Sunday, March 31, 2019

Persecution Of Christians Highest In Modern History

            Christian persecution is at an all-time high, according to a report in Faithwire. An article entitled A Staggering 11 Christians Are Killed Every Single Day for Simply Believing in Jesus reports the following:1

When we talk about Christian persecution, it is easy to get lost in the vast array of facts and figures. We say we know that, across the world, many people are dying for their faith in Jesus, but do we truly understand the scale of it? New data taken from the latest Open Doors World Watch List indicate that some 11 Christians are martyred for their faith every single day.
The shockingly high death toll was taken from the top 50 countries ranked on this year’s World Watch List and demonstrates the incredible level of religious persecution that continues to plague the planet.
“Today, in the 21st century, we are living in a time when persecution against Christian believers is the highest in modern history,” the persecution watchdog explained in an update. “The Christian persecution we read about in Scripture and history books is not a thing of the past.”
The top five
Currently, the top five most dangerous countries in which to live as a Christian are:
1.      North Korea
2.      Afghanistan
3.      Somalia
4.      Libya
5.      Pakistan
As is the case in all of these countries, Christians remain in grave danger for simply choosing to believe in Christ. In North Korea, believers are forced into dangerous underground congregations, the discovery of which can result in persecution, arrest and even execution.
In Afghanistan, Christianity is completely outlawed, with the country’s constitution asserting Islam as the state religion. Open Doors notes that to “convert to a faith outside Islam is tantamount to treason because it’s seen as a betrayal of family, tribe and country,” adding that “very often, there is only one possible outcome for exposed and caught Christians: death.”
Pakistan has made headlines in recent years due to the protracted case brought against Christian mother Asia Bibi. Bibi, who has five children, was convicted under the country’s notorious blasphemy laws over a decade ago, and was swiftly sentenced to death. However, last October Bibi was acquitted by the Supreme Court in an unprecedented ruling that gave hope to many within the marginalized faith community.
Latest on Asia Bibi
Despite her acquittal almost six months ago, Bibi is still being held at an undisclosed location in Pakistan.
In the latest development, the head of an Irish human rights charity has personally urged the Pakistani authorities to do more in order to secure the release of Bibi and ensure her safe passage to Canada, where she has been granted asylum.
            Newsweek cites the study by Aid to the Church in Need 2 to emphasize that Christian persecution is worse than any time in history. Here’s an excerpt:3

The persecution and genocide of Christians across the world is worse today “than at any time in history,” and Western governments are failing to stop it, a report from a Catholic organization said.
The study by Aid to the Church in Need said the treatment of Christians has worsened substantially in the past two years compared with the two years prior, and has grown more violent than any other period in modern times. 
“Not only are Christians more persecuted than any other faith group, but ever-increasing numbers are experiencing the very worst forms of persecution,” the report said.
The report examined the plight of Christians in China, Egypt, Eritrea, India, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria and Turkey over the period lasting from 2015 until 2017. The research showed that in that time, Christians suffered crimes against humanity, and some were hanged or crucified. The report found that Saudi Arabia was the only country where the situation for Christians did not get worse, and that was only because the situation couldn’t get any worse than it already was.
            In its report ‘World Watch List 2019,’ Open Doors, an organization that serves persecuted Christians worldwide, lists 50 countries where it is most dangerous to be a Christian. Listed below are those 50 countries:4

1. North Korea
11. Syria
21. Central African Republic

31. Jordan

41. Russian Federation

2. Afghanistan
12. Nigeria
22. Algeria

32. Nepal

42. Malaysia

3. Somalia
13. Iraq
23. Turkmenistan

33. Bhutan

43. Kuwait

4. Libya
14. Maldives
24. Mali

34. Kazakhstan

44. Oman

5. Pakistan
15. Saudi Arabia
25. Mauritania

35. Morocco

45. United Arab Emirates

6. Sudan
16. Egypt
26. Turkey

36. Brunei

46. Sri Lanka

7. Eritrea
17. Uzbekistan
27. China

37. Tunisia

47. Colombia

8. Yemen
18. Myanmar
28. Ethiopia

38. Qatar

48. Bangladesh

9. Iran
19. Laos
29. Tajikistan

39. Mexico

49. Palestinian Territories

10. India
20. Vietnam
30. Indonesia
40. Kenya

50. Azerbaijan


          This report also reveals an increase in persecution in India and China, “For the first time since the start of the World Watch List, India has entered the top 10. Additionally, China jumped 16 spots, from 43 to 27. Each of these countries is home to more than a billion people, so these trends are distressing. Hindu nationalists in India continue to attack Christians with what seems like no consequences, and in China, the increased power of the government and the rule of Xi Jinping continue to make open worship difficult in some parts of the country.”5

            The Bible teaches us that the persecuted are blessed, in a spiritual sense (cf. Matthew 5:10-11; Luke 6:22). However, it goes without saying, that Christians, who live a more secure and safe life as a Christian, ought to not only pray for those who are persecuted but also provide for their material needs.

            Let the grace of giving define our Christian life. Thus may we love each other as to how we love ourselves.



2A pontifical foundation that focuses on assisting the Church wherever it is persecuted, oppressed or in material need




Websites last accessed on 31st March 2019. 

Friday, March 29, 2019

Indian Election 2019; God’s Plan For India According To Dr. Paul Dhinakaran: How Do We Respond?

            India will go to polls this year from April 11th to May 19th to elect its members of the Parliament to constitute the 17th Lok Sabha.

            The two major alliances contesting the Indian election 2019 are the ruling NDA (National Democratic Alliance, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party) and the UPA (United Progressive Alliance, led by the Indian National Congress). Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi (age 68) and the President of BJP Mr. Amit Shah (age 54) are the most popular leaders of the NDA. Mr. Rahul Gandhi (age 48, President of the Congress party) and his sister Ms. Priyanka Gandhi (age 47) are the most popular leaders of the UPA.

            Recently, I saw a video on YouTube entitled “Prophecy 2019 | God's Plan For India | Year of Deliverance | Dr. Paul Dhinakaran.”1 It had garnered views in excess of 120,000, as on date. This video is apparently God’s revelation to Dr. Paul Dhinakaran — a well-regarded evangelist in India. In this video, Dr. Paul Dhinakaran reveals God’s plan for India’s future during which he also predicts the election results.

            Find below his election predictions along with the relevant timing from the video:

Prophecies – 2019 | India Governance | …as revealed by God to Dr. Paul Dhinakaran

3:31: “India Governance” prophecies begin
3:44: Present leaders who are known shall be quietened.
4:02: Young leaders with forward-looking principles and plans for progress shall be placed in authority.
4:26: India will become a young nation ruled by young leadership.
4:35: The key players seen now shall be removed.

            You can watch the video here:


            As you see, this prophecy does not mention specific names. Hence, the interpretation could be quite complicated. However, let’s strive to interpret the prophecy:


            1. Present Leaders Who Are Known Shall Be Quietened: Since Dr. Paul Dhinakaran does not mention names, we can only speculate based on our context. The present leaders, as I surmise, are the Prime Minister of India Mr. Narendra Modi and the President of BJP Mr. Amit Shah. So this prophecy, I presume, predicts defeat for the ruling NDA in this election.

            2. Young Leaders With Forward-Looking Principles And Plans For Progress Shall Be Placed In Authority: The young leaders mentioned here, it seems to me, cannot include the incumbent Prime Minister, who is 68 years old. He is not young. (But it could include the 54-year-old Mr. Amit Shah. It could also include the other young leaders of the NDA, such as Mr. Yogi Adityanath - age 46).

            But this election is being fought on the premise that Mr. Modi is the Prime Ministerial candidate. Therefore, I guess that the young leaders who shall be placed in authority, according to this prophecy, could refer to Mr. Rahul Gandhi or the other young politicians of the opposing parties, such as the President of the Samajwadi party Mr. Akhilesh Yadav (age 45).  

            3. India Will Become A Young Nation Ruled By Young Leadership: Refer (2)

            4. The Key Players Seen Now Shall Be Removed: Refer (1)


            The case against the UPA seems rather weak. Nevertheless, let’s consider this possibility by taking into account the first two prophecies only:

            1. Present Leaders Who Are Known Shall Be Quietened: If this is a reference to Mr. Rahul Gandhi and/or the other young leaders of the UPA, and the other opposing parties to the NDA, I do not see how this prophecy could be validated if Mr. Modi returns as the Prime Minister for the second time.

            2. Young Leaders With Forward-Looking Principles And Plans For Progress Shall Be Placed In Authority: If this prophecy does not refer to Mr. Rahul Gandhi, then it could possibly indicate that the other young leaders in the Congress party or even the President of the Samajwadi party, Mr. Akhilesh Yadav could be placed in authority.

            This prophecy, if we interpret it to be against the UPA, seems rather implausible because this election is a direct tussle between the Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi and Mr. Rahul Gandhi. Mr. Modi is older than Mr. Gandhi. On the other hand, if we consider this prophecy to be against the ruling NDA, then it seems very plausible. Therefore, the young leaders mentioned in the prophecy could refer to Mr. Rahul Gandhi.


            Why am I writing this blog/article?

            Do correct me if I am wrong. But this prophecy predicts defeat for the ruling NDA. It foretells defeat for the BJP and victory for the Congress. The UPA, according to this prophecy, will form the next government in India. 

            But what if BJP and the NDA win this election and form the next government? What if Mr. Narendra Modi becomes the 17th Prime Minister of India? 

            What then happens to this prophecy and how does this prophecy impact Historic Christianity? (This prophecy is predicated on Christianity.)

            If the NDA wins this election, then this prophecy should be construed as a failed prophecy because this prophecy, obviously, was not from God.

            The Bible teaches that every prophecy should be tested. Here are a few verses from the Bible:

            Deuteronomy 18: 21-22: “You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the Lord?” If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed.” (NIV, Emphasis Mine).

            1 Thessalonians 5:20-21: “Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good.” (ESV, Emphasis Mine).

            1 John 4:1: “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (NIV, Emphasis Mine).

            So let us put this prophecy to test by waiting for the election results to be announced on May 23rd.

            I have only covered the prophecy that pertains to the oncoming elections in this article. Dr. Paul Dhinakaran has prophesied more in that video.

            Let us not forget another significant detail. This prophecy would have been from God only if every bit of the prophecy mentioned (in that video) comes to pass. In other words, if a part of this prophecy comes to pass and the other part fails, then we should consider this prophecy as not from God. God does not convey partial truth. God conveys absolute truth or the complete truth.

            What would be the impact on Historic Christianity if this prophecy fails? There would be absolutely no impact, whatsoever, on Historic Christianity.

             This is a prophecy from a person who is popularly regarded, by a certain section of the Christian community, as a man of God. But men are fallible. We could err.

            The Bible teaches that prophecy cannot have its origin in the human will, “We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:19-21, NIV).

            So if this prophecy fails, then we construe that this prophecy had its origin in the fallible human will and not from the infallible God. Hence this prophecy, if it fails, would have had nothing to do with Christianity.

            Finally, here is a word of caution to my fellow Christians. As you listen to this prophecy, do not get highly ecstatic or thoroughly desolate because of your personal political persuasion. Wait for the prophecy to either come to pass or fail.

            While prophecies are exciting because it dismantles the horrific suspense about our future, let us be confident that when God is for us, no one can be against us. The next Prime Minister, be it Mr. Narendra Modi or anyone else, would be the one appointed by God and not by man, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” (Romans 13:1, NIV).

            Let us continue praying for the election. May God’s will be done. May we, as the Bible commands us, be subject to the governing authorities, whoever it may be.



Website last accessed on 29th March 2019.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Why Did Satan Sin?

            Satan’s sin was the very first sin in the universe. It occurred before the sin of Adam and Eve (possibly even before the creation of Adam & Eve). But the Bible does not explicitly offer an answer as to why Satan sinned. Hence we are called to speculate, albeit responsibly. 

            Satan, an angel, was created as a good being. However, Satan and some of his fellow angels sinned against God.

            Did God give Satan the desire to sin? No, it cannot be, since God is not the author of sin. HE does not even tempt us to sin (James 1:13).

            From the perspective of God and human beings, the Bible categorically excludes God as a causal agent of sin. But the Bible teaches that man sins because of his own desire, “…each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” (James 1: 14-15, ESV).

            We could apply the same principle to angelic beings. God created angels as good beings, but with the freedom to either accept or reject HIM. While God allows HIS creation, namely humans and angels, to sin, HE does not give them the desire to sin. That desire to sin is owned by humans and/or angels.

            The Christian apologetics website, 'Answers In Genesis,' cites Satan’s desire as the reason for his sin against God:1

From what we can tell from studying the Bible, Satan was the first to sin. He sinned before the woman sinned, and before Adam sinned. Some claim that we sin because Satan enters us and causes us to sin, but the Bible doesn’t teach this. We sin whether Satan enters us or not. Satan was influencing the serpent when the woman sinned and when Adam sinned; they sinned on their own accord without being able to claim, “Satan made me do it.”
But what causes this initial sin; why did Satan sin in the first place?
Death is the punishment for sin. Sin originates in desire—one’s own desire. James 1:14 hints that evil comes from one’s own desire. It was by Satan’s own desire that his pride in his own beauty and abilities overtook him.
In the “very good” original creation, it seems likely that Satan and mankind had the power of contrite choice.1 In the Garden of Eden, the woman was convinced by her own desire (the tree was desirable to make one wise—Genesis 3:6). Satan had not entered her; she was enticed by her own desire.
God is not the author of sin; our desires are. God did not trick or deceive Satan into becoming full of pride. God hates pride (Proverbs 8:13), and it would not be in His character to cause one to become prideful. Nor was He the one who deceived Eve. Deception and lies go hand in hand (Psalm 78:36; Proverbs 12:17), yet God does not lie or deceive (Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18).
Note that since Satan’s own desires caused his pride, the blame for evil’s entrance into creation cannot be God’s. To clarify, this doesn’t mean God was unaware this would happen, but God permitted it to happen. God is sovereign and acted justly by casting Satan out of heaven after he rebelled against the Creator.
Therefore, when God incarnate came to destroy evil and the work of the devil (1 John 3:8), it was truly an act of love, not a gimmick to correct what He “messed up.” He was glorified in His plan for redemption.
            Pastor John Piper thinks that God concealed HIS glory from Satan insofar that the Satan sinned, “I am not saying this is a foolproof explanation of sin, but somehow God cloaked his glory from Lucifer and in the cloaking of his glory somehow, still inexplicable to me, there rises a preference in Lucifer’s heart for himself over God — who has cloaked his glory.

            I don’t know how that happens, but this is a pointer that something like that might have been going on. I am simply saying this is worth pondering that God may be able to govern the presence and absence of sin, not by direct active agency, but by concealing himself.”2

            Similarly, Christian philosopher, William Lane Craig explains the first sin by citing the “Hiddenness of God,” “God has created us at an “epistemic distance,” so to speak, which allows us the freedom to rebel against Him and separate ourselves from Him. This world is a vale of decision-making during which we decide whether we want to live with God forever or reject Him and so irrevocably separate ourselves from Him. As discussions of the so-called “Hiddenness of God” have emphasized, God could have made His existence overwhelmingly obvious, had He wanted to. During this life, we “see in a glass darkly,” as St. Paul put it; but someday we shall see “face to face” (I Cor. 13.12). Medieval theologians liked to talk of the “Beatific Vision” which the blessed in heaven will receive. There the veil will be removed, and we shall see Christ in all of His loveliness and majesty. The vision of Christ, the source of infinite goodness and love, will be so overwhelming as to remove all freedom to sin. I like to think of it like iron filings in the presence of an enormously powerful electromagnet. They would be so powerfully attracted to the magnet that there is simply no possibility of their falling away. So with the blessed in heaven.

            Something like this may have already occurred with angelic beings. Originally created “at arm’s length” from God epistemically, they had a time to choose either for or against God. Those who chose for God were then sealed with the Beatific Vision, so that no further fall is possible. Fallen angels are Satan and his minions.”3

            So to conclude, Satan sinned because he had the desire to sin. This desire was not given to him by God, but God merely created him to be a free creature. Satan’s first sin could also be attributed to ‘God’s Hiddenness’ or ‘God cloaking HIS glory’ or God creating Satan at an ‘epistemic distance’ from HIMSELF insofar as Satan had an opportunity to either accept or reject God.




Websites last accessed on 26th March 2019.