Wednesday, July 29, 2009

29 July 2009


Presbyterians Week Headlines

[1] North Korea Steps Up Execution of Christians
[2] Another Eritrean Christian Dies at Military Prison Camp
[3] Michigan Public High School and its Muslim Principle Sued for Firing Coach over his Association with a Christian Volunteer Coach
[4] Weeklong 'Abortion is Not Healthcare' Campaign Kicks-off in Washington DC
[5] New York Congresswoman Reads Article Defending Eugenicist and Planned Parenthood Founder Margaret Sanger into the Congressional Record
[6] Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Sotomayor Nomination to U.S. Supreme Court 13-6 in Spite of Evidence that Sotomayor Lied Under Oath during Confirmation Hearings
[7] Glasgow, Scotland Homosexual Christian and Muslim Art Show Encourages Defacement of a Displayed Bible
[8] Church of Scotland Minister Resigns over Induction of Homosexual Minister at Aberdeen, Scotland’s Queen's Cross Church
[9] Dutch Reformed Church and Reformed Church of Zimbabwe Congregations Battle over Church Building
[10] Juan Carlos Gutierrez is First Nicaraguan Ordained as Presbyterian Pastor in Nicaragua
[11] ReformingMinds Offering Free Download of Reformed Family Worship Book
[12] Joel Beeke on “Practical Reasons for Retaining the King James Version
[13] New Wineskins Convocation VI Details Announced
[14] Second Reformed Church of Pekin, Illinois Celebrates 135th Anniversary
[15] Alberta, Canada CRC Church Fights Reintroduction of Video Lottery Terminals into Town Bars and Lounges


[1] North Korea Steps Up Execution of Christians

Andre Vornic of BBC News reports in a 24 July 2009 article that North Korea of late has stepped up executions of Christians, and is performing some of the executions publically. North Korea allows only the worship of its founder Kim Il-Sung, and his son, Kim Jong-Il, and otherwise views religion as a major threat. It is estimated that 30 thousand North Korean Christians worship secretly in their homes. The U.S. government states that owning a Bible in North Korea may be sufficient grounds for the torture and disappearance of the Bible’s owner.

Vornic writes of a report from South Korean Christians about a North Korean woman that lived in a village near the Chinese border that was arrested and charged with distributing Bibles, spying for South Korea and the United States, and helping to organize dissidents. The woman was publically executed in June 2009, and her parents, husband, and children were sent to a prison camp.

+ BBC, 201 Wood Lane, London W12 7TS, England, Fax: 020-8008-2398


[2] Another Eritrean Christian Dies at Military Prison Camp

Eritrean Christian Yemane Kahasay Andom, 43, a member of the Kale-Hiwot church in Mendeferadied, Eritrea, died 23 July 2009 at the Mitire Military Confinement Center, after being imprisoned at the Mitire facility for the past eighteen months.

Andom was weakened by continual torture while imprisoned, and died from a severe case of malaria. Andom’s condition was further weakened by solitary confinement in an underground cell the two weeks prior to his death for his refusal to sign a recantation form. Open Doors said that most Christians would interpret the signing of such a form as being a denouncement of their faith in Jesus Christ.

Andom’s death at the Mitire facility brings to three the number of Christians who have died in the prison camp in 2009, and brings the total number of Christians in Eritrea killed for their faith to nine. More than 2800 Christians in Eritrea are imprisoned for their faith.

+ Open Doors USA, Post Office Box 27001, Santa Ana, California 92799, 949-752-6600, Fax: 949-752-6442, usa@opendoors.org


[3] Michigan Public High School and its Muslim Principle Sued for Firing Coach over his Association with a Christian Volunteer Coach

Gerald Marszalek of Fordson High School in Dearborn, Michigan, coached wrestling for thirty-five years, earned more than 450 wins, was elected to the Michigan High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame, and was named "Sportsman of the Year" by the All-American Athletic Association.

One of Marszalek's assistant coaches, Trey Hancock, held a summer wrestling camp that was not connected with the school or Coach Marszalek, in which a Muslim camper converted to Christianity. Fordson’s Muslim Principal Imad Fadlallah was allegedly so upset by the conversion that he punched the student and informed him he had disgraced his family.

After the wrestling season was over, Coach Marszalek was not allowed to reapply to his coaching position in violation of the rules of the Dearborn Federation of Teachers Union, of which he is a member. Marszalek says that his union refused to help him.

A lawsuit on behalf of Coach Marszalek has been filed by the Thomas More Law Center claiming violations of both the U.S. and Michigan constitutions and statutes. Coach Marszalek is seeking back pay, injunctive and declaratory relief, damages, and to be reinstated as coach of the wrestling team.

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, commented: "We are getting a glimpse of what happens when Muslims who refuse to accept American values and principles gain political power in an American community. Failure to renew coach Marszalek's contract had nothing to do with wrestling and everything to do with religion."

+ LifeSiteNews.com, Incorporated, Post Office Box 25382, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15220, 866-787-9947, lsn@lifesitenews.com

+ Thomas More Law Center, 24 Frank Lloyd Wright Drive, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106, 734-827-2001, Fax: 734-930-7160, info@thomasmore.org


[4] Weeklong 'Abortion is Not Healthcare' Campaign Kicks-off in Washington DC

The weeklong ‘Abortion is Not Healthcare’ (AINH) Campaign kicked off Sunday 26 July 2009 with a prayer vigil in front of the Cannon House Office Building in front of U.S. House of Representatives Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s office.

One of the AINH activities included a 27 July 2009 news conference with Dr. Alveda King, , Dr. Johnny Hunter, the Rev. S.E. Broden, and other African-American leaders, to discuss the tragic impact taxpayer funded abortions will have on the African-American community, and will be speaking out against the funding of Planned Parenthood because of their racist agenda.

Event organizer, Reformed Presbyterian pastor the Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, stated: "'Abortion is Not Healthcare' is a public, prophetic witness calling upon Speaker Pelosi, President Obama and the members of Congress to embrace human rights and stand against the violence of abortion. If the President and Speaker have their way, every American will be forced to pay for the killing of innocent children through taxpayer funded abortions….We are asking the pro-life and faith community across the nation to join us in prayer as we seek God for mercy and justice."

Another AINH activity was a 27 July 2009 demonstration and pro-life witness led by young women challenging First Lady Michelle Obama, who participated in a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Caroline Family Practice clinic in Bowling Green, Virginia, to embrace human rights and social justice and stand against taxpayer funded abortions. Shortly before the ribbon-cutting ceremony was to begin, the event was moved indoors in order to avoid the pro-life demonstrators. The Christian Defense Coalition remarked that “it was clear that the First Lady did not want a public witness for life to compete with her event.”

+ Christian News Wire, 2020 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, Washington DC 20006, 202-546-0054, newsdesk@christiannewswire.com

+ Christian Defense Coalition, 540-538-4741


[5] New York Congresswoman Reads Article Defending Eugenicist and Planned Parenthood Founder Margaret Sanger into the Congressional Record

Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey of
New York, on 21 July 2009, read an article titled: “Margaret Sanger - Setting the Record Straight,” by Dr. Ellen Chesler of Hunter College of the City University of New York, into the Congressional Record in defense of Margaret Sanger, eugenicist and founder of Planned Parenthood. The article dismisses Sanger’s critics for publishing false information about Sanger on the Internet and for taking Sanger’s most vile writings out of context.

University of California at Berkeley freshman Katelyn Sills, on her “Stand Up and Speak Out” blog, that the negative view of Margaret Sanger is not because of misleading information on the Internet but is from Sanger’s own books and actions. Sills, referencing Sanger quotations from War Against the Weak, by Edwin Black, writes:

Sanger was an outspoken Social Darwinist who condemned charity because it supported a certain population that she termed “human waste.” In her 1922 book, Pivot of Civilization, Sanger devoted a full chapter to this viewpoint called “The Cruelty of Charity.” “Organized charity itself,” she wrote, “is a symptom of a malignant social disease… the surest sign that our civilization has bred, is breeding and is perpetuating constantly increasing numbers of defectives, delinquents and dependents. My criticism, therefore, is not directed at the ‘failure’ of philanthropy, but rather at its success.””

Sills describes how Sanger believed in mass sterilization of this “human waste,” and how Sanger “surrounded herself with some of the eugenics movement’s most outspoken racists and white supremacists…,” one of whom, Leon Whitney, said of the Nazi gassing of 50,000 to 100,000 of those the Nazi’s deemed unfit, “While we were pussy-footing around…the Germans were calling a spade a spade.”

Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in the United States. Approximately one in three pregnancies among black Americans is terminated by surgical abortion.

+ Stand Up and Speak Out Blog


[6] Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Sotomayor Nomination to U.S. Supreme Court 13-6 in Spite of Evidence that Sotomayor Lied Under Oath during Confirmation Hearings

According to a 28 July 2009 press release from the Traditional Values Coalition (TVC), the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on 28 July 2009 confirmed U.S. President Barrack Hussein Obama’s nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court by a vote of 13-6 in spite of evidence that Sotomayor continually committed perjury while under oath during the recent confirmation hearings.

Sotomayor denied under oath that she is an advocate of the philosophy of Legal Realism, which espouses that a judge can impose his own view upon a case, when in a 1996 Suffolk Law Review article, Sotomayor embraced as her own Legal Realism and the views of former Yale Law School professor Jerome Frank, a major architect of Legal Realism. Sotomayor testified that a judge must be faithful to the law and to the Constitution, while Sotomayor’s previous writings and speeches clearly support the use of foreign law in making rulings.

When asked about pro-abortion briefs filed by the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (PRLSEF),
Sotomayor denied knowing about the briefs when internal documents from the PRLSEF, presented at the hearing, prove that Sotomayor sat on PRLSEF’s litigation committee and helped prepare lengthy documents outlining dozens of legal cases that the group had filed.

TVC concludes that
Sotomayor “…is a committed judicial activist who will impose her personal views on all Americans as a member of the U.S. Supreme Court,” and that during the recent confirmation hearings, Sotomayor was “…masking her radical liberal ideology behind a fa├žade of humility.”

+ Traditional Values Coalition, 139 "C" Street Southeast, Washington DC 20003, 202-547-8570, Fax: 202-546-6403, mail@traditionalvalues.org


[7] Glasgow, Scotland Homosexual Christian and Muslim Art Show Encourages Defacement of a Displayed Bible

A Bible and a container of pens was exhibited at the Glasgow, Scotland, Gallery of Modern Art (Goma), in an exhibit titled, “Made in God’s Image,” put together by organizations representing homosexual Christians and Muslims, along with an notice to visitors saying, “If you feel you have been excluded from the Bible, please write your way back into it.” Write the visitors did, including obscenities and profanities toward God, and satire of Genesis 1:1.

Critics including a spokesman for the Church of Scotland were not impressed by the art exhibition producers’ promises to remove the most offensive of the writing, instead asking why the exhibit was allowed to be staged in the first place. Susie Squire, of the TaxPayers' Alliance, commented: “People pay their council tax to get their [garbage] collected, not to fund pornography and destruction of religious texts.”

Goma additionally hosts the sh[OUT] project, which includes an exhibition featuring homosexual pornography and a series of “community outreach” events designed to tackle homophobia.

+ The Daily Mail, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT, England, 020-7938-6000, news@dailymail.co.uk

+ Church of Scotland, 121 George Street, Edinburgh, Scotland EH2 4YN, 0131-225-5722


[8] Church of Scotland Minister Resigns over Induction of Homosexual Minister at Aberdeen, Scotland’s Queen's Cross Church

Church of Scotland minister the Rev. Thomas Mackinnon has resigned as pastor of the Kilmuir and Logie Easter congregation, near Invergordon, Scotland, in protest of the Church of Scotland’s induction of a homosexual minister as the pastor of Queen’s Cross Church in Aberdeen, Scotland.

There is fear among some in the Church of Scotland that the recent appointment of a homosexual minister at Queen’s Cross Church could cause the greatest divide since the Disruption of 1843, when part of the Church of Scotland broke away to form the Free Church of Scotland.

+ Church of Scotland, 121 George Street, Edinburgh, Scotland EH2 4YN, 0131-225-5722

+ Free Church of Scotland, 15 North Bank Street, The Mound, Edinburgh, Scotland EH1 2LS, 0131-226-5286, Fax: 0131-220-0597, catherine@freechurchofscotland.org.uk


[9] Dutch Reformed Church and Reformed Church of Zimbabwe Congregations Battle over Church Building

Missionaries from the predominantly-Afrikaans Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) in South Africa established he first branch of the predominantly-black Reformed Church in Zimbabwe (RCZ) in Masvingo, Zimbabwe, in 1891, and the two church’s congregations in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe have shared the same premises ever since—until recently when the DRC congregation sent an eviction notice to the RCZ congregation, giving the RCZ until the end of August 2009 to move out of the church building. Though the RCZ became an autonomous denomination in 1977, the two Bulawayo, Zimbabwe congregations have continued to share the church building and have periodically held joint services since then.

Members of the RCZ are fighting the eviction, arguing that the two congregations were essentially one church. The RCZ congregants blame the problem on the latent racism of some in the DRC congregation, and described several incidents with the DRC congregation that led the RCZ congregants to their racially-based conclusion.

DRC officials and congregants declined to explain their actions to a journalist investigating the impasse between the two congregations.

+ The ZimDiaspora Limited, 19 Mortimer street, Derby DE24 8FW, England, 01332430593

+ Reformed Church in Zimbabwe

+ Dutch Reformed Church, Posbus 13528, Hatfield 0028, Pretoria, South Africa, 27-0-12-342-0092, Fax: 27-0-12-342-0380, algemenesinode@ngkerk.org.za


[10] Juan Carlos Gutierrez is First Nicaraguan Ordained as Presbyterian Pastor in Nicaragua


Juan Carlos Gutierrez was ordained on 4 July 2009 in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico, by the Peninsular Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church of Mexico, becoming the first Nicaraguan to be ordained as a Presbyterian Pastor in Nicaragua. Gutierrez was officially installed as Pastor of F. Iglesia Presbiteriana Shalom Nicaragua in Esteli, Nicaragua on 26 July 2009.


+ Martina and Emerson Wilson, PEF Missionaries and Founders, F. Iglesia Presbiteriana Shalom Nicaragua, Apartado 3, Esteli, Nicaragua

+ Presbyterian Evangelistic Fellowship, 425 State Street, Suite 312, Bristol, Virginia 24201, 276-591-5335, Fax: 276-591-5349, admin@pefministry.org

+ Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), 100 Witherspoon Street, Louisville, Kentucky 40202, 888-728-7228, Fax: 502-569-8005


[11] ReformingMinds Offering Free Download of Reformed Family Worship Book

In honor of 2009 being the 500th anniversary of the birth of John Calvin, Sergio and Ginny Youmans of Thousand Hills Farm and ReformingMinds publishing are offering a free download of their PDF-format Reformed Family Worship Book.

The Reformed Family Worship Book includes 1) Introductory material about Reformed theology, the names of some of the great Reformers, and some lasting effects of the Reformation; 2) The Lord's Prayer, the Apostles' Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Athanasian Creed, and the Ten Commandments for memorization; 3) The feasts and seasons of the church calendar from a Continental Reformed perspective; 4) Robert Murray McCheyne's Calendar for Daily Bible Reading, which reads through the entire Bible in one year and the New Testament and Psalms twice; and, 5) Three classic catechisms--the Heidelberg Catechism, the Catechism for Young Children, and the Westminster Shorter Catechism--and the schedules to study them throughout the school year.

While visiting the Thousand Hills Farm website, please take a look at the pictures of the Katahdin Hair Sheep raised on the farm, and visit the Home Education Page for links to homeschooling resources.

Ginny Youmans recently joined the editorial staff of the Christian Observer, and we bid Ginny a hearty welcome!

+ Thousand Hills Farm, Giles County, Tennessee, sergevirge@thousandhillsfarm.com


[12] Joel Beeke on “Practical Reasons for Retaining the King James Version

Emmanuel Church Salisbury – Evangelical and Reformed of Salisbury, Wiltshire, England, has published an article by Dr. Joel R. Beeke, president and professor of Systematic Theology and Homiletics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, titled “Practical Reasons for Retaining the King James Version.

+ Emmanuel Church Salisbury – Evangelical and Reformed
, 8 Wilton Road, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP2 7EE, England, 01722-322429,
contact-us1@salisburyemmanuel.org.uk

+
Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, 2965 Leonard Street Northeast, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49525, 616-977-0599, Fax: 616-285-3246, info@puritanseminary.org


[13] New Wineskins Convocation VI Details Announced

The New Wineskins Association of Churches (NWAC) Convocation VI conference "Gathered to be with Him, Sent to be like Him," based on Mark 3-6, is scheduled for 4-6 October 2009 at the Signal Mountain Presbyterian Church in Signal Mountain, Tennessee. The featured speaker will be Greg Ogden. Greg is the Executive Pastor of Discipleship at Christ Church of Oak Brook, Illinois, and the author of Transforming Discipleship.

NWAC participants on Monday 5 October will be sent into a variety of mission sites to serve in the Chattanooga, Tennessee area. The convocation will gather at the river the same evening for a celebration dinner, and several experiences of living in the NWAC vision of a missional church will be shared.

+ New Wineskins Association of Churches, 8800 Peebles Road, Allison Park, Pennsylvania 15101, 888-754-9693, info@newwineskinsassociation.org


[14] Second Reformed Church of Pekin, Illinois Celebrates 135th Anniversary

Second Reformed Church (SRC) of Pekin, Illinois, originally German Reformed Church, celebrated its 135th anniversary on 25 July 2009 with activities including an ice cream social, a variety show, and the ringing of SRC’s German-inscribed bell.

German immigrants desiring to worship in their native language began meeting in homes and community buildings in 1874, then in 1876 built the first church building.
The church bell was installed in 1884, and is inscribed with a German translation of “The Lord God is a sun and shield,” from Psalm 84:11.

Though SRC has long since moved to services in English, SRC traces their origins to the Protestant Reformation and to the Reformed Church which came to America in 1628. SRC is a
Reformed Church in America congregation, and describes SRC as a mainline evangelical church whose motto for the past 135 years has been “Christ is Lord, and this is his church.”

+ Pekin Daily Times, 20 South 4th Street, Pekin, Illinois 61554, 309-346-1111, Fax: 309-346-1446, gratliff@pekintimes.com

+ Reformed Church in America,
4500 60th Street Southeast, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49512, 800-968-6065, questions@rca.org


[15] Alberta, Canada CRC Church Fights Reintroduction of Video Lottery Terminals into Town Bars and Lounges

Pastor Len Batterink of the First Christian Reformed Church of Rocky Mountain House,
Alberta, Canada, is the spokesman for one of several town churches fighting the reintroduction of Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs) into Rocky Mountain House’s bars and lounges. A 1997 plebiscite, by a two-to-one margin, removed VLTs from the town’s drinking establishments.

Pastor Batterink explained the churches’ opposition to the VLTs, saying: "We understand that it's not for us to legislate what the whole town does with its free time and we're not here to run the moral behaviours of everybody in Rocky Mountain House, but the VLT is a particularly toxic kind of gambling machine. They generate very large revenues, but on the backs of a significant number of problem gamblers."

Six of Rocky Mountain House’s town bars gathered the signatures of ten percent of the populace, forcing a new plebiscite on whether or not to bring back VLTs. The 27 July 2009 vote again rejected VLTs, this time by more than a three-to-one margin.

+ Calgary Herald, 215 16th Street Southeast,
Calgary, Alberta T2E 7P5, Canada, 403-235-7323, Fax: 403-235-7379, calgaryherald@reachcanada.com

+ Christian Reformed Church in North America, 2850 Kalamazoo Avenue Southeast, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49560, 616-241-1691, Fax: 616-224-0803 crcna@crcna.org