Tag Archives: Christians
So, this guy dies…….
……and wakes up on a beach.
The weather is hot, the sea is turquoise and warm, beautiful girls are playing beach volleyball, barbecues everywhere, laughter and joy.
All of a sudden, Satan comes up to him.
“Welcome to Hell. Enjoy yourself, have a drink, have a hamburger and check out the area. If you need anything or have a question, feel free to ask me.” he says.
The guy walks along the beach, has a few drinks with a nice girl.
He walks over a hill, when he sees a hole in the ground, full with tormented people, flames rising up from the hole.
The guy runs towards the beach until he finds Satan.
“Hey, I found this hole and all these people are being tormented… What’s that about?”
“Oh”, Satan says:
“That’s for the Christians, they want it that way.”
interruption by so-called Christians
Leader: President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi
Population: 27.2 million (a few thousand Christians)
Main Religion: Islam
World Watch List Rank: 10
Source of Persecution: Islamic extremism
There is some religious freedom for foreigners here but evangelism is prohibited and Yemenis who leave Islam may face the death penalty. Muslim-background believers are forced to meet in secret. If their faith is discovered, they face severe persecution from authorities, family, and extremist groups who threaten ‘apostates’ with death if they do not recant. Insecurity caused by Islamist movements makes Yemen very unstable. Christians are believed to be under surveillance by extremists and expat Christians can be a specific target for these extremist groups.
The number of local believers is estimated at just a few hundred. Ask the Lord to encourage them and increase their numbers
Several expat Christians have been kidnapped in recent years. Pray for protection for foreign Christian workers and NGOs
Al-Qaeda-linked groups are gaining more power. Pray that Yemen’s leaders will be able to restore peace to this deeply divided country.
Yemen is very unstable and its situation has deteriorated since the Arab Spring riots of 2011. The country is balancing on the brink of civil war. In the chaos, Al Qaeda militants have seized the opportunity to spread to parts of Yemen where formerly the government maintained some sort of order. These developments have led to an increase in oppression of Christians.
Kidnappings of foreigners occur regularly, and Christians are believed to be under surveillance by extremists. Several expat Christians have been kidnapped, though it is hard to discern to what extent religious factors play a role. Migrant Christian fellowships have been raided and forced to stop meeting.
Muslim-background believers face strong family and societal pressure. Threats from family, society and extremist groups are very serious and indigenous Christians have been killed for their faith. Due to this risk, many believers have had to go into hiding or even flee the country. Female converts are under threat of forced marriage once their conversion is revealed.
Question: Tattoos and Christians – Should Christians Have Tattoos?
What does the Bible say about tattoos? Is it a sin to get a tattoo?
Besides looking into what the Bible says about tattoos, together we’ll consider the concerns surrounding tattooing today and present a self quiz to help you decide if getting a tattoo is right or wrong.
Answer: The answer, I believe, is yes and no.
To Tattoo or Not To?
This is a question many Christians struggle with. I believe tattooing falls into the category of “disputable matters” where the Bible is not clear. But wait a minute, you might be thinking. The Bible says in Leviticus 19:28, “Do not cut your bodies for the dead, and do not mark your skin with tattoos. I am the Lord.” (NLT) How much clearer can that be?
It’s important, however, to look at the verse in context. This passage in Leviticus, including the surrounding text, is specifically dealing with the pagan religious rituals of the people living around the Israelites. God’s desire is to set his people apart from other cultures. The focus here is prohibiting worldly, heathen worship and witchcraft. God forbids his holy people to engage in idolatrous, pagan worship and sorcery which imitates the heathens. He does this out of protection, because he knows this will lead them away from the one true God.
It’s interesting to observe verse 26, “Do not eat meat that has not been drained of its blood,” and verse 27, “Do not trim off the hair on your temples or trim your beards.” Well, certainly many Christians today eat non-kosher meats and get haircuts without participating in the forbidden worship of pagans. Back then these customs were associated with pagan rites and rituals. Today they are not.
So, the important question remains, is getting a tattoo a form of pagan, worldly worship still forbidden by God today? My answer is, this matter is disputable, and should be treated as a Romans 14 issue.
If you are considering the question, “To tattoo or not to?” I think the more serious questions to ask yourself are: What are my motives for wanting a tattoo? Am I seeking to glorify God or draw attention to myself? Will my tattoo be a source of contention for my loved ones? Will getting a tattoo cause me to disobey my parents? Will my tattoo cause someone who is weak in the faith to stumble?
In my article, “What to Do When the Bible is Not Clear,” we discover that God has given us a means to judge our motives and weigh our decisions. Romans 14:23 states, “…everything that does not come from faith is sin.” Now that’s pretty clear!
Instead of asking, “Is it okay for a Christian to get a tattoo,” perhaps a better question might be, “Is it okay for me to get a tattoo?”
Since tattooing is such a controversial issue today, I think it’s important to examine your heart and your motives before you make the decision.
Self Exam – To Tattoo or Not To?
Here is a self-exam based on the ideas put forth in Romans 14. These questions will help you decide whether or not getting a tattoo is a sin for you:
How does my heart and my conscience convict me? Do I have freedom in Christ and a clear conscience before the Lord regarding the decision to get a tattoo?
Am I passing judgment on a brother or sister because I don’t have freedom in Christ to receive a tattoo?
Will I still want this tattoo years from now?
Will my parents and family approve, and/or will my future spouse want me to have this tattoo?
Will I cause a weaker brother to stumble if I receive a tattoo?
Is my decision based on faith and will the result be glorifying to God?
Ultimately, the decision is between you and God. Though it may not be a black and white issue, there is a right choice for each individual. Take some time to honestly answer these questions and the Lord will show you what to do.
• Consider the pros and cons of tattooing with Christian Teens Guide Kelly Mahoney.
• Take an in-depth look at Tattoos and the Bible by Pastor Chuck Gerwig.
• Examine a biblical view of the question, Is Getting a Tattoo a Sin? by Robin Schumacher.
• Consider a Jewish perspective on tattoos.
• See what some Christian music artists say about tattooing.
A Few More Things to Consider
There are serious health risks involved with getting a tattoo:
• Possible Tattoo Diseases & Reactions
• Tattoo Health Risks
Lastly, tattoos are permanent. Be sure to consider the possibility that you could regret your decision in the future. Although removal is possible, it is more expensive
Pope Francis Condemns Racism And Declares That “All Religions Are True” At Historic Third Vatican Council
December 5, 2013 · by Diversity Chronicle
For the last six months, Catholic cardinals, bishops and theologians have been deliberating in Vatican City, discussing the future of the church and redefining long-held Catholic doctrines and dogmas. The Third Vatican Council, is undoubtedly the largest and most important since the Second Vatican Council was concluded in 1962. Pope Francis convened the new council to “finally finish the work of the Second Vatican Council.” While some traditionalists and conservative reactionaries on the far right have decried these efforts, they have delighted progressives around the world.
The Third Vatican Council concluded today with Pope Francis announcing that Catholicism is now a “modern and reasonable religion, which has undergone evolutionary changes. The time has come to abandon all intolerance. We must recognize that religious truth evolves and changes. Truth is not absolute or set in stone. Even atheists acknowledge the divine. Through acts of love and charity the atheist acknowledges God as well, and redeems his own soul, becoming an active participant in the redemption of humanity.”
“Through humility, soul searching, and prayerful contemplation we have gained a new understanding of certain dogmas. The church no longer believes in a literal hell where people suffer. This doctrine is incompatible with the infinite love of God. God is not a judge but a friend and a lover of humanity. God seeks not to condemn but only to embrace. Like the fable of Adam and Eve, we see hell as a literary device. Hell is merely a metaphor for the isolated soul, which like all souls ultimately will be united in love with God” Pope Francis declared.
In a speech that shocked many, the Pope claimed “All religions are true, because they are true in the hearts of all those who believe in them. What other kind of truth is there? In the past, the church has been harsh on those it deemed morally wrong or sinful. Today, we no longer judge. Like a loving father, we never condemn our children. Our church is big enough for heterosexuals and homosexuals, for the pro-life and the pro-choice! For conservatives and liberals, even communists are welcome and have joined us. We all love and worship the same God.”
One statement in the Pope’s speech has sent traditionalists into a fit of confusion and hysteria. “God is changing and evolving as we are, For God lives in us and in our hearts. When we spread love and kindness in the world, we touch our own divinity and recognize it. The Bible is a beautiful holy book, but like all great and ancient works, some passages are outdated. Some even call for intolerance or judgement. The time has come to see these verses as later interpolations, contrary to the message of love and truth, which otherwise radiates through scripture. In accordance with our new understanding, we will begin to ordain women as cardinals, bishops and priests. In the future, it is my hope that we will have a woman pope one day. Let no door be closed to women that is open to men!”
In addition to the Pope’s sweeping calls for tolerance and a new progressive understanding of Catholicism, he condemned racism, raising his voice and pounding the podium in front of him. Pope Francis spent over an hour castigating anti-immigrant politicians, parties and individuals. Wagging his finger sternly with righteous indignation, the Pope shouted “Racism today is the ultimate evil in the world. When Italians, Spanish or French turn back the boats of African migrants seeking a better life, are they not like the inn keeper who told Mary and Joseph that there was no room for them and the infant Christ? These migrants are children of God and we are commanded to love them!”
His voice loudly echoing through St. Peter’s basilica, the Pope stated “those who would dare to turn immigrants away, be they legal or undocumented, turn their backs on Christ himself! A racist is not a true Christian. A racist casts aside his humanity to become a beast, a demon! He is the embodiment and personification of evil, a Satan!”
To a chorus of thunderous applause, Pope Francis stated “because Muslims, Hindus and African Animists are also made in the very likeness and image of God, to hate them is to hate God! To reject them to is to reject God and the Gospel of Christ. Whether we worship at a church, a synagogue, a mosque or a mandir, it does not matter. Whether we call God, Jesus, Adonai, Allah or Krishna, we all worship the same God of love. This truth is self-evident to all who have love and humility in their hearts!”
In a announcement that shocked many people, Pope Francis warned that “those who seek to deny a home to the migrant, to the African and the Muslim, risk their membership in the church. We will consider excommunication for those whose souls willingly dwell in the darkness and evil of intolerance and racism. Satan himself is a metaphor or a personification, for the collective evils of mankind. Today, these evils manifest foremost as racism, intolerance, religious persecution and bigotries of all kinds.”
A couple of prominent Catholic cardinals have responded to Pope Francis’ declarations by leaving the church. Cardinal Arinze of Nigeria asked, “what do we stand for if we declare that truth is relative? On the contrary, truth exists independently of our personal feelings. All of this talk of love and tolerance is hollow if we have no identity of our own, if we stand for nothing. I charge that Francis has become a heretic, and that he is not a valid Pope. Indeed, Francis is no longer even a Catholic. The seat of Saint Peter is vacant. I am now a Sedevacantist. I should have become one long ago. The Vatican has embraced ecumenism in the past, but worse than that, it has now embraced moral relativism on abortion and homosexuality. At the same time it is embracing moral absolutism in favour of illegal immigration and cultural genocide against Europe.”
In his most controversial statement, Cardinal Arinze said “Islam has overrun my own country, and now it threatens to overrun Europe. Some parts of Nigeria now live under Islamic Sharia law. Catholics there are no longer free to practice their faith publicly. Francis is a fool if he thinks that his liberal immigration policy will end well. He has betrayed western civilization. Vatican City will one day become a giant mosque if things continue in Europe along their present course. Those in the West who ignore this truth, do so at their own peril.”
In an angry and vitriolic rant revealing deep self-hating tendencies, the African Cardinal Arinze stated “There is nothing wrong with Europeans who want to protect their borders. The problem is that there is not enough border control and the immigration policies are far too lenient in Europe. Is it racist to desire to preserve one’s own home? Why is it racist to want to preserve your own culture and a future for your people and your children? Have white people gone stupid today?”
This much is clear, the Catholic Church has made a decision to rejoin humanity and to reject intolerance and extremism. The church has lost a few narrow-minded bigots, with reports of some small parishes and a few cardinals and bishops defecting, but Pope Francis has gained the friendship of the world. Pope Francis deserves praise for taking a humane stand in defence of human rights and against bigotry.
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