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ALPB => Your Turn => Topic started by: Dave Likeness on April 27, 2021, 12:30:11 PM

Title: Threats To The Christian Church: External & Internal
Post by: Dave Likeness on April 27, 2021, 12:30:11 PM
Since Pentecost and the birth of the Christian Church in Acts 2,  we have seen the persecution of
the church as an external threat.  The Pharisee Saul did a good job "ravaging the church & entering
house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison" (Acts 8:3) 
Of course, the Lord had other plans for Saul who became Paul the Apostle.  He went from a great
persecutor of Christians to a great preacher of the gospel.

The internal threat to the church has always been false teachers.  The pastoral letters of Paul focus
on this threat of heresy. False teachers within the church are still with us today.  The Health & Wealth
Gospel is a heresy that is popular with many TV Evangelists.  They tell their audience that if they
have enough faith they will have good health and enough wealth to enjoy life. Obviously, this is a
false teaching. It is a cruel hoax to tell someone with terminal cancer that it could have been avoided
with a stronger faith.  Or to tell someone who was laid off their job that a bigger faith would have
prevented the job loss.

Bottom Line: In the 21st century is persecution of Christians or false teaching by Christians a bigger
threat to the church?
Title: Re: Threats To The Christian Church: External & Internal
Post by: peter_speckhard on April 27, 2021, 12:59:35 PM
Since Pentecost and the birth of the Christian Church in Acts 2,  we have seen the persecution of
the church as an external threat.  The Pharisee Saul did a good job "ravaging the church & entering
house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison" (Acts 8:3) 
Of course, the Lord had other plans for Saul who became Paul the Apostle.  He went from a great
persecutor of Christians to a great preacher of the gospel.

The internal threat to the church has always been false teachers.  The pastoral letters of Paul focus
on this threat of heresy. False teachers within the church are still with us today.  The Health & Wealth
Gospel is a heresy that is popular with many TV Evangelists.  They tell their audience that if they
have enough faith they will have good health and enough wealth to enjoy life. Obviously, this is a
false teaching. It is a cruel hoax to tell someone with terminal cancer that it could have been avoided
with a stronger faith.  Or to tell someone who was laid off their job that a bigger faith would have
prevented the job loss.

Bottom Line: In the 21st century is persecution of Christians or false teaching by Christians a bigger
threat to the church?
I would say the latter. Most of the people who would persecute a Christian for his faith could easily be (outwardly at least) members of some other Christian church. Atheists and Muslims and members of other religions are no real threat to most Christians (with some notable regional exceptions on the globe), but co-opted Christianity is gangrenous.
Title: Re: Threats To The Christian Church: External & Internal
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on April 27, 2021, 01:02:47 PM
The wolf attacking the sheepfold from the outside is obvious.

Those attacking by stealth and disguise "inwardly ravenous wolves" are truly insidious.

Both are deadly; but the internal threat is the one more likely arrive by surprise or by incremental toleration.
Title: Re: Threats To The Christian Church: External & Internal
Post by: Dave Benke on April 27, 2021, 04:30:18 PM
I just virtually sat in on some teaching and information on the "internal" end of things this afternoon, having to do with the Hybrid Church workshop, with maybe 5000 others who lead congregations and ministries.  What do we do with societal trends and changing situations as they unfold as St. John Gaspump or their HQ location?
Four options:
Accept the trend and change
Challenge the trend and change
Adapt to the trend and change
Ignore the trend and change

Under the heading of "the world is very evil/the times are waxing late", most of us in conservative denominations have been taught for a long, long time to challenge the trends and changes because to adapt to them would bring the threat of heterodoxy, impurity and other great shame and vice.  At the other end of the spectrum there are those congregations and denominations that basically accept the trends and changes as the "new order", and baptize those trends and changes. 

At another level, which is let's say the sociological and demographic change that takes places around many congregations, the choice is to ignore.  Lock the doors more thoroughly against any change, any new blood.  It's a form of challenging, really, that's an attempt to ignore but you can't so you just say in words of one syllable Keep Out.  At the local level, a few controllers are the internal engine that's infernal.  And can be deadly. 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Threats To The Christian Church: External & Internal
Post by: pastorg1@aol.com on April 27, 2021, 04:33:28 PM
I find the works-righteousness of virtue signaling a church-dividing issue.

The false pride of wokeness to social issues hazily defined so as to be unsolvable (climate change, systemic racism) affords the Law its death-dealing freedom. One can even Tweet, Facebook, or Instagram ones cleansing virtue more cheaply than buying indulgences.

The sermon I think I heard on Good Shepherd Sunday (I was getting vertigo from eye-rolling) urged us to be like the young woman who filmed the tragedy in Minneapolis. By doing so, it was proclaimed, we can be good shepherds. Jesus was thus held up as a good teacher of virtuous acts.

Such proclamation and urging is now divisive in the parish.

Peter (Sorry, once I start with hyphens its hard to stop) Garrison
Title: Re: Threats To The Christian Church: External & Internal
Post by: Randy Bosch on April 28, 2021, 11:19:22 AM
I just virtually sat in on some teaching and information on the "internal" end of things this afternoon, having to do with the Hybrid Church workshop, with maybe 5000 others who lead congregations and ministries.  What do we do with societal trends and changing situations as they unfold as St. John Gaspump or their HQ location?
Four options:
Accept the trend and change
Challenge the trend and change
Adapt to the trend and change
Ignore the trend and change

Under the heading of "the world is very evil/the times are waxing late", most of us in conservative denominations have been taught for a long, long time to challenge the trends and changes because to adapt to them would bring the threat of heterodoxy, impurity and other great shame and vice.  At the other end of the spectrum there are those congregations and denominations that basically accept the trends and changes as the "new order", and baptize those trends and changes. 

At another level, which is let's say the sociological and demographic change that takes places around many congregations, the choice is to ignore.  Lock the doors more thoroughly against any change, any new blood.  It's a form of challenging, really, that's an attempt to ignore but you can't so you just say in words of one syllable Keep Out.  At the local level, a few controllers are the internal engine that's infernal.  And can be deadly. 

Dave Benke

Perhaps you could remark on what the workshop leaders (whoever they are, whatever they represent) brought forth that relates to the unchanging part of the work of the church - proclaiming Christ and His Gospel?  After all,
"Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain" (from Psalm 127)
Title: Re: Threats To The Christian Church: External & Internal
Post by: Dave Benke on April 28, 2021, 11:47:23 AM
I just virtually sat in on some teaching and information on the "internal" end of things this afternoon, having to do with the Hybrid Church workshop, with maybe 5000 others who lead congregations and ministries.  What do we do with societal trends and changing situations as they unfold as St. John Gaspump or their HQ location?
Four options:
Accept the trend and change
Challenge the trend and change
Adapt to the trend and change
Ignore the trend and change

Under the heading of "the world is very evil/the times are waxing late", most of us in conservative denominations have been taught for a long, long time to challenge the trends and changes because to adapt to them would bring the threat of heterodoxy, impurity and other great shame and vice.  At the other end of the spectrum there are those congregations and denominations that basically accept the trends and changes as the "new order", and baptize those trends and changes. 

At another level, which is let's say the sociological and demographic change that takes places around many congregations, the choice is to ignore.  Lock the doors more thoroughly against any change, any new blood.  It's a form of challenging, really, that's an attempt to ignore but you can't so you just say in words of one syllable Keep Out.  At the local level, a few controllers are the internal engine that's infernal.  And can be deadly. 

Dave Benke

Perhaps you could remark on what the workshop leaders (whoever they are, whatever they represent) brought forth that relates to the unchanging part of the work of the church - proclaiming Christ and His Gospel?  After all,
"Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain" (from Psalm 127)

Yes - I think it's a boiled down evangelicalist version to some degree - non-sacramental.  However, the interest is not in changing the Gospel, but presenting the Gospel in a time of change and upset.  In a time of disorder, do we double down on "order" of service, or do we find ways to address disorder through newly multiplied lenses of Gospel presentation?

A sentence that stuck with me is that Virtual Worship is now the Front Door to the church.  Since we're not letting many people in the actual front door, folks from all over have found their way in through the new front door, the worship service and communion of saints online. 

There's a specific set of instructions as to how best to do that, and we do about half of them at our place.  Probably we need to do more.  Because in a sense the back and side doors are wide open in a virtual community; staying "in touch" when not touching is not an easy task.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Threats To The Christian Church: External & Internal
Post by: Dave Likeness on April 28, 2021, 08:45:39 PM
Top Ten Nations Who Persecute Christians by murder, imprisonment, violent attacks & discrimination:

1. North Korea.......They mandate atheism by the Communist government
2. Afghanistan........Muslim nation which punishes Christians according to Islamic law
3. Somalia.............Muslim nation( see #2)
4. Libya................ Muslim nation  (see #2)
5. Pakistan.............Muslim nation (see #2)
6. Eritrea...............Muslim nation (see #2)
7. Yemen...............Muslim nation (see #2)
8. Iran..................Musiim nation (see #2)
9. Nigeria..............A democracy where the persecution comes from Muslim extremists
10 India................A democracy where Hindu nationalists have gained control & persecute Christians

This list complied by the 2021 World Watch List
Title: Re: Threats To The Christian Church: External & Internal
Post by: Jeremy Loesch on April 29, 2021, 10:44:21 AM
Pastor Likeness, thank you for sharing that list.  And none of those listed are particularly surprising.  And it is interesting because we sort of got on this topic last night in confirmation class. 

We are approaching the end of our classroom year and were reviewing some things.  While talking about worship, its focus, its centrality, we were discussing the boldness of Christian worship.  The boldest thing we do in worship is confess the Creed.  We stand up and state our belief in God Father Son and Holy Spirit.  That might not appear to be bold, particularly in this country where the only thing preventing us from attending church is us. 

But we are members of a Church that doesn't simply exist in this community, state, country.  We are part of a global church and we talked about what members of the global church face in terms of persecution.  Every other year or so, Bishop Lytkin of the Siberian Lutheran Church visits our congregation, preaches, and leads Bible class.  He has shared the real life experiences of the church under rule of the USSR. 

So even though we live in the United States, and give thanks for the freedom of religion in this country, we guard against those who work inside the church to subvert and alter the teachings of the Christian Church.  By continually speaking the truth, and recognizing that there are many who share our belief, we also recognize that not everyone does.

Threats to the Church are external, and they are easy to see.  Threats to the Church are also internal, but as has been mentioned in other posts, those internal threats do not come to us and reveal themselves in overt fashion. 

Jeremy
Title: Re: Threats To The Christian Church: External & Internal
Post by: Weedon on April 29, 2021, 03:06:47 PM
Ive reviewed some of St. Basil today, talking about internal threats. I thought his words were pretty amazing:

Our distresses are notorious, even though we leave them untold, for now their sound has gone out into all the world. The doctrines of the Fathers are despised; apostolic traditions are set at nought; the devices of innovators are in vogue in the Churches; now men are rather contrivers of cunning systems than theologians; the wisdom of this world wins the highest prizes and has rejected the glory of the cross.St. Basil the Great, Letter 90, to the Western Bishops

I have observed the ingenuity of the devils mode of warfare. When he saw that the Church increased under the persecution of enemies and flourished all the more, he changed his plan. He no longer carries on an open warfare, but lays secret snares against us, hiding his hostility under the name which they bear, in order that we may both suffer like our fathers, and, at the same time, seem not to suffer for Christ's sake, because our persecutors too bear the name of Christians.St. Basil the Great, Letter 139

And what is our condition? Love is grown cold; the teaching of the Fathers is being laid waste; everywhere is shipwreck of the Faith; the mouths of the Faithful are silent; the people, driven from the houses of prayer, lift up their hands in the open air to their Lord which is in heaven. Our afflictions are heavy, martyrdom is nowhere to be seen, because those who evilly entreat us are called by the same name as ourselves. Wherefore pray to the Lord yourself, and join all Christ's noble athletes with you in prayer for the Churches, to the end that, if any further time remains for this world, and all things are not being driven to destruction, God may be reconciled to his own Churches and restore them to their ancient peace.St. Basil the Great, Letter 164

There is complete immunity in sinning; for when men have been placed in office by the favour of men, they are obliged to return the favour by continually showing indulgence to offenders. Just judgment is a thing of the past; and everyone walks according to his heart's desire. Vice knows no bounds; the people know no restraint. Men in authority are afraid to speak, for those who have reached power by human interest are the slaves of those to whom they owe their advancement.St. Basil the Great, Letter 92
Title: Re: Threats To The Christian Church: External & Internal
Post by: Rob Morris on April 30, 2021, 01:04:37 AM
As I have reflected on this topic, it has occurred to me: there are some places where the church must face down external threats; there are no places where the church does not face internal threats. On this basis, as well as other reasons mentioned above, I think the internal threat is greater.

Besides that, I have served in situations when the cause of pain was internal strife and I have served in situations when the cause of pain was external strife. There is no comparison which is tougher. You can unite against an external threat. An internal threat by definition divides.
Title: Re: Threats To The Christian Church: External & Internal
Post by: D. Engebretson on April 30, 2021, 09:15:14 AM
I just virtually sat in on some teaching and information on the "internal" end of things this afternoon, having to do with the Hybrid Church workshop, with maybe 5000 others who lead congregations and ministries.  What do we do with societal trends and changing situations as they unfold as St. John Gaspump or their HQ location?
Four options:
Accept the trend and change
Challenge the trend and change
Adapt to the trend and change
Ignore the trend and change

Under the heading of "the world is very evil/the times are waxing late", most of us in conservative denominations have been taught for a long, long time to challenge the trends and changes because to adapt to them would bring the threat of heterodoxy, impurity and other great shame and vice.  At the other end of the spectrum there are those congregations and denominations that basically accept the trends and changes as the "new order", and baptize those trends and changes. 

At another level, which is let's say the sociological and demographic change that takes places around many congregations, the choice is to ignore.  Lock the doors more thoroughly against any change, any new blood.  It's a form of challenging, really, that's an attempt to ignore but you can't so you just say in words of one syllable Keep Out.  At the local level, a few controllers are the internal engine that's infernal.  And can be deadly. 

Dave Benke

Perhaps you could remark on what the workshop leaders (whoever they are, whatever they represent) brought forth that relates to the unchanging part of the work of the church - proclaiming Christ and His Gospel?  After all,
"Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain" (from Psalm 127)

Yes - I think it's a boiled down evangelicalist version to some degree - non-sacramental.  However, the interest is not in changing the Gospel, but presenting the Gospel in a time of change and upset.  In a time of disorder, do we double down on "order" of service, or do we find ways to address disorder through newly multiplied lenses of Gospel presentation?

A sentence that stuck with me is that Virtual Worship is now the Front Door to the church.  Since we're not letting many people in the actual front door, folks from all over have found their way in through the new front door, the worship service and communion of saints online. 

There's a specific set of instructions as to how best to do that, and we do about half of them at our place.  Probably we need to do more.  Because in a sense the back and side doors are wide open in a virtual community; staying "in touch" when not touching is not an easy task.

Dave Benke

Like many in our denomination I embraced the virtual technology - such that I had in my rural environment - as a necessity.  I envision continuing it because it has added a dimension to our inreach and outreach that we did not have prior to this.  But like with all things how it is done is just as critical as whether it is done.  I tune in and watch a smattering of live streamed offerings each week, worship services and devotions.  Many of us new to this technology began as rank amateurs, myself included.  We did not understand how to most effectively present ourselves in this medium.  So some stepped into it in a rather casual, haphazard way, which I think has done little for them long term.  I also think that we need to know our limitations.  I do the best with what I have, but it's a simple attempt to reproduce what I already do in-person.  For my devotional time I approach it in a way consistent with how I might do things in real time.  Yes, I wear I collar and cross myself. I am consistent with who I am normally, and what I do normally in my setting outside of the virtual. The format is simple and straightforward for online devotions - and short! 12-15 minutes on average.  And it seems to work.  Not for all, but nothing will. 

If this new frontier is going to be embraced and used for the indefinite future, those of us relatively new to it should be a bit more deliberate in preparing and training for it, even though many of us are already well into it.  The 'front door' of a virtual presence should not compete with the front door of an actual presence.
Title: Re: Threats To The Christian Church: External & Internal
Post by: Dave Likeness on April 30, 2021, 09:42:26 AM
One internal threat to the church is the lack of true worship.

True worship must start with a true heart.  God does not want mechanical ritual
which simply goes through the motions.  The Lord seeks a relationship with us,
an honest and open relationship which is free of deception and manipulation.

A true heart is humble and contrite in spirit. It seeks guidance from God's Word.
It confesses sin and receives forgiveness in the Sacrament of Holy Communion.
Word and Sacrament become a source of God's gracious renewal in our lives.
Title: Re: Threats To The Christian Church: External & Internal
Post by: Dave Benke on April 30, 2021, 10:00:34 AM
I just virtually sat in on some teaching and information on the "internal" end of things this afternoon, having to do with the Hybrid Church workshop, with maybe 5000 others who lead congregations and ministries.  What do we do with societal trends and changing situations as they unfold as St. John Gaspump or their HQ location?
Four options:
Accept the trend and change
Challenge the trend and change
Adapt to the trend and change
Ignore the trend and change

Under the heading of "the world is very evil/the times are waxing late", most of us in conservative denominations have been taught for a long, long time to challenge the trends and changes because to adapt to them would bring the threat of heterodoxy, impurity and other great shame and vice.  At the other end of the spectrum there are those congregations and denominations that basically accept the trends and changes as the "new order", and baptize those trends and changes. 

At another level, which is let's say the sociological and demographic change that takes places around many congregations, the choice is to ignore.  Lock the doors more thoroughly against any change, any new blood.  It's a form of challenging, really, that's an attempt to ignore but you can't so you just say in words of one syllable Keep Out.  At the local level, a few controllers are the internal engine that's infernal.  And can be deadly. 

Dave Benke

Perhaps you could remark on what the workshop leaders (whoever they are, whatever they represent) brought forth that relates to the unchanging part of the work of the church - proclaiming Christ and His Gospel?  After all,
"Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain" (from Psalm 127)

Yes - I think it's a boiled down evangelicalist version to some degree - non-sacramental.  However, the interest is not in changing the Gospel, but presenting the Gospel in a time of change and upset.  In a time of disorder, do we double down on "order" of service, or do we find ways to address disorder through newly multiplied lenses of Gospel presentation?

A sentence that stuck with me is that Virtual Worship is now the Front Door to the church.  Since we're not letting many people in the actual front door, folks from all over have found their way in through the new front door, the worship service and communion of saints online. 

There's a specific set of instructions as to how best to do that, and we do about half of them at our place.  Probably we need to do more.  Because in a sense the back and side doors are wide open in a virtual community; staying "in touch" when not touching is not an easy task.

Dave Benke

Like many in our denomination I embraced the virtual technology - such that I had in my rural environment - as a necessity.  I envision continuing it because it has added a dimension to our inreach and outreach that we did not have prior to this.  But like with all things how it is done is just as critical as whether it is done.  I tune in and watch a smattering of live streamed offerings each week, worship services and devotions.  Many of us new to this technology began as rank amateurs, myself included.  We did not understand how to most effectively present ourselves in this medium.  So some stepped into it in a rather casual, haphazard way, which I think has done little for them long term.  I also think that we need to know our limitations.  I do the best with what I have, but it's a simple attempt to reproduce what I already do in-person.  For my devotional time I approach it in a way consistent with how I might do things in real time.  Yes, I wear I collar and cross myself. I am consistent with who I am normally, and what I do normally in my setting outside of the virtual. The format is simple and straightforward for online devotions - and short! 12-15 minutes on average.  And it seems to work.  Not for all, but nothing will. 

If this new frontier is going to be embraced and used for the indefinite future, those of us relatively new to it should be a bit more deliberate in preparing and training for it, even though many of us are already well into it.  The 'front door' of a virtual presence should not compete with the front door of an actual presence.

One of the things to consider is engagement.  Although we upper midwesterners are considered the Frozen Chosen by many, I'm sure that's not the case at your spiritual Hacienda.  So you engage there in as many ways as possible, learning about life issues, about what's going on in the community, and what the needs of the flock may be.  It's focused, it's continual, it's pastoral.  The same effort in the manifold different ways available should be carried out with the online congregation.  I'd tell you how that's done, but that's what I'm learning, so no answers, just a thought about how to proceed.  One thing I've puzzled over is how to engage those who are hundreds or thousands of miles away to be volunteers, to be active in ministry - that's my geographical bias toward location, ie Brooklyn.  But if you're in Cali why could you not volunteer to lead a prayer group online via Zoom?  Or do a street cleanup as an aspect of St. Peter's Brooklyn in SoCal and report what it meant to those who did it?   These to me are mind-blowing-ish options, because my heretofore frame has been local altar, font, pulpit.  Pulpit is now global.  Why not ministry?

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Threats To The Christian Church: External & Internal
Post by: peter_speckhard on April 30, 2021, 10:21:46 AM
One internal threat to the church is the lack of true worship.

True worship must start with a true heart.  God does not want mechanical ritual
which simply goes through the motions.  The Lord seeks a relationship with us,
an honest and open relationship which is free of deception and manipulation.

A true heart is humble and contrite in spirit. It seeks guidance from God's Word.
It confesses sin and receives forgiveness in the Sacrament of Holy Communion.
Word and Sacrament become a source of God's gracious renewal in our lives.
"Going through the motions" is a tricky concept here. I always warn the confirmands that teenagers can get pretty judgy about church when they get to high school or college and presume that everybody in a service at church is just going through the motions and reading the words off the page robotically. It often looks like that to those teenagers. Certainly doing the motions without meaning it is a bad thing. It is supposed t come from the heart. But meaning it is not the same thing as feeling like it or being in the right mood. Sometimes we must merely go through the motions in all our vocations, including our vocation as Christians and church members. In down times and dry periods we do what we know we are supposed to do and that helps us through to the good times when every word of praise rings true and the more broken-hearted times when every word of grief or contrition comes straight from the heart.   
Title: Re: Threats To The Christian Church: External & Internal
Post by: Norman Teigen on May 02, 2021, 06:22:06 PM
I am reminded of a profound prayer for the church from the work of J.S. Bach.  His cantata for Easter 2 (BWV 6) is based on the interaction between Christ and the disciples on the Road to Emmaus.  "Stay with us, for evening falls, and the day has declined." The German text is"Bleib  bei uns, denn  es  will Abend werden, und Der Tag hat such geneiget."  The imagery of the deepening day is broadened to a consideration of the Last Times.   The prayer is that "Your divine Word, the bright light, let it not be extinguished among us."  "In dieser letzt'n  betrubten Zeit/ Verleih uns, Herr, Bestandigkeit, (In these last troubled times/grant us Lord, perseverance). Dass wir dein Wort und Sakrament/ Rein b'halted bis an Unser End.  (that we may preserve Your word and sacrament pure until our end.)
Title: Re: Threats To The Christian Church: External & Internal
Post by: John_Hannah on May 02, 2021, 07:56:09 PM
I am reminded of a profound prayer for the church from the work of J.S. Bach.  His cantata for Easter 2 (BWV 6) is based on the interaction between Christ and the disciples on the Road to Emmaus.  "Stay with us, for evening falls, and the day has declined." The German text is"Bleib  bei uns, denn  es  will Abend werden, und Der Tag hat such geneiget."  The imagery of the deepening day is broadened to a consideration of the Last Times.   The prayer is that "Your divine Word, the bright light, let it not be extinguished among us."  "In dieser letzt'n  betrubten Zeit/ Verleih uns, Herr, Bestandigkeit, (In these last troubled times/grant us Lord, perseverance). Dass wir dein Wort und Sakrament/ Rein b'halted bis an Unser End.  (that we may preserve Your word and sacrament pure until our end.)

One can only say to this, AMEN.

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: Threats To The Christian Church: External & Internal
Post by: Weedon on May 02, 2021, 08:06:30 PM
And then there is the prayer in this stanza:

The haughty spirits, Lord, restrain
Who oer thy church with might would reign
And always set forth something new
Devised to change thy doctrine true.
Title: Re: Threats To The Christian Church: External & Internal
Post by: Norman Teigen on May 02, 2021, 08:13:40 PM
Beweis dein Macht, Herr Jesu Christ,
Der du Herr aller Herren bist
(Reveal your strength, Lord Jesus Christ,
You who are Lord of Lords)
Beschirm dein arme Christenheit.
Dass sie dich lob in Ewigkeit.
(protect your poor Christianity,
so that it praises You in eternity.)
Title: Re: Threats To The Christian Church: External & Internal
Post by: Norman Teigen on May 03, 2021, 09:16:28 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8S1U3bJakOE

Here is an interesting workshop on Bach's Cantata 86 which is consistent with this thread.  'Truly, truly I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father, in My name, so will it be given to you.'   (Ich will doch wohl Rosen Gretchen....)   "I will yet indeed pluck roses, even if they prick me with thorn.   For I have confidence That my prayers and my pleading go straight to the heart of God, because he gave me His word (Weil es mir sein Wort verspricht.). The beautiful concluding chorale contains the thought that "Hope awaits the right time, which God's word has promised...He knows well when would be best, and uses no cruel tricks on us;  therefore we should trust him.  (Des solln wir ihm vertrauen.)

If you cannot take time for the lesson go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubc2_3mj18U
Title: Re: Threats To The Christian Church: External & Internal
Post by: Randy Bosch on May 08, 2021, 01:28:20 PM
Joel D. Hirst, an American and Christian author residing in Armenia for the past two years, has gained a perhaps wider view of the threats to the Christian Church than most of us have experienced:

https://joelhirst.blog/2021/05/08/on-oppression/  .

The vast majority of talk about threats to the Christian Church, whether external or internal, overlooks that Christ has only one Church here on earth, and often wrings hands about but downplays oppression when it occurs in far-off lands - even as far as "It could never happen here".