+- +-

+- User

Welcome, Guest.
Please login or register.
 
 
 
Forgot your password?

+-Stats ezBlock

Members
Total Members: 119
Latest: Bella_777
New This Month: 0
New This Week: 0
New Today: 0
Stats
Total Posts: 18484
Total Topics: 893
Most Online Today: 144
Most Online Ever: 771
(July 30, 2019, 01:13:39 am)
Users Online
Members: 2
Guests: 142
Total: 144

Author Topic: Christianity Today Magazine - February 2020  (Read 1462 times)

0 Members and 0 Guests are viewing this topic.

patrick jane

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10807
  • Karma: +1010/-0
  • Research Jesus Christ - Research Flat Earth
  • Location: Homeless in God's Flat Earth
  • Referrals: 41
    • Theology Forums
Re: Christianity Today Magazine - February 2020
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2020, 09:42:36 am »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2020/february-web-only/black-theology-sings-freedom-dante-stewart.html






Black Theology Sings of Freedom






To be black and to be Christian is to remember the brutality of our experience and the brilliance of our resistance.


But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

– Maya Angelou

Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night just to touch him, to lay my hand on him and whisper a little prayer. I am reminded of all the families who prayed over children who never returned again. You just never know.

Prayer can seem like all we can do for young people that look like my son. Imani Perry, in her letter to her sons entitled Breathe, lamented, “There are fingers itching to have a reason to cage or even slaughter you. My God, what hate for beauty this world breeds.”

I know the feeling. Just last summer, during a run, an older white man started taking pictures of me and telling me that I “didn’t belong here.” On the walk home, I stopped, bowed my head, and cried. These were not tears of weakness. I cried because I felt what many of those who looked like me have felt: the tragedy of blackness in an unloving world. My tears were my song, with a “fearful trill of things unknown but longed for still.”

When I arrived home, I told myself: You are black. You are known. You are loved. You must survive. I understand the caged bird a little better now. In its weakness, he opens up his throat still. The caged bird must sing.

Still.
Here, then, is the dilemma, and it is a puzzling one, I admit. No Negro who has given earnest thought to the situation of his people in America has failed, at some time in life, to find himself at these crossroads; has failed to ask himself at some time, “What, after all, am I? Am I an American or am I a Negro? Can I be both?” —W. E. B. Du Bois

All of my work since…has involved an effort to relate the gospel and the black experience—the experience of oppression as well as the struggle to find liberation and meaning. —James Cone

I have thought about Angelou’s poem since that day. How do we sing in a world where we are bound? It is the question that I have had to navigate amid anger, loss, loneliness, and a world in which those who look like me are not given the benefit of humanity. It is the crossroads at which Du Bois found himself wondering, “What after all, am I?” What after all, our pain? What after all, our meaning?

Our history cries out: cries of little babies torn from their homeland; of mothers and fathers jumping overboard to escape from hell; of bruised and abused bodies; of broken promises and policies; of beautiful children lifeless in the streets and over social media.

I have come to see that theological reflection often begins at the place of tears and pain. It is in this place that black people have had to struggle. It is here that we have had the audacity to survive, to sing. And we in America today can’t understand this song without understanding the brilliance of black theology. I wouldn’t be able to make it in this cruel world without it.

Since its emergence in the 1960s, black theology has tried to respond to the cries of its people. J. Deotis Roberts, a pioneering black theologian, spoke of this struggle. He was attending a meeting at Duke University where Jürgen Moltmann, the German theologian, presented a paper on his theology of hope on the same night Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. The next morning, Roberts stopped Moltmann and asked what his theology had to say to black people in America. Moltmann admitted he had no answers. It was then, Roberts writes, “that the seed of ‘black theology’ began to germinate in my own mind.”

As it was for Roberts, so it was for James Cone, whom many would deem the “father of black theology.” Much of theological reflection had failed black people by not focusing its theological interpretation on the experience of black life in America. But both Cone and Roberts, James Evans writes, “suggest that the radical critique of American racism inherent in the black power movement is the source of contemporary black theology and prophetic black Christianity.”


25 Black Theologians Who Have Grown Our Faith  -  https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2020/february-web-only/black-theologians-authors-scholars-list-african-americans.html


These theologians embodied the good news of the gospel bound to the black voice. As they strained, they dreamed for themselves and for us today of “things unknown but longed for still.” Not content to leave the task of theology in the past, they continued to reflect deeply on the meaning of Christianity for black people today.

Refusing to concede Christianity to its white abusers, or the rejections of various movements within the black freedom struggle, they “based their legitimacy on the fact that African American Christianity was the result of the encounter of black people with the liberating essence of the gospel,” wrote Evans in We Have Been Believers: An African American Systematic Theology.

This theological reflection, he said, is “central to the ongoing life of the African American church.” The very resistance, the straining to fix one’s throat to sing, was evidence that these caged birds still had life. One could hear this singing in the womanist moral and religious reflection of black women or the recent movement for black liberation and love in the context of Black Lives Matter. This singing can still be heard in the voice of black folk in all types of Christian traditions. We refuse to allow the story of our pain, our resilience, and resistance to be forgotten.

As Miroslav Volf writes about remembering rightly in a violent world, “To remember a wrongdoing is to struggle against it.” To be black and to be Christian is to remember the brutality of our experience and the brilliance of our resistance. It is to remember, as Cone writes, “God’s message of liberation in an unredeemed and tortured world.”

We remember so we must struggle. We’re still here.

Sing.
But there is one who does not forget—Jesus of Nazareth, who is the Christ of God. He does not forget poor, dark, despised bodies. —M. Shawn Copeland

We should ask God to increase our hope when it is small, awaken it when it is dormant, confirm it when it is wavering, strengthen it when it is weak, and raise it up when it is overthrown. —John Calvin

One of the greatest gifts of black theology is the hope of freedom. It keeps us going. The brilliant scholars of black theology, our prophetic poets, embodied the slogan “black is beautiful” in contrast to a world of oppression, dehumanization, negative stereotypes, and destructive policies. They modeled the freedom of the black mind to tell our own stories, to proclaim the good news of love, and to see the story of God in the black experience.

Black people have embodied the revolutionary power of the gospel of Jesus—and yet, in many ways, we are still bound, our feet are still tied, our wings still clipped. What do we do as we stand on the grave of dreams, seeing through our bars of rage?

This is the question before those called to bear witness to the liberating beauty of the gospel in a world that constantly pushes people to the margins. It is quite easy to ignore when your wings work just fine, when your song is not in a strange land but in the realm of the familiar. Black theology in its reflection of the living memory of Jesus and its praxis of solidarity tunes our ears to that voice.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer once observed, “we have once learnt to see the great events of world history from below, from the perspective of the outcast, the suspects, the maltreated, the powerless, the oppressed, the reviled—in short from the perspective of those who suffer.”

And Lord knows black people have suffered while interpreting Jesus in the soil of racism, oppression, and the psychological damage of trauma. From below, we remember loss—of land and place, power, and people. From below, we witness. From below, we have created a hope that the world in all its cruelty could not crush.

From below, we invite the church to learn the ways of the penniless preacher out of the poor side of Nazareth and, as Cone writes, to fulfill its task of preaching and living the liberating gospel of Jesus Christ in the world today.

The question remains: What do we do?

We sing. We refuse to succumb to the cruelty of the world. We refuse to ignore the pain and cries of those who suffer. We refuse to not be moved. We refuse to give up hope.

See, black theologians have had to do this in the worst of times. We are still struggling with what Eddie Glaude, an expert in African American religious history at Princeton University, calls the value gap. These are the structural practices in America, and even in the church, that reflect the belief that black minds, lives, and communities are less valuable than others. Having to survive and thrive while also bearing the deep wounds of tragedy and trauma will teach you about hope not just as a concept but as a testimony and discipline.

It teaches you that you must hold on—to Jesus and to one another. Hold on when you’re tired and don’t feel like holding. Hold on when your throat is dry, your wings are clipped, and your feet are tied. Hold on to your song.

Cornel West was right to say that black theologians play a critical role in being Christian today. Their reflection “begins by negating white interpretations of the gospel, continues by preserving their own perceived truths of the biblical texts, and ends by transforming past understandings of the gospel into new ones.” These theologians have long promoted “a gospel that empowers black people to survive and struggle in a God-forsaken world.” At the heart of this good news is the fact that Jesus doesn’t simply come down but also comes with. He is the divine deliverer who is also “a human exemplar of pain and agony.”

And pain and agony are stepping stones to freedom. Liberation and resurrection are the unbreakable cords of hope. On the other side of the darkness of Friday, the silence of Saturday, is the good news that on Sunday, freedom is coming.

It’s like the freedom of the body bound to slavery that Baby Suggs speaks when she preaches in Toni Morrison’s Beloved: “Here in this here place, we flesh; flesh that weeps, laughs; flesh that dances on bare feet in the grass.” It’s the taste of liberation that the spirituals speak of when they sing, “Freedom, oh freedom / Oh freedom ova me!” even though freedom is at a distance.

As long as we have this body that God has given us, this theology, we have life, we have strength, we have hope, we have freedom.

We must flesh. We must weep. We must laugh. We must play.

We must hope against hope. We must live. We must love. We must be free.

The bird knows there is One who does not forget. The caged bird must still sing.







Dante Stewart is a writer and preacher currently studying at the Reformed Theological Seminary. His previous pieces for CT include “ Why We Still Prophesy Hope ” and “ Martin Luther King Jr.: Exemplar of Hope.”
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


Copyright Disclaimer: All audio and music belongs to the owner/creator. This is a non-profit. Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing.

patrick jane

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10807
  • Karma: +1010/-0
  • Research Jesus Christ - Research Flat Earth
  • Location: Homeless in God's Flat Earth
  • Referrals: 41
    • Theology Forums
Re: Christianity Today Magazine - February 2020
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2020, 08:39:02 am »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2020/february-web-only/centered-cross-fred-sanders-crucifixion.html







The Cross Changes Everything



Why the Crucifixion is the center of our theology—and our lives.


The cross of Christ is the center of salvation. It is the crucial point, the place of convergence where everything about the gospel comes together. If you interrogate Christian faith and ask, “In one word, how does God save sinners?” the response of a healthy faith will be instantly and confidently to pick out the Cross.

Of course a healthy faith will also ask, “Please, may I have more words than one?” The Cross is meaningfully central only when it is recognized as the center of something vaster. Salvation in seven terms might include, along with the Cross, the Incarnation, the Resurrection, and the Ascension, not to mention the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Salvation in 20 words could be explicit about even more ideas that are presupposed in a shorter answer.

O for a thousand words to sing my great Redeemer’s praise, to paraphrase Charles Wesley! Christian faith is fluent and eloquent when it comes to salvation; speaking as a theologian, I would love to tell you about salvation in as many words as you will permit me. But just as strong as the impulse to elaborate on the greatness of God in the work of salvation is the impulse to condense the whole message to the key point.

Yet the condensed statement is always meant to call to mind the larger reality. Whenever we say anything about the Cross, we are almost always using a figure of speech called metonymy. A word functions as a metonym when we use it to refer to something else, usually something larger to which it is closely related. When Paul says he boasts only “in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Gal. 6:14), he is using one thing (a large, wooden object used for executions) to refer to something else: the death of Jesus and its effect in reconciling us to God. Similarly, when Christians sing songs about the wooden object itself, we are well aware that what we cherish is not just “the old rugged cross” as such, but the Son of God who used that cross in his work of seeking and saving. The Cross means Christ crucified. All of this flashes across the Christian mind in an instant when the Cross is mentioned.

Now think vaster: When we speak of Christ crucified, something else also flashes across the Christian mind: the presence of Christ risen and ascended, in whose almighty presence I am writing these words and you are reading them. The One who says, “I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever!” (Rev. 1:18). And behind that risen One is the infinite depth of his eternal personhood as the Son of the Father in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit in the perfect life of the blessed Trinity. All of this is implicit in what Christians say about the death of Jesus. We never mean just the death of Christ in an isolated way, as if it were cut off from his entire life, his preexistence and exaltation, or the Father and Holy Spirit with whom he indivisibly accomplished our salvation.

The apostle Paul knew this. When he said he “resolved to know nothing ... except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2), he meant he was focusing on the central point, not that he was ignoring the Resurrection or the Holy Spirit (both of which he goes on to say much about in 1 Corinthians). But Paul leads with the Cross: “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:3). Paul started his world-changing message with the Cross and centered his life-transforming message on the Cross. He knew how to indicate the total reality of God’s salvation, but he also knew how to focus.

The early church knew it. The Apostles’ Creed tells a very short version of the life of Jesus, jumping straight from “born of the Virgin Mary” over 33 years of life to the final days: “He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead.” For a short creed, that is a lot of emphasis to put in one place. Yet this focus on Jesus’ death falls right in the middle of a creed that teaches the full counsel of the Trinity and of God’s work from Creation to “the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.” The creed has the Cross at its center but all things at its circumference.

Charles Wesley knew it. His hymn “And Can It Be” rivets our attention on the sacrificial death of Christ: “How can it be that thou, my God, shouldst die for me?” But that astonishing death in the foreground has an entire world of doctrine as its background, from the immortal Son who, out of free and infinite grace, “left his Father’s throne above,” to glorified believers “clothed in righteousness divine” and approaching “th’eternal throne.” This is a hymn about the death of Christ that somehow also celebrates all the works and ways of God and invokes God himself.

Paul knew it, the early church knew it, Wesley knew it, and we know it today. Recognizing the centrality of the Cross is not just an exercise in precisely calibrating our doctrinal emphases or of taking care to be theologically correct. It is a matter of deep, spiritual reality.

The centrality of the Cross changes everything. When you receive the Good News that Jesus died for you, the result is like dropping a rock in a smooth pond: The ripples radiate outward to the farthest edges of reality. It is the death of Christ that enables us to die to ourselves. It is his death that justifies us before God’s perfect righteousness, that sets us free, that gives us courage to face persecution. The community centered on the Cross is a great company of people reconciled to God and each other through the Cross. People centered on the Cross know how to die, learn how to live, and love like they’ve been forever changed by the love they’ve received.

This is the open secret of how Christians attend to the death of Christ. All through the season leading up to Easter, we get a series of reminders of the Crucifixion, and we all know that it means more. The Cross reminds us of the entire sweep of salvation, and the sweep of salvation reminds us of the infinite love of God. When we see the cross, we recognize instantly that it stands for the death of Jesus, which stands in the center of the perfect incarnate life and glorious resurrection of the eternal Son of the almighty Father. It’s never the Cross by itself but the Cross as the center. Christian faith knows this: It knows to emphasize the Cross. But emphasizing it means lifting it up for special notice, never isolating it.










Fred Sanders is a theologian who teaches in the Torrey Honors Institute at Biola University. He has written, edited, or contributed to several books, including The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything. He blogs at ScriptoriumDaily.com.


This piece is part of The Cross, CT’s special issue featuring articles and Bible study sessions for Lent, Easter, or any time of year. You can learn more about purchasing bulk print copies of The Cross for your church or small group at OrderCT.com/TheCross. If you are a CT subscriber, you can download a free digital copy of The Cross at MoreCT.com/TheCross.
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


Copyright Disclaimer: All audio and music belongs to the owner/creator. This is a non-profit. Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing.

patrick jane

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10807
  • Karma: +1010/-0
  • Research Jesus Christ - Research Flat Earth
  • Location: Homeless in God's Flat Earth
  • Referrals: 41
    • Theology Forums
Re: Christianity Today Magazine - February 2020
« Reply #15 on: February 28, 2020, 11:35:41 am »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2020/february/korea-coronavirus-churches-close-sunday-shincheonji-covid19.html







Korean Churches Close for First Time as Coronavirus Cases Hit 2,300




More than 1 million ask government to ban apocalyptic Christian sect linked to half of infections.


Although March 1 usually marks one of the most joyous services in South Korea, in celebration of Independence Movement Day, an unprecedented number of churches will be closed this Sunday in response to an escalating coronavirus outbreak now second in scale only to China.

“This is the first time that churches are officially postponing services in the 100 years of Protestant history and 200 years of Catholic history [in Korea],” said Won Jae-Chun, a professor at Christian Handong Global University in Pohang. “Services and masses have not stopped—even during the Korean War.”

The world’s largest church, Seoul’s Pentecostal Yoido Full Gospel, announced it will broadcast its services behind closed doors to its half a million members. Other megachurches in Seoul with over 50,000 members that are broadcasting services include Sarang, Onnuri, and Myungsung, where one associate pastor has a confirmed case of coronavirus.

Although the Korean government and many denominations have discouraged public worship, as even military drills and weekend political protests—common facets of life in Korea—have been cancelled, the decision whether to hold public worship has been left up to each church.

COVID-19 has infected more than 2,300 and caused 13 deaths in Korea since the first reported case on January 20. Worldwide, almost 84,000 cases and 3,000 deaths have been confirmed across dozens of countries, with the vast majority in China’s Hubei province where the disease originated.

This week, the US State Department issued a warning against non-essential travel to Korea. “Americans [in Korea] that I know are mostly trying to not panic,” said Kurt Esslinger, an American Presbyterian Mission coworker based in Seoul. “There is a lot of anxiety right now among all Koreans.”

More than half of the 500 respondents to a survey of the Ministry Data Institute, supported by the Presbyterian Church of Korea (Tonghap) and many Korean megachurches, stated they did not attend a worship service last Sunday because of coronavirus. About two-thirds of those who did not attend service said they worshiped at home, and more than half of those said they worshipped through their church websites or watched one of several 24-hour Christian channels in Korea.

“The number of churches who are turning to online or family worship are increasing over the last two weeks,” said Choi Kyu-hee at the National Council of Churches in Korea. “For churches that are still holding worship, some are measuring temperatures of worshipers at the entrance and requiring masks and hand disinfectants.”

At the epicenter of Korea’s outbreak, with 840 cases confirmed so far (and the Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expecting hundreds more), has been a religious movement called Shincheonji, whose 88-year-old founder Lee Man-hee claims to be the second coming of Jesus Christ. A Shincheonji congregation in Daegu, 150 miles southeast of Seoul, has been closely linked with the coronavirus’s spread, and the city of Daegu has filed a lawsuit against Shincheonji for falsifying its number of followers in responding to the government.

In one week, 1.1 million Koreans have signed an online petition to President Moon Jae-in’s office calling for Shincheonji to be dissolved. (An official response by the Blue House is required for any petition that gathers more than 200,000 signatures in 30 days.)

Most evangelical Christians in Korea widely shun Shincheonji’s 200,000-plus followers as heretics, and posters prohibiting Shincheonji members from poaching evangelical members are common in Korean churches. “Our members have beloved friends and family who got sucked into the cult [of Shincheonji], and so negative sentiment towards them is nothing new,” said Lee Won-joon, associate pastor at Sarang Church. “But anger certainly has intensified over the last month.”

Onchun Church in Busan, Korea’s second-largest city, announced it was “investigating the possibility of Shincheonji’s infiltrating into our church” after it closed following the first confirmed case of coronavirus among its parishioners on February 21. The church, located 60 miles southeast of Taegu and belonging to the conservative Kosin Presbyterian denomination, held an emergency elders’ meeting and has cooperated with health authorities since then. Nevertheless, COVID-19 cases traced to Onchun have hit 32, about half of all cases in the city of 3.5 million people.

“If the church can help stop the outbreak of this disease faster by temporarily suspending worship gatherings and meetings, I believe that this is God’s will and pleasing to Him,” wrote Onnuri Community Church senior pastor Lee Jae-hoon in a letter to his congregation announcing closure of the church from February 26 to March 14. “In these increasingly challenging times, I hope that [Onnuri members] will take the lead in overcoming this crisis through intercession, encouragement, and prayer; and refraining from the language of accusation and condemnation.”

Meanwhile, some megachurches and denominations have taken initiatives to alleviate coronavirus. Yoido has donated medical supplies worth about $1 million to Daegu. The Presbyterian Church of Korea (Tonghap) donated 110,000 sets of masks, while Sarang sent 10,000 sanitizing kits and 10,000 medical masks to Daegu.

Sarang pastor Lee Won-joon said, “I am praying that, by the time the virus outbreak winds down, Korean Christians would have a deeper appreciation for mutual fellowship, corporate worship, and the eternal hope we share in Christ.”






Additional reporting by Lee Eun-Hong of CT Korea.
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


Copyright Disclaimer: All audio and music belongs to the owner/creator. This is a non-profit. Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing.

Bladerunner

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1967
  • Karma: +1010/-0
  • My Friend
  • Location: Tennessee, USA
  • Referrals: 0
Re: Christianity Today Magazine - February 2020
« Reply #16 on: February 28, 2020, 06:21:24 pm »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2020/february/korea-coronavirus-churches-close-sunday-shincheonji-covid19.html







Korean Churches Close for First Time as Coronavirus Cases Hit 2,300




More than 1 million ask government to ban apocalyptic Christian sect linked to half of infections.


Although March 1 usually marks one of the most joyous services in South Korea, in celebration of Independence Movement Day, an unprecedented number of churches will be closed this Sunday in response to an escalating coronavirus outbreak now second in scale only to China.

“This is the first time that churches are officially postponing services in the 100 years of Protestant history and 200 years of Catholic history [in Korea],” said Won Jae-Chun, a professor at Christian Handong Global University in Pohang. “Services and masses have not stopped—even during the Korean War.”

The world’s largest church, Seoul’s Pentecostal Yoido Full Gospel, announced it will broadcast its services behind closed doors to its half a million members. Other megachurches in Seoul with over 50,000 members that are broadcasting services include Sarang, Onnuri, and Myungsung, where one associate pastor has a confirmed case of coronavirus.

Although the Korean government and many denominations have discouraged public worship, as even military drills and weekend political protests—common facets of life in Korea—have been cancelled, the decision whether to hold public worship has been left up to each church.

COVID-19 has infected more than 2,300 and caused 13 deaths in Korea since the first reported case on January 20. Worldwide, almost 84,000 cases and 3,000 deaths have been confirmed across dozens of countries, with the vast majority in China’s Hubei province where the disease originated.

This week, the US State Department issued a warning against non-essential travel to Korea. “Americans [in Korea] that I know are mostly trying to not panic,” said Kurt Esslinger, an American Presbyterian Mission coworker based in Seoul. “There is a lot of anxiety right now among all Koreans.”

More than half of the 500 respondents to a survey of the Ministry Data Institute, supported by the Presbyterian Church of Korea (Tonghap) and many Korean megachurches, stated they did not attend a worship service last Sunday because of coronavirus. About two-thirds of those who did not attend service said they worshiped at home, and more than half of those said they worshipped through their church websites or watched one of several 24-hour Christian channels in Korea.

“The number of churches who are turning to online or family worship are increasing over the last two weeks,” said Choi Kyu-hee at the National Council of Churches in Korea. “For churches that are still holding worship, some are measuring temperatures of worshipers at the entrance and requiring masks and hand disinfectants.”

At the epicenter of Korea’s outbreak, with 840 cases confirmed so far (and the Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expecting hundreds more), has been a religious movement called Shincheonji, whose 88-year-old founder Lee Man-hee claims to be the second coming of Jesus Christ. A Shincheonji congregation in Daegu, 150 miles southeast of Seoul, has been closely linked with the coronavirus’s spread, and the city of Daegu has filed a lawsuit against Shincheonji for falsifying its number of followers in responding to the government.

In one week, 1.1 million Koreans have signed an online petition to President Moon Jae-in’s office calling for Shincheonji to be dissolved. (An official response by the Blue House is required for any petition that gathers more than 200,000 signatures in 30 days.)

Most evangelical Christians in Korea widely shun Shincheonji’s 200,000-plus followers as heretics, and posters prohibiting Shincheonji members from poaching evangelical members are common in Korean churches. “Our members have beloved friends and family who got sucked into the cult [of Shincheonji], and so negative sentiment towards them is nothing new,” said Lee Won-joon, associate pastor at Sarang Church. “But anger certainly has intensified over the last month.”

Onchun Church in Busan, Korea’s second-largest city, announced it was “investigating the possibility of Shincheonji’s infiltrating into our church” after it closed following the first confirmed case of coronavirus among its parishioners on February 21. The church, located 60 miles southeast of Taegu and belonging to the conservative Kosin Presbyterian denomination, held an emergency elders’ meeting and has cooperated with health authorities since then. Nevertheless, COVID-19 cases traced to Onchun have hit 32, about half of all cases in the city of 3.5 million people.

“If the church can help stop the outbreak of this disease faster by temporarily suspending worship gatherings and meetings, I believe that this is God’s will and pleasing to Him,” wrote Onnuri Community Church senior pastor Lee Jae-hoon in a letter to his congregation announcing closure of the church from February 26 to March 14. “In these increasingly challenging times, I hope that [Onnuri members] will take the lead in overcoming this crisis through intercession, encouragement, and prayer; and refraining from the language of accusation and condemnation.”

Meanwhile, some megachurches and denominations have taken initiatives to alleviate coronavirus. Yoido has donated medical supplies worth about $1 million to Daegu. The Presbyterian Church of Korea (Tonghap) donated 110,000 sets of masks, while Sarang sent 10,000 sanitizing kits and 10,000 medical masks to Daegu.

Sarang pastor Lee Won-joon said, “I am praying that, by the time the virus outbreak winds down, Korean Christians would have a deeper appreciation for mutual fellowship, corporate worship, and the eternal hope we share in Christ.”






Additional reporting by Lee Eun-Hong of CT Korea.

It is sad but will get better.

1 Cor 15:3-4.."For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:"

Acts 17:11.."These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."

patrick jane

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10807
  • Karma: +1010/-0
  • Research Jesus Christ - Research Flat Earth
  • Location: Homeless in God's Flat Earth
  • Referrals: 41
    • Theology Forums
Re: Christianity Today Magazine - February 2020
« Reply #17 on: February 29, 2020, 05:08:06 am »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2020/february/coronavirus-christians-and-christ-centered-response.html






Coronavirus, Christians, and a Christ-Centered Response






How we respond in times when we feel powerless may offer a greater opportunity for growth for us and to witness to others.


Today’s news cycle is dominated by one thing: the rise and spread of the novel coronavirus. First reported in Wuhan, China on December 31, 2019, the virus COVID-19 has made an impact on our world, from international travel to the global markets. Coronaviruses are actually common throughout the world and generally “cause mild illness like the common cold.”[1]

However, this new strain has proven to be far more dangerous than a cold, with 82,000 cases worldwide and 2,800 deaths by late February. As of February 25, 2020, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports the virus has spread to 37 locations internationally, including the United States. The CDC said this about the U.S. involvement as of February 25: “Person-to-person spread of COVID-19 also has been seen among close contacts of returned travelers from Wuhan, but at this time, this virus is NOT currently spreading in the community in the United States.”[2]

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern” on January 30.[3] WHO and the World Tourist Organization (UNWTO) are working together to communicate recommendations regarding travel or trade restrictions. In sports, some have begun to wonder about the future of the Tokyo Olympics this summer.

The WHO also has a site with three main headings: When and How to Use Masks and Advice for Health Workers are two of them.[4] The third is Myth-Busters, because our information-frenzied culture is great at spreading news and terrible at filtering myth from fact.

There is talk of a possible pandemic. There is the expected blame-gaming of politicians, turning a health issue into a political football to be kicked around. Facebook, who canceled its scheduled F8 meeting because of the virus, while Facebook, Twitter, and Google have all moved to control fake coronavirus cures. It’s already getting hard to separate fact from fiction, while some call for calm even as others raise questions of full disclosure from the government.

In a study we conducted at the Billy Graham Center Institute in partnership with LifeWay Research, we asked evangelicals whether they believed that the mainstream media puts out a lot of fake news. Concerning, around three quarters of both evangelicals by belief (75%) and self-identified evangelicals (72%) agreed. I’ve written on the church and fake news in the past, often provoking considerable anger from a corner of the internet. Yet in times of confusion and urgency, Christians need to be responsible both in how they consume and disseminate the news. While the media is under a significant burden to educate rather than inflame–a burden many too frequently ignore in the pursuit of clickbait profits–Christians need to value truth and service even in how we engage online and in our communities.

Lights in the Darkness

I’m no healthcare expert and I don’t play one on TV. But I am a minister of the gospel, and we have a place to go for any and all crises, including a health issue like this. That place is the Word of God, which reminds us where to put our hope.

For believers, this is a good day to remember that our hope is not in what we save or even in our physical health. Neither the markets nor our current health status provides the source of our identity. Psalm 20:7 reminds us:

"Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God" (Psalm 20:7).

Or, we might say,

“Some trust in our financial portfolio and some in our health status, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.”

This is critical to hold to when fear threatens to grab hold of our hearts: our God is not surprised by a viral outbreak. He is not disinterested in our fears. He is our rock, our light, and our salvation (Psalm 27:1). This might be a good time to look toward our Psalter instead of our news feed for support.

As American Christians we are accustomed to power and security. Suddenly as the possibility for reversal becomes greater, it is how we respond in times when we feel powerless and vulnerable that may offer the opportunity for growth for us and to witness to others we say we long for. Jesus told us to let our light shine in a dark world (Matthew 5:14-16), and our response in a time like this may be such a time to shine.

Repeating History

The history of the church abounds with examples of the church stepping into the darkness of suffering to shine as lights. Sociologist Rodney Stark explored one such one example where during a plague AD 251 swept through the Roman Empire decimating the population. In his Easter letter around AD 260, Dionysius wrote a tribute to the believers whose heroic efforts cost many of them their lives during the plague.

Pagans tended to flee the cities during plagues, but Christians were more likely to stay and minister to the suffering. According to Dionysius: “Most of our brother Christians showed unbonded love and loyalty, never sparing themselves and thinking only of one another. Needless of danger, they took charge of the sick, attending to their every need and ministering to them in Christ, and with them departed this life serenely happy.”[5]

Dionysius added: “The best of our brothers lost their lives in this manner, a number of presbyters, deacons, and laymen winning high commendation so that death in this form, the result of great piety and strong faith, seems in every way the equal of martyrdom.”[6]

In Christians in the Age of Outrage I offered a more recent example of sacrificially living out the gospel in the midst of suffering. During the Fall of 1793, yellow fever gripped the city of Philadelphia. Historian Richard Newman writes that, “from the moment it began, the yellow fever epidemic was a public-health crisis. Thousands of citizens fled, hospitals became overwhelmed, and dead bodies rotted in homes.”[7]

Within this crisis, it was the emerging black church under the leadership of Richard Allen which entered into the suffering. Spurned by the church they had served and slandered by others, Allen and his church served the sick when others isolated themselves for fear of catching the disease.

Reflecting on Allen’s response and its legacy, I wrote, “Despite the overt racism he faced, Allen modeled an empathetic approach to loving his neighbors. Allen and his fellow volunteers were heartbroken over the suffering of the sick. They resonated with those patients who had been cast out…Allen never lost sight of the truth: Those around him were lost and needed Jesus. His empathy informed his witness, and it is one reason why the AME grew and his name is remembered today.”[8]

Through both examples, we are reminded that the gospel calls us to live sacrificially in the face of crisis. That although fear can threaten to flood our hearts and tempts us to isolate and hoard, Scripture anchors our hope in a God who is greater than the pain we endure in this life. History reveals how more than storms we must weather, there are windows of opportunity to minister in times of calamity. In doing so we testify to the truth that world is not our home, we are citizens of another.

For now, let’s rest in the truth of the Word, that we may be ready if history repeats itself here.

Ed Stetzer is executive director of the Billy Graham Center, serves as a dean at Wheaton College, and publishes church leadership resources through Mission Group. The Exchange team helped with this article.


[1] https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html

[2] https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/summary.html

[3] https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/27-02-2020-a-joint-statement-on-tourism-and-covid-19---unwto-and-who-call-for-responsibility-and-coordination

[4] https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public

[5] Rodney Stark, The Rise of Christianity: How the Obscure, Marginal Jesus Movement Became a Religious Force in the Western World in a Few Centuries (San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1997), 82.

[6] Ibid. Emphasis added.

[7] Richard S. Newman, Freedom’s Prophet: Bishop Richard Allen, the AME Church, and the Black Founding Fathers (New York: New York University Press, 2009), 85.

[8] Ed Stetzer, Christians in the Age of Outrage: How to Bring our Best when the World is at its Worst (Carol Stream: Tyndale Momentum, 2018), 79-80.






The Exchange is a part of CT's Blog Forum. Support the work of CT. Subscribe and get one year free.
The views of the blogger do not necessarily reflect those of Christianity Today.
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


Copyright Disclaimer: All audio and music belongs to the owner/creator. This is a non-profit. Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing.

patrick jane

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10807
  • Karma: +1010/-0
  • Research Jesus Christ - Research Flat Earth
  • Location: Homeless in God's Flat Earth
  • Referrals: 41
    • Theology Forums
Re: Christianity Today Magazine - February 2020
« Reply #18 on: September 25, 2020, 10:51:06 am »
Year Of Corona
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


Copyright Disclaimer: All audio and music belongs to the owner/creator. This is a non-profit. Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing.

patrick jane

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10807
  • Karma: +1010/-0
  • Research Jesus Christ - Research Flat Earth
  • Location: Homeless in God's Flat Earth
  • Referrals: 41
    • Theology Forums
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


Copyright Disclaimer: All audio and music belongs to the owner/creator. This is a non-profit. Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing.

 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
11 Replies
2041 Views
Last post October 10, 2020, 08:57:42 am
by patrick jane
22 Replies
2147 Views
Last post October 10, 2020, 09:02:17 am
by patrick jane
22 Replies
2741 Views
Last post October 10, 2020, 09:02:50 am
by patrick jane
36 Replies
1777 Views
Last post October 10, 2020, 09:03:04 am
by patrick jane
34 Replies
1390 Views
Last post October 10, 2020, 09:03:55 am
by patrick jane

+-Recent Topics

Trump 2020 - Winning !!! by patrick jane
Today at 12:56:00 am

Politics Today by patrick jane
Today at 12:55:43 am

Re: Trump 2020 - Winning !!! by patrick jane
Today at 12:55:21 am

Re: Politics Today by patrick jane
Today at 12:55:08 am

VIDEO POETRY BY KEN ALLAN DRONSFIELD by patrick jane
Today at 12:03:21 am

Scriptures - Verse Of The Day and Discussion by Chaplain Mark Schmidt
October 23, 2020, 10:35:12 pm

Your Favorite Music, Images and Memes by patrick jane
October 23, 2020, 09:48:39 am

The Monsanto Papers by patrick jane
October 23, 2020, 04:30:32 am

What weapons do we fight with? by patrick jane
October 22, 2020, 11:11:47 pm

Ministry On Video by Lion Of Judah by patrick jane
October 22, 2020, 11:11:30 pm

Hidden Teachings Of The Bible by patrick jane
October 22, 2020, 11:09:26 pm

BIBLE GOSPELS by Chaplain Mark Schmidt
October 22, 2020, 10:43:46 pm

1ST PETER WAS WRITTEN TO ISRAEL PART 1 by Bladerunner
October 22, 2020, 10:26:00 pm

KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS by Bladerunner
October 22, 2020, 09:15:35 pm

WAS PETER TALKING TO YOU ? by Bladerunner
October 22, 2020, 09:11:18 pm

ISRAEL WILL REIGN ON THE EARTH by Bladerunner
October 22, 2020, 09:09:03 pm

ISRAEL IN THE TRIBULATION by Bladerunner
October 22, 2020, 09:03:35 pm

The Five Discourses of Jesus by Chaplain Mark Schmidt
October 22, 2020, 06:50:31 pm