Tuesday, October 18, 2016

RLPB 380. Germany: Reformation or Death

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 380 | Wed 19 Oct 2016

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International Days of Prayer (IDOP) for the Persecuted Church
IDOP 2016: Sundays 6 & 13 November. Resources: http://idop.org/
See also Critical Prayer Requests (CPR)
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GERMANY: REFORMATION OR DEATH
(For Reformation Sunday, 30 Oct 2016)

by Elizabeth Kendal

On 31 October 1517 German theologian Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses -- 'Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences' -- to the door of Wittenberg Castle Church, triggering the Protestant Reformation. They were dark days: the Church was corrupt, Germany was weak, and the armies of Islam had conquered three-quarters of the old Christian world. After capturing Constantinople (the seat of the eastern, Byzantine/Greek Church) in 1453, Sultan Mehmed set his sights on Rome (the seat of the western, Roman/Latin Church). In 1480 he captured Otranto (in south-east Italy) and Rome was evacuated. Then the Sultan died and his plans died with him. In 1529 Suleiman the Magnificent laid siege to Vienna. Were it not that freakish weather had forced the Turks to abandon most of their artillery, they would certainly have captured the city; Germany, then, would have been at their mercy. Thankfully, God frustrated the Islamic advance while mercifully infusing life into Germany. The Reformation awakened Germans to divine grace, the priesthood of believers and a Biblical work ethic. The result: the phenomenal revival and technological rise of Christian Europe, before which Islam simply could not stand.

But just as Germany had been at the centre of the rise of modern Europe and Western civilisation, so too has Germany been at the centre of its decline. In the latter part of the 19th Century, Germany's imperialist Islamophile leadership of Kaiser Wilhelm II and Max von Oppenheim proposed a strategic alliance with global Islam. It was agreed that, in the event of war, the Ottoman Caliph would declare a jihad wherein Muslims would drive France out of Africa, Britain out of India, and Russia out of the Caucuses, paving the way for Germany and Islam to dominate the world. Strong German-Turkish ties were forged but ultimately the plot failed. Germany remained aligned with Islam through WW2, through a Nazi-Arab alliance committed to fighting colonial powers Britain and France and ridding the world of 'lesser peoples' like Jews, Roma and Slavs. After WW2, Europe moved to counter American dominance by creating a Euro-Arab Axis (Eurabia) which saw Europe's connections and exchanges with the Arab world multiply. All the while, German Communists were actively subverting the West by means of a (Mao-inspired) Long March through the institutions. Their aim: Cultural Revolution to replace Judeo-Christian values with the moral and cultural relativism of atheistic cultural Marxism. They have been phenomenally successful.

The result is Christianity is in crisis in Germany today. Giulio Meotti reports (Gatestone Institute, 12 Oct 2016) that in the past decade, Catholics in Germany have closed 515 churches while the Protestants have closed 340. The numbers of baptisms and church weddings are in free fall. Formal apostasy is soaring while conversions are few. As Giulio attests, 'religious decline is usually followed by a demographic one'. German fertility has collapsed and is now well below replacement rate. To replace the native population, Germany is taking in migrants -- Muslim migrants. Germany's Die Welt estimates that Christians in Germany will be a minority within 20 years. This is doubtless why UNESCO is running ads on German state-funded television encouraging German women to embrace the hijab.

Tarek Bakhous and Wassim Awad,
two Syrian Christian refugees,
in the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antiochia,
Berlin. Source: PRI; Photo: Daniel Estrin.
None of this bodes well for religious liberty and Christian security in Germany. For a glimpse of what might lie ahead, one need only look into Germany's refugee shelters, where Christian asylum seekers are persecuted with impunity. A report by a group of German NGOs, led by Open Doors (OD) Germany, reveals shocking levels of persecution of Christians, yet acknowledges this is 'only the tip of the iceberg'. Of the 743 Christian refugees who spoke to OD, 617 (83%) reported multiple assaults, 314 (42%) death threats, 416 (56%) violent assaults and 44 (6%) sexual assaults. Whilst 674 (91%) said the assaults were committed by Muslim fellow refugees, 205 (28%) accused Muslim guards. [For one case that went to court, see RLPB 377 (28 Sep).] While the government is setting up safe shelters for LGBTQI asylum seekers, it continues to resist calls -- even from police -- to separate migrants according to religion, insisting segregation would go against Germany's multicultural values. Without reformation, revival and miracle, Germany will be lost.

REPORT by Open Doors, October 2016
‘Lack of protection for religious minorities in Germany.’ 

Pastor Gottfried Martens lights a candle during a baptism service
for Persian converts in Trinity Church, Berlin.
Kirsten Grieshaber / The Associated Press

PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY THAT:

* God will intervene in Germany in the interests of vulnerable Christian asylum seekers; may he send his angels to guard them and may more churches be willing to provide safe haven. '... as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you did it to me' (From Matthew 25:31-46 ESV)

* God will raise up inspired, courageous, effective Christian leaders in the spirit of Martin Luther -- leaders who will step forward to lead the Church and speak truth to empower.

* as Germans look forward to the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in 2017, they will 'remember the Lord' (Deuteronomy 8:11-20) and glorify him again and put their faith in him again, so they will receive strength to 'turn back the battle at the gate' (Isaiah 28:5-6).


SUMMARY FOR BULLETINS UNABLE TO RUN THE WHOLE ARTICLE
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REFORMATION OR DEATH FOR GERMANY

In 1516 Germany was weak, its Church was corrupt and the armies of Islam had conquered three-quarters of the Christian world. Thankfully, God frustrated the Islamic advance and mercifully infused life into Germany. October 31 marks the 499th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation which heralded the revival and rise of Christian Europe. However, through the 20th Century German leaders forged alliances with Islam, while German Communists subverted the culture, replacing Christian values with the moral and cultural relativism of atheistic cultural Marxism. Today, Christianity in Germany is in crisis. More than 850 churches have closed in a decade, German fertility has collapsed, Muslim migrants are pouring in, Christian asylum seekers are persecuted with impunity and Christians will be a minority within 20 years. Please pray for Germany and its Church.

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Elizabeth Kendal is the author of Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah Speaks to Christians Today (Deror Books, Melbourne, Australia, Dec 2012) which offers a Biblical response to persecution and existential threat;
and, After Saturday Comes Sunday: Understanding the Christian Crisis in the Middle East (Wipf and Stock, Eugene, OR, USA, June 2016).

See www.ElizabethKendal.com