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This year marks the 455th anniversary of a most dramatic defeat of Islamic Jihad against Europe. Faced by a new threat of Islamic invasions, Europe needs to learn afresh the lessons of the Great Siege of Malta which must rate as one of the greatest episodes of courage and fortitude against all odds.
The Turkish Threat
In 1565 Islam was threatening all of Europe. The Ottoman Turkish Empire had conquered the entire Middle East, sacking what was once the greatest city in the world, Constantinople (now renamed Istanbul), massacring the Christian population. In 1526, the Turks had unsuccessfully besieged Vienna, in the very heart of Europe.
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April marks the anniversary of the launch of the systematic extermination of the Christian Armenians by the Ottoman Turks. The Jihad began with the arrest of 250 Christian leaders in Constantinople (what is today called Istanbul) and over 800 other Christian leaders throughout the empire, on 24 April 1915. Over 1.5 million Christians were slaughtered by Muslims in Turkey during 1915. Additionally, 750,000 Assyrian Christians and 950,000 Greek Orthodox Christians were murdered in the Ottoman Turkish Empire between 1915 and 1922. That amounts to over 3.5 million Christian victims of the Turkish Empire over just 7 years.
Corruption and Cruelty
The Ottoman Empire declined into corruption and degeneracy from the beginning. When Sultan Murad III died in AD 1595, his son Muhammad had his 19 brothers murdered to prevent them from claiming "his throne". He also had seven of his father's pregnant concubines sown into sacks and thrown into the river. Many of his nephews were incarcerated in "the cage". Sultan Ibrahim threw his grand Vizier into a cistern. One morning, after an orgy, Ibrahim had all 300 women of his harem put into sacks and thrown into the Bosporus. Only one survived by being picked up by a ship bound for France. When Ibrahim was finally assassinated, the Ottoman Empire was torn apart by more corruption, nepotism, inefficiency, misrule and power struggles.
You can listen to the latest From the Frontline podcast on 70 Years of Communism in China.
What is there to Celebrate?
October 2019 marks 70 years since the Communist Party seized power in China.
What is the true legacy of Communism in the world’s most populous nation?
What we can learn from the Persecuted Church?
How we can best serve the Persecuted?
There are some dramatic developments and encouraging reports of spectacular growth of the Church in China. “…on this rock I will build My Church and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18
The Catastrophic Consequences of Communism
As some celebrate 70 years of Communism in China and incredible numbers of Christians in the West identify them as “Christian Socialists”, or even as Communists, it is necessary that we take an objective look at the catastrophic consequences of Communism. We need to be aware of the human cost of Communist economic and social theories and their application in Communist states which espouse the “goodness of man.” “Their throat is an open tomb; with their tongues they have practiced deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; destruction and misery are in their ways; and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Romans 3:13
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The 20th Century has been the bloodiest century in all of history. And humanism has proven to be the most destructive religion of all time. Far more people have been killed in the name of Atheism than by all other religions combined.
The Worst Century
Historian Paul Johnson has observed that “the 20th Century state has proved itself the greatest killer of all time.” The 20th Century has seen the worst atrocities ever committed. The word “genocide”, a new term coined in the 20th Century, describes what has occurred repeatedly in secular humanist states – which had first disarmed their populations.
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With Christians under fire throughout North Africa and the Middle East, we need to remember the persecuted and learn from their steadfastness amidst suffering. 25th July, marks the anniversary of a dreadful atrocity in Cape Town, a terrorist attack on St. James Church of England, which left 11 people dead and over 50 wounded.
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“Only let your conduct be worthy of the Gospel of Christ… stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the Faith of the Gospel and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of Salvation and that from God. For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.” Philippians 1:27-28
On 26 February 1852, one of the worst naval disasters occurred off the coast, near Gaansbaai, of South Africa. Her Majesty's Ship Birkenhead struck a rock shelf and began to sink rapidly. The Birkenhead was carrying the 74th and the 78th Highlander Regiments. These were Scottish and Irish warriors whose regiments had distinguished themselves in every conflict from the Napoleonic Wars to the Crimea. Also on board with these troops were their wives and children. It became apparent that the foundering ship was going to sink. There were very few lifeboats aboard. Nevertheless, calm prevailed.
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"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."
2 Timothy 1:7
In the South African Infantry we were taught: "You have never lived until you have almost died and for those who fight for it, life has a flavour the protected will never know."
At Milton High School, in Bulawayo, I was taught Rudyard Kipling's inspiring poem on courage and integrity. Kipling stated that this was modelled on the life and character of Rhodesia's Chief Justice and Administrator, Leander Star Jameson:
"If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, but make allowance for their doubting too.
If you can wait but not be tired by waiting, or being lied about not deal in lies,
or being hated don't give way to hating, and yet don't look too good nor talk too wise.
What Can We Do to Help Persecuted Christians Survive this Tsunami of Violence?
A Time of Violence
Missionary murdered in Malawi. Xenophobic mob murders against foreigners and brutal murders of farmers in South Africa. Islamic Al-Shabaab terrorists massacred over 140 students in Kenya, specifically targeting Christians for beheadings.
There have been attacks on churches and murders of pastors in Tanzania and threats by the Minister of Home Affairs to deregister churches who resist incorporating Shari'a changes to the Tanzanian constitution. Vicious attacks on Christian communities and bombings of churches in Nigeria by Boko Haram Jihadists. There have been beheadings of Egyptian Coptic Christians and Ethiopian Christians by ISIS terrorists, shouting "Allah Akbar". These are only some of the recent high profile examples of a relentless war against Christians intensifying in Africa.
400% Increase in Persecution
The persecution of Christians in the 10/40 window area of North Africa, the Middle East and South Central Asia has increased by 400% over the last 10 years. Some of the worst persecution of Christians is taking place in the Arab nations of the Middle East, particularly in Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, in the Muslim dominated North of Nigeria, in Sudan, in communist China, North Korea and in Buddhist Burma.
Coptic Christians Targeted in Egypt
In Egypt, Salafis Muslims are kidnapping Coptic Christian girls for forced conversion to Islam and marriage to Muslims. Coptic girls have also been subjected to violent attacks on the streets. Frequently these knife attacks are by Muslim women wearing hijabs (a black face covering with only narrow slit for the eyes). These hijabs prevent the assailants from being identified for prosecution.
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The extra-ordinary attempt by US president Barak Hussein Obama to deflect attention from violent Islamic Jihad by condemning the Inquisition as “evil done in the Name of Jesus Christ”, should make us take a fresh look at the Inquisition:
One of the re-occurring accusations against Christianity is that Christians are responsible for: "The Inquisition!"
Frequently, while trying to love one’s neighbour and share the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, Christians receive some tirade against "The Church" and "The Inquisition!" The Inquisition is used as some kind of general-purpose club with which to bludgeon Evangelical Christians.
On one occasion while I was being interviewed on a national secular radio programme, on the publication of my book: Biblical Principles for Africa, the first caller attacked me, and my book, over something that the book doesn't even deal with - she claimed that Christians were responsible for “the Inquisition” which “burned thousands of witches!”