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Christian World News: November 9, 2012

On Christian World News, Nov. 9: N. Korean believer's tale of persecution survival; Church demolished: Russia's fading religious freedom; Mohler: Election a 'catastrophe' for moral issues; and more. Read Transcript



Today on Christian World News –


They worship in the dark and they pray in
silence, yet they faithfully serve, even in


the most difficult circumstances.


This week we remember the persecuted church.


And –


U. S. President Barack Obama wins another
term. What impact did Christians have on this


election and what does it mean for the moral
agenda?


Plus –


A congregation displaced. These Russian Christians
lost their church when the authorities tore


it down, but they have by no means lost their
faith.


A day to pray for the persecuted church. Hello,
everyone, I'm George Thomas.


And I'm Wendy Griffith.


Millions of Christians around the world will
unite in prayer this weekend for the International


Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.


The annual event is a time for standing with
those who suffer for following Jesus Christ.


Attacks against Christians in countries like
Nigeria, Pakistan and Egypt are increasing.


Yet the worst place to be a Christian is in
the hermit kingdom of North Korea.


Gary Lane has more.


Christians are under intense pressure in Muslim
countries, but North Korea tops the Open Doors


list each year as the world's worst persecutor
of Christians.


And little has changed for Christians nearly
one year after the death of Kim Jong Il.


His son and successor, Kim Jong Un is continuing
efforts to rid the nation of Christianity.


Christians are arrested, imprisoned and even
executed simply for believing in a faith other


than the state religion known as Juche, self
reliance.


We've protected this North Korean Christian
by hiding his face and calling him by a different


name. "Mr. Bae" was imprisoned for evangelizing
a friend.


There were interrogations, tortures, but the
most difficult thing was sitting still on


the floor without moving my neck, arms, legs
for more than a year.


Bae says his faith grew deeper as time passed.


I felt that if God was with me, I would not
die. I became to have faith and at the end


I was released without any charges, so that
I knew that it's not the work of man, but


it is the work of God that I am alive.


Mr. Bae told his story to Rev. Eric Foley,
CEO of the Colorado-based ministry Seoul USA.


His family experience of Christian suffering
is detailed in the new book, "These Are The


Generations."


Thanks, Gary. And joining us with more is
Rev. Eric Foley. You have heard many testimonies


from North Korean Christians over the years.
What is it about Bae's story that is unique


and different?


I think what is unique about it, George, is
his sense that being a Christian in North


Korea is a mission experience. Just like with
the apostle Paul in Philippians where Paul


writes about being in prison he doesn't say
"Get me out of here!" The same thing is true


with Mr. Bae and his family that as we talk
to Mr. Bae and Mrs. Bae what they would say


is "Please don't pray for us to be removed
from persecution, but pray for us to be faithful


within it because God is accomplishing something
here that can't be accomplished any other


way."


Gary talked about the transfer of power. Kim
Jong Un is now the president of the country.


Very young man. Is there any indication from
your sources on the ground, is it getting


easier or worse for Christians today in North
Korea?


It's actually worse, George, and the reason
why is that North Korea is unusual in the


sense of being known as a dictatorship but
has actually always been required by—whether


it's Kim Jong Un, Kim Il Sung, or Kim Jong
Il—to rule by consensus. That is to say


that there is a small group of party leaders
and military leaders who behind the scenes


exert pressure on the dictator to make certain
decisions.


What do you want folks when they read "These
Are The Generations" what do you want them


to take away from this book?


Well, ten years ago, George, when Mrs. Foley
and I started Seoul USA, we spoke to North


Korean underground Christians and we said,
"How can we pray for you?" And their response


was, "You pray for us? We pray for you." And
that surprised us. We said, "Well, how would


you pray for us, you know, we're from the
land of the free and the home of the brave?"


And they said, "And that's precisely why we
pray for you."


Because western Christians and Christians
from prosperous countries tend to put a lot


of faith in their own wealth and political
freedom, and they said, "Until you have nothing,


absolutely nothing, other than God, you don't
realize how faithful God is."


And so as Mr. Bae shares in the book, whether
it's his own story, or his parents' who are


still in a concentration camp, they don't
want our pity. They really want us to pray


with them, not for them, that both of us—they
in North Korea and us in the west—will be


faithful in whatever situation God places
us because God is faithful in every situation


as well.


And as millions of Christians get ready to
pray for the persecuted church this weekend,


is that how you are encouraging believers
to pray, to focus?


Because I think there is this perception that
we have to pray for them to be released from


persecution and from suffering yet Christ
tells us that that is going to be the MO (?) of


us walking out this faith called Christianity.
So is that the focus you encourage us to work


on?


Yeah, very much so, George. Yeah, very much.
You know, in the apostle Paul's writing, he


tells Timothy, he says, "Everyone who seeks
to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will


be persecuted."


And the North Korean believers, who of course
know that Bible very well because they have


to memorize it, that's always the most effective
way of smuggling a Bible into a closed country


is in the memory of someone who can learn
that scripture.


They know that scripture very well, and as
a result, isn't it humbling to know that they're


praying for us this Sunday. They don't want
us to pray for them in pity, they don't want


for us to pray for their release from persecution.
They ask simply that they be found faithful


to rely upon the God who is faithful even
when you're in a concentration camp or in


the most closed country on earth.


You guys are doing balloon ministries, but
what else are you doing?


We do the nightly radio broadcast, about an
hour and a half of broadcasting of Christian


ministry into North Korea. And so mostly though
the main thing that we do is that we're training


North Korean defectors who come to South Korea—we've
got about 27,000 of them in South Korea.


Sadly, they experience a lot of prejudice
in South Korea. They're considered lazy, stupid,


dishonest, broken, and yet we consider them—
just as the Bible talks about the stone that


the builders rejected becoming the cornerstone—we
find that the same thing is true with North


Korean defectors. They really are the cornerstone
for reaching North Koreans.


And, folks, the book is called "These Are
The Generations." The author, Rev. Eric Foley,


thank you for being on the broadcast.


Thank you, George.


And to find out how you can take part in the
International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted


Church, you can go to our website at cwnews.org.


And you can spread the word about this event
to your friends through Facebook. Just visit


our CWN Facebook page and share it with others.


Up next –


Voters in America re-elect President Barack
Obama. We'll tell you how Christians voted


and how it could affect the church.


Well, just


in case you


don't know, this week the American people
re-elected President Barack Obama. The president


defeated challenger Mitt Romney in a decisive
victory.


Yes, our political team was with both candidates
on election night and we begin our report


with Jennifer Wishon who was in Chicago with
the president.


When Americans woke up on election morning
they had no idea which side would end up celebrating.


Despite a weak economy and vocal critics of
his policies both at home and abroad, Barack


Obama will serve a historic second term as
President of the United States.


Tonight in this election you, the American
people, reminded us that while our road has


been hard, while our journey has been long,
we have picked ourselves up, we have fought


our way back and we know in our hearts that
for the United States of America the best


is yet to come.


He's just so passionate and this passion goes
to other people in the country. And that's


really because we're going to work together.


We are and forever will be the United States
of America and together with your help and


God's grace we will continue our journey forward
and remind the world just why it is that we


live in the greatest nation on earth. Thank
you, America.


This is actually my first time coming to any
kind of campaign celebration like this and,


you know, I'm just happy for the nation, I'm
happy for, you know, our president and, you


know, I'm just looking forward to these next
four years.


Right away President Obama will have to do
something he didn't do so well during his


first term: work with a Republican-controlled
House. The word "compromise" will have to


stop being a dirty word, and bi-partisanship
will have to be more than a campaign gimmick


if the president hopes to reunite a deeply
divided nation.


Reporting from President Barack Obama's victory
party in Chicago, Jennifer Wishon, CBN News.


This is David Brody in Boston at Romney headquarters.
They were hoping to go out with a bang. Instead,


they went out with a whimper.


Mitt Romney coming on stage to thank supporters
and call for unity.


At a time like this we can't risk partisan
bickering and political posturing. Our leaders


have to reach across the aisle to do the people's
work.


They were really hoping for a joyous celebration
here. Instead, it was hugs and tears and wondering


what's next.


It's time now to come together as a country
and start working for those positive things


that the president says he wants to do.


It's been tough, but we will continue to support
President Obama, and hope that he makes good


choices the next four years, and if not that
somebody better comes in to take care of our


country.


Mitt Romney got closer than John McCain did
four years ago, but clearly, the anti-Obama


vote was just not enough. And now, there will
be questions as to whether or not Mitt Romney


was really the right candidate all along.


David Brody, CBN News in Boston at Romney
headquarters.


By the way, American evangelical Christians
voted in higher numbers than ever before.


However, exit polls showed the Christian vote
split along racial lines.


The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life
says 60 percent of white Catholics voted for


Romney while three-fourths of Hispanic Catholics
supported the president.


Among Protestants, nearly 80 percent of evangelicals
voted for the governor while 95 percent of


black Protestants supported the president.


An evangelical leader says Christians should
view the 2012 election as a catastrophe for


moral issues.


Albert Mohler is president of Southern Baptist
Theological Seminary, the leading seminary


for the country's largest Protestant denomination.


He says the election reflects a trend of growing
secularism in American society and that has


major consequences for moral issues.


Mohler said: "The election of President Obama
returns a radically pro-abortion president


to the White House. Soon after he endorsed
same-sex marriage, clearly, we face a new


moral landscape in America, and a huge challenge
to those of us who care passionately about


these issues."


Mohler also said the president will have probably
the opportunity to appoint one or more Supreme


Court justices in his second term.


Homosexual activists won major victories in
four states in their push to legalize gay


marriage. Now, they say, they're energized
to target more states next year.


Heather Sells has the latest.


Four states considered the issue of marriage
on Tuesday. The question, would they continue


a 32-state streak in which voters have consistently
upheld traditional marriage?


The answer: no.


In Maryland, voters approved a new law legalizing
same-sex marriage.


In Maine, voters reversed themselves. Just
three years ago they voted against gay marriage.


Last night, they approved it.


In Minnesota, voters rejected a constitutional
amendment banning same-sex marriage, but a


state law outlawing it remains.


And in Washington, unofficial results show
voters approved a new gay marriage law.


Traditional marriage supporters acknowledge
the battle was uphill all the way.


These are deep blue states—Washington, Minnesota,
Maryland and Maine— and the supporters of


marriage were outspent roughly eight to one.


Maine and Maryland now become the seventh
and eighth states to legalize gay marriage.


This morning, traditional marriage activist
Harry Jackson said the GOP should have done


more.


The GOP basically said, "You traditional church
folks, you're on your own. We have a little


bit in our campaign platform but we're not
going to fund you, we're not going to support


you" and I think they lost the whole thing
because of that lack of engagement and response


on these issues.


The outcome of these votes could influence
the Supreme Court. It will soon decide whether


to take up cases that challenge the federal
definition of marriage. And many believe that


the court is watching, trying to determine
whether public attitudes on this issue have


shifted significantly.


Heather Sells, CBN News.


Up next –


A congregation without a home. When Russian
police tore down this church, the members


still showed up for worship


on Sunday.


Opposition lawmakers and human rights groups
are criticizing German Chancellor Angela Merkel.


She said that Christianity is "the most persecuted
religion worldwide."


Human rights campaigners say ranking faiths
according to how persecuted they are is pointless.


They say some Muslims, Jews and others also
face persecution.


Merkel made her remarks at a meeting of the
German Protestant Church. She said Germany


needs to protect Christian minorities as part
of its foreign policy. She also spoke out


against strict separation of church and state
and said Europe was built on Christian foundations.


Merkel is the daughter of a pastor.


Well, a recent nighttime raid and the destruction
of an evangelical church outside Moscow is


raising concerns that religious freedom is
fading in Russia.


That's because police simply watched as dozens
of men with heavy machinery demolished the


Holy Trinity Pentecostal congregation. Some
fear it's part of a threatening pattern against


Russia's evangelical Christians.


Sveta Romanyuk finds it difficult to talk
about what happened the night of September


6, 2012.


What they did was not right. We didn't even
have time to save the Bibles.


On a recent morning on the edge of Moscow,
12-year-old Sveta and a handful of her friends


held Sunday school on the steps of what used
to be the entrance of their church.


I want the people who did this to know I still
love Christ and I am going to pray for them


and our country.


In the early hours that September morning,
about 45 men backed by local Russian police,


descended on Holy Trinity Pentecostal Church.
Zhidkov Maxim attends the church.


I got here around 4:00 a.m. and saw two large
excavators tearing through the church building.


The police just stood there and watched the
whole thing.


As word spread, other church members like
Alena Maltseva and her husband, rushed to


try to save the church.


I'll never forget the sound of my church being
crushed. It was so painful.


Pastor Vasily Romanyuk also tried to stop
the men but it was too late. This is video


of him that night.


When I tried to get into the territory I was
stopped by drunk tough guys who introduced


themselves as a vigilante group acting on
behalf of the city district. They refused


to show their IDs and papers.


By 3:00 a.m. the three-story building was
in ruins.


Unfortunately, what we are seeing today is
nothing new. For decades evangelical Christians


in Russia have experienced similar or worse.


Holy Trinity Pentecostal Church became registered
in the late 1970s while Soviets still ruled.


In 1995, the church was forced out of its
original building and moved to this site some


45 minutes outside Moscow.


The church erected a temporary building, but
battled authorities over building permits.


Pastor Romanyuk wanted to build a bigger,
more permanent structure. Authorities refused.


For 17 years the city even prevented the church
access to water and electricity.


Then in late August 2012, a district official
notified Romanyuk that the church was slated


for demolition.


The brazen act stunned the evangelical community.
Sergey Rakhuba runs a Christian ministry in


Moscow.


But they've chosen in front of the entire
public, in front of the world, in Moscow,


in the largest city in Russia, in the capital,
just to simply level the evangelical church


making that statement.


Even though the country's constitution clearly
states that all religions are equal before


the law, the government is often accused of
discriminating against citizens who profess


faiths other than Orthodox Christianity.


The government and the Russian Orthodox Church
view us evangelicals as a threat. They see


our congregations growing. They see how dynamic
our services are and they're threatened by


it.


Vladimir Ryakhovsky, a leading human rights
lawyer in Moscow, says Holy Trinity's property


and legal challenges are just part of an emerging
pattern against Russian evangelicals.


Bottom line: this is discrimination. This
year alone, the government has given the Russian


Orthodox Church 200 building permits and in
many cases the government will help fund the


new churches.


And what evangelicals are most concerned about
today is the growing influence of the Russian


Orthodox Church within the political system.
They accuse President Vladimir Putin of tearing


down walls between church and state.


Muslims from time to time will face similar
challenges in trying to build mosques. But


you will never hear of an Orthodox church
being bulldozed and ransacked in the middle


of the night.


Back on the grounds of Holy Trinity, Romanyuk
and the congregation are pressing forward.


They're holding weekly services in a large
tent next to the demolished church. There


are reports the city wants to turn the land
into a large sport complex.


I never imagined in my life that I would go
through such an experience. But to tell you


the truth, I feel emboldened and full of hope,
thanks to the prayers of Christians around


the world.


Twelve-year-old Sveta is also hopeful.


Since this happened I've been asking God to
provide us a new place, a place we can continue


to meet and share with others about the love
of Christ. I know God will take care of us.


What a precious little girl. George, the Christians
are really concerned aren't they about this


cozy relationship between the Orthodox church
and the state?


Yeah, they are. Just imagine, I mean, this
year alone the government gave the Russian


Orthodox Church 200 building permits. This
one church has been struggling since the ‘90s


to just get one single permit.


And so that is the challenge. There is clearly
a sense of discrimination and favoritism for


the Orthodox Church and against any other
faith that is not part of the ruling Orthodoxy.


And it's such a shame because it seems like
around 20 years ago they were enjoying such


freedom…


Absolutely, yeah, yeah.


…for awhile. Almost more than we had in
America, it seemed. But now that seems to


be reversing.


It is, unfortunately.


Thanks for going over there for us. Beautiful
country, beautiful people.


We'll be right back


Anglican Christians have a new spiritual leader.
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams is


retiring this year. His successor will be
Bishop of Durham, Justin Welby. He's said


to be an opponent of same-sex marriage and
the appointment of gay bishops.


Those issues are credited for deep divisions
within the Anglican Church. Queen Elizabeth


approved Welby's appointment.


Well, church leaders in Cartegena, Colombia,
are taking the biblical command to pray for


government leaders very seriously.


Yes, critical illnesses have shaken the leadership
of Colombia and evangelical churches have


rallied in their support.


Efrem Graham reports.


Concerned Colombians flooded this plaza in
historic Cartagena, after news that the city's


newly-elected mayor had been diagnosed with
lung cancer.


The bad news came as the nation's president,
Juan Manuel Santos, recovers from prostate


cancer surgery, and the vice president deals
with the effects of a serious stroke.


We're obeying the biblical mandate that says
we should pray for all the authorities. And


knowing the health condition of Mayor Campo
Teheran, and also the president and the vice


president, the churches of Cartagena felt
we should have special prayer for our authorities.


During the four-hour weekend rally, city officials
joined pastors and worshipers to pray for


the health of their leaders and the well-being
of their country.


Vice President Angelino Garzón attended the
event, and days later announced his resignation


to battle yet another health threat, prostate
cancer.


Church leaders are already talking about the
need for more united prayer rallies in the


days ahead.


Efrem Graham, CBN News.


Well, folks, that's the end of this week's
broadcast, but remember this weekend is prayer


for the persecuted church. So gather around
your church and your communities as we intercede


on behalf of those who suffer for their faith
in Jesus Christ.


Well said, my comrade in arms.


Thank you.


Well, thanks so much for joining us. Until
next week, from all of us here at Christian


World News, good-bye and God bless you.

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