Archive | January 2019

China’s Pastors Take Their Stand: Jesus Is Lord!

BY JOHN STONESTREET/BREAKPOINT.ORG

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I want you to meet some brave Christian leaders pledging their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.
When thinking of the golden age of the Church, many of us hearken back to the book of Acts, when Peter and John stood up to the religious authorities, who told them to be silent about Jesus the risen Messiah. “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God,” they answered, “you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” Then they prayed for boldness, and the Church exploded across much of the ancient world.
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But there’s a golden age for the church going on right now–with the same kind of courage, persecution, and Spirit-empowered growth. Where is it? In communist China.
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World missions historians tell us that when all the foreign missionaries were kicked out of Mao’s China a few years after the Second World War, there were probably no more than 3 million believers in Jesus Christ in the whole, vast nation.
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But today, seven decades later, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life counts 67 million Christians of all kinds–35 million independent Protestants, 23 million Protestants in government-sanctioned churches, and 9 million Catholics. Other estimates go even higher.
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Whatever the true number is, it’s almost as many as there are members of the Communist Party! Maybe that’s why the government is cracking down on Christians. According to Christianity Today and other news outlets, Under President Xi Jinping, China’s government has been tightening its grip on religious affairs.
In February, regulations aimed at religious groups have brought increased pressure on churches to be “Chinese” culturally and to submit to the authority of the Communist Party. Churches are being told to burn their crosses and replace them with Chinese flags and to display slogans praising the Communist Party. Some are being forced to join the government-sanctioned churches and permit video surveillance of their services.
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Meanwhile, in Jiangxi province, authorities have forced at least 40 churches to display banners forbidding foreigners from preaching and anyone under 18 from attending. In August, they even published new rules stating, “Party members who have religious belief should have strengthened thought education.”
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In the spirit of Peter and John, a group of at least 250 Chinese pastors has publicly signed a joint statement opposing the new regulations. In the statement they declare that Jesus is Lord of all, offering eternal life to anyone who will repent and believe in Him.
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But they also say, in a challenge to the Chinese communists, “God hates all attempts to suppress human souls and all acts of persecution against the Christian church, and he will condemn and judge them with righteous judgment.”
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Then, like Peter and John, they pledge obedience not to the earthly authorities but to King Jesus, no matter what. “We declare that in matters of external conduct, churches are willing to accept lawful oversight by civil administration or other government departments as other social organizations do. But under no circumstances will we lead our churches to join a religious organization controlled by the government, to register with the religious administration department, or to accept any kind of affiliation.”

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They close their incredible joint statement with the bracing yet sobering words, “For the sake of the gospel, we are prepared to bear all losses–even the loss of our freedom and our lives.”
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Friends, is it any wonder that the church in China has grown, and continues to grow? What we’re seeing before our eyes is the golden age of the church in China. How can we not pray for these wonderful brothers and sisters? And more than that, how can we not emulate their costly faithfulness in our own little corner of God’s world?

NO JEWS IN EUROPE AND NO JEWISH STATE IN THE MIDDLE EAST

by Giulio Meotti

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So, 40 per cent of European Jews have considered leaving their countries over the past five years, according to a new poll conducted by the EU agency for fundamental rights, which highlighted the growing concern among Jewish communities in Europe, with almost 90 per cent of Jews saying that anti-Semitism has increased since 2013.
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“Decades after the Holocaust, shocking and mounting levels of anti-Semitism continue to plague the EU”, Michael O’Flaherty, the director of the European agency, said in a statement. “Jewish people have the right to live freely, without hate and without fear for their safety”. Nice words. But that is exactly the point.
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European Islamists, the lead actors of this new anti-Semitism along with the leftist useful idiots, are trying to stage a “final solution” of what they call the “Jewish-Zionist cancer” in the Middle East (Iran’s Rouhani holds the copyright for that term).
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They really want a jüdenrein world, without Jews. Without Jews in Europe, fleeing from anti-Semitism, and without Jews in the Middle East, with the destruction of Israel.
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Europe has become the epicenter of the new war against Israel and the Jews. Europe fights the Jewish State in the political arenas, in the corridors of power in Brussels, in various Western European capitals and the United Nations, inside Israel with the NGOs it funds, the media and the diplomacy.
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So that those responsible for the massacre of Jews in the pizzeria Sbarro di Gerusalemme, of the massacre of Jewish kids at the Dolphinarium discotheque in Tel Aviv, of the carnage of entire Jewish families during the Passover dinner at the Park Hotel of Netanya, are not termed “terrorists” in Europe, but “militants”.
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Europe is a bystander no more. It has become deliberately responsible for the abominable crime of cultural genocide: wiping out the past existence of a people – the Jews – to eliminate their current political legitimacy and its human, religious, cultural and historical rights. That is why Europe voted along with the Islamic regimes at the recent UN resolutions denying the Jewish history of Jerusalem.
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Europe’s lights are fading under the pressure of different phenomena.
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First of all, Islamism that it is submerging Europe under the darkness in many of its territories and which it degrades severely. The mass arrival of migrants coming from the Middle East, from the Maghreb and from Africa that Europe cannot integrate, nor help return to their countries of origin and are left shamefully to stagnate in precariousness, are the source of great evils. Erosion, decadence, and powerlessness.
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But they are also the source of the development of this violent anti-Semitism with the permanent denigration of Israel.
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We are at the point that many Jews prefer to leave Europe to live in Israel. What a step back, the Jews flee again from Europe to seek peace and security in a country that has only enemies around it, those who as a single entity cultivate the will to find the way to destroy Israel and throw its corpse into the sea.
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“Israel is a vital component of this emerging order as the paradigm nation-state totally committed to its defense and survival” Melanie Phillips just wrote. The order of operations is that made of Trump’s America, Brexit, Eastern Europe and the Jewish State.
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That new order is the Western last chance for cultural survival. That is why anti-Semitism has become a major engine of the Western chaos.

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ISRAEL’S ECONOMIC STRENGTH
reported by Yoram Ettinger, former Ambassador

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1. PepsiCo concluded the acquisition of Israel’s SodaStream for $3.2BN (Globes Business Daily, Dec. 6, 2018). The Chicago-based Thomas Bravo acquired Israel’s Impreva Cyber Security for $2.1BN (Globes, Oct. 12).

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2. Venture capital investment in Israel has grown systematically since 2008, reflecting the steady growth of Israel’s economy.

2018 is expected to score a new record of investment in Israeli startups – $6BN, compared to 2017 – $5.5BN, 2016 – $5BN and 2015 – $4.7BN. The last ten years have produced the highest level of Israeli exits, including a $15.3BN by Mobileye, which was acquired by Intel.

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The last ten years have yielded an unprecedented potential of Israeli startups – which, unlike prior years, are not rushing into tempting exits – to evolve into substantial high tech companies.

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Israel’s time-to-market and time-to-exit is substantially shorter than Europe’s, partly generated by the military experience of Israel’s entrepreneurs (Globes, Dec. 12, Oct. 30, Aug. 1).

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Israel’s Innovation Authority has concluded a series of agreements with global high tech giants, such as Intel, Audi, Abbott, Unilever, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Panasonic, Philips, Nielsen, Fujitsu, Renault, England’s Reckitt Benckiser, etc. – to identify ground-breaking Israeli technologies (Globes, Nov. 29).

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3. Microsoft, Nokia, Cisco, AT&T, Ireland’s Accenture, Singapore’s Temasek Holdings, Bessemer Venture Partners, Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors, Japan’s Softbank, Walmart, Europe’s Airbus, Moody’s and Britain’s Barclays Bank invested in Israel’s Team8 Cyber Security venture capital fund.
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Temasek acquired Israel’s Sygnia Cybersecurity startup, which was on Team8’s portfolio ($4.3MN), for $250MN (Globes, Oct. 24). Intel Capital led a $12MN round of private placement by Israel’s Seamless Network cyber security startup (Globes, Nov. 15).

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4. Hewlett-Packard’s Chief Technology Officer, Shane Wall:

“HP values Israel as a major platform of innovative technologies, which are targeted for investment by HP Tech Ventures (especially in the areas of digital production, artificial intelligence and cyber security). HP has been in Israel for 30 years, employing 3,000 persons.”

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5. South Korea announced its intention to acquire ($292MN) two early warning radar systems, which are developed and manufactured by Israel’s ELTA Systems, a subsidiary of Israel’s Aerospace Industries (Reuters, Nov. 27). Israel’s Aerospace Industries has concluded an agreement with South Korea’s Hankuk Carbon for the joint development and manufacturing of unmanned aerial vehicles.
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The 2018 Israeli export to South Korea (around $600MN) was 36% higher than 2017, mostly medical, chemical and metal products. During 2018, Israel’s import from South Korea was around $900MN, mostly machinery and cars.
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A free trade agreement is negotiated between Israel and South Korea (Globes, Oct. 24). According to Avi Jorisch, author of Thou Shalt Innovate: How Israeli Ingenuity Repairs the World, Israel and South Korea are natural partners, having become regional economic superpowers due to their brain-power, which compensates for their limited natural resources. They are relatively young, born out of war and living under constant military threat, which has induced much tenacity and innovation (The Korea Herald, October 24).

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6. While China’s investments overseas have recently declined, China’s investments in Israel have not.  During the last five years, the most active Chinese investors, in Israel, have been Horizons, CE, GoCapital & EOC, Radiant and Alibaba Capital. Chinese investments have accounted to 12% of the overall investment in Israeli startups, compared with 7.5%-9% during 2015-2017 (Globes, Oct. 30).

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7. According to the Nov. 8 issue of the London Economist intelligence Unit, “Israel begins the process of auctioning off 19 oil and natural gas exploration blocks off the country’s Mediterranean coastline…. 854BN cubic meters of proven natural gas reserves have been discovered and some of them have been extracted…. Israeli firms have signed contracts to sell natural gas to Egypt and Jordan….”

PAST US MIDEAST BLUNDERS – REPEATED OR AVOIDED?

By retired Ambassador Yoram Etteringer

 

Western policy in the Middle East – from Iran, the Arabian Peninsula, through Jordan, Egypt and North Africa – has largely failed due to a multitude of erroneous assessments made by well-intentioned policy-makers, researchers, academicians and journalists.

 

For example, the State Department “wise men” opposed the 1948 establishment of the Jewish State – which they viewed as a potential ally of the Soviet Bloc – contending that it was doomed militarily, demographically and economically.

 

In 1977-79, the US foreign policy establishment courted Ayatollah Khomeini and deserted a critical strategic ally, the Shah of Iran, assuming that Khomeini was seeking human rights and peaceful-coexistence. In 1981, the US punished Israel – militarily, economically and diplomatically – for destroying Iraq’s nuclear reactor, which spared the US a potential nuclear confrontation in the 1991 Gulf War.

 

Until Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990, the US showered the ruthless Iraqi dictator with intelligence-sharing and commercial agreements. In 1993 and 2005 the US embraced the Israel-PLO Oslo Accord and Israel’s disengagement from Gaza, maintaining that they would advance peace, while in fact they fueled Palestinian hate-education and terrorism.

 

The 2010-11 eruption of the still-raging Arab Tsunami was greeted as an “Arab Spring,” “Facebook Revolution” and “Youth Revolution;” supposedly, leading Arab societies closer to democracy. During 2009-11, the US sacrificed pro-US Egyptian President Mubarak on the altar of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, the largest Sunni-Muslim terrorist conglomerate.

 

In 2011, the US led the NATO toppling of Libya’s Qaddafi – who previously surrendered his infrastructure of weapons-of-mass-destruction to the US and systematically fought Islamic terrorism – contending that a post-Qaddafi Libya would be more democratic and pro-Western. In 2018, Libya is one of the largest platforms of Islamic terrorism.

 

In 2015, the US led the JCPOA accord with Iran’s Ayatollahs, which provided the inherently anti-US rogue regime with an unprecedented tailwind to topple all pro-US Arab regimes, intensify terrorism in the Middle East and Africa, and try to push the US out of the Persian Gulf.

 

Notwithstanding the failure of all well-intentioned US initiatives to advance Israel-Arab peaceful-coexistence, the US may introduce another peace initiative, overlooking the face that the only successful peace initiatives were directly negotiated between Israel-Egypt and Israel-Jordan. And the list goes on….

 

Such a track record provoked systematic criticism by “The Gang of Four,” who were the leading experts/authors on the Middle East: Prof. Elie Kedourie (London School of Economics & Political Science), Professor P.J. Vatikiotis (London School of Oriental and African Studies), Prof. Bernard Lewis (Princeton University) and Prof. J.B. Kelly (University of Wisconsin). Their criticism, which has been in publication since the 1960s, has been resoundingly vindicated by the Arab Tsunami, which has traumatized the Middle East, and threatened the West, since 2010.

 

The four luminaries highlighted the Western tendency to oversimplify the highly-complex, fragmented, unpredictable, unstable, intolerant, violent, frenzied and tenuous inter-Arab reality of the Middle East – irrespective of the Arab-Israeli conflict – which is dominated by ruthless minority-regimes, and is yet to experience inter-Arab peaceful coexistence.

 

For example, Prof. Elie Kedourie exposed the fumbled US policy which energized Iran’s Ayatollahs, stabbed the back of the Shah of Iran – the US Policeman in the Persian Gulf – dealt the US a game-changing setback, and placed a machete at the throat of each pro-US Arab regime in the Middle East: “An emergency was in the making, which involved the regime in Iran, a pillar of US and Western interests.

 

This emergency was the most serious foreign policy test… which President Carter and his leading officials failed…. The Carter Administration was willing to see [the Shah] go because it had persuaded itself that the alternative would institute democracy and human rights…. From Teheran, Ambassador Sullivan argued that Khomeini was anti-Communist, that the young officers were generally pro-Western, that economic ties with the West would subsist, that Khomeini would play a ‘grandpa like role’, and that election would be likely to produce a pro-Western Islamic republic. In Washington, there was a chorus of academic and official voices singing the praises of Khomeini and the National Front….”

 

According to Prof. P.J. Vatikiotis: “For the foreseeable future, inter-Arab differences and conflicts will continue…. Inter-Arab relations cannot be placed on a spectrum of linear development… Rather, their course is partly cyclical, partly jerkily spiral and always resting occasionally at some ‘grey’ area…. What the Arabs want is not always – if ever – what Americans desire; in fact, the two desires may be diametrically opposed…. Even without the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Arab Middle East would have been a conflict-ridden and conflict-generating area…. Arrangements or alliances made by foreign powers with [Arab] regimes are problematic, dangerous, transient and even meaningless….”

 

Moreover, “a political challenge to any of these [Arab] regimes can come only in the form of a violent confrontation. Opposition is subversion; political disagreement is treason. The tolerance of opposition is scarce – in fact, nonexistent…. Power changes are therefore possible only via rebellion or revolution….”  

 

The litany of books and essays on the Middle East by Prof. Bernard Lewis have exposed a self-defeating Western policy, sacrificing realism on the altar of wishful-thinking and oversimplification. Many of them were authored before the 1979 toppling of the Shah, the bombing of the US Embassy and Marine Headquarters in Beirut in 1983, the 1998 bombing of the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000, the 2001 Twin Towers devastation and the current proliferation of Islamic terrorism in Europe.

 

Prof. Lewis highlighted features of Islam, which have not been fully-comprehended by Western policy-makers, who tend to sacrifice reality on the altar of rapprochement with Islam: “[Non-Muslims] may receive the tolerance, even the benevolence, of the Muslim state, provided that they clearly recognize Muslim supremacy…. That Muslims should rule over non-Muslims is right and normal…. That non-Muslims should rule over Muslims is an offense against the laws of God and nature…. Islam was associated with power from the very beginning…. The world is divided basically into two. One is the community of the Muslims, the other that of the ‘unbelievers.'”

 

Western policy in the Arabian Peninsula and the Persian Gulf was severely criticized by Prof. J.B. Kelly: “While the Russians may have miscalculated at times, they have attempted to ground their policy upon reality, not upon wishful-thinking.
Western policy, on the other hand, has been based upon illusions, self-deception and calculations of short-term advantage. Nowhere is this more evident than in the formulation and execution of American policy towards Arabia and the Gulf…. In Arabia and the Gulf, the US government allowed itself to be seduced into adoption and implementing ARAMCO’s plans and those of its Saudi Arabian clients…. The State Department lent its unobtrusive support…. Just how great a part-illusion, self-deception and willful-obtuseness have played in fostering [this policy] is clearly revealed in the transcripts of hearings on the subject of American relations with the Gulf states held by the Senate Foreign Relations and the House International Relations Committees from 1972 onward…. None of this [former Secretary of State Joseph Sisco’s Congressional testimony] bore the remotest resemblance to reality…. It was then, and remains still, a mirage….”

 

Prof. Fouad Ajami, who was the Director of Middle East Studies at Johns Hopkins University, wrote: “Arabs and Israeli are ready for peace, it is said by many in the US and in the Middle East. The missing ingredient, they argue, is the American role and American peace plan. The other side of this promise is a threat: dire consequences are predicted, for the region and for American interests, if the [US] Administration fails to embark on an activist policy.
In reality, the promise is a mirage, the dire consequences an empty threat…. The notion of [the US’] indispensability is a trap. We should not walk into that trap when others set it for us. Certainly, at least, we should be able to avoid entrapping ourselves.”

 

Have Western policy-makers learned from precedents by avoiding – or repeating – costly mistakes? Are they aware that unrealistic policies tend to be self-defeating, yielding more injustice and casualties than that which they intend to cure?!