The Persecuted Church

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  • Chinese police disrupt weekend worship

    by June Cheng/WORLD , posted Tuesday, December 18, 2018 (5 hours ago)

    CHINA (BP) -- Members of Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, China, tried to meet together for Sunday worship (Dec. 16) only to reportedly have police detain about 60 people and shut down outdoor services. Several small groups found spaces to meet and worship without incident.

    One week after Chinese authorities cracked down on the prominent unregistered church and arrested more than 100 of its leaders and members, congregants arrived at their building to find the metal gate locked and plainclothes officers and riot police blocking all the entrances, according to a church prayer update. Police arrested some of the congregants who showed up for Sunday worship. See related Baptist Press story. Read More

  • Pakistan added to worst religious liberty violators

    by Tom Strode, posted Wednesday, December 12, 2018 (6 days ago)

    iStock
    WASHINGTON (BP) -- The United States added a single country to its list of the world’s worst violators of religious freedom but designated for the first time nine non-state organizations for their violence against people of faith.

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Tuesday (Dec. 11) he had added Pakistan to the list of "countries of particular concern" (CPCs), a category reserved under federal law for governments that have committed or tolerated "systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom."

    The CPC designations -- actually made Nov. 28 by Pompeo -- also included nine of the countries named in December 2017 by then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson: Burma (Myanmar), China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. Read More

  • Chinese Christians: We will 'stand strong'

    by Diana Chandler, posted Tuesday, December 11, 2018 (7 days ago)

    Photo from Facebook
    SICHAUN PROVINCE, China (BP) -- As China continues to hunt down and arrest members of a house church in Sichuan Province, many of the 100 or more Christians arrested reportedly pledged in advance to persevere even until death.

    Gina Goh, Southeast Asia regional manager for International Christian Concern, said many leaders of Autumn Rain Covenant Church counted the cost and pledged faithfulness in advance of arrests at homes, workplaces and on the streets that have continued since Dec. 9.

    "I think a lesson we can learn from them is they continue to say that, 'No matter what may come, we will continue to serve the Lord. We will continue to stand strong in our faith,'" Goh told Baptist Press today (Dec. 11). "As was demonstrated in this church, ... their pastor, a lot of elders, actually wrote letters to their congregation saying that, 'We will not bend, even if it means jail, even if it means death. We will continue to preserve our faith.'" Read More

  • Pakistan may review Bibi acquittal, forbids travel

    by Diana Chandler, posted Tuesday, November 06, 2018 (one month ago)

    Screen capture from Twitter
    LAHORE, Pakistan (BP) -- Christian mother Asia Bibi's freedom is once again in jeopardy, just days after Pakistan's Supreme Court acquitted her of blasphemy and freed her from death row.

    The government is allowing her detractors to request a review of the Oct. 31 acquittal and are forbidding Bibi to flee the country, the Guardian reported Nov. 2. Angry mobs of thousands in several cities are demanding her death.

    While Bibi's exact location remains undisclosed, the government essentially signed Bibi's death warrant by forbidding her international travel, her supporters said. The nation was said to be paralyzed by street mobs for three days after the verdict, inciting fears of civil war. Read More

  • Asia Bibi freed, conviction overturned

    by Diana Chandler, posted Wednesday, October 31, 2018 (one month ago)

    Screen capture from AFP TV
    ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (BP) -- Christian mother Asia Bibi was released from Pakistan's death row today (Oct. 31) after the nation's Supreme Court reversed her 2010 conviction of blasphemy.

    Religious liberty advocates globally expressed jubilation and pleas that Pakistan's military protect Bibi. Meanwhile, Muslim extremists reportedly began burning tires in the streets. Pakistan issued a heightened security alert hours in advance of the announcement, said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice.

    "There are security precautions I'm sure being taken in Pakistan," Sekulow said in a Facebook video before daybreak. "It's a complete victory. She's been in jail for almost nine years. But she now will be returned to her family." Read More

  • 'Security' only reason for Asia Bibi verdict delay

    by Diana Chandler, posted Tuesday, October 23, 2018 (one month ago)

    ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (BP) -- Security is the only reason Pakistan's Supreme Court is delaying its ruling in an Oct. 8 appeal of Christian mother Asia Bibi's blasphemy conviction, a religious liberty expert told Baptist Press.

    "There's only one reason, security," said Shaheryar Gill, senior litigation counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ). "Generally the Supreme Court announces decisions the same day. In politically high-profile cases, or in these type security cases, these are the only times when the court doesn't announce.

    "And they don't even take that long actually, but this time it seems like they're taking a little bit longer," said Gill, who checks the court's website daily for updates and is in touch with the ACLJ's office in Pakistan. Read More

  • Chibok girls’ struggles subject of HBO film

    by Diana Chandler, posted Tuesday, October 16, 2018 (2 months ago)

    Screen capture from HBO preview video
    ABUJA, Nigeria (BP) – "And by God's grace, we'll make it," one of 276 Christian schoolgirls Boko Haram kidnapped from Chibok proclaims in the preview of an upcoming HBO documentary on the captives who've been released.

    "Stolen Daughters: Kidnapped by Boko Haram" showcases 103 Chibok schoolgirls struggling to regain normalcy nearly five years after their ordeal began. More than 100 Chibok girls remain captive or missing since the April 2014 raid on the Government Girls Secondary School in the predominantly Christian town of Chibok. Read More

  • 'Pour out Your Holy Spirit on … Trump,' Brunson prays

    by Diana Chandler, posted Monday, October 15, 2018 (2 months ago)

    Screen capture from Global News
    WASHINGTON (BP) -- Just a day after his release from incarceration in Turkey, freed American pastor Andrew Brunson prayed for President Donald Trump in an Oct. 13 meeting in the White House Oval Office.

    "Lord God, I ask that you pour out your Holy Spirit on President Trump, that You give him supernatural wisdom to accomplish all the plans you have for this country and for him," Brunson prayed, according to a video CBS news tweeted. Brunson's family, Congressional members and media attended the 2:30 p.m. meeting. Read More

  • Imprisoned pastor Andrew Brunson free at last

    by Diana Chandler, posted Friday, October 12, 2018 (2 months ago)

    Screen capture from Reuters
    ALIAGA, Turkey (BP) -- Pastor Andrew Brunson reportedly will fly to the United States Oct. 13, released after two years' incarceration on disputed charges that could have led to life imprisonment.

    Although Turkey did not proclaim Brunson innocent, a court in Aliaga today (Oct. 12) released him on time served after sentencing him to three years, one month and 15 days, The New York Times reported. The court found him guilty of "terror," the Times said, following charges of espionage and undermining the constitutional order of the state. Read More

  • Christian, ethnic persecution 'nightmare' in China

    by Diana Chandler, posted Wednesday, October 10, 2018 (2 months ago)

    YouTube video screengrab
    WASHINGTON (BP) -- Christians and ethnic minorities are living a "nightmare" in China under President Xi Jinping, a congressional commission report released today (Oct. 10) documents.

    Jinping's unmerciful program to "Sinicize" religion into a government-controlled framework, marginalize ethnic minorities including Uyghur Muslims, and redefine human rights intensified in 2018, making life a nightmare for civilians, U.S. Representative and commission co-chair Chris Smith said in releasing the 2018 Annual Report of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC). Read More