrest he
>claimed that he had fulfilled his religious duty to kill an apostate from
>Islam. However, Pakistani Christian leaders say the main motive for
>killing Rahila was to redeem the honor of the family which she disgraced by
>her interest in Christianity and by running away from an arranged marriage.
> Ask God to bring healing to this family and that they may seek to know
>INJIL RELEASED IN UZBEKISTAN
>The Bible Society in Uzbekistan received permission to clear a shipment of
>24,960 New Testaments through customs. The Scriptures, known as the
>"Injil", had been held by customs in Tashkent since January 1997. The
>Uzbek authorities had raised concerns that distribution of the Uzbek
>language Injil, constituted missionary activity, which is illegal in
>The churches are now allowed to distribute the Injil to all those who
>desire a copy and the Bible Society has been asked to place copies in all
>state-run libraries throughout the country as an educational resource.
>Praise be to God for answering all the prayers on behalf of the
>distribution of this shipment of Injil.
I Know That My Redeemer Liveth!
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