Foundations – A community of like-minded bible believers with a strong emphasis on sound Bible teaching

A poem by a delegate at FOUNDATIONS 10

Coming together in beautiful Devon, the body of Christ had a taste of heaven

Drawn from all over by God above, our hearts knit together in a bond of love

The gathering’s name was Foundations 10; the theme was “Further into the Lion’s den”

So, in a world that clenches its fist and demands that we bow down and do not resist

Crying “Liberation! Let me be free!  To sin against God and rebel against He!”

In these end-times, surely we should be looking within as well as without?

“There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to Him” (Proverbs 6:16-19). These are: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community. 

For the last few years, researchers have credited the underground church in Iran as the fastest growing Christian church in the world. It has unique characteristics that defy comparison with churches in America and Europe, and in the opinion of some who know it well, the church in the West could learn by studying it.

“The fastest growing church in the world has taken root in one of the most unexpected and radicalized nations on earth,” according to “Sheep Among Wolves,” the outstanding two-hour documentary about the revival that has taken place inside Iran. “The Iranian awakening is a rapidly reproducing discipleship movement that owns no property or buildings, has no central leadership, and is predominantly led by women.”

The documentary was produced by Frontier Alliance International (FAI), which supports disciple-making teams targeting the “unreached” and “unengaged” within the 10/40 Window.

There is a mass exodus leaving Islam for Christianity within Iran, according to FAI.

“What if I told you Islam is dead?” one unidentified Iranian church leader says on the film. “What if I told you the mosques are empty inside Iran? What if I told you no one follows Islam inside of Iran? Would you believe me? This is exactly what is happening inside of Iran. God is moving powerfully inside of Iran.”

Even among fierce persecution the Gospel is still making inroads.

History was made on 11 November when the 200 millionth Chinese Union Version (CUV) of the Bible rolled off the printing press in China. Its production by the Amity Printing Company (APC) in Nanjing was celebrated at an official ceremony attended by leaders of the state-registered “three-self” church movement and representatives from the Chinese authorities.

Do we sit back and watch the erosion of society … or do we take action?

The majority of respondents to a Government consultation opposed plans to teach children as young as five about homosexuality and transgenderism, the Christian Institute reported on 4th March. More than 11,000 people responded to the consultation, with 58 per cent saying the proposed content for Relationships Education in primary schools was not “age-appropriate”.

Why do Irish people support the Palestinians? It’s a simple question, but a real mystery. If, as seems clear to me, every supporter of democracy and opponent of non-democracy should broadly support Israel — and be broadly hostile to the Palestinian cause — why does the world not see it that way?

An Israeli diplomat posted to Ireland recently asked me this question. Israelis encounter varying levels of hostility in Europe, and wonder why so many Europeans take the Palestinian side. Could it be anti-semitism? Could it even be that some hostility to Jews is endemic in Catholicism?

Living in Ireland it is obvious to me that other, more modern, reasons are at play.

The Palestinian cause is, on the face of it, deeply unattractive. It is a fight against a liberal democracy in order to set up either an oppressive religious state — Hamas — or a thuggish autocracy — Fatah. Either way, there are unlikely to be free elections and regard for civil liberties. So what is it that attracts people’s support?

It seems they hit all the right buttons. First, they are, allegedly, the “oppressed” fighting against “oppressors”. Yet, when you look at Palestinian complaints, they are mostly a consequence of the violence they direct at Israel.

 

They are, allegedly, the “poor” fighting the “rich”. The fact that it is their fault they are poor — look at what the intifada did to the GDP — and the Israelis deserve their wealth because they work hard to create it, is neither here nor there.

They are, allegedly, “non-whites” fighting “whites”. Many westerners care primarily about crimes by “whites” or “people like us”, not those by “non-whites”. Israelis come from all over the world, including the Middle East, but for many westerners this is not about reality. All Israelis are honorary “whites”.

Palestinians are Muslim, giving them a sympathetic constituency of 1bn worldwide. Muslims tend to sympathise with Muslims engaged in conflict with non-Muslims. Christians aren’t like this. Christians worldwide are on their own, and get little support from western Christians. If the Palestinians were Christian, nobody would support them. And if they were fundamentalist Christians, the western left would despise them.

It should be no surprise that journalists side with Palestinians. They are fighting a democracy, and a wealthy democracy is a nice safe place in which journalists can sit and be critical.

Some Palestinians are violent, and carry out deliberate attacks against defenceless civilians. But if Palestinians engaged exclusively in peaceful protest, few would pay them much attention. When there are attacks against civilians, the world sits up. Most are revolted, but some less sensible people have a different reaction. They believe — despite history’s total lack of evidence for this — that if someone is willing to carry out violent acts, they must have a good reason. And so, due to the strange nature of humans, Palestinian violence leads to more support, not less.

Many westerners are excited by “revolutionary” violence against the West. Lack of compromise is also exciting. If the Palestinians decided to give up on the “struggle” and pursue jobs, family and shopping, I would be delighted for them. Israel would pump money into their economy, the GDP would triple and their life would be much better. But some of their western fans, for whom they serve a psychological need, would seek other uncompromising opponents of the West.

Hating Israel is a safe way of hating the West, and many leftish westerners do desire a safe way of doing this; of declaring their moral superiority to the culture of plenty in which they grew up. Hating the entire West is too hardcore, but hating a small part works. It is Israel’s bad luck to fit the bill.

So the Israeli diplomat and other Israelis should not take Irish hostility personally. It’s not about them. It’s about us.

Dr Mark Humphrys is a lecturer at Dublin City University 

(Desiring God - John Piper audio)

Welcome everyone. This is a special episode of the podcast based on what’s happening in the world right now. We don’t plan to have a lot of coronavirus episodes, but a few topics should get addressed, and that includes the topic of loneliness.

This season of self-quarantine is abnormal to most of us. And that means the feeling of loneliness is a reality for all of us. We cannot visit retirement homes. Closed off to us now are churches and workplaces and restaurants. The sense of isolation and loneliness so common before this virus has been amplified by this quarantine. No surprise, we’re hearing this theme in our inbox as listeners write in. So, Pastor John, what would you say to the lonely during this season? ...

One New Man is a Biblical promise, yet how has it panned out in reality…? 

In terms of the relationship between Jew and Gentile, there are two key passages of Scripture. We have the One New Man of Ephesians 2, of course, but we also have the warnings to the Gentiles given in Romans 11. Taking the two together and using the tools of form and function I believe we can formulate a pretty good summary and way forwards in our search for ‘Oneness’.

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