Category: The Church

Animal Souls 100,000-200,000 Years Old; Human Souls Around 6,000

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz June 13, 2018 , 2:50 pm

Hashem blessed them and Hashem said to them, “Be fertile and increase, fill the earth and master it; and rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and all the living things that creep on earth.” Genesis 1:28 (The Israel Bible™)

A new gene study presents serious difficulties for the scientific theory of evolution, while bringing science one giant step closer to the Biblical story of creation.

Dr. Gerald Schroeder, an Orthodox Jewish physicist with a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), was unperturbed, noting many ways in which new discoveries such as this show how science and religious belief can be complementary.

Mark Stoeckle from The Rockefeller University in New York and David Thaler at the University of Basel in Switzerland analyzed mitochondrial DNA collected from 100,000 animal species stored in the US government-run GenBank database. Their findings were recently published in the journal Human Evolution.

In analyzing the DNA barcodes, the researchers found an indicator that showed nine out of ten of all the species of animals alive today emerged about 100,000-200,000 years ago, approximately the same time that Homo sapiens appeared.

The researchers did not provide an explanation as to what led to this sudden explosion of life, but Dr. Schroeder, did suggest a theory for this phenomenon.

“We have seen that when men show up in an ecosystem, they tend to kill off the large animals,” he told Breaking Israel News. “The presence of the first Homo sapiens 100,000 years ago may have caused a man-made bottleneck and caused a significant change in the animal population. Humans have a disproportionately significant role in these natural processes, which may be what was meant in Genesis.”

Hashem blessed them and Hashem said to them, “Be fertile and increase, fill the earth and master it; and rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and all the living things that creep on earth.” Genesis 1:28

When discussing the timeline, Dr. Schroeder explained that the 100,000 year timeline did not contradict the Hebrew calendar which sets man’s creation at 5,778 years ago.

“The Biblical calendar of 6,000 years does not relate to the beginning of species,” Schroeder argued. “All animals have a nefesh (animal soul) but only Man has a neshama (human soul). Homo sapiens as a species did appear about 100,000 years ago but they wouldn’t be recognized as a person in the same way that we are. They had a nefesh but didn’t have a neshama. In scientific terms, people, as Homo sapiens, go back 100,000 years. But the Bible’s definition of a person is different. It includes a neshama. Science will not see the break, the change that occurred in man 6,000 years ago when we received a soul.”

“The neshama is what gives us the ability to be compassionate for someone outside your immediate clan,” Dr. Schroeder said. “Animals have a nefesh and can be compassionate to their own clan but they see anyone outside their clan as a threat. The ability to see the ‘other’ as something other than a threat, to have compassion and empathy, is what defines the neshama.”

Remarkably, man’s receiving a neshama did have an effect that even science recognized. Dr Schroeder related a visit he paid to the British Museum in London several years ago. An entire wing of the museum was dedicated to a change that occurred in mankind that museum curators believed to be the landmark that defined human society; the beginning of cities. A large brass plaque on the museum wall proudly proclaimed that this change occurred spontaneously around the world 5,500 years ago. Dr. Schroeder explained that the reason for science has yet to fully understand this sudden universal change, but can be understood in Biblical terms as the moment when man was instilled with a neshama.

“The beginning of farming 10,000 years ago led to a population explosion but without a neshama, men would not be able to live together with other people not from their clan,” Dr Schroeder explained. “One hundred thousand years ago Homo sapiens appeared, but they only had a nefesh. That is what science sees. 5,778 years ago, men were instilled with a neshama and had enough compassion, enough of a sense of the ‘other,’ to organize themselves into large societies.”

In addition to the new timeline of 100,00 years, the results of the new study are problematic for classical evolutionary theory which is based on long sequences of random mutations followed by natural selection. The gene study found a lack of variation in so-called “neutral” mutations, which are the slight changes in DNA across generations that neither help nor hurt an individual’s chances of survival. This would result in species with large, dispersed populations becoming more genetically diverse over time. The study showed that this was not the case, bringing into question evolution as it has been taught for almost 100 years.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9241

The Shroud’s Oscillating Man

By Rod DreherJune 7, 2018, 1:12 PM

Here’s something completely different for the hive mind to consider. It just came to my attention this morning, and I’m trying to get a read on it.

A friend passed on this 50-minute documentary about “new findings” on the Shroud of Turin. The documentary is from 2008, it appears; I haven’t been able to find any follow-up on these supposed new findings, so I don’t know if they’ve been disproved or validated.

In short, the documentary, based on the work of scientists in Sicily, claims to have made new discoveries about the Shroud based on “photogrammetry” — the science of making distance measurements of surfaces depicted on photographs. Using this technique, and high-resolution imagery, the scientists say they’ve found a number of objects on the body of the man in the Shroud — including, remarkably, tefillin, small leather boxes containing Scripture passages that observant Orthodox Jews wear strapped to their left arm and to their heads while praying.

Even more interesting, the scientists claim that their study has shown that the image on the Shroud is not static, but actually depicts a slight oscillation. It is, they say, like stroboscopic photograph, showing slight movement of the figure as intense bursts of energy emanate from his body. Here’s an example of a modern professionally taken stroboscopic photograph:

The movement within the Shroud image, it is claimed, is much more restricted, but still visible. If the image is in fact a glimpse of the moment of Christ’s Resurrection, then it is more like a kind of video of the first seconds of the Resurrection, depicting an oscillating movement of Christ.

See the image at the very top of this post? It depicts the right hand of the Shroud Man. But this imaging technique also shows the same hand in a semi-clenched fist. If the scientists’ theory is correct, and if the image really is Jesus of Nazareth at the moment of Resurrection, then the first thing Jesus did with his hand after returning to life was to make the hand configuration very similar to that Orthodox priests use when they bless — a hand position of great antiquity, derived in part from Greco-Roman hand gestures signifying particular meaning. Here is a detail of the famous 6th century icon of Christ Pantocrator at the Monastery of St. Catherine on Mount Sinai:

The documentary does not point this out, perhaps because the scientists are Roman Catholic, and didn’t recognize the significance. It is also possible that the Shroud Man’s hand moved to that position as a sheer coincidence. But it is exciting to consider the possibility that the Shroud Man, if he is the Resurrected Christ, made, as his immediate first act after life returned to his body, a gesture of holy blessing.

Now, my skepticism of this documentary is twofold. One, in my (admittedly limited) search, I haven’t been able to find anything reproducing these results, or even analyzing them independently. Maybe you readers can point me to something. Second, in watching the video, I cannot see in most cases the images that the scientists claim is visible. It is certainly possible that the documentary can’t recreate the same detail visible with instruments. It is also likely that an untrained eye can’t see what trained eyes can see. But part of me wonders to what extent people are seeing what they want to see.

Cards on the table: I do believe that the Shroud of Turin was the burial cloth of Jesus Christ. Having said that, I don’t want to be quick to accept the findings of these scientists. So, I’m appealing to the wide readership of this blog for guidance.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9230

Erdogan Threatens to Reignite Christian-Islamic War

By Staff Writer June 12, 2018 , 4:20 pm

There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers. Proverbs 6:16-19 (The Israel Bible™)

Turkey’s increasingly authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has strongly criticized Austria’s recent decision to close mosques and expel Turkish-funded imams, calling the move “anti-Islamic.”

Erdogan, who has concentrated ever-increasing power in his own hands and those of his Justice and Development Party, was scathing of the Austrian announcement and seemed to threaten severe reprisals. “These measures taken by the Austrian prime minister [Sebastian Kurz] are, I fear, leading the world towards a war between the cross and the crescent,” he said in a speech in Istanbul.

It is said that the Austrian move could lead to the expulsion of up to 60 Turkish-funded imams and their families and would probably lead to up to seven mosques having to close – as part of a crackdown on what the Austrian government has termed “political Islam.”

Among the mosques facing closure is the Mosque of the Grey Wolves on Antonsplatz, in the working-class Vienna district of Favoriten, where the Gallipoli reenactment took place. (Gallipoli being the site of one of the worst Allied reverses in World War I, with tens of thousands of casualties at the hands of Ottoman-Turkish soldiers).

Erdogan, speaking recently, said: “They say they’re going to kick our religious men out of Austria. Do you think we will not react if you do such a thing?”

“That means we’re going to have to do something,” he added without elaborating.

There are an estimated 360,000 people of Turkish extraction living in Austria – making it the second largest minority in the country. This is in addition to between 2.5 million and 4 million currently residing in neighboring Germany.

Relations between Turkey and Austria have been strained since 2016, when forces loyal to Erdogan brutally cracked down an alleged attempted coup to ouster the president, who has been at the center of Turkish political life since early in the Millennium.

Tensions have recently increased due to the upcoming Turkish presidential elections on June 24, in which Erdogan faces strong competition from Muharrem Ince, and an increasingly skeptical local electorate.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9225

So. Baptist Leader Calls for Repentance, No Sermon at Annual Meeting: ‘We Need God to Break Us Down’

By Brandon Showalter , CP Reporter | Jun 4, 2018 6:04 PM

Amid the ongoing fallout from the firing of Paige Patterson, one of the most prominent leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention, many are calling for “repentance” and “reformation” ahead of their denomination’s annual meeting.

In a Sunday blog post titled “What the Southern Baptist Convention Needs Right Now,” Sam Rainer, who is the lead pastor of West Bradenton Baptist Church in Florida, echoed The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Al Mohler’s May 23 essay describing how the judgment of God is on the denomination.

“God’s wrath is upon us. Our God is a consuming fire. Excuses will work like tiny strands of straw standing against a raging wildfire. There should be no sermon at this year’s annual convention. Leave the pulpit vacant. Let the room be silent and call the messengers to prostrate themselves in repentance,” Rainer said.

“We need humility, not charisma. Our convention has wrongly elevated charisma over humility. The bold leaders with pithy lines tend to get the most attention. It’s time we submit to humility instead of charisma.”

The largest evangelical Protestant group in the United States has been engulfed in controversy starting in late April when a 2000 interview Patterson — the now former president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and one of the architects of what is known as the Conservative Resurgence — gave resurfaced. In the interview with The Council on Bibilical Manhood and Womanhood, he described the advice he gave to a woman whose husband was being abusive, telling her to pray for him, and appeared to discourage her from leaving him.

Subsequent stories pertaining to the mistreatment of women, the “toxic” environment at SWBTS, a 2003 failure to report sexual assault have since emerged, fueling debate about the leadership of the denomination and the treatment of women in their ranks.

While Patterson has been terminated from SWBTS, he is still slated to give the keynote sermon at the denomination’s annual meeting next week in Dallas, which is considered a high honor in the Convention. But some have called for another preacher to replace him or, as Rainer urged, for no sermon at all.

Rainer, who is also president of Rainer Research and the co-founder and co-owner of Rainer Publishing, believes God is presently “purging” the denomination, which is currently a “dumpster fire, and we keep fueling it with shovels of manure.”

“We need to care about character as much as we do about doctrine. We fought battles over doctrine, and the spoils of war went to power barons who lacked integrity. The conservative resurgence has not even brought about an increase in baptisms, much less revival. Instead, we are now flooded with the moral failures of former foot soldiers.”

“We should be appalled. Horrified. Sick. No more ‘break her down,'” he said. Rainer was referring to an email Patterson reportedly wrote to discuss meeting with a female student, who alleged in 2015 that she was raped by a was a Southwestern student and employee, so he could “break her down.”

“We need God to break us down,” Rainer stressed.

In a Friday tweet, Mohler reiterated his own feelings about the state of his denomination.

“My heart has been broken for my beloved Southern Baptist Convention in recent weeks, days, hours. Never more than in last few hours. WE are broken down, indeed. I pray for God to rescue us, and all those we are called to rescue.”

Likewise on Twitter, Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the policy arm of the denomination, said Saturday: “It’s time. It’s time to believe the Bible, and to do what it says. It’s time to love Jesus, and to protect those he loves. It’s time to care about character, not about power or ‘influence.’ It’s time for a reformation in the SBC. #SBC18 #SBCAM18.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9217

Pope Francis reportedly tells gay man, ‘God made you that way and loves you’

By Edmund DeMarche | Fox News

Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington, reflects on the charismatic pontiff’s impact on the Catholic Church.

Pope Francis reportedly told a gay man from Chile who was visiting the Vatican that God made him that way and loves him the way he is.

Juan Carlos Cruz, who was reportedly a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of a priest, reportedly spent days at the Vatican to talk about his experiences.

Cruz reportedly told El Pais, a Spanish newspaper, that the two had a conversation about his homosexuality and said he was told, “Juan Carlos, I don’t care about you being gay. God made you that way and loves you as you are and I don’t mind. The pope loves you as you are, you have to be happy with who you are.”

The Los Angeles Times reported that the Vatican did not confirm the pope’s comments given that it was a private conversation.

The pope has upheld Catholic teaching on homosexuality, reiterating the church’s opposition to same-sex relationships.

Francis uttered his “Who am I to judge?” comment during his first airborne press conference in 2013, signaling a new era of acceptance and welcome for gays in the church. Francis followed up by meeting with gay and transgender faithful.

Fr. James Martin, the author of “Building a Bridge,” told The Times that Francis’ reported comments are a “big deal” because it is likely the first time the pope made a comment “about gay people being born that way.”

Martin told the paper that the pope made the reported comment in private and not on the record, which is a big difference.

Meanwhile, every active Chilean bishop offered to resign Friday over what Francis said was their “grave negligence” in investigating abuse and protecting children.

The bishops announced at the end of an emergency Vatican summit that all 31 active bishops in Rome had signed a document offering to resign.

Calls for mass resignations had mounted after details emerged of the contents of a 2,300-page Vatican report into the Chilean scandal leaked early Friday. Francis had cited the report in footnotes of a 10-page document that he handed over to each Chilean bishop at the start of the summit.

For years, sex abuse victims have blasted the Chilean hierarchy for discrediting their claims, protecting abusers and moving them around rather than reporting them to police and then handing out light sentences when church sanctions were imposed.

Francis, though, has also been implicated in the scandal and he took responsibility for his role as well.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9191

Muslim Family Tortured by Visible ‘Demonic Bat Creatures,’ Then Dad Literally Sees ‘the Light’ of Jesus

Muslim Family Tortured by Visible ‘Demonic Bat Creatures,’ Then Dad Literally Sees ‘the Light’ of Jesus

04-14-2018

Lucille Talusan

MELBOURNE, Australia – According to the latest census, the Muslim population in Australia has soared to more than 600,000 people making Islam the most popular and fastest-growing non-Christian religion in the country.

While extreme Islamization does pose a threat to Australian society, some Muslims “down under” have made decisions to leave their religion and embrace Christianity instead.

We hear of many stories all around the world of Muslims converting to Christianity through dreams and visions. In Australia, CBN News met a Muslim man whose family was tormented by the devil until he experienced a supernatural encounter with Jesus.

Ismail was a Turkish Muslim. He migrated to Australia when he was 19. Although he practiced Islam, he considered himself a moderate Muslim because he always had questions about God and Islam.

He said he wanted to know who God was and the unknown about God. He was curious about the spiritual realm and wondered if witchcraft was from God or the devil.

In his search for answers, Ismail got involved with the occult not knowing that he opened himself to demonic spirits. He met a Turkish Muslim who called spirits using the Ouija board and a coffee cup. Ismail continued this activity with the spirit world until the manifestations of the devil became more and more frightening.

He told CBN News about his encounter with demons.

“I was making coffee. I was stirring the coffee and when I looked inside, I saw this creature live on the coffee, looking at me, behind me, hanging on the curtain. They were kind of human demonic bat kinda looking creatures; real long fingernails. And every time they were flapping their wings, there was smoke coming out of them. On the last day when actually I was leaving my friend’s house, he said, ‘Look, two of them are going with you!’”

For four years, Ismail’s two sons were tormented by these demons.

According to Ismail, they drew sketches of the creatures with red eyes.

“They came to our bed and they started shaking. My kid, he was on the bed and he was throwing fists. He was sitting on his bed and screaming, 10, 15, 20 minutes, I can’t remember. We couldn’t wake him up. I lay him down flat and I said, ‘What’s happening?’ He’s still there, still didn’t wake up. I freaked out.”

Ismail tried everything and prayed to Allah and the prophets but nothing worked. Out of his frustration, he sought the help of an Iranian Christian friend who brought him to a Bible study. There, he surrendered his life to Jesus and experienced a supernatural encounter.

“I’m seeing this figure, He’s holding his hands up like this towards me. I could tell he was smiling. All I was seeing was this light coming from everywhere. It was just amazing. And actually, I have fallen in love with Him. That’s how I converted.”

The pastor instructed Ismail to pray for two weeks, commanding the demons to leave their home.

Ismail said, “Every night I was praying. I was saying, ‘In the Name of Jesus Christ, you have no authority here. You demons leave in Jesus Name!’”

As a result, his children stopped having nightmares. Since then, Ismail hungered for the Word and began reading the Bible. He compared what the Bible said with the teachings of the Qur’an.

Ismail explained, “There’s nowhere in the book, nobody can find anywhere where Allah says, if you do this you will go to heaven. There is only one way and that is if you get murdered in the way of jihad. I now know the truth. Jesus is as real as you and me. He has created us. And only through His blood, can we come to God the Father. And He is an amazing, compassionate, graceful, forgiving God.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9132

Mystery ‘trumpet sounds from sky’ in Hawaii

See video that captures unusual and unexplained phenomenon

Snippins News has posted online a video that contains sounds that are described as possibly being from “tidal waves, methane explosions, underground earthquakes, or shifting sand dunes.”

Or not.

“Although it’s probable that these ‘weird apocalyptic’ booming sounds seemingly coming from the skies have an earthly origin, USGS scientist David Hill says that it’s also possible some of these noises originate from above,” the report explains.

PJ Media describes it as a “video recording of eerie trumpet sounds from Hawaii.”

Some, the posting explains, are speculating “that the end times and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ are imminent.”

“Jesus Christ is coming soon. I say it is a trumpet,” said “Believer John Seventeen” on YouTube.

“User Jeff Suttles twisted the end times angle into a Trump joke. ‘Heaven is trying to influence the outcome of the 2020 election by blowing trumpets,’ he wrote. ‘I say that Donald is colluding with heaven. Time to call for a special council [sic] and impose sanctions,’” PJ Media wrote.

WND reported only a few years ago that similar mysterious sounds have been reported many times, and often listeners described them as the trumpet blasts described in the biblical book of Revelation.

Reports have come from Britain, Ukraine, the U.S., Germany and Belarus.

At that time, pastor, talk-show host and author Carl Gallups, who used the symbol of the trumpets of Revelation as the basis for his exploration of the end times in “Final Warning: Understanding the Trumpet Days of Revelation,” says believers should be wary of hoaxes.

“Of course, some would expect an author who has written a book about the ‘trumpet days’ of Revelation to be absolutely giddy about the reported phenomenon of mysterious trumpet sounds coming from the sky at various locations around the world. However, the opposite is true,” he said.

“There is room for a lot of scientific, common sense and biblical skepticism in this matter. Even though I love to point out scriptural connections to current geopolitical events and their possible prophetic correlations, I am not a wild-eyed sensationalist. I consistently strive to give an objective and biblically balanced explanation of sensational and unusual claims. I approach these kinds of claims with investigative and biblical caution.”

Gallups, a former law enforcement officer in Florida, suggests some of the reported incidents could be artificially created.

“I have been researching this topic for years and am still very skeptical about the authenticity of these purported ‘trumpet events.’ With today’s technology, it would be all too simple to overlay these weird, supernatural-like sounds into a video after you have gathered up a few friends to gawk up into the sky while you film them. Couple this with the fact that two insanely popular movies, ‘War of The Worlds’ and ‘Clash of The Titans,’ have almost identical sounds in them – it is easy to approach this topic with a high level of skepticism.

“Besides, where were the many thousands of other people who certainly should have heard the same sounds at the same time and frantically reported them? Where were the instantaneous mainstream media in reporting such a stupendous and ‘widely witnessed’ event? Where are the multiple police reports that should exist in these cases? Why were the social media formats not virtually, and instantly, lit up with activity, questions and credible reports coming from these high-population-density areas where the sounds were reported to have been recorded?”

Numerous videos are posted on YouTube from across the globe, with people wondering just what is causing the strange phenomenon.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9118

Confirming His Role As Antichrist, Pope Francis Spits In Jesus’ Face And Defiantly Declares That ‘There Is No Hell”

Scalfari says to the Pope, “Your Holiness, in our previous meeting you told me that our species will disappear in a certain moment and that God, still out of his creative force, will create new species. You have never spoken to me about the souls who died in sin and will go to hell to suffer it for eternity. You have however spoken to me of good souls, admitted to the contemplation of God. But what about bad souls? Where are they punished?” Pope Francis says,  “They are not punished, those who repent obtain the forgiveness of God and enter the rank of souls who contemplate him, but those who do not repent and cannot therefore be forgiven disappear. There is no hell, there is the disappearance of sinful souls.”

 

by Geoffrey Grider March 29, 2018

In another interview with his longtime atheist friend, Eugenio Scalfari, Pope Francis claims that Hell does not exist and that condemned souls just “disappear.” This is a denial of the 2,000-year-old teaching of the Catholic Church about the reality of Hell and the eternal existence of the soul.

“Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” Matthew 23:33 (KJV)

EDITOR’S NOTE: What’s the easiest way to confuse a Catholic? Ask them a question from the Bible. In all my years on this earth, and after 30 years of being a Catholic who endured 12 years of Catholic Jesuit education, I can honestly say the following. I have never met a nun, priest, bishop, monsignor or cardinal who knew anything about the Bible, not one bit not one speck of Bible truth. Catholics devote their entire lives to the Vatican, and live and die without ever knowing the Jesus of the Bible. Pope Francis said today that ‘there is no Hell’, in wanton disregard and violation of the teachings of Jesus Christ who emphatically declares that there is a Hell, burning with flames, and that you should avoid going there at all costs. Pope Francis is a deceiver, an antichrist, and just possibly the actual Antichrist mentioned in the Bible. Ironically, if Francis were to die today, he would find himself in the very Hell he says does not exist. 

The interview between Scalfari and the Pope was published March 28, 2018 in La Repubblica. The relevant section on Hell was translated by the highly respected web log, Rorate Caeli. The interview is headlined, “The Pope: It is an honor to be called revolutionary.” (Il Papa: “È un onore essere chiamato rivoluzionario.”)

Scalfari says to the Pope, “Your Holiness, in our previous meeting you told me that our species will disappear in a certain moment and that God, still out of his creative force, will create new species. You have never spoken to me about the souls who died in sin and will go to hell to suffer it for eternity. You have however spoken to me of good souls, admitted to the contemplation of God. But what about bad souls? Where are they punished?”

ANTICHRIST: POPE FRANCIS TELLS CATHOLICS IN ROME THAT A ‘PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP’ WITH JESUS IS ‘DANGEROUS AND HARMFUL’

Pope Francis says,  “They are not punished, those who repent obtain the forgiveness of God and enter the rank of souls who contemplate him, but those who do not repent and cannot therefore be forgiven disappear. There is no hell, there is the disappearance of sinful souls.”

In a statement released on Mar. 29, after Scalfari’s report garnered worldwide attention, the Vatican said:

“The Holy Father Francis recently received the founder of the newspaper La Repubblica in a private meeting on the occasion of Easter, without however giving him any interviews. What is reported by the author in today’s article [in La Repubblica] is the result of his reconstruction, in which the textual words pronounced by the Pope are not quoted. No quotation of the aforementioned article must therefore be considered as a faithful transcription of the words of the Holy Father.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9098

Expert: Erdogan Regime Considers Christians, Jews ‘Enemies of the State’

by Edwin Mora12 Mar 2018788

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s authoritarian government has deemed members of religious minorities, such as Christians and Jews, “enemies of the state,” an analyst tells Breitbart News, echoing the U.S. State Department.

“The religious minorities in Turkey, like the Christians, Jews, and a few others, suffer from unequal treatment. … The religious minorities are believed to be enemies of the state,” Dr. Y. Alp Aslandogan, the executive director of the Alliance for Shared Values, a non-profit group that promotes bringing people from different backgrounds together, told Breitbart News. “So the association with them becomes a crime. So those religious minorities, those citizens themselves, are pushed into enemy status.”

“That’s what all religious minorities suffer from — the Armenians, the Christian Orthodox, and the Jews, among others — they suffer from this kind of stigma,” he added.

In the latest U.S. State Department International Religious Freedom Report, the American government acknowledged that discrimination against Christians and other religious minorities intensified in Turkey following the failed coup attempt of July 2016.

State reports that following the rebellion seeking to depose Erdogan, the president of Muslim-majority Turkey:

Some foreign citizens, including several individuals with ties to Christian groups, faced detention, residency-permission problems, or denial of entry to the country under the state of emergency powers following the attempted coup. The government continued to prosecute individuals for ‘openly disrespecting the religious belief of a group.

Several foreign Christian missionaries were subjected to deportation, and cancellation of valid residency permits without notice. The government provided limited explanation or justification for such actions. The government denied any anti-Christian motivation underlying these actions.

Breitbart News also spoke with Emre Celik, the president of the Rumi Forum, an organization dedicated to intercultural and interfaith dialogue, about the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities in Turkey under the Erdogan administration.

“Erdogan’s bigotry against Christians goes against the very fabric of Islam’s respect towards the ‘People of the book’ – a Quranic term for Jews and Christians – and does not comply with the very fundamental principle of democracy that people of different faith backgrounds need to be treated justly and with respect,” Celik told Breitbart News.

“It’s unfortunate that prejudicial and polarizing language is being used for political gain and has become commonplace in Erdogan’s Turkey – against Christians and numerous other minorities,” he continued.

Consistent with Celik’s remarks, Dr. Aslandogan told Breitbart News that Erdogan and his allies use association with religious minorities as a form of attack against their political opponents.

“There has been hate speech and defamation against religious minorities from the ruling party. When they want to attack their enemies, they openly associate them with religious minorities,” explained Aslandogan. “They accuse religious minorities as trying to undermine progress.”

“Erdogan, for instance, attacks his enemies by referring to them as the pawn of Israel or the pawn of the Jews or the pawn of the Catholics,” he also said.

Echoing the State Department, the executive director for the Alliance for Shared Values also noted that the lack of legal standing for religious minorities in Turkey prevents them from owning territory, rendering them a landless group.

“They don’t have a legal standing, so they cannot officially function as a legal entity. They can only exist as community foundations, so that creates difficulties for them because they cannot exist as legal entities. Therefore, they cannot own property either,” he told Breitbart News.

“During the formation of the Turkish Republic, many of the lands of the religious minorities were confiscated, and although Erdogan took some steps to restore those lands to the religious minorities, he later made a U-turn,” he added.

Breitbart News spoke to Aslandogan and Celik after they participated in a panel discussion hosted by the Newseum in Washington, DC, on March 5.

In remarks prepared for the event, Aslandogan pointed out that President Erdogan is seeking to become the “caliph” of the Muslim world.

Currently, “non-Muslim minorities” in Turkey “suffer various forms of discrimination,” he stressed during the March 5 discussion.

Open Doors, which tracks the mistreatment of Christians across the world, records that out of 50 countries, Turkey is the 37th-worst nation for persecution against followers of Jesus Christ. It notes:

Religious nationalism has grown to new heights. President Erdogan has strengthened his position, trying to transform Turkey from a secular state into a Sunni Muslim one. Leaving Islam for Christianity is considered a betrayal of the Turkish identity, Islam, and the family.

Christians have no access to state jobs and experience discrimination in private employment, especially where employers have ties to the government.

According to Open Doors, 187,000 Christians are in Turkey.

The State Department, which places the estimated number of Christians at nearly 300,000, notes that the Christians belong to a plethora of denominations, including Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Christians, Roman Catholics, Syrian Orthodox Christians, Russian Orthodox Christians, Jehovah’s Witnesses, various Protestant denominations, Chaldean Christians, and Greek Orthodox Christians, among others.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9093

Anne Graham Lotz Says Dad’s Death Is Heaven’s Wake-Up Call to the Church: ‘We’ve Lost Our Focus’

By Samuel Smith , CP Reporter | Feb 27, 2018 4:49 PM

Billy Graham’s daughter, Anne Graham Lotz, says that she believes her father’s death will serve as a “Heaven’s shot across the bow” to the Church today and stated that, in general, the failure of churches are the reason why the United States is in a spiritual “mess.”

The 69-year-old author and evangelist sat down with WRAL-TV for an interview on Monday to talk about the impact of her legendary evangelist father, who passed away last week at the age of 99.

“I believe my father’s death is Heaven’s shot across the bow. It’s time for the Church to wake up,” Lotz said. “It’s time for the world to wake up because you’re not promised tomorrow. You need to decide now where you’re going to spend eternity.”

Lotz asserted that she hopes her father’s death will “shake the Church.”

“You can’t leave it up to Billy Graham to share the Gospel anymore,” Lotz, the founder of AnGeL Ministries, contended. “That is our privilege. That is our responsibility and we need to be sharing the Gospel with others.”

Her father shared the Gospel in over 185 countries to some 215 million people.

Lotz argued that too many churches have seemingly become just merely “religious institutions.”

“[The Church] is not encouraging people and showing them how to read their Bibles. It’s not teaching them how to pray. It’s not bringing them into a personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ,” Lotz said. “In fact, some of them will even argue with you if that is necessary. They are arguing with what the Bible says.”

Lotz argued that churches need to be telling people how they can have “peace in their hearts,” “a purpose to live for,” and “a hope of a heavenly home.”

“There is hope for the future. There is hope that is found in this world and it is found in Jesus,” Lotz said.

WRAL’s Scott Mason asked Lotz if she is suggesting that the Church has failed in some respect.

“I think it has [failed], generally speaking. I think it has,” she responded. “That’s why this nation is in a mess. Because we have lost our focus. We have lost our message. People go to church, but they’re not getting what they’re going for.”

Lotz said that she prays for her father’s death to lead to a spiritual awakening or a “revival of people who put their faith in Jesus and go out and share it with others.”

“That is the answer to what is going on in our nation,” she said. “We are so divided. There is so much anger and so much polarization and Jesus is the answer.”

“If you look at my daddy’s life, he cuts across all of those divides — whether it was a racial divide, political divide or social divide. People all across the spectrum love and honor Billy Graham,” she added. “Why? Because of his message and because he presented Jesus. Jesus is the one who unifies us, brings us together in front of the cross and makes us right with God. Once we are right with God, we will work on getting right with each other.”

Lotz was also asked what it was about her father that allowed him to touch so many people.

“It has to be the spirit of God,” she said. “There was a spirit in him and people were drawn to him. It was the spirit of Jesus. … Plus daddy was authentic. There wasn’t any fakeness in him at all.”

Graham’s body will lie in honor at the U.S. Capital in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday and Thursday. He will become the first religious leader and fourth private citizen to lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda.

On Friday, a private funeral will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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