Monday, July 28, 2014

While thousands of Christians flee Iraq, the Vicar of Baghdad keeps on going back

He calls them "My people". Not because he was born among them, or because he shares their religion, ethnicity or cultural identity. But because, as he says, he loves them. And that love transcends the politics of religion and the religion of politics, and history, social division and skin colour. "I love these people," he reiterates, and he explains what he means by "My people":
Firstly let me say what I do not mean. I am not only referring to those who are members of our church in Baghdad. We don’t have any church members as such; we have hundreds if not thousands who see themselves as part of our community. They are both Christians and Muslims. The Christians are of all different Christian denominations: Chaldean, Syrian Catholic, Syrian Orthodox, Assyrian-Ancient Church of the East Old and New Calendar, Armenian Orthodox, Armenian Catholic, Roman Catholic and Presbyterian. Then there are a large number of our Church community who are not even Christian but Muslim both Sunni and Shia. So in reality I see all these people as my people in Iraq as my people. I would also include in my people all the members of the High Council of Religious Leaders in Iraq (the HCRLI), which I direct, and there it is not even just Christians and Muslims but also Mandians, Yazeedis and Shabach. So all these people are whom I would consider My People in Iraq.

Iraq is not the only place where I would consider that I have my people; fundamental to this group I would also consider those I work with in Israel and Palestine. For the work of FRRME is not just St George’s Baghdad and Iraq. We are about working for peace throughout the Middle East so Israel and Palestine is a major part of that. So here we are working intimately for peace amongst Jews, Christians and Muslims. This is also a vital part of our work. We are the only organization that is working actively in both Iraq and Israel and this is the work that the Lord has called us to do. Despite the risks we will not stop doing it because he who has called us will not fail us.

Meanwhile things continue to be very difficult in Iraq. The Christians who have fled Mosul are still in grave danger and many of them are “My People” and now you know what I mean by that many of My People come from Mosul/Nineveh and they go back to there homes often in the summer and had been caught up in the tragedy there and cannot return. ISIS continues to control much of Iraq and though it may not have taken Baghdad yet it does appear to have many so called “Hidden Cells” in Baghdad which will reveal themselves at the right time. So your prayers are still much needed.
And so, while hundreds of thousands of Christians flee the horrors of The Islamic State, Canon Andrew White keeps on going back for the sake of his people: to be with them, support them, provide and pray for them. That is his vocation: the summum bonum; the goal of his spiritual life. He doesn't know what the future holds, as he told John Humphrys on the BBC Radio4 Today programme. He just loves his people, and in their faces he sees the image of God.

His vision is to be the 'Vicar of Baghdad', to minister to his people; to help them make sense out of the pervasive false religion, anti-religion, nihilism and meaninglessness of the human condition. "Things are so desperate, our people are disappearing. We have had people massacred, their heads chopped off," he laments. His vision takes him beyond himself and concerns for his own safety: it is christocentric; looking to Jesus not simply in the wonder of His own person, but in His compassion for the world.

The Church of England has issued prayers for the persecuted Christians of Mosul. Believers are praying fervently, and sermons are being preached in churches and cathedrals up and down the land. In Westminster Abbey, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall leads by example and articulates prophetically: 
..As we look back at the development over many centuries in the West of the freedoms we take for granted and at the end of a time when the law imposed penalties on heretics and demanded adherence to particular religious practices, we recognise that there is much of which to repent in our past. As we give thanks for freedom of religion and freedom of speech, even while we regret many of the opinions and attitudes that are freely followed and expressed, we see that there can be no return to an imposed Christendom.

This recognition intensifies our prayer for the people of the Middle East and parts of North and West Africa where a reborn militant Islamism seeks to impose an intensity of religious practice and adherence to one faith that allows no freedom of religion or of conscience or of speech. Our prayer in particular is for the Christians deprived of home and hearth, of their ancient communities and their settled way of life. The resurgence of active and destructive conflict between Israel and Palestine is another urgent cause for prayer. It seems deeply sad and strangely ironic that as we approach the centenary of conflagration in Europe with all that it implied for the rest of the world, so now we face a terrible conflagration in the Middle East with potential implications for Europe, America and the entire world. Pray earnestly that the West does not respond to the threat as we did a hundred years ago.

Our leaders need the Wisdom of Solomon and we ourselves need the assurance of the letter to the Romans from which we heard as our second lesson. St Paul was aware of the bloody persecution that threatened the emergent Christian community. He himself before his conversion had been responsible for severe assaults on the early Christians. But his comfort is to assure them that whatever they suffer, be it the loss of life itself, they can never be separated from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Most of us, perhaps all of us here, may pray with some confidence that the fate befalling Christians in Iraq and Syria, in Palestine and elsewhere in the Middle East and Africa, is unlikely to befall us. But however cushioned our lives feel or indeed are, we live with uncertainty. We cannot see the future. There may be many perils awaiting us. Whatever befall us, whether hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword, it will not, it cannot, separate us from the love of Christ, love that conquers everything.
But the preacher's danger is that when he has preached about a thing, he is prone to imagine he has done it. And the congregation's danger is that when they heave heard about a thing, they subconsciously believe they have done something about it. And the blogger's danger is that he is hardened under the noise of his own reproofs.

Augustine said that a preacher must take care to listen to his own sermon: "For he is a vain preacher of the word of God without, who is not a hearer within." Listening to a sermon is not enough. Reading a blog is not enough. Praying is something. But it is not all we can do. We can help Canon Andrew White care for his people by giving generously and sacrificially, for they, in the immense family of humanity, are our people, too. The Vicar of Baghdad intercedes for them. Jesus died for them. We share the same Father. Their suffering is ours. They are us.       


Blogger Intonsus said...

Thankyou for this. I was beginning to despair of the CofE's response when its FB Page on Friday had nothing except a picture of a curate who'd run 6miles in his clericals before a wedding!
"The Church of England has issued prayers for the persecuted Christians of Mosul. Believers are praying fervently, and sermons are being preached in churches and cathedrals up and down the land." Except in Canterbury Cathedral at the main Eucharist on Sunday there was nothing, despite the reading from Rm 8; no mention of Iraq, or the Christians there, in either prayers or sermon.
The tv news has been silent also.

28 July 2014 at 10:26  
Blogger Harry-ca-Nab said...

Read this article

Why does our Government and Established church stay silent on these matters?

Seriously, WHY?

28 July 2014 at 10:50  
Blogger Harry-ca-Nab said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

28 July 2014 at 10:50  
Blogger Harry-ca-Nab said...

Christian Holocaust Underway In Iraq! MSM Blackout!

28 July 2014 at 11:00  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

A report in the Catholic Herald mentions in passing this proposal by a small group of just four members of the U.S. Congress to set up internationally protected safe areas for ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries. Sadly, the initiative doesn’t seem to aroused much support so far.

28 July 2014 at 12:25  
Blogger Len said...

Much of what is going on as regards the assault on the Christian Church worldwide is tragic but cannot be entirely unexpected?. Jesus warns Christians to expect as much. The secular West is not going to rush to the aid of Christians because the West no longer has the foundations to hold any moral and ethical system on and sees those who do hold to a Christian faith and ethical and moral system as 'divisive'.
The war going on at the moment with Islamists attacking Christians is a reflection of the battle between God and Satan...The shouts of 'Allahu Akbar' by Islamists literally means "My God is greater than your God.."
The Book of Job is descriptive of this contest between God and Satan...
Satan sends out his minions to kill steal and destroy in his name and I imagine Satan saying to God "look how loyal my subjects are how they die for me".
It offends me for those to say such things as ' Christ built His church, and the gates of ISIS have prevailed against it.'

Even those Christians slain for their faith have won as Christ will raise them up again!.

'They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.(Revelation 12:11)
What Satan means for evil God turns to good .The greatest evil Satan ever did was to crucify a completely innocent perfect being(Jesus Christ) but by that act God brought the greatest good ever to this Earth.

28 July 2014 at 12:26  
Blogger Sidney Deane said...

As I understand it ISIS only number a few thousand.

Why don't Iraq's Christians fight back?

28 July 2014 at 13:06  
Blogger IanCad said...

Again YG, Thank you.

If there is any encouragement that may be gleaned from this awful situation; could it be that when landing in such a predicament, perhaps we of faith would also rise to manfully do our duty?

I am not so cynical as to believe that Christ's strengthening spirit is not liberally scattered.

Let us take heart that we are seeing first-hand what the power of the Holy Spirit can do in the hearts of men.

God Bless Canon White.

What a cracking sermon from the Very Reverend Dr John Hall!

We also serve who only stand and wait.

The time will come.
The time will come.

28 July 2014 at 13:08  
Blogger Martin Marprelate said...

Sidney Deane asks:-
As I understand it ISIS only number a few thousand.

Why don't Iraq's Christians fight back?

'"For your thoughts are not My thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," Says the LORD. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts"' (Isaiah 55:8-9).

I praise God that the Iraqi Christians have not fought back. that is what shows that (real) Christianity is different to Islam. On the Last Day they will be seen to be 'More than conquerors through Him who loved us.'

See also Matt. 10:23; Luke 22:16-19; John 16:2 etc.

28 July 2014 at 14:01  
Blogger Nick said...

I urge everyone who cares about this to donate to FRRME. There are very few practical options facing those who want to help, but funds for FRRME are something that can make a difference. It comes down to us showing solidarity with persecuted Christians (and others) in Iraq. The West is focusing on playing political games with Putin and has no time and no conscience for the persecuted thousands in Iraq.

It's down to ordinary people to donate and pray.

28 July 2014 at 14:21  
Blogger Clive Mitchell said...


With what do they fight them? ISIS are well funded and armed. It would simply be suicide.

28 July 2014 at 14:42  
Blogger Patrick Cox said...

Do not expect any succour for these folk from our atheist/secularist regimes in the west. The sufferers are 'only Christians' and they do not control to oil flow or the assets of these lands. Ergo, they are, like the Armenians in the 1920s, the Georgians in the 1940s and now the Christians in Iraq, Syria, so-called 'Palestine', Pakistan and India, expendable.

28 July 2014 at 18:14  
Blogger Hannah said...

Apparently the BBC is saying that France is offering the Christians of Iraq asylum :

28 July 2014 at 18:43  
Blogger bluedog said...

Martin Marprelate @ 14.01, surely the concept of a Just War allows a little wriggle room for self-defence.

Where in the scriptures are we commanded to stand still and accept beheading like a man?

28 July 2014 at 22:27  
Blogger David Hussell said...

bluedog @ 22.27

Quite !

If Martin Marprelate is arguing for pacifism in the face of murderous evil, and if he is prepared to stand by whilst the innocent are despoiled and killed, then yes that is his choice of course. However I see nothing particularly noble or Christian about that. Article 37 of The C of E's founding document, the 39 Articles specifically states that we may bear arms "to serve in the wars".

Christianity is not pacifism. But we must pick when, and why we fight, and with whom, most carefully. We have the duty to bear arms and protect ourselves and our families. Indeed Christian men have a duty to sacrificially fight to protect the weak, the old, the young and and themselves, and thereby to pass on the faith. A pacifist Christian is all too often a dead Christian, and when the last Christian dies the faith dies.

I see pacifism as a rather 20 C expression of a type of Christianity that has reacted to the horrors of the industrialised wars of 1914 and 1939, which is understandable to an extent. But if all the Christian men refused to fight in 1939, most of the world would now be ruled by Nazis or the Japanese version of nationalism, and that would not be good. Pacifism has a superficial appeal but results in far worse outcomes than the armed resistance of evil. Sometimes the cross has to march with the sword.

I suspect that the reason that the Christians and other minorities are not resisting is that they relied on the national army to protect them, and they were insufficiently armed, trained and organised to put a counter offensive.

28 July 2014 at 22:56  
Blogger Shadrach said...

The Very Reverend Dr John Hall said in his sermon;
Pray earnestly that the West does not respond to the threat as we did a hundred years ago.

Very emotive and compelling sentiments but is Dr Hall a pacifist? WW1 was regrettable but WW11 was essential to deliver us from an evil force and to save Jews, Christians and others from eradication.

The scriptures tell us;
Luke 22;36-38
....and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.
38 .....Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.

God is a God of Love but he is also a vengeful God and he does not want his children decimated so that his message is no more.

Fundamental Islamic nations ultimately seek our destruction and have done so since the time that Muhammad was forming his band of rebels.

28 July 2014 at 22:57  
Blogger Martin Marprelate said...

Where in the Scriptures are Christians encouraged to fight?

Why not read the Scriptures that I listed? 'When they persecute you in this city, flee to another.'. And that is what the early Christians did (Acts 8:1) and it led to the expansion of the Church.

It is a hard discipline and one that many Christians have been unable to follow over the years, but without doubt it is the right way. We should be able to look to the state for protection (Acts 22:25; Rom 13:3), but if that proves not to be the case, 'Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse' (Rom 12:14. cf. Luke 23:34; Acts 7:59).

28 July 2014 at 22:59  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

God Bless the Vicar of Baghdad, may his courage and faith never fail. A man truly following the Our Lord - seeing Christ's face in all those suffering he meets. He is preaching the Gospel without words.

God never gives those He calls any task they cannot handle in the situation they find themselves in. Some are called to do small things; some great. Clearly, God trusts Canon Andrew White a with a very great mission.

If only his contemporaries in the West showed such conviction and fortitude!

29 July 2014 at 00:29  
Blogger Irene's Daughter said...

When I read about what is happening in Iraq I can't help remembering the account of the fall of Babylon in Revelation chapters 17 and 18. In particular these verses.

6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.

Re 18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

And ancient Babylon lies in modern Iraq.

The question is not what are we doing about the suffering but rather 'what is God about to do?' once He has moved His people to relative safety.

We may not be living in the endtimes but what is happening in Iraq does seem to be following the pattern. A forerunner of what will be coming later.

29 July 2014 at 01:25  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

Que Dieu benisse La France !
The only country who opens their doors to the persecuted Christians and ironically with a socialist government! If man is supposed to be made in God's image, quite frankly I just don't see it.
Vive La France !

29 July 2014 at 03:56  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Cressida de Nova @ 03.56

If as we've both heard, France is indeed offering refuge to the fleeing Christians, then yes, I join with you in saying,

Vive La France !

29 July 2014 at 08:07  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Martin Marprelate @ 22.59

"Where in the scriptures are Christians encouraged to fight?"

It is not a question of being encouraged to fight, those are your words, but of being permitted to fight in self defence and especially the defence of those that need defending.
The Quaker settlements of early America vowed to be pacifists, and did not bear arms. But in their colonies they permitted non-Quakers, and if it were not for those other Christians defending everyone, including the Quakers, those eastern seaboard colonies led by the Quakers would have been wiped out.
Pacifists, some of whom are Christians, are entitled to follow their convictions of conscience but ultimately rely on others for their survival and, the survival of their families. By all means hold to your point of view but many committed Christians do not. I suspect that it has been like this from the beginning.

29 July 2014 at 08:23  
Blogger bluedog said...

Martin Marprelate @ 22.59.

Fight or Flight – that is the question. The Apostle Luke gives us an each way bet with both 22;36-38 and 23:34.

You hedge by saying, ‘We should be able to look to the state for protection (Acts 22:25; Rom 13:3)’. And if that indeed proves not to be the case? Your comment at least recognises the distinction between personal circumstances and the circumstance of the state, for which flight is scarcely ever an option, the state being a territorial entity as much as an intangible presence. It follows that the individual must therefore consider both of the Fight or Flight options, in which case individual circumstances are of paramount importance.

The injunction, 'When they persecute you in this city, flee to another.’; is entirely reasonable advice to a fit young man travelling alone. But to a young family with four children and possibly some elderly parents in train, flight could be logistically impossible and in any event presupposes safe passage. Fight is hardly an option in those circumstances either, unless a large group of young men can secure a locality within the city. But then, how long can they withstand siege?

You say, ‘And that is what the early Christians did (Acts 8:1) and it led to the expansion of the Church.’ Historically true in the context of Antiquity, but the modern situation in Iraq scarcely deserves the (inadvertent) callousness of your comment. Christian families fleeing Islamic persecution will not be given a blank canvas on which to impress their saviours. Christianity is no longer a novelty in the Middle East.

It is surprising that you do not venture an opinion on the possibility of a Just War of self-defence.

Are we to conclude that no war can be Just in your eyes?

29 July 2014 at 09:18  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Bluedog @ 09.18

I was clearing out one drawer and just came across an old favourite of mine,

Constantine's Army Prayer

We know thou art God alone;
We recognise in Thee our king.
We call on Thee for aid,
From Thee we receive victory,
through Thee we are made greater than our

We recognise thy grace in present blessings
and hope on Thee for the future,
We all beseech Thee, we implore Thee
to preserve our king Constantine
and his pious sons safe and victorious to the
end of our days.

My father's wartime service was under General Montgomery. Monty secured our first WW2 victory in North Africa, which was the last ever purely British run major land battle and victory. That victory, beating the legendary Rommel, can be seen as the fulcrum for the war, giving us confidence subsequently to battle our way inch by inch up Italy and inland to Germany from the Channel. His deep evangelical faith was an inspiration to the troops, and he instructed his chaplains to nudge the men towards faith. Such was his deep respect for all human life, instilled by his upbringing, that he planned his battles to minimise the loss of life, and crucially of course, win. The General's father was a N.Ireland Bishop. God rest his soul.

29 July 2014 at 11:49  
Blogger Mark Williams said...

Martin Marprelate @ 22.59

"Where in the scriptures are Christians encouraged to fight?"

You might try Psalm 83 but admittedly the NT is not very clear on this, I guess it's down to conscience, can you fight without hating your 'brother'?

29 July 2014 at 12:43  
Blogger Mark Williams said...

oops means Psalm 18 particularly verse 34

29 July 2014 at 13:20  
Blogger Nick said...

Last night on Channel 4 News, a Middle East expert talked about the plight of Christians in Iraq. Jon Snow, of course quickly moved the debate away from that back to the Palestinians. Dead Muslims matter; dead Christians don't.

29 July 2014 at 13:24  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

What, I wonder are the American Christian Churches sending and doing for these poor persecuted and endangered Christians in Iraq? All those loving Bible belt people of America, surely they will have heard of the plight of the vicar of Baghdad Canon Andrew White and the innocents being slaughtered in Iraq and be able to help? There's not been much in the news if they have.

29 July 2014 at 14:30  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...


As you say, Nick, "of course." In other words, forget about the real news, let's just keep the viewers entertained with a side issue.

29 July 2014 at 16:51  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Marie 1797


"Pope Francis also called for an end to Christian persecution in Mosul, holding a moment of silence Sunday in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican.

"Violence isn't overcome with violence. Violence is conquered with peace," the pope told the crowd. "Our brothers and sisters are persecuted, they are chased away."WHOOPDEEDOO!!!

It appears your Head Honcho can deal in platitudes also, whereas the persecuted could do with some practical help to go with the prayers?

Where is the massive vocal and physical means of help from RC's...It's the largest christian community in the world, t'aint it.

This problem needs to be addressed by the west for uprooting Saddam Hussein and encouraging the uprisings that have unbalanced the region.

There, aint that a better solution than your snide remarks towards the American Christian Churches ("loving Bible belt people of America", perhaps you meant to imply 'Protestants??).

There doesn't appear to be much continual mention of it anywhere in the west, now does there?

RC's are as hopeless at resolving things as we are but better at pretending you have, accompanied with the usual whining when it's pointed out to you!!!).

Perhaps, more than simply holding a moment of silence in St. Peter's Square could be actioned by the RCC, Hmmmm, or is that all we can expect from Rome (Ernst expects the usual from communicants here from the romish persuasion..Francis and his band of merry ambassadors are working tirelessly in the background, but Rome can't mention it, *nudge nudge wink wink*, etc etc)?


29 July 2014 at 17:00  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...


Speaking as a communicant of the Romish persuasion, I'd say you're quite right. Sadly, the Catholic clergy have shown themselves to be as ineffectual as all the rest.

29 July 2014 at 17:36  
Blogger Happy Jack said...


Let's not make this a denominational p*eing, old chap. Anyway, is Maria a Roman Catholic?

Besides, what would you have Pope Francis do? Send in the Swiss Guard?

Prayer is important.

29 July 2014 at 18:13  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

"denominational p*eing contest"

29 July 2014 at 18:14  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Blofeld old chap surely it matters not what denominational Christian one is, RC, Protestant, Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Mormon, Pentecostal, whatever, the whole idea is to help ones fellow Christians when in a crisis and this is a hell of a one. A p*eing competition might be what is needed?

There's plenty of room in the Bible belt for a few Christians from Iraq and the Middle East. I agree the Yanks should repay the citizens for causing mayhem in their country. The Pope also asked the question for more details on just who exactly is funding ISIS and the evil? And I wonder too who's oil riches are being spent on evil deeds and on who's encouragement?
Surely someone can stop the weapons and cashflow to them?

29 July 2014 at 18:57  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Marie 1797

Surely someone can stop the weapons and cashflow to them?

One way would be to stop buying oil from Saudi Arabia and other sunni states. They're the ones keeping the petrodollars flowing into the caliph's treasury. But that isn't likely to happen, is it?

29 July 2014 at 19:41  
Blogger Kevill Davies said...

What most of the correspondents here seem to forget is that the Christians are being punished by the followers of the Islamic God of Abraham. In Gaza the followers of Allah are being punished for their rockets by those who worship Yahweh, the Jewish God of Abraham.
Can you not understand, are you so brainwashed, that there are some, like me, that are fed up to the back teeth with the lot of you that blindly think that God is on your side with your sanctimonious exercise in semantics. There is no God; where can you show me evidence of his existence in the remains of the Malaysian aircraft, the ruins of Gaza, the Roman Catholic child abusing priesthood and the Asian tsunami to name but a few. Ditch a divisive and vengeful God of very doubtful provenance; live in peace and love one another in a celebration of humanity.

29 July 2014 at 21:49  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Ah, a John Lennon fan!

29 July 2014 at 22:05  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Nooooo .... worse still; a Manchester City supporter!

29 July 2014 at 22:06  
Blogger bluedog said...

HJ, the following from the Gatestone Institute may be of interest:

'The Vatican failed in an attempt to cover up the contents of a prayer by a Muslim cleric at an interfaith "Prayer for Peace" service held in the Vatican garden on June 8. Departing from a pre-approved script, the imam recited verses 284-286 of Sura 2 from the Koran, the latter part of which calls on Allah to grant Muslims victory over non-Muslims'.

Reality check, eh?

29 July 2014 at 22:21  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Uncle Brian @ 19.41
Probably not.

You see Saddam and other autocratic rulers that have gone would have slain this lot from the outset and not let them get a foothold.

29 July 2014 at 22:51  
Blogger Shadrach said...

So! It's Tony Blair to blame for getting rid of Saddam. Or was it Bush?

29 July 2014 at 23:12  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

There's an interesting article from the Washington Blog in todays Global Research.

29 July 2014 at 23:22  
Blogger Marie1797 said...


Bush and Blair was his poodle.

So where do we go from here?

29 July 2014 at 23:41  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack suspects we are witnessing the 'balkanisation' of the middle east as different forms of Islam, tribes and historic ambitions for empire emerge.

The 'nations' of the area were largely artificial constructions following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and withdrawal of the Western colonial powers. Liberal democracy was never a real starter in the absence of homogeneity within the 'countries' formed.

The danger is that one or two regional super-powers will now emerge capable of wielding nuclear and military might and driven by the ideology of Islam. At the moment, that prospect looks unlikely as the factions neutralise the threat by bringing greater chaos and ruin to the region.

Are Western politicians simply watching this happen, having precipitated it, and accepting Christian persecution as "collateral damage" rather than attempt to intervene further?
Their electorates don't appear too bothered by the brutality and, anyway, what could they realistically hope to achieve economically or militarily? The public do want something done about the 'might' of Israel against the Palestinians. And Russia is a clearer target too that the public 'understand'.

Bruce Kent, a former Roman Catholic priest, chose to protest with the thousands against Israel on Saturday rather than stand with hundreds of Christian to protest the murderous exodus of his brothers and sisters in Christ from the Middle East.

How we have fallen and lost our moral compass!

29 July 2014 at 23:59  
Blogger Martin Marprelate said...

Bluedog asked:

Are we to conclude that no war can be Just in your eyes?

Wars are waged usually by states. The N.T. does not envisage a 'Christian' state, but commands Christians to obey the state, where it does not directly oppose the law of God, and to pay its taxes.

The state may wage war and Christians may have to decide whether they can involve themselves. What seems clear to me is that Christians should not take up arms on their own account.

'And they overcame [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.'

What we can and should be doing is providing money for aid and shelter to these poor dispossessed Christians and urging our government to play its part, and to allow some of them into this country as refugees.

30 July 2014 at 00:32  
Blogger Martin Marprelate said...

Ah, Kevill Davies,
Oh for the good old days of 30 years or so ago, when all we had were the Red Army Faction, the Shining Path in Peru and of course Pol Pot and his crew, atheists every one.

As for a 'God of doubtful provenance', if you believe that first there was nothing, then it exploded and then it all somehow fell into place, then you've got more faith than I have.

'Through the LORD's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. "The LORD is my portion," says my soul. "Therefore I hope in Him."'

30 July 2014 at 00:48  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Kevill Davies:

AS the anniversary of the start of World War One approaches, here's a question for you.

Did religion alone cause the First World War?

30 July 2014 at 08:11  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Kevill Davies (continued)

The problem you pose about suffering is a problem primarily for Deism. (And I would say, in those terms, an unanswerable one).

Christianity says the world is fallen. It is not as it was meant to be. One day, it will be restored. Until then, things are going to get a lot worse.

30 July 2014 at 08:18  
Blogger Len said...

Why do Christians not fight is a valid question being asked?.
Indeed if someone came at me with a sword and I was armed I know what course of action I would take!...
But Jesus never asked His followers to fight on the physical level for him.
Throughout history many Christians have chosen death rather than renounce their faith many died at the hands of torturers and at the stake and that situation has barely changed.
Christians are hated for no other reason than that they follow Jesus Christ and hold to the truth of the Gospel .
So in reality Christians are no threat to anyone but the kingdom of darkness.
Those who are in the kingdom of darkness are identified by their desire to destroy Christianity by their non violent or violent attempts to destroy Christianity..

30 July 2014 at 08:43  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Kevill Davies @ 21.49

From time to time people pop up here, as they have every right, and say what you have just said. I've been hearing the same "there is no evidence for God" being said most of my life, and also noted how it has gradually become, both more fashionable, and for a few, profitable, but stated in ever cruder, more unthinking forms as it has become the popular creed. That is a general explanatory point and not directed specifically at you.

The routine is that someone on this site makes the effort to point to the deep philosophical and scientific evidence that underpins, in a probabilistic form, that there is indeed a prime cause, or in theological language, God, behind the universe. The atheist then shakes their head and rejects it and so it continues. What a ritual !

For myself having pondered the matter for decades, since my youth, I find that the probabilities of the scientific properties of the universe having arisen by accident, to a condition amazingly conducive to the emergence of intelligent carbon based life, all by a series of very highly unlikely accidents, totally improbable. That is just to approach the question from the physical perspective leaving then the equally important philosophical and human approaches, that others find more appropriate for them.

There is nothing new or modern, or advanced, about your assertion, as since Old Testament times some have doubted the existence of God, so join a very big and ancient club.

Now many fine books have been written all pointing to the existence of God, by far cleverer people than I. So if you are genuinely concerned, and have a truly open mind, in exploring your assertion, treating it as a question, as I did, rather than just fashionably asserting your beliefs, I and others here, could point you to those. Alternatively you could explore the fascinating and erudite website of the Cambridge based Faraday Institute for the study of Science and Faith, run by Christian scientists. I have heard those people and they are very good speakers, learned in science and faith.

But for myself I have had enough for the time being, of expending scarce time and energy putting the evidence to those who are not interested in real inquiry or open minded debate, unlike the atheists of my youth who were genuinely interested in intellectual inquiry. Nowadays, the "age of stupid" many people just want too knock and claim a social superiority, over "stupid, backward" people of faith. I have become bored by it and my time, like other peoples, is scarce.

Perhaps I do you an injustice and you have given all those matters deep consideration, but the airwaves and websites are chock full of those to whom being an atheist is nowadays merely the new, fun, socially respectable default position, and who have given no to little though to their claimed beliefs.

The fact is that the world is becoming decidedly more religious, not less, but Europe exists within its own little bubble, especially certain groups within its social composition. Despite the deliberate misimpression created by the so called "liberal" western media, Christianity, to which most correspondents on this site belong, is burgeoning, growing apace in Africa, South America and China. So as more and more of the growing, increasingly successful, rising economic power houses of the world become more Christian, the atheists of little, old, declining europe may increasingly have to ponder their own "there is no God" beliefs, as they survey the social landscape of their own post-Christian societies. So there's an alternative thought for you. Now if, like a few, you are a genuine seeker of the truth, then Good Luck and God Speed on your intellectual and spiritual journey.

30 July 2014 at 09:17  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Five responses to the problem of suffering.

1. Nothing but blind, pitiless indifference. What did you expect? Get used to it. ATHEISM.

2. The gods are cruel and temperamental, like giant humans. What did you expect? Get used to it. CLASSICAL PAGANISM.

3. It's a problem of faulty perspective. See it from the right viewpoint, and the problem is illusory. PANTHEISM.

4. Look, there goes a squirrel! DEISM.

5. The present world is abnormal. CHRISTIANITY.

30 July 2014 at 09:19  
Blogger bluedog said...

Martin Marprelate @ 00.32 says, 'What we can and should be doing is providing money for aid and shelter to these poor dispossessed Christians'.



30 July 2014 at 10:41  
Blogger Len said...

As others have mentioned France has offered asylum to Mosul Christians.

France is showing the way to other countries who have done little or nothing to help the persecuted Christian minority.

30 July 2014 at 10:57  
Blogger bluedog said...

An excellent post, Mr Hussell @ 09.19

30 July 2014 at 11:17  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Dear HJ, Uncle Brian, Marie 1797.

Ernst point is that our 'brethren' from the RC clan come on here, raise implied remarks about the CofE and slither off. As if we non catholics don't know what you mean by it??

Come first, read the post by His Nibs and think 'What is MY church doing about this...THEN COMMENT ACCORDINGLY (This may seem completely alien to your thought process and your priest may have harsh words about you criticising Mother Church but do try, there's nice RCs).

Ernst is not CofE but FGS show us that you acknowledge it ain't all the CofE's fault nor does it have the power to affect change for our persecuted brethren in the ME as Rome seems utterly limited too.

It takes ALL to do something.

We have been here before with the CofE comments that seem to mean that Rome is faultless but all others are callous uncaring Christians. If Francis is saying no violence and that's about all he is suggesting, what on earth can the protestant wing do..Start a Protestant Legion Crusade and march on to Mosul, as you did your bit centuries ago.

May I remind you that France agreed to take some of our brethren from ME in, so where is our government's response...or is it just Muslims that are persecuted refugees in parliaments myopic eyes.

The real REFUGEES are ignored by this travesty of a parliament.


30 July 2014 at 11:34  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

There is an interesting article about the Assyrian Christians in the Telegraph today.

" But a glimmer of hope remains: a solution that has been pushed by Assyrians since the early 20th century.

On January 21, the Iraqi government met to approve a plan that would make the Nineveh Plains – a large area composed of nearly 50 per cent Assyrians – a province. According to an Assyrian International News Agency interview between Assyrian journalist Nuri Kino and the Iraqi Minister of the Environment, Sargon Sliwa, the initiative would “insure the continued existence of our [Assyrian] community in the region.”

"There has been a reawakening in calls for action in the last few days: Assyrian parties in Iraq – the Assyrian Universal Alliance, Chaldean Syriac Assyrian Popular Council, and Assyrian Democratic Movement, to name a few – have pleaded for a safe-haven; protests were arranged by UN offices in Erbil, Iraq, in support of international protection; and U.S. House Representatives Fortenberry, Eshoo, Wolf, and Van Halen are spearheading a resolution (H.Con.Res.110) to protect Assyrians in the Nineveh Plains.

Sounds promising.

30 July 2014 at 17:28  

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