This is the International Christian Herald podcast. Here are the top stories you need to know about today.
According to the Christian Post, China has issued strict new guidelines banning film and television programs including instances of miracles and healing — a move some fear will outlaw Christian content completely. According to UCA News, the National Administration of Radio and Television, which controls the content on radio, film, and TV aired in China, recently passed new regulations banning 20 categories of content, including material promoting fabricated history, sacred relics, demonic possessions, and instances of faith and healing. A filmmaker working with the church’s film and television industry said the new guidelines “almost entirely ban” faith-based content. The filmmaker, who identified himself as Joseph, told UCA News: “If we film the life of Jesus, avoiding the content banned by the guidelines, we will only be presenting Jesus as an ordinary person, and this is unacceptable to Christians.”
According to the AP, A church volunteer was detained and charged by French authorities Sunday, after he told investigators that he was responsible for an arson attack that badly damaged a 15th-century Gothic cathedral. The man had previously been questioned and then released after the July 18 blaze that destroyed the organ, shattered stained-glass windows, and blackened the insides of the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul in the western French city of Nantes. Detained again this weekend for further questioning, the volunteer church worker admitted responsibility for the fire, said his lawyer, Quentin Chabert. “He confessed to the allegations against him which, as the prosecutor indicated, are causing destruction and damage by fire,” the lawyer told France Info radio. “He regrets the facts. That is certain. He is in a sort of repentance.”1
According to the Christian Post, A member of China’s Early Rain Covenant Church says the Chinese Communist Party continues to persecute members of the church by threatening to send their children to government re-education camps or forcibly remove adopted children from their parents. In a video released Wednesday alongside a new report by International Christian Concern, Liao Qiang, a member of ERCC in Chengdu, said that despite shuttering the church and jailing Pastor Wang Yi in December of 2018, the CCP continues to harass its members. Qiang said in the video accompanying ICC’s new report on Religious Suppression in China that his family was forced to leave China and flee to Taiwan with his extended family “because the Chinese Communist Party is limitless in its persecution.” “They not only threatened us, normal adult, normal church members, but they threatened our children,” Qiang said. “Some of our members have adopted children, and CPC forcibly sent the adoptive children back to the original family. That is the main reason why we fled China. Because we can’t guarantee our adopted child would not be taken away by them.”
According to Assist News, At least 27 people were killed within a 24-hour period between 19 and 20 July in attacks by armed assailants of Fulani ethnicity on communities in southern Kaduna state, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide. CSW reports that on 20 July approximately nine people were killed and an unknown number were injured and displaced following an attack on Gora Gan village in Zangon Kataf Local Government Area (LGA) which occurred at around 7.00pm. On 19 July Fulani assailants armed with guns and machetes attacked a wedding reception at a home in Kukum Daji village in the Kaura LGA at around 10.30pm, killing 15 and injuring around 30 people. Most of the victims were young people. Several survivors received treatment in medical facilities in Kafanchan, while others were transported to Barau Dikko Hospital in Kaduna metropolis, where three later died, raising the death toll to 18.
According to the Christian Post, A young Pakistani Christian girl was nearly abducted from her home earlier this month when a radical group of Muslim men attacked her entire family, according to a U.S.-based Christian persecution watchdog. International Christian Concern reported the near abduction of the 13-year-old daughter of Aslam Masih and Noreen Bibi in the Christian-majority neighborhood of Sadigabad in Pakistan’s Punjab province on July 12. Masih and his family were violently attacked by a mob of 12 men who broke into their home and tried to kidnap his daughter, Noor, who they planned to rape and forcefully convert to Islam. According to ICC, a man named Muhammad Irfan led the group of armed men. Bibi told the organization that Ifran would often express sexual interest in her young daughter. According to Bibi, her husband was injured in the attack and hasn’t received medical care to treat his wounds.
According to Christianity Today, The United States is on track to welcome the fewest refugees since its resettlement policy was formalized in 1980, by a substantial margin. Capped at 18,000 people for 2020—the lowest ceiling on record—the US has resettled 7,600 refugees, with only three months left in the fiscal year. According to a joint report released today by World Relief and Open Doors USA, persecuted minorities representing a variety of religions have been harmed by the decline in resettlement. “Among those most disadvantaged have been Christian refugees from the countries where Christians face the most severe persecution in the world,” the report states. So far in 2020, the US has resettled fewer than 950 Christians from the 50 countries where it is hardest to be a Christian, according to Open Doors’s annual World Watch List. At this rate, the US will receive 90-percent fewer Christian refugees this year than five years ago.
According to the Christian Post, A woman in India who had recently converted to Christianity was brutally murdered by four youths associated with a Hindu fanatic group, marking the fifth religiously motivated killing of a Christian in the country in less than two months. UCA News reports that four youths were arrested in connection with the murder of a Christian woman, Suman Munda, 25, killed in Redhadi, a village in Khunti district, on July 19. A local pastor who requested anonymity told International Christian Concern that Munda converted to Christianity six years ago. After learning of her conversion, radical Hindu nationalists started harassing her. When relatives visited Munda’s house they could not find her, they later discovered her body at a deserted place near her home. “I suspect that it is the handiwork of a Hindu fanatic group. Christians here have been facing a serious threat from it. The fanatic group is asking us to go back to Hinduism. We are scared and our people are shattered,” Bishop Binay Kandulna of Khunti told UCA News.
In closing, remember, God loves you. He always has and He always will. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you don’t know Jesus as your Saviour, today is a good day to get to know Him. Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead for you. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Thanks so much for listening and may God bless your day!