AUSTRALIAN PRAYER NETWORK NEWSLETTER
- CHRISTIAN LEADERS CONDEMN WHITE SUPREMACISM AFTER CHARLOTTESVILLE VIOLENCE
- HOW CHARLOTTESVILLE INTERCESSORS TOOK A STAND DURING THE VIOLENCE
- LOCAL CHRISTIANS IN VIRGINIA REVEAL WHAT REALLY HAPPENED IN CHARLOTTESVILLE
- ATHEISM IN RUSSIA FALLS BY 50% IN 3 YEARS
- DISCERNING THE TRUTH ABOUT CHINA
- A CHURCH SERVICE AT THE GATES OF HELL
CHRISTIAN LEADERS CONDEMN WHITE SUPREMACISM AFTER CHARLOTTESVILLE VIOLENCE
Christian leaders are condemning white nationalism in the wake of the violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left one person dead after a car ploughed through a crowd of counter-protestors. White nationalists came to Charlottesville to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee where they were met by counter-protestors. The day turned ugly when the two sides began attacking each other with fists, thrown projectiles and even homemade flame-throwers. As the protests began to break up, a car came roaring into a crowd of counter protestors, killing one person and injuring at least 26 others. “When Hell exhales the outcome is hatred. Both unacceptable and diabolical racism must be confronted by God fearing people,” Rev. Samuel Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference said in a statement released to the press.
“I condemn the forces of white nationalism, white supremacy and antisemitism that divide our country today and I also condemn those who seek to politicize it all for their political gain.” Most took to expressing their anguish and outrage at the events in Charlottesville on Twitter. Sen. Ted Cruz, called the car attack an “act of domestic terrorism” and called for a Justice Department investigation. Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission tweeted: “I am grieved to the core to think that this is the United States of America that I’m watching on live television right now.” Moore has condemned white supremacy as ‘satanic’ and in June the SBC voted to condemn the movement. Moore repeated that message on Twitter: “The so-called Alt-Right white supremacist ideologies are anti-Christ and satanic to the core. We should say so.”
Kay Warren, wife of Saddleback mega-church pastor Rick Warren, tweeted: “This is NOT the way of the cross or the Saviour who died on it. There is no place for alt-right ideologies in our churches or in our country.” “Violence and hatred are not the answer,” evangelist Franklin Graham tweeted. He also called for prayer for those who lost loved ones and for law enforcement, adding a Scripture verse: “God’s Word tells us, ‘Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” (Ephesians. 4:31) Pray for the injured and those who lost loved ones in Charlottesville. Pray for law enforcement, and for peace. Bible teacher Beth Moore spoke out: “We cannot renounce what we will not name. It’s called White Supremacy. And it is from Hell. Call it. Condemn it.”
Ms Moore also quoted scripture, “Stand against the schemes of the devil withstand in the evil day and having done ALL to stand FIRM. Stand therefore.” No sitting this out. At a press conference, President Trump condemned “this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.” Wheaton College professor and former Executive Director of Lifeway Research Ed Stetzer responded to his remarks: “Glad to see the President speak out, particularly since many of these people have been emboldened by his election, now there’s more to do. Some criticized the president for not going far enough because he did not specify white supremacism or the Alt-Right movement. “Trump is very, very specific when he wants to condemn someone, ask the Khans, Judge Curiel, Comey, his AG, his vagueness has a purpose,” tweeted National Review writer and long-time Trump critic David French.
Sen. Marco Rubio, called on the president to make it clear that he regards this as a terror attack by white supremacists. Very important for the nation to hear the President describe events in Charlottesville for what they are, a terror attack by white supremacists. Sen. James Lankford, called for a national effort to heal the country of racial division: “As a nation, we must recommit to build respectful unity together and honour the human dignity of all people,” he wrote. Many members of President Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Board also condemned racism and white supremacy. Vice President Mike Pence called on Americans to pray and to focus on eradicating racist groups from the public sphere in some powerful remarks delivered during a joint press conference with the Columbian President Juan Manuel Santos.
Pence also criticized the media for focussing on President Trump’s words, instead of seeking to disavow the words of those hate groups who started the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. “What happened there is in no way a reflection of the good and decent people of Charlottesville or of America,” Pence declared. “President Trump clearly and unambiguously condemned the bigotry, violence and hatred which took place on the streets of Charlottesville. Our hearts go out to the victims of violence that ensued. The family of the young woman who lost her life. The families of the two police officers that fell in the line of duty and all of those that were injured.” “We have no tolerance for hate and violence, white supremacists, neo-Nazis or the KKK. These dangerous fringe groups have no place in American public life and in the American debate and we condemn them in the strongest possible terms.”
“The President also made clear that behaviour by others of different militant perspectives was also unacceptable,” Pence continued. “The President’s call for unity was from the heart,” Pence declared. “I take issue that the national media spent more time criticizing the president’s words than they did criticizing those who perpetrated the violence to begin with.” “We should be putting the attention where it belongs. These extremist groups need to be pushed out of the public debate entirely, and discredited for the hate groups and dangerous fringe groups that they are.” Then, Pence, who is a devout Christian, made a remarkable request of the American people. “In the aftermath of the violence, I think it’s a good time to pray,” Pence said. “Pray for those who lost their lives, pray for their families, pray for the injured. Also pray for greater unity in America, that I believe will come.”
Source: CBN News
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HOW CHARLOTTESVILLE INTERCESSORS TOOK A STAND DURING THE VIOLENCE
The rioting that broke out in Charlottesville, Virginia caught national attention. The “Unite the Right” rally organized by white supremacists on Saturday, August 12, and the ensuing counter protests, has been reported with scenes of street brawls, chaos, and bloodshed, suggesting the violence was widespread and out of control. And yet, according to one first-hand testimony on the street, things could have been a lot worse had local intercessors not responded to Heaven’s call to take a stand through worship and prayer. Jon Quesenberry is the Director of the Charlottesville House of Prayer. He and a small band of twelve intercessors took to the streets on the day of the rally, positioning themselves between the gathering demonstrators, and began to sing and worship. Quesenberry had also been prompted by the Holy Spirit through a dream which revealed the schemes of the enemy to bring violence to the city and how to stand in the gap for their community.
The rally was to start at 1:00 p.m. The protesters were going to start early at noon. The group of intercessors took their position from 10:00 till 11:30 a.m. as demonstrators began to take their positions on either side of the barricades. As they started to sing and worship, Quesenberry describes what happened: “Worship silenced both groups for about an hour! We saw what public worship and prayer can do. The most amazing thing is that we had an assignment from the Lord that was ‘counter protest.’ We brought a different atmosphere. Both groups backed away from us and neither group knew what to do with us. It really did stop the momentum of the hate shouting for almost an hour.”
Quesenberry said “without the worship we would have been unable to maintain a prayer presence here because the noises around us were so distracting, the protesters began to yell at us, ‘Hypocrites! Hypocrites!’ and they began to chant against us, but they couldn’t overcome the worship.” He said that even the police began to back away from the group because they knew the area was safe. They later found out that their worship could be heard from a block away. It was only ten minutes after his group felt they should leave, that the rally was declared “unlawful” by the police and the demonstrators were given five minutes to disperse. He said the few skirmishes that happened are the ones repeatedly being replayed on newscasts giving the impression it was much more extensive. He also noted that though there were several fights reported elsewhere, there were none where his group of intercessors stood.
There was one tragic death in the street, as the crowd was dispersing, and another two officers that were killed in a related helicopter incident. Twenty-three people were reported to have gone to the hospital for treatment of injuries. Yet, Quesenberry said the local hospitals had been prepared for hundreds to be injured and many possibly killed. He believes that the completed prayer assignment from the Lord and other small prayer groups of intercessors and pastors throughout the city, is what averted much greater violence in Charlottesville on Saturday. Quesenberry, a local resident, believes that over ninety-five percent of the participants were from out of town. Not only that, but almost half of the participants were from out of state.
He believes his city simply became a staging place for these agitators who were looking for a place to promote their agenda. From what he saw on the streets that day, he says the issues we face are much deeper than political ideologies and racial differences. We are involved in a continually escalating clash of cultures in our nation right now. That clash is not one side “haters” and the other side “lovers.” What I saw at the rally is two types of haters because there were terrible things being said by the protesters, but it was the same coming from the counter-protesters. They were shouting things that should never be said to anybody, there were fighters on both sides. There is no message that is going to overcome the divide between the clash in our nation. Education and empathy are not going to increase capacity for people to love one another. What’s purely needed now is spiritual awakening and it starts with mass repentance.
Quesenberry believes we have to repent “not because we’ve done stuff wrong, but because we are a nation of sinners.” He references Isaiah 6:5 where the prophet says, “I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips.” It’s this kind of repentance that identifies with the collective sin of a nation that has power to change things. Based on his observations, these clashes are the result of sin and the absence of God’s presence. Without the tangible presence of God covering and overshadowing His people, we will always be prone to war with one another. As Believers in Christ, our greatest demonstration to the world is our love, not just for one another, but for the One who reconciles all things to Himself. It’s time for Believers to come out of their prayer closets and into the streets as carriers of God’s presence. It is possible to change the atmosphere with our praises. It is possible to silence the voice of the enemy with the sound of worship. As we face continual threats, let us not forget the power of God’s presence to disarm the enemy’s threats and shift the atmosphere towards Kingdom purposes.
Source: Intercessors for America
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LOCAL CHRISTIANS IN VIRGINIA REVEAL WHAT REALLY HAPPENED IN CHARLOTTESVILLE
Stunned local Christians, churches, and confused pastors gathered in Charlottesville churches to face a new spiritual dilemma, “How to cope with the recent day of death?” Shock and disbelief are settling in, and most are asking the same question in one way or the other; how could this happen here? “This isn’t Charlottesville; these are outsiders,” they repeated throughout the day trying to comfort each other. “What should we do? How did we let this happen? What went wrong? How responsible are we?” So, as a resident of this once peaceful city, I also wondered how we should respond in the future? How do we, as Believers, respond to the seeds of hate speech, racism and violence that blossomed over our city and our University yesterday? How can we stop it from happening again?
Saturday was scheduled on many Christian calendars as international students move-in day, the kick-off of “welcome week” orientations for the incoming class of 2021. Half a dozen sporting events were also planned by the University and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. All were cancelled by mid-morning on Saturday, the city had virtually shut down. Instead of welcomes and games, rioting and street fights started Friday night in a torch light parade to the Thomas Jefferson Monument on University grounds. Early Saturday morning, while several churches and Christian groups held prayer walks in McGuffey Park and vigils in nearby churches, “Unite the Right” rally members picked street fights with willing counter-protestors downtown. By mid-morning, protestors and counter-protestors were gleefully rioting in downtown Charlottesville.
That’s when police, on cue, stepped in and cancelled the Rally before it could begin. The resulting violence left one woman dead, two police officers accidentally killed in a helicopter crash, and 19 people injured, many with life-threatening injuries. The Saturday rally was almost universally represented here in the media as a Ku Klux Klan style event staged by white racists, a rally resurrected from a bygone era of racial violence. As a result, fearful and self-righteous Christians from 250 local churches in the five-county area boycotted both the Rally and counter-protests. Watching the events unfold in horror on Saturday, both Christian and secular political eyewitnesses realized that the deadly violence was highly organized; orchestrated by professional outside forces, organizers welcomed in by naive churches and community leaders.
Local Christian leaders now understand that “Congregate Charlottesville,” the inter-faith counter protest staged to oppose the visiting white nationalists, was masterfully organized by outsiders who wanted violence as much as Alt-Right Nazi racists they pretended to oppose. From the start, most local Christians here realized that “Congregate Charlottesville” and the demonstrators didn’t represent the community, but no one understood their true agenda; how serious and deadly the violence could become. Now, these same Christian leaders are trying to wash the blood off their hands and hopefully learn a valuable lesson for the future.
Source: Assist News Service
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ATHEISM IN RUSSIA FALLS BY 50% IN 3 YEARS
The number of Russians who identify as atheists has fallen by 50% in just three years, according to a recent poll by the Levada research centre. The poll, which was conducted in late June, revealed that the number of Russian atheists, or those who consider themselves “absolutely irreligious,” fell sharply from 26% in 2014 to just 13% in 2017. Religious believers now make up 86% of the population, the survey found, with 44% describing themselves as “quite religious,” 33% as “not too religious” and 9% as “very religious.” Levada, a non-governmental Russian research centre, conducted the survey on a representative all-Russian sample of urban and rural population among 1,600 people aged 18 and over in 137 settlements in 48 regions of the country.
Unsurprisingly, the poll found that Orthodoxy remains the dominant and most popular religion in Russia, and more than 92% of respondents view the Orthodox Church with “respect and benevolence.” Regarding Catholics, 74% of Russians views the Catholic church with “respect and benevolence,” while 10% have “conflicted feelings” toward Catholics and another 5% look on them with “dislike” or “fear.” Fifty-nine percent of respondents hold a favourable view of Islam, while 17% have “conflicted feelings” toward them and 13% look on Muslims with “dislike” or “fear.” The poll furthermore seems to indicate that anti-Semitic sentiment is falling in Russia, as the number of those who say they either “dislike” or “fear”Jews has dropped significantly, from 15% in 2014 to 11% today.
The portion of the population that backs the Orthodox Church’s involvement in state politics has risen slightly, from 26% in 2014 to 28% today, while the majority (58%) say that the Church should not influence political decisions. Last fall, Russia’s Ministry of Justice declared the Levada research centre, the country’s leading independent polling agency, to be a “foreign agent” just two weeks before parliamentary elections. Levada’s director, Lev Gudkov, said the measure amounted to political censorship. “This practically means the imposition of political censorship and the impossibility of independent polls. It’s the typical behaviour of this repressive regime,” he said. All the other main polling centres in Russia are government controlled.
Source: Breitbart News
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DISCERNING THE TRUTH ABOUT CHINA
When it comes to China, everyone has a different story. Is the Church persecuted or supported by the government? Do Bibles need to be smuggled in or can they be legally purchased in the country? Are believers struggling or thriving? According to Wendell Rovenstine of Bibles for China, the answer is simple. If someone tells you something about China, you can almost always look them in the eye and with a smile and almost a peace in your heart say to them, ‘Yes, that’s right.'” That’s because, thanks to China’s massive size and population, two very distinct personalities make up China’s Church. While Bibles for China works with believers in the registered Church, “There are Christians, and there are millions of them, that meet in houses and business buildings that are often considered the underground Church.”
Distribution methods for Bibles depend on the region. Bibles for China purchases and distributes Bibles to members of the registered Church who can’t afford their own, but there are others that get Scripture to the underground Church. Either way, because Bibles are not given ISBN numbers, they are not sold in normal shops and must be purchased directly from printers. Calculating the number of Christians in the country can be a challenge. “Some will say there are 40 million believers in China, others that there are more than 150 million,” Rovenstine says. “When you do the research you just don’t get any definitive answers.” But Rovenstine says “With 1.379 billion people and 195 organizations working together it is an almost impossible task to see the Scriptures delivered to everyone in China who needs His word.”
Source: Mission Network News
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A CHURCH SERVICE AT THE GATES OF HELL
The pro-life group Operation Save America (OSA) is waging war in the abortion battle, launching a series of rallies in hopes of shutting down Kentucky’s last remaining abortion clinic. Armed with signs, pamphlets and prayers, peaceful protesters gathered this week outside the EMW Women’s Surgical Centre in Louisville, and around the Gene Snyder United States Courthouse. OSA is holding prayer rallies in front of the clinic and plans to display a mobile JumboTron depicting abortions next week. According to the group, between 600 and 700 people have come from across the nation to participate in the rallies. OSA recently went to court to fight a temporary buffer zone outside the clinic. Protesters who violate the buffer zone had been threatened with arrest. Rusty Thomas, director of OSA, challenged the order.
“They want to create a safety zone to keep Christians away from trying to save their lives through the ministry of the Gospel,” said Thomas in an interview with CBN News. Thomas described the atmosphere outside the clinic. “We have a church service right at the gates of Hell. We don’t do anything differently than what we do in church. The only difference is we’re coming out of the building. We’re attempting to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world,” he explained. “When we’re at the death camp, we’re ministering the Gospel. The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. We take the national sin of child sacrifice and the shedding of innocent blood and we use that as a platform to minister the Gospel of the Kingdom,” said Thomas.
Source: CBN News
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