Thoughts from Stephen Haines (Radstock Ministries)
Betty and I would like to wish you a very Happy New Year and to thank you for the interest and support you give to the work in Russia. I will write about Russia shortly but in the mean time, here are a few thoughts.
New Year Thoughts 2012
For many years, on returning from visits to Russia, I used to say to Betty that England was becoming more anti-Christian than Russia. Our country used to be considered to be Christian but now it is any faith or none; much ground has been lost. Christians are being persecuted and killed throughout the world and hardly a voice is raised in their defence. Christians, who are trying to be an influence for good in their communities, are being cut down by forces of evil, which are unchallenged by local or national government.
I am most concerned by the lack of awareness of and interest in what is happening in the world, which will affect future generations. Selfishness and self- interest will reap their own rewards. Isaiah 1 v 4 “ Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward.”
The Arab Spring around the north of Africa is replacing many dictators, holding so called democratic elections which will eventually result in militant Muslim rule. Groups like the Muslim Brotherhood are waiting to fill the vacuum left by the old regimes. Thousands of Christians have been murdered in Ethiopia, Sudan and Nigeria; Coptic Christians have been slaughtered in Cairo quite recently. In England, we are witnessing the persecution of Christians who wish to conduct their business according to the Bible’s teaching or to bring the comfort of prayer to a hospital bedside, all for fear of upsetting someone of another faith. Whereas, in the homeland of that person, Christian’s are having their homes burnt down and are living in fear of death.
John 8 v 7 “Let him who is without sin among you, let him be the first to cast a stone at her.” There is so much corruption in the world that it is hard to find one leader worthy of his or her office. In America can they find one candidate for nomination, as the republican candidate for the presidential election, whose past cannot be dug up by the media? In contrast, our Queen stands for what is good and true and speaks wisely of her faith in God. She emphasises the importance of family life and a concern for others, of love and forgiveness.
Canon Andrew White, the Vicar of Baghdad, in whose church 144 people were killed and 11 of 13 converts were dead within a week of being baptised, but despite being warned of the dangers they still wanted to follow Jesus. “God is love.” Andrew White says that love is the answer. “It is capable of breaking down every barrier, it transforms darkness into light.” Despite their sufferings the Church is full of joy and Andrew, who bears tremendous personal problems, says that it is the joy of the Lord that gives him strength.
There is a hidden agenda in Europe and in this country to undermine our Christian heritage, and the church is allowing it to happen without raising any protest. The exponents of this agenda are hiding in universities, in left wing ‘think tanks’, in the BBC and in European legislatures and they have an influence that is rarely challenged. If they don’t get their way the first time, they soon come back and try again. They influence the thinking of even those who oppose them. One of their greatest tools is so-called political correctness.
In today’s Daily Telegraph there is an article by David Blair expressing similar thoughts to mine about the spread of Islam across Africa. He writes that Boko Haram, who for the second Christmas running have carried out bomb attacks on Christian churches in Nigeria, are in contact with an al- Qaeda cell in neighbouring Niger, focusing on Western targets not only in Africa, but further afield. If so, Britain would almost certainly be included on its hit list. At least 150,000 Nigerians are thought to live here, raising the possibility that cells loyal to Boko Haram could be infiltrated into this country.
‘ “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.” Look carefully then as you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil.’
At least we can pray for those martyred for their faith and for those brave Christians whose lives are at risk, but we should be doing more. Christians abroad should be able to expect the protection that we offer people of other faiths residing here.
Psalm 122 v 6 “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.” Israel is completely surrounded by Arab nations, it is virtually friendless, in Europe and President Obama equivocates over America’s support, which has helped sustain Israel in the past. It is a miracle that Israel exists and now the Iranians are acquiring the power to eliminate the country. It will be interesting to see how God protects Israel again. For surely He will!