Sunday, January 23, 2011

Continued Wave of Arrests in Iran

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Four New Christians arrested in Isfahan

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries
TEHRAN, IRAN (ANS) -- Following the wave of arrests and repressive measures against new Christians in the capital city of Tehran, reports now indicate similar actions against recent Christians in other cities of Iran.

Iranian prisoner in prayer
Mohabat News (www.mohabatnews.com), the Iranian Christian New Agency, said in a story sent to the ASSIST News Service, that “following the wave of repressions and arrests of several new Christians in Tehran and other cities, the security police in Isfahan have also been very active in pursuing similar measures.”
Coinciding with the arrest of Rev. Leonard Keshishian, pastor of the Assemblies of God Church in Isfahan on December 31st, reports have been received that four other new Iranian Christians have also been arrested in Isfahan (150 miles south of Tehran) at the same time.
The Mohabat News reporter in Isfahan has stated that the names of the four arrested are as follows: 31-year-old Basir Amini, 25-year-old Hooman Tavakoli, 20-year-old Rafee Nadi-Pour, and 35-year-old Yasaman Yar-Ahmadi. They were all arrested in Isfahan on Thursday, December 30th, 2010.
“The security police, in a coordinated and simultaneous sting operation, arrested each of the above mentioned Christians at their residences. These agents of the government, in their usual and routine habit, searched the homes of these Christians and confiscated some of their personal belongings such as computers, CDs, Bibles, and other Christian books,” the Mohabat News story went on to say.

Tehran's notorious Evin Prison
“Unofficial sources have indicated that these individuals, subsequent to their arrests, were transferred to Tehran. Also, it has been reported that these four Christians along with all others who have been detained since Christmas 2010 have been kept at the section 209 of the infamous Evin Prison in Tehran, which is an exclusive section reserved for political prisoners and is under the direct control of the Revolutionary Guards.”
The news source added that Rev. Keshishian was also arrested moments before the arrival of the New Year, on December 31st, and currently it is unclear whether these arrests and the ones from several weeks' pasts are in any ways connected to each other.
“Reports of similar arrests in various cities in Iran such as Tehran, Karaj, Mashhad, Arak, Dezful, Ahvaz, Shiraz, Rasht, Hamadan, and Isfaham have been reported and published in this and other news sites,” said the Mohabat News story.
“The Iranian government, in the past years, has been exerting repressive pressures on religious minorities, but the recent wave of arrests represents the largest coordinated and organized repression so far.
“The official government news and propaganda sites as well as Mr. Morteza Tamadon, the governor of the Province of Tehran, have accused these Christians as collaborators with illegal foreign Christian organizations. This accusation seems strange when the government judicial authorities are yet to release the name of any such foreign organization and present credible evidence to prove such accusations.”
Their story added: “Christian Iranians have always believed that contact with other churches and Christian organizations, whether in or out of their country, is part of their Christian unity and means of discipleship and fellowship of all members of the universal body of Christ. Therefore, any form of contact with churches or Christian organizations outside of Iran is not viewed, by believers inside Iran, as an immoral or subversive activity. Currently, due to severe restrictions on travel visa for touristic or educational purposes, any meaningful contacts and fellowship with Christians outside of Iran are non-existent.
“Therefore, we conclude that the Christians in Iran are basically independent and are not part of any worldwide denominations. Christian churches in Iran, due to the restrictions imposed by both the Iranian government and other countries, do not receive any form of aid from any foreign missionary organizations. Thus, accusations such as collaboration with foreign missionary organizations are baseless and sooner or later these detained men and women should be released.”


ASSIST News Service (ANS) - PO Box 609, Lake Forest, CA 92609-0609 USA
Visit our web site at: www.assistnews.net -- E-mail: assistnews@aol.com

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Monday, January 03, 2011

Chalet Kuyper

I moderate a political discussion mailing list, Chalet Kuyper.

Chalet Kuyper is a mailing list for the discussion of political issues from a Bible Believing Christian perspective in the tradition exemplified in the life and works of Francis and Edith Schaeffer.

Why Chalet Kuyper?

"In the total expanse of human life there is not a single square inch of which the Christ, who alone is sovereign, does not declare, 'That is mine!'."
Abraham Kuyper

Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920) is the Christian who in modern times had the most influence in both the theory and practice of Christian political involvement. He also came to influence the thought and work of Francis Schaeffer.

"One desire has been the ruling passion of my life. One high motive has acted like a spur upon my mind and soul. And sooner than that I should seek escape from the sacred necessity that is laid upon me, let the breath of life fail me. It is this: That in spite of all worldly opposition, God's holy ordinances shall be established again in the home, in the school and in the State for the good of the people; to carve as it were into the conscience of the nation the ordinances of the Lord, to which Bible and Creation bear witness, until the nation pays homage again to God. "
Abraham Kuyper, 1897.

Kuyper was a man in the reformed Christian tradition for whom all of life must be lived in submission to Christ. No sphere of life, certainly not the political, was to be excluded.

"God, is present in all life, with the influence of His omnipresent and almighty power, and no sphere of human life is conceivable in which religion does not maintain its demands that God shall be praised, that God's ordinances shall be observed, and that every labour shall be permeated ... in fervent and ceaseless prayer. Wherever man may stand, whatever he may do, to whatever he may apply his hand, in agriculture, in commerce, and in industry, or his mind, in the world of art, and science, he is in whatsoever it may be, constantly standing before the face of his God, he is employed in the service of his God, he has strictly to obey his God, and above all, he has to aim at the glory of his God."
Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920) Calvinism, London, 1932, p. 89,90.

When Kuyper began his first work in 1863 as a pastor in the Dutch Reformed Church he was a liberal Christian. Before long, soundly converted, he was an evangelical Calvinist He believed that only a Calvinist world view could counter the liberalism of the day.

In 1872 Kuyper became editor in chief of The Standard, a daily paper and official organ of the Anti-Revolutionary Party which opposed the godless secularism of the political heirs of the French revolution. For 45 years Kuyper worked for this daily, and also a weekly newspaper.

1874 saw Kuyper elected to parliament for the Anti-Revolutionary Party. Kuyper, the theologian politician taught the divine origin of the state but also its dangers.

"...first--we have gratefully to receive from the hand of God the institution of the state with its magistrates as a means of preservation...and on the other hand also that by virtue of our natural impulse, we must ever watch against the danger which lurks for our personal liberty in the power of the state."
Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920)

Kuyper taught that the state is subject to a higher authority.

"The sovereignty of the state as the power that protects the individual and that defines the mutual relationships among the visible spheres, rises high above them by its right to command and compel. But within these spheres another authority rules, an authority that descends directly from God apart from the state. This authority the state does not confer but acknowledges."
Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920)

The state is but one authority. Other spheres of life do not derive from the state but are still subject to God's rule.

"We understand hereby, that the family, the business, science, art and so forth are all social spheres, which do not owe their existence to the State, but obey a high authority within their own bosom; an authority which rules, by the grace of God, just as the sovereignty of the State does."
Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920) Calvinism, London, 1932, p. 143

This doctrine of sphere sovereignty is one of the hallmark's of Kuyper's thought.

The Free University of Amsterdam was founded by Kuyper in 1880.

1886 saw Kuyper lead a secession from the state church, the Nederlandse Hervormde Kerk over the climate of theological liberalism.

"When principles that run against your deepest convictions begin to win the day, then battle is your calling, and peace has become sin; you must, at the price of dearest peace, lay your convictions bare before friend and enemy, with all the fire of your faith. "
Abraham Kuyper

From 1901 to 1905 Kuyper was Prime Minister of the Netherlands, leading a coalition of his own party and the Catholic Party. Kuyper believed that he could make common political cause with other Christians with whom he had deep theological differences.

When Schaeffer talked of co-belligerents not allies, he showed his debt to Kuyper.

So it is Chalet Kuyper - in honour of a great Christian pastor, theologian, reformer, journalist and statesman.

To Subscribe:Send a blank email to =- ChaletKuyper-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

The Chalet Kuyper (Kuyper) discussion list is committed to open discussion of politics in the spirit of the work of Francis and Edith Schaeffer. As they committed their lives to show forth the existence of God and demonstrate His character, the mission of Chalet Kuyper is to discuss politics with Christian civility.

As the name of this chalet implies, the rich legacy given to us by Abraham Kuyper will no doubt influence discussion here as it also influenced the life of Francis Schaeffer.

Chalet Kuyper offers an invitation to pour a glass of your favorite beverage, and step into our Chalet. Come to listen or participate. All who come to this forum are encouraged to submit to the lordship of Christ in the sphere of politics according to the Scriptures.

The expectation is that all participants strive to show forth The Mark of the Christian.

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Sunday, January 02, 2011

New things in Scripture

I am doing a New Year sermon tonight. I found these new things in God's Word.

New covenant, new heart, new spirit, new creation, new man, new commandment, new heavens, new earth, all things new, new self, new and living way, new name and new song.

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Saturday, January 01, 2011

Egypt Car Bomb Kills Seven at Alexandria Coptic Church

ALEXANDRIA, EGYPT (ANS) -- The BBC is reporting that a car bomb explosion outside a church in the north Egyptian city of Alexandria has killed seven people and injured 24, the interior ministry says.
“The blast, apparently caused by a car bomb, hit people as they left a new year's service at the al-Qidiseen church shortly after midnight,” said the BBC story. “Sectarian tensions have recently been on the rise in Egypt.
“After the blast, angry Christians reportedly threw stones at police officers and targeted a nearby mosque. Protesters went into the mosque, throwing books out onto the street, the Associated Press news agency reported.”
The BBC went on to say that the mayor of Alexandria, Gen Adel Labib, said on Egyptian TV that there had been recent threats of attacks on churches, though he tried to play down any possible sectarian motive for Saturday's bombing.
Sectarian violence
A local priest said the death-toll from the blast would have been much higher had the explosion happened minutes later, after more people had left the service, reports the BBC's Khaled Ezzelarab in Cairo.
After the explosion, Christians were seen chanting beside a burnt-out car in front of the church: “We sacrifice our souls and blood for the Cross.”
Christians from the Coptic Orthodox Church make up about 10% of Egypt's predominantly Muslim population.
The BBC report continued, “The rise of political Islam and the failure of the government to address Coptic claims of discrimination have fueled divisions, analysts say.
“Al-Qaeda in Iraq has also been conducting a campaign against Christians following the reported conversion to Islam by two Egyptian Christian women in order to divorce their husbands.”
Alexandria, Egypt's second-largest city with a population of about four million, has seen sectarian violence in the past.
“In 2006, there were days of clashes between Copts and Muslims after a Copt was stabbed to death during a knife attack on three of the city's churches,” concluded the BBC story.

ASSIST News Service (ANS) - PO Box 609, Lake Forest, CA 92609-0609 USA
Visit our web site at: www.assistnews.net -- E-mail: assistnews@aol.com

Friday, December 31, 2010

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

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