Boxer Rebellion Revisited As China Set To Ban Foreign Missionaries

In a move recalling 1900’s Boxer Rebellion, officials in the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) are preparing to ban foreign missionaries from China.

Screenshot from “Reading Through History” on the Boxer Rebellion. The individual being restrained is about to be beheaded.

The “Foreign Religious Activities in the People’s Republic of China” draft rules released earlier this month provide 40 Articles covering virtually every aspect of missionary work in the world’s most populous country.

“Foreigners are also not allowed to set up religious groups, engage in activities, or open schools, proselytise among Chinese citizens, recruit followers, or accept donations from Chinese citizens (Article 21),” according to LifeSiteNews, quoting AsiaNews.It.

Foreign-based groups, including missionaries representing Protestant groups like the Southern Baptist Convention’s Foreign Missions Board and the Catholic Church in Rome, must register with SARA, then wait 20 days before being told what they can and cannot do.

The registration requires names of each individual associated with the group seeking to operate in China, as well as detailed information about proposed activities.

The authorization also includes review of materials proposed for distribution to Chinese citizens. Thus, missionaries may carry with them into China no more than 10 copies of the Bible.

The SARA regulations are the latest development in the CCP’s expanding effort to contain and ultimately eliminate the influence of Christianity in China. Go here for previous HillFaith reporting on these developments.

“The government has orchestrated a campaign to ‘sinicise’ Christianity, to turn Christianity into a fully domesticated religion that would do the bidding of the party,” Lian Xi, a Duke University professor who focuses on Christianity in modern China, told The Guardian earlier this year.

Persecution of Christians is not a new thing in China, as the decade-long Cultural Revolution launched by Chairman Mao Tse Sung specifically targeted Christians.

The SARA regulations also recall the 1900 Boxer Rebellion that sought to remove all “foreign devils” from China. The Boxer Rebellion especially targeted Chinese converts to Christianity in a bloody purge that saw many tortured and murdered.


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On The ‘Delicate Balance’ Between The Seen And The Unseen

My Canadian brother in Christ, Bruce Cooper, has a deeply insightful and personal discussion this morning comparing our experience in the routines of daily life with that of “Doubting Thomas,” the disciple who would not believe Jesus had been resurrected until he actually saw Him and touched Him.

“Being a disciple of Jesus is kind of like being in two realities at the same time. The one that we see and the one that we don’t see,” Bruce writes.

“But like so many things in life that we are exposed to, the values are the exact opposition of what one would expect. That which we see now is temporary and that which we don’t see is eternal,” he adds.

If you have ever, for even one fleeting instant, wondered to yourself if there is anything real beyond the world of our physical senses, odds are you will find much of value in Bruce’s meditation this morning. Might even be a life-changing experience!  Go here.


 

 

Survey Finds Gen Z Most Likely To View Faith As VIP In Pandemic

Three-fourths (74 percent) of Gen Zers surveyed recently by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty view religious faith are either somewhat or extremely important to them in dealing with the Covid-19 Pandemic.

“Surprisingly, Gen Z respondents, who across polls tend to be less religious and least at risk during the pandemic, were also much more likely than the average to say faith and religion had been extremely or very important,” the Becket survey said in its summary.

Gen Z individuals were born between 1997 and 2012, meaning the oldest member of the generation is now 23 years of age.

Gen Xers at 56 percent were the least likely to say their religious faith was somewhat or extremely important to them in coping with the Pandemic. Continue reading “Survey Finds Gen Z Most Likely To View Faith As VIP In Pandemic”

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Is There Really Such A Thing As ‘Sin?’

Breaking the law of man is one thing, but breaking the law of God is quite another. The former act makes the person doing it a criminal, with consequences that are temporal. The latter act makes the individual involved a sinner, with consequences that can be eternal.

The law provides justice by requiring the criminal to “serve time.” But God provides mercy to those who seek it through His Son, Jesus Christ, who “served time” for His followers via the cross.

Cold-case Christianity’s J. Warner Wallace explains:


 

Had An Epiphany Lately?

Epiphanies are those moments in life when something suddenly and without warning becomes clear in our lives and we begin to see things with new insight — and perhaps begin to think and do differently as well.

Screen shot from Reflections blog.

For my part, probably the most important such moment in my life came at 9:15 am in the morning of March 1, 1991, when I awakened from my last drinking spree and looked around at the wreckage I’d made of my life and those of others near and dear to me.

It was at the precise moment that the Lord opened my eyes to see that wreckage honestly and to realize that I had to make up my mind, do I really believe what I profess about being a Christian and, if I do, why don’t I start acting like one instead of being a hypocrite?

It hasn’t been all sweetness and light since then, but the Lord has changed me in countless ways and turned my life into an incredible adventure of learning, loving and living. There isn’t a day goes by that I don’t thank Him for that epiphany.

But that’s enough out of me. Philosopher Kenneth Samples writes of his own epiphanic experiences in an interesting post on his blog, Reflections.  He writes movingly about his discovery of a Dutch theologian who knew his father, an American GI, fighting in World War II.

Go here for the full Samples.


 

Dr. Francis Collins Explains What Led Him From Atheism To Jesus (Yes, THAT Francis Collins!)

Dr. Francis Collins is probably best known as the former director of the National Human Genome Research Institute from 1993 to 2008. But there is another distinction in his biography that is equally unusual.

That distinction is the fact Collins was appointed to head the National Institutes for Health (NIH) by President Barack Obama in 2009 and then re-appointed by President Donald Trump in 2017. How many people in the public eye these days can say they drew such solid support from politicians as opposite one another as Obama and Trump?!!

What is less known about Collins is that he is a man of deep faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  It was not always so because for much of his early adulthood, Collins was a convinced atheist.

But that all began to change, as he explains in the following video from Biologos, when a woman dying of heart disease asked “what do you believe, doctor?”


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Harvard Scholars Say Faith And Marriage Are Two Pillars For An Enduring Economic Prosperity

Dr. Patrick Fagan of Marripedia offers concise summaries of two important recent works — one from two scholars at Harvard and one from Cal State Long Beach — who marshal mountains of data that demonstrate the solid connection between strong religious faith, strong marriages, and strong economic prosperty.

I had the privilege of working with Pat for six years at the Heritage Foundation when I was teaching journalists how to do computer-assisted reporting. I know him to be a scholar of the first rank and a man unalterably committed to the truth

These are important works for Hill staffers involved in shaping government policies toward families, economics and societal expectations:

Faith, Families and Prosperity Are Inter-related

A 2019 book entitled “The Wealth of Religions: The Political Economy of Believing and Belonging” by Harvard’s Rachel M. McCleary and Robert J. Barro asserts the economic value of religion by exploring the extent to which religious beliefs motivate people to be economically productive. Continue reading “Harvard Scholars Say Faith And Marriage Are Two Pillars For An Enduring Economic Prosperity”

Multi-Millionaire Was Spiritually Bankrupt. Then He Met Yeshua

“When tragedy struck Joseph’s family he was determined not just to fill his father’s shoes but to surpass everyone’s expectations and make a name for himself. Soon his financial company turned into a internationally traded bank and the press called him Midas.

“But inside of all of his success he was empty and self absorbed, so when the stock market crashed his world of wealth crashed with him. And that’s when he finally found the greatest treasure in life when he discovered the Jewish Messiah, Yeshua.”

From One for Israel:


 

EMERGING ISSUES ON THE HILL: Surge Of Underground Christian Conversions Rattling Iran

Despite the fact that converting from Islam to Christianity, or any other religion, is illegal and punishable by death in Iran, thousands of Iranians are becoming followers of Jesus Christ.

13th Century Iranian bowl (Photo Credit: Smithsonian Design Museum, Cooper Hewitt)

An estimated 3,000 Iranians are converting every month, according to Michael Ansari of Mohabat TV, a Christian satellite broadcasting channel that penetrates Iran, CBN is reporting.

The awakening in Iran is part of an otherwise largely unreported wave of conversions to Christianity throughout the Islam-dominated Middle East.

Such developments in the politically and economically turbulent Middle East should be of great interest to congressional staff, especially to the hundreds whose work involves foreign policy or religious freedom issues.


 

 

I Am Second: Mike Fisher

If you are hockey fan, you probably recognize the name of Mike Fisher, formerly of the Ottawa Senators and the Nashville Predators. If you are devotee of country music, you may know Fisher as Carrie Underwood’s husband.

Fisher is a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, but, as he explains in this “I Am Second” white chair session, it didn’t come easily for him, despite growing up in a highly churched family. Success will do that to you.

This particular video was created six years ago, but it’s coming around again now because Fisher and Underwood have a new four-part series for the “I Am Second” folks that gets down to it about faith, marriage, babies, success and a whole lot more.


 

HARD FACTS: Is The Claim Jesus Rose From The Dead Just Another Fairy Tale Like The Easter Bunny?

The grave is empty. How do you explain it? (Photo by Bruno van der Kraan on Unsplash)

It’s Easter week, the most important seven days on the calendar for the billions of people around this Earth who call themselves Christians. That’s because the single most important event in history happened during this period.

That event is the central claim underlying their faith — that Jesus was crucified dead and buried on Friday, then rose again on Sunday and appeared to hundreds of people in the following days before ascending back to Heaven from whence He came. He will return some day and every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord and Savior.

But how can someone who is genuinely open to hearing all of the evidence for and against this central claim of Christianity know what to accept as logical and true and what to reject as baseless claims? Every day this week on HillFaith we will consider this question from a variety of angles, beginning today with the following video produced by the Impact360 Institute:


 

What About The World On The Other Side Of This Pandemic?

Bob Perry is a commercial airline pilot who has seen the coronavirus pandemic up close and personal in recent days. He’s also talented, thoughtful observer from a Christian perspective, writing at True Horizon. Here’s a sample:

“Christianity exploded during the plagues and persecutions in the ancient world. And it did so precisely because Christians served those who most needed it. They comforted and cared for the sick and dying. This isn’t just a job for healthcare professionals. It’s a duty for us all …

“The economic expectations we have come to accept as normal are reckless, selfish, and short-sighted. We borrow and spend too much. We save too little. Our leaders are more worried about the next election than the next generation. Continue reading “What About The World On The Other Side Of This Pandemic?”

Cold-Case Expert Explains Why He Took A Close Look At Christianity

J. Warner Wallace, the NBC “Dateline” cold-case detective and career Los Angeles law enforcement expert, was asked recently what it was that prompted him to take a serious look at the evidence for Christianity.

“We had been together about 18 years before she convinced me to go to church. I was more than willing but I thought I would just be going as an attendee,” Wallace said of why he agreed to accompany his wife to a service. Even if it wasn’t true, he thought, it might be useful if it helped him and his wife raise their children.

“Did I mock the Christians I met? Yeah, I did,” Wallace continued. “A lot of the Christians I met were people we were taking to jail, so they were easy to mock.” Wallace specialized in the oldest unsolved murder cases and he recalled one individual in particular who had committed the crime 25 years before. “I found 12 years worth of Bible studies in that guy’s house,” he said.

Today, Wallace is one of the world’s best-known Christian apologists. He explains how and why it happened in the following video:

Should People Pray Through This Coronavirus Crisis? That Totally Depends On …

There was a minor flap in some  quarters of the media and other precincts of the intelligentsia a few days ago when a news photo appeared of Vice President Mike Pence leading a White House meeting of the coronavirus task force in prayer.

Among those disgusted/amused/outraged/otherwise non-plussed by the photo was evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne, who snapped:

“There’s even a picture of the virus task force praying together! We don’t need prayer; we need science! Here’s the photo, which distresses me but doesn’t surprise me… [a]fter all, one godly intervention is just as delusional as another!” Continue reading “Should People Pray Through This Coronavirus Crisis? That Totally Depends On …”

Actor Ben Afleck Found ‘The Way Back’ And It’s Not Just A Movie

Ben Afleck has seen and done it all on the silver screen. “Batman.” “The Accountant.” “Pearl Harbor.” “The Sum of All Fears.” “Armageddon.” And don’t forget “Good Will Hunting.”

Ben Afleck in “The Way Back.” Screenshot from the YouTube trailer.

He’s also spent a lot of time on the front pages of the tabloids. Lots of women. Lots of booze. Lots of ups and downs and sideways. Lots of pain for Ben, for Jennifer, their kids, lots of folks.

You may also have heard Afleck has a new movie out, “The Way Back.” It’s about a guy struggling with alcohol. He was a great basketball player as a kid. Now he finds himself asked to come back and coach. I won’t ruin the ending for you, but it is a highly autobiographical work of art.

But here’s what you may not know: Afleck has found faith: Continue reading “Actor Ben Afleck Found ‘The Way Back’ And It’s Not Just A Movie”