||FIRST, THE NEWS:
NATIONAL TREASURE: THE FIRST BIBLE IN LATVIAN (VIDEO)
from: Public Broadcasting of Latvia
(25 Aug) The first Bible in Latvian, translated by Ernst Glück and published in the late 17th century, was a great event for Latvian culture, Gustavs Strenga, leading researcher at the Latvian National Library looked at the book for the Latvian Radio strand showcasing six Latvian books from six centuries.
As the Protestant Reformation accelerated in northern Europe and Martin Luther became an authority in the Protestant Church, he emphasized the word of God in his teachings. The Bible was translated into the languages of the larger northern countries in the early 16th century, however the Bible was translated fully into Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian only in the 17th century.
In 1682, a theologian named Johann Fischer from Lübeck, Germany arrived to Latvia and set off to have the Bible translated into Latvian. He turned to the King of Sweden who provided considerable sums for translations into Latvian, and two dialects of Estonian. The Bible was translated into the three languages simultaneously, and Ernst Glück had translated parts of it by 1689 when the New Testament was released, albeit not made available to the general public. [read more...]
KAZAKHSTAN: "ATTRACTING CHILDREN" AN OFFENSE?
by Felix Corley: Forum 18 News Service
(23 Aug) Two congregations belonging to the Baptist Union in West Kazakhstan Region were raided by officials in early July as they held summer camps for their own and invited local children. Officials and local journalists they brought along claim the churches were attracting young people, that children might have been present at a religious event without their parents' consent and that foreigners were present as "missionaries" without having the required state permission. The raids left the children feeling "frightened," the pastor of one of the congregations complained.
In Kostanai [Qostanay] Region a court fined a Pentecostal Pastor in mid-July after a church member brought her granddaughter to the Church's children's summer programme with written permission from the child's mother. The mother later called the police and denied she had granted permission. Anti-Extremism Police, ordinary police and the transport police then visited the church, after which the case was brought against the Pastor. Children's summer camps run by religious organisations are often raided. Hostile media coverage of the religious organisation often follows.
In July 2015 about 20 police officers, Prosecutor's Office officials and Education Department officials raided a church-run children's summer camp near Kazakhstan's second city Almaty. Officials frightened the children and "behaved like they were detaining some criminals," Pastor Sergei Li of Kapshagai Baptist Church told Forum 18. "One seven-year old girl was frightened and cried, and after that I told them to stop questioning the children." Asked why Almaty TV channel and its subsidiary attacked the Baptist Church without a right of reply and to the distress of members, Deputy Chief Editor Tatyana Lisitskaya responded: "The authorities gave us the materials for broadcast." Pastor Li was fined in January 2016 because foreigners had been present at the camp without personal registration as "missionaries." [read more...]
(25 Aug) At St Sophia Cathedral, the leaders of churches and religious organizations prayed for the Ukrainian state, peace and prosperity, for God's protection and blessing for the Ukrainian military servicemen.
The prayer for Ukraine was said by Metropolitan Anthony of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, representative of the Ecumenical Patriarch Antony, Patriarch Filaret of Kyiv and All Rus-Ukraine, Primate of the the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Archbishop Sviatoslav (Shevchuk) of Kyiv and Galicia, Primate of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Metropolitan Onufry of Kyiv and all Ukraine, Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Makariy of Kyiv and all Ukraine, Primate of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, Chairman of the all-Ukrainian association of Evangelical Christians-Baptists Valery Antoniuk, Mufti of the Religious Administration of Muslims of Ukraine Tamim Ahmed and Chief Rabbi of Kyiv and Ukraine Yaakov Dov Bleich.
The presidential couple lit the candles. Together with the head of state and his family the prayer service was attended by Parliament Speaker Andriy Parubiy, First Deputy Prime Minister - Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine Stepan Kubiv, Foreign Minister of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin, Secretary of National Security and Defense Alexander Turchynov and Kyiv Mayor, Head of Kyiv City State Administration Vitaliy Klitschko. It was reported by the official website of the President. [read more...]
RUSSIA: PUNISHMENTS UNDER ANTI-SHARING BELIEFS LAW BEGIN
by Victoria Arnold: Forum 18 News Service
(25 Aug) The first known punishments have now been handed down under Russia's new amendments punishing sharing beliefs, which came into force on 20 July. In a case in Tver, a foreign citizen legally resident in Russia has been heavily fined, but was not ordered deported. His conviction and the grounds for it leave an ever more confused picture of how this new legislation will be put into practice, Forum 18 notes. In the Mari-El Republic a Pentecostal leader is due to face a Magistrate's Court on the afternoon of 29 August.
These individuals are known to have been charged so far under the new provisions of the Administrative Code, Article 5.26, Part 4 and Part 5. These are (name; religious affiliation; location; date charged; Administrative Code Article; trial date and result):
Ebenezer Tuah; Protestant; Tver; 31 July; Article 5.26, Part 5; 1 August fined.
Aleksandr Yakimov; Pentecostal; Mari-El Republic; 5 August; Article 5.26, Part 4; 29 August due in court.
Donald Ossewaarde; Baptist; Oryol; 14 August; Article 5.26, Part 5; 14 August fined.
Administrative Code Article 5.26, Part 4 punishes "the conducting of missionary activity in violation of [the Religion Law]." For individuals, this carries a fine of 5,000 to 50,000 Rubles - for religious organisations, a fine of 100,000 to 1 million Rubles. The new Part 5 fines foreign and stateless persons 30,000 to 50,000 Rubles for the same "offense", and the possibility of deportation from the Russian Federation. The new Part 3 fines religious organisations 30,000 to 50,000 Rubles for activities (including the distribution of literature) carried out without displaying their official full names. [read more...]
SYRIAN ORTHODOX LEADER ASKS RUSSIA TO HELP WITH RELEASE OF CAPTURED METROPOLITANS
(24 Aug) Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, a leader of Syrian Christians and patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church, has asked Russia to assist in the release of the metropolitans captured in Syria three years ago. The issue was addressed in a meeting between the patriarch and Russian Ambassador to Syria Alexander Kinshchak, the press service for the Syro-Jacobite Church said. "In light of the recent successes on the battleground near Aleppo, and also the improvement of relations between Russia and Turkey, His Holiness called on the Russian government to resume efforts on that track [the hierarchs' release]," the report said.
Militants from the Syrian military opposition captured Metropolitan Paul of Aleppo, the brother of John X, Patriarch of Antioch, and John Ibrahim, the Syro-Jacobite Metropolitan of Aleppo, near Aleppo in April 2013. Their driver, a deacon, was killed. They had been involved in humanitarian operations in the village of Kafr Dael, located near the Syrian-Turkish border. The media periodically publish reports stating that the hierarchs have been released or killed. [read more...]
RUSSIA'S NEW EDUCATION MINISTER GIVES STALIN A NOD
from: VOA News
(25 Aug) President Vladimir Putin’s choice of Olga Vasilyeva as Russia’s education and science minister is proving to be one of his more controversial cabinet appointments, at least for the country’s human rights activists and some representatives of religious minorities. Vasilyeva, historian of the Russian Orthodox Church, wrote her doctoral dissertation on Soviet state policy toward the church during 1942-48, when dictator Josef Stalin ruled the Soviet Union.
In late June, while she was still working as deputy chief of the presidential directorate for public projects, Vasilyeva was quoted as saying during an address to a youth forum that the most important thing for teachers of the social sciences and humanities was the “worldview platform” on which they stand. “It is impossible to build the future without a foundation, and that foundation is patriotism — anything else is unimaginable,” she was quoted as saying.
In the same speech, Vasilyeva was highly critical of Ogonyok (Small Flame), the Moscow magazine that became an important proponent of democratic change in the Soviet Union in the late 1980s, but she referred positively to Stalin, saying he “revived patriotism.” It is no surprise that opponents of Russia’s current president were outraged when Vasilyeva was named education and science minister on August 19. [read more...]
OTHER NEWS HEADLINES:
KAZAKHSTAN: WILL JUDGE PUNISH PRAYING PENSIONERS?
from Forum 18 News Service
UKRAINIAN PASTOR TO BE DEPORTED FROM RUSSIA
from Religious Information Service of Ukraine
PATRIARCH KIRILL CONGRATULATES POROSHENKO ON INDEPENDENCE DAY, HOPES FOR DEVELOPMENT OF CHURCH-STATE INTERACTION
NOYABRSK CASE: BAPTISTS FINED FOR EVANGELISM IN HOUSE OF WORSHIP
from Religia i Pravo
HUMANITARIAN AID DELIVERED TO THE VALLEY OF CHRISTIANS IN SYRIA FROM MOSCOW PATRIARCHATE
from Russian Orthodox Church - Moscow Patriarchate
EVANGELISM THROUGH STORYTELLING IN CENTRAL ASIA
from Mission Eurasia
PATRIARCH KIRILL WARNS AGAINST PUBLICIZING “DESTRUCTIVE IDEAS” ON THE INTERNET
GEORGIA: GATHERING PITS LGBT COMMUNITY AGAINST 'PRO-FAMILY,' ANTI-GAY SUPPORTERS (VIDEO)
THE SECRETS OF BELL RINGING AT RUSSIA'S CATHEDRAL OF CHRIST THE SAVIOUR (VIDEO)
from Russia Beyond the Headlines
RUSSIA RESTRICTS RELIGIOUS FREEDOM ...AGAIN
from THE BLAZE
See HOSKEN-NEWS Daily News & Views for more of the latest news!
NOW, OUR VIEWS:
Here's our new "Daily News & Views" (← click!) section of Hosken-News: there's a link to it on our Hosken-News home page and at at the top of our newsletters. Please visit this page during the week and check my Social Media streams for the latest posts. This week we've added "thumbnail" photos of each news article, as shown below. Let's "Reclaim The Narrative" in society, not retreat into a "holy huddle" echo chamber, by you Sharing these articles via your Email and/or Social Media contacts!
- and go to Daily News & Views for more!
We thank the Lord for the Holy Scriptures that were made available in the three tiny Baltic countries of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. (We've visited beautiful Latvia and Estonia several times to get new visas for Russia during our 17 years there.) The big thrust for mass publishing of the Scriptures was made possible by Gutenberg's invention of the printing press in 1440: see Johannes Gutenberg's Information Revolution. By the time of Martin Luther's Protestant Reformation (perhaps better described as a "Revolution") in 1517, the printing press was an accepted part of European culture: people took it for granted, but that reformation/revolution would have been impossible without the printing press. Ever since then, any attempt to sieze power has involved taking control of the press: by controlling the information that the people can read, a regime can control what they think. Thank the Lord for the Internet that allows conservative Christians to take back control of the information fed to us!
In our news articles KAZAKHSTAN: "ATTRACTING CHILDREN" AN OFFENSE? and RUSSIA: PUNISHMENTS UNDER ANTI-SHARING BELIEFS LAW BEGIN we see the return of the anti-religious policies of the former USSR: forbidding children to attend church, and outlawing public "missionary work" (evangelism) outside the four walls of a church. The old Soviet anti-religious policies never really went away: in the non-Russian republics of the former USSR these policies remained in force, but in post-Soviet Russia there was a several-year period in which both indigenous and foreign missionaries could function openly. Toward the end of our 17 years in Russia, street evangelism was outlawed, and now any kind of sharing one's faith with non-believers is being prosecuted. Thankfully, Ukraine is still able to practice freedom of religion: see ON ITS 25TH INDEPENDENCE DAY UKRAINIANS PRAYED FOR UKRAINE.
We in the West should be thankful for the religious freedom that we still have, and even more we should make use of the free expression of our religious faith, as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the laws of most other countries in the West. We can't have "religious freedom for me, but not for you" - it must be for all who agree to play by the rules of religious toleration. This does not imply relativism, but rather respect. If we allow ourselves to be "painted into a corner" by Leftists who scream - "Don't shove your religion down other people's throats!" and by "Freedom from Religion" advocates, we will gradually have this most important right strictly limited. Be aware that already some of our politicians are redefining "Freedom of Religion" to mean only the right to attend worship within the four walls of our churches: we must stand up for and insist on full, public freedom of expression of our faith!
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Incremental Socialism: the Frog in the Kettle
For a decade already (see our 18 Dec. 2006 and 17 Apr. 2016 issues), we've used this metaphor and image to remind our readers of how depriving people of their religious freedom works. Nowadays it very likely does not come on suddenly, by throwing people into a bonfire like in the Early Church times of Christian persecution. Rather, it is brought on incrementally, by gradually increasing the "temperature" - the public pressure against free expression of our Christian faith. Some will openly rail against traditional Christians as "those people who cling to their Bibles and their guns" and "right-wing religious fundamentalists" who are lumped together with "fundamentalist Islamist terrorists" as we see in the "anti-extremism" laws in the former USSR. These kinds of laws are coming in the West too, as a result of recent terrorist attacks here.
But more often, the Leftist "Liberal" press will publicize statements by politicians who tell us that "freedom of religion" is merely the right to attend whatever church you want on Sunday morning, as long as the pastor doesn't preach anything that's not "politically correct" - see A Pastor Fights Against Government Restrictions on Political Sermons. These politicians will say you can worship as you choose, but just "Don't force your beliefs on others" - see Doctors Sue Administration for Forcing Them to Perform Gender Transition Procedures and Congress Must Protect Religious Liberty Now More than Ever.
Before my wife and I moved to Russia, we led a non-profit organization called Christian Action with a newsletter that was quite similar to Hosken-News. One of my articles was entitled "Gradualism" that explained how Socialism in the West is being introduced gradually, incrementally, by one small decree or law or regulation or executive order after another. At that time, 25 years ago, we already had Social Security, Medicare, the U.S. Department of Education, and the infamous "Roe versus Wade" U.S. Supreme Court decision. One of our Christian Action board members denied that this "gradualism" was actually happening, and he was so upset that he resigned from the board. Let's "fast-forward" to the present: now we have "No Child Left Behind" socialist education, LGBTQ rights even in the military, legalized "Gay Marriage" sodomy, and government-funded abortions mandated by the "Affordable Care Act" - illegal under the Hyde Amendment, but the current Leftist "Liberal" platform proposes the elimination of that "inconvenient" Hyde Amendment. Where did all this come from?
CONTINUE READING in our Hosken-News Blog, and write your COMMENTS there!
Please remember to pray for Christians in the former Soviet bloc countries, and for...
Bob & Cheryl
p.s. The answer to the ever-present "Why?" is the everlasting Who.