Tuesday, October 25, 2016

RLPB 381. Oct. Update Incl. Russia, China, Germany, Iraq, Prisoners, Northern Ireland (UK)

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 381 | Wed 26 Oct 2016

Please forward this prayer bulletin widely, and encourage others to sign up to the Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin blog. "The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." (James 5:16 NIV)

by Elizabeth Kendal

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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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OCTOBER 2016 UPDATE -- this month we prayed concerning ...

* RUSSIA (RLPB 378), where new anti-mission measures -- which have more to do with politics than religion -- are causing grief and stirring debate.

Orthodox 'vigilantes' (Pravmir.ru)
UPDATE: Russia's new anti-mission measures are stirring debate within the Orthodox Church.  On 7 October activists associated with the 'Orthodox Advocacy Analytic Centre' (OAAC) summarily detained and then handed to police eight Jehovah's Witnesses they accused of illegal missionary activity. Russian Orthodox theologian and commentator Sergey Khudiev slammed the action in an article on Pravmir.ru (Orthodoxy and the World website). Khudiev condemned the harmful actions of Orthodox 'vigilantes' who bring 'nothing to the faith, the church, or the salvation of souls, except harm. ... [They] are not a testimony to Orthodoxy. They are testimony against it,' he said, recommending instead 'a ministry of love'. Lawyers from the OAAC went on the attack, publicly criticising Khudiev. Citing a list that includes Baptists and Pentecostals, they referred to the 'sects' as 'wolves in sheep's clothing' who hide 'their evil and violence against people' behind 'Christian symbols and quotations from Sacred Scripture'. Using highly evocative language, the OAAC insisted it has a 'sacred obligation' to 'defend our neighbours from this plague that is vigorously penetrating our country'.

A spiritual battle is under way. Please pray for Russia and its Church. (Romans 8:28 ESV).

* CHINA (RLPB 379), where new regulations targeting churches and lawyers herald dark days for the Church. For a more complete analysis, see: 'Persecution of Church to Escalate as Zhejiang Experiment Goes National', by Elizabeth Kendal, Religious Liberty Monitoring (17 Oct 2016).

UPDATE: China Aid reports that local government authorities in Lishui city in Zhejiang Province have instructed teachers at the Lishui Vocational and Technical College to instil atheism, exclude theism and eradicate religious activity on campus.

ALSO: The four-day 6th Plenum of the Chinese Communist Party's 205-member Central Committee commenced on Monday. By the end of the week President Xi will have been confirmed as the 'core' of the CCP. This will put Xi Jinping on a par with Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, as a leader whose rule may not be questioned. Pray for China and its Church.

* GERMANY (RLPB 380) where the Church is in decline, Christianity is in crisis and Christian asylum seekers are persecuted with impunity. Without reformation, revival and divine intervention, Germany will be lost.  Pray for Germany on Reformation Sunday, 30 October. [For prayer points see RLPB 380 (19 Oct).]

UPDATE: In addition to the report referenced in RLPB 380, Open Doors has now also released a case study which profiles a refugee centre in the central German town of Rotenburg an der Fulda. Sobering reading, the report includes an open letter and appeal for help from Iranian Christians living in the Rotenburg facility. Appendix 2 calls for an end to the 'integration experience' which is being undertaken at the expense of Christians and appeals for the swift implementation of various protective measures. Critically, the report highlights the role of the local church in supporting Christian refugees, monitoring their situation and advocating on their behalf to bring about change.

Report: 'Attacks on Christian Refugees'. Open Doors, October 2016
A case study: the refugee reception centre in Rotenburg an der Fulda, Hesse.

OCTOBER ROUND-UP -- also this month ...

* IRAQ: ELEVATED RISK DURING BATTLE FOR MOSUL 

Despite having been driven from their homes in Mosul and the Nineveh Plains in June-August 2014, the now-displaced Assyrian remnant will face elevated risk during the Battle for Mosul. At present most are hunkered down in Ankawa, on the northern edge of Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan.

The ISIS counter-offensive has included attempts to open new fronts. On 21 October ISIS suicide bombers and snipers attacked the contested but Kurdish-held oil-rich city of Kirkuk. On 23 October ISIS launched a fierce three-pronged attack on Rutba in western Anbar Province.

Church welcomes one of the 'hidden' girls.
photo: Fr. Ammar. (source: WWM)
During the attack on Kirkuk, a group of ISIS fighters (at least one in suicide vest) took up positions inside the home of seven female Christian university students. Unable to escape, the girls hid under their beds, texting their priest in Erbil. He in turn, rallied the church to prayer and notified Iraqi and Kurdish forces. It is nothing short of a miracle that these girls remained undetected and were rescued, not simply alive but unharmed. Priest Ammar told World Watch Monitor, 'It's a miracle. A true miracle. We prayed a lot and God answered.'

Pray for the Christian remnant in Iraq: 'Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings ...' (from Psalm 17:6-9).

* PRISONERS: PRAISE GOD for the release in IRAN of Behnam Irani, pastor of the 300-member Church of Iran in Karaj. During his six years in prison, he had at times been close to death. PRAISE GOD for the release in CHINA of Yang Rongli, pastor of the 50,000-member Linfen Church in Shaanxi province; she had served her full 7-year detention.

PLEASE continue to 'Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.' (Hebrews 13:3 ESV)

* UK: BELFAST COURT RULES AGAINST ASHERS BAKERY

Daniel and Amy McArthur
of Ashers Baking Company
Belfast's Court of Appeal has ruled against Ashers Baking Company deeming its refusal in 2014 to decorate a cake with the words 'Support Gay Marriage' constituted 'direct discrimination'. This was despite recognising that the openly Christian bakery manager, Mr Daniel McArthur, did not refuse the service because the customer, Mr Gareth Lee, was gay; indeed, Mr Lee (a gay rights activist) had been a regular customer at Ashers bakery. 'What we refused to do,' said Daniel McArthur, 'was to be involved with promoting a political campaign to change marriage law.' Northern Ireland's Attorney General John Larkin QC had argued that, 'No one should be forced to be the mouthpiece for someone else's views when they are opposed to their own -- whether in print or in icing sugar,' noting that would amount to 'coerced expression'. Simon Calvert of the Christian Institute agreed, protesting: 'Equality laws are there to protect people from discrimination, not to force people to associate themselves with a cause they oppose.'

The case against Ashers Baking Company was brought by the taxpayer-funded Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, which is now demanding the McArthurs pay costs amounting to more than £88,000 (more than US$107,000). As the McArthurs consider their options, the tide of public opinion is turning. In an on-line opinion poll conducted by The Telegraph, 88 percent of respondents voted 'No' when asked if the court had made the right decision. Pray for the McArthurs and for awakening in the UK.

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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

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

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

RLPB 379. China: new regulations herald dark days for church

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 379 | Wed 12 Oct 2016

Please forward this prayer bulletin widely, and encourage others to sign up to the Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin blog"The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." (James 5:16 NIV)

------------------------------------------------
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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CHINA: NEW REGULATIONS HERALD DARK DAYS FOR CHURCH
by Elizabeth Kendal

down with the cross
In January 2014 China's ruling Communist Party (CCP) launched a campaign of religious repression right in China's Christian heartland: Wenhzou city in the coastal province of Zhejiang [see RLPB 255, 'The Chinese Communist Party and the Cross Over Zhejiang,' (9 April 2014)]. Evidently the experiment has been deemed a success, for it appears the CCP is ready to roll out the repression nation-wide. New regulations coming into force give the CCP total control over religion nation-wide, purportedly on national security grounds. Further to this, on 1 November new regulations will come into force banning lawyers from speaking publicly about human rights abuses. These new regulations herald dark days ahead for the Church in China, for not only will the Church be without freedom, it may also be without lawyers.

On 8 September 2016 the CCP released a deliberative draft of its new Regulations on Religious Affairs [deliberation draft: English translation]. Friday 7 October was designated as the day the government would stop receiving public comments and bring the law into effect; however, no public announcement has been made as yet. The regulations give the CCP total control over religion. Unregistered (non-CCP-approved) religious activity will no longer be tolerated, registered churches will have to follow strict guidelines and all building will be tightly regulated so as to reduce the Church's visibility, as in Zhejiang.

Not only has the CCP set the stage for a flood of legal prosecutions ('lawfare') against Christians, but it is also moving to hamstring and tighten the restrictions on China's human rights lawyers. In a massive crackdown, back in July 2015 the government suddenly rounded up and arrested some 300 prominent human rights lawyers and activists, 14 of whom are still detained. In the midst of this, Christian lawyer Zhang Kai (37) announced the formation of 'Lawyers for Protection of the Cross', a group of some 30 Christian lawyers who vowed to defend the rights of the churches in Zhejiang. A month later, Zhang was arrested in Wenzhou, Zhejiang [RLPB 325 (1 Sep 2015)] and 'disappeared' into China's secret 'black jail' system. He was held in solitary confinement and in darkness for six months until, under extreme duress, he publicly 'confessed' to his 'crimes' and 'repented'. He was then released on strict bail conditions.

'house church' in Beijing
photo: Wayne Mcallister, ABC
Zhang Kai was re-arrested on 31 August 2016 after he breached his parole by publicly retracting his 'confession' [RLPB 377 (28 Sep 2016)]. On 1 November the Ministry of Justice's amended 'Administrative Measures for Law Firms' will come into effect. At that point all China's lawyers will be banned officially from speaking out about human rights abuses. Even silent protests, such as walking out of a courtroom, will be prohibited. 

PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY THAT: 

* God will give China's Christian leaders and lawyers great wisdom and grace as they seek to navigate the difficult path ahead.

* China's some 70 million Christians in unregistered 'house churches' -- many of which are remote -- will have great wisdom as they seek to continue studying the Word and worshipping together, albeit more deeply 'underground'.

* the Lord Jesus Christ will continue his Church-building work in China, as the Holy Spirit drives and guides creative and courageous mission and opens hearts to receive the Gospel.

* God will intervene in China to frustrate the plans of the Communist Party so that China's Christians will be free to live, worship and serve openly, so as to bring great blessing to China (1 Timothy 2:1-4). Pray for President Xi Jinping and the ruling CCP that 'the Lord opens the eyes of the blind' (Psalm 146:8a ESV).


SUMMARY FOR BULLETINS UNABLE TO RUN THE WHOLE ARTICLE
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NEW REGULATIONS HERALD DARK DAYS FOR CHINA'S CHURCH

On 8 September China's ruling Communist Party (CCP) released a draft of new 'Regulations on Religious Affairs'. Friday 7 October was the final day for public comment before the law would come into effect. The regulations give the CCP total control over religion nation-wide, purportedly on national security grounds. Unregistered religious activity will no longer be tolerated, registered churches will be heavily restricted and all building will be tightly regulated. Furthermore, when the Ministry of Justice's amended 'Administrative Measures for Law Firms' come into effect on 1 November, China's lawyers will be banned from speaking publicly about human rights abuses. So not only will the Church be without freedom, it is destined to be without lawyers to advocate for it. May God intervene in China and build his 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

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

RLPB 378. Russia: victims of geo-political tensions

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 378 | Wed 05 Oct 2016

Please forward this prayer bulletin widely, and encourage others to sign up to the Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin blog"The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." (James 5:16 NIV)

----------------------------------------------
International Days of Prayer (IDOP) for the Persecuted Church
IDOP 2016: Sundays 6 & 13 November. Resources: IDOP
See also: Critical Prayer Requests (CPR)
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RUSSIA: VICTIMS OF GEO-POLITICAL TENSIONS
by Elizabeth Kendal

Signed into law on 7 July [RLPB 365 (7 July)] Russia's new anti-mission measures have since been applied to at least nine cases [RLPB 377 (28 Sept)]. Most of those accused of illegal missionary activity have been found guilty and fined. However, the Novosergiev district court of Orenburg Province ruled in favour of Baptist pastor Alexander Demkin, rejecting the ridiculous charges brought against him over his church's popular summer program for children. In some cases, rulings are being appealed and the law is being tested; this is fuelling debate.

Ruth and Don Ossewaarde
Donald and Ruth Ossewaarde started visiting Russia in 1994. Since 2005, they have lived in Oryol, 360 km south-west of Moscow, witnessing and ministering openly and freely. However, on Sunday morning 14 August, Ossewaarde was arrested as he led worship in his home. Police accused him of posting evangelistic tracts in public places -- an accusation he denies -- and engaging in missionary activity without a permit. First, the court refused to allow time for Ossewaarde's lawyers to arrive from Moscow. Then, when the judge found Ossewaarde guilty of conducting unlawful missionary activity and sentenced him to pay a fine of 40,000 rubles (US$640), the court-appointed lawyer advised him to accept the verdict, pay the fine and leave the city. At that point, Ruth returned to the US while Donald and his legal team set about preparing the appeal. The Ossewaardes have closed their ministry in Oryol and referred their local community of believers to the Russian Baptist Church.

In the appeal hearing on Friday 30 September, Ossewaarde explained that he has been living and ministering in the 'new democratic Russia .... without any trouble for 14 years', in line with the religious freedom provisions in the Russian constitution. He told the court that he had studied the anti-mission measures in the 'Yarovaya Law' [see RLPB 364 (6 July)] and was certain that his pastoral ministry and the worship occurring in his home were not in violation of that law. He said he was merely 'exercising the rights guaranteed by the constitution and the laws of the Russian Federation'. Unable to make a decision, the judge suspended the session for several hours. When the court was reconvened, she upheld the original verdict: guilty. Donald Ossewaarde and his legal team will appeal the charges all the way to the Supreme Court if they have to, for the sake of religious freedom in Russia. [Updates can be found on Don Ossewaarde's website.]

These measures, as they apply to Christians, have nothing to do with religion and everything to do with geo-politics -- in particular the geo-politics of Syria, of sanctions, and of the West's involvement in political destabilisation abroad, e.g., 'colour revolutions' and regime change activities. To say Russia is 'cracking down on Christianity' is untrue and unhelpful. Such hostile, anti-Russia language can only hurt the cause of foreigners and Protestants in Russia. This situation requires wisdom and delicacy and above all an acknowledgement that Western governments are fuelling toxic Russophobia (fear of Russia) to further their own ideological, economic and geo-strategic interests at Russia's expense -- specifically with regard to cultural Marxism, gender ideology and same-sex marriage, as well as Sunni rule in Damascus, US and German control of Eastern European markets, and continued US-led NATO expansion (including into the Black Sea). The greater the tensions, the more 'protective' and reactionary Russia is likely to be, and the more victims we are likely to have. As Donald Ossawaarde testifies: 'Up until recently, we had complete freedom to be able to distribute literature, talk to people on the street. We were even able to put literature in mail boxes.' But now, he laments, Americans and other non-Russian Orthodox are being viewed with suspicion.  

PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY FOR GOD TO 

* intervene in Russia, to redeem this situation and sanctify the Church; may the Russian people and the Russian Orthodox Church speak out against injustice, so that the Gospel might continue its healing work amongst a needy people shattered by 70 years of Communist captivity.

* give Russia's churches, missionaries, lawyers and judges great wisdom, divine guidance and supernatural courage to do and speak up for what is right in God's sight; may these anti-mission measures be judged and found wanting and the law be amended radically or repealed so that religious freedom is restored.

* give Donald Ossewaarde and his legal team -- along with other appellants -- 'the Spirit of wisdom' (Ephesians 1:17) as well as spiritual insight and amazing grace in abundance; may the Gospel be preached, suspicions be swept away and this whole situation be turned to blessing.

'And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.' (Romans 8:28 ESV).

'Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.' (Romans 12:14 ESV)

PRAY for East-West relationsPsalm 65:5-8
[For another reason why this is SO important, see comment below.]


SUMMARY FOR BULLETINS UNABLE TO RUN THE WHOLE ARTICLE
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OUTREACH IN RUSSIA THE VICTIM OF GEO-POLITICAL TENSIONS

Russia enacted anti-mission measures on 7 July. In most cases hitherto, the 'missionaries' have paid a fine. As other cases now move through the appeals courts, this law is being tested. Since 1994, US Baptist Donald Ossewaarde has been witnessing in Russia, living in Oryol since 2005, 360km south-west of Moscow. All this time, he and wife have ministered in complete freedom in line with the religious freedom provisions in the Russian Constitution. On 14 August Donald was sentenced under  a predatory use of the anti-mission law. He and his legal team will appeal the charges all the way to the Supreme Court for the sake of religious freedom in Russia. American and non-Russian Orthodox 'missionaries' are victims of geo-political tensions with Russia. Please pray for Russia and for 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).

COMMENT After Saturday Comes Sunday: Understanding the Christian Crisis in the Middle East includes considerable detail about East-West relations, and how, since the Crimean War of 1853-6, Islam has exploited these tensions for personal gain. Entitled 'A House Divided' chapter 11 calls for solidarity within the Church across denominational lines, and solidarity within the Dar al harb (House of war) in the face of the ascendant Dar al Islam (House of Islam).

See www.ElizabethKendal.com