Sunday, August 30, 2009

This week in persecuted church history (August 30 – September 5)

Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.
Hebrews 13:7b (ESV)

vietnam_quang_release August 30, 2005: After considerable international advocacy and prayer, Pastor Nguyen Hong Quang was released from prison in Vietnam.

August 30, 2007: The last of the Korean hostages held by the Taliban in Afghanistan are released.

August 31, 1535: Pope Paul II excommunicates English King Henry VIII, who had been declared by an earlier pope as "Most Christian King" and "Defender of the Faith" bunyan

August 31, 1688: English Puritan writer and preacher John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim's Progress, dies at age 69.

September 1, 256: North African bishops vote unanimously that Christians who had lapsed under persecution must be rebaptized upon reentering the church. The vote led to a battle between Cyprian, one of the North African bishops, and Stephen, bishop of Rome, who disagreed with the vote. Cyprian yielded, precipitating a longstanding argument for the Roman bishop's supremacy in the early church.

September 1, 1836: Missionaries Marcus Whitman and H.H. Spalding and their wives reach what is now Walla Walla, Washington. The first white settlers in the Pacific Northwest, Whitman, his wife, and 12 others were killed at their mission by Native Americans in 1847. News of their massacre was largely responsible for Congress's organizing the Oregon Territory in 1848.

indonesia_court_protestors September 1, 2005: On September 1, an Indonesian court sentences three Indonesian women, Rebekka Zakaria, Eti Pangesti and Ratna Bangunto , to three-year sentences for allegedly attempting to convert Muslim children to Christianity.  Throughout the trial, Islamic militants had threatened the lives of the women, Christian leaders and even the judges if there was not a conviction.

September 3, 1670:  Quakers William Penn and William Mead, arrested on August 14, 1670 for daring to preach in public, are brought to trial, accused of creating a riot.  When the jury refused to convict them apart from the “crime” of preaching, the court threatened them with imprisonment and violence and were locked up without food, water or a chamber pot. When this did not bring the jurors to heel, they were sent to prison. Eight of them paid fines to gain immediate released. The remaining four remained in prison and filed a lawsuit. Meanwhile, Penn and Mead were released. Finally England's high court ruled in the jurors' favour and that juries could not be coerced. The four jurors, inspired by the two devout Quakers, had stood firm and thereby helped secure important freedoms.

September 4, 2005: The homes of at least fourteen Christian families in the village of Taybeh, northeast of Ramallah, Palestine, are torched by Muslims from the neighbouring village of Dir Jarir. The violence was instigated by the death of a Muslim woman who was killed by relatives after they suspected that she had been involved in a romantic relationship with a Christian man.  When the family found out, they forced her to drink poison and then buried her without notifying the authorities.  When the Palestinian Authority decided to investigate and planned to exhume the body, the family feared the relationship would be discovered.  The attack was reportedly to avenge what they considered the dishonouring of the Muslim woman.

September 4, 2005: Eritrean police arrest a Christian couple as they are getting married, dragging them and eighteen of the guests away to prison.

whipSeptember 5, 1651: Obadiah Holmes, who had been arrested for preaching Baptist doctrine, is given 30 lashes with a three-corded whip in Boston Commons. During the beating, he was so filled with divine joy that he told the magistrates, "You have struck me with roses." His punishment occasioned the conversion of Henry Dunster, president of Harvard, to the Baptists, and led to the founding of Boston's first Baptist church.

September 5, 1981: Coptic Leader Shenouda III is deposed and sent into exile to a monastery in Western Egypt by Egyptian president Anwar Sadat for protesting the release of Muslims accused of killing Christians during a brutal attack where Christians were burned in their homes and babies were thrown from the windows of homes.

September 5, 2007: Nigsti Haile (33) is tortured to death by Eritrean authorities in the Wi’a Military Training center in Massawa for refusing to sign a letter recanting her faith.

(sources: Christianity Today, Glimpses of Church History, The Voice of the Martyrs)

Prayer: “Grant that we, who now remember these before thee, may likewise so bear witness unto thee in this world, that we may receive with them the crown of glory that fadeth not away; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.” – taken from The Book of Common Prayer, Canada (1962)

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