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More than half of Christians in UK experience ‘hostility and ridicule’ for faith: study

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More than half of Christians in the United Kingdom claim to have experienced hostility and ridicule for their faith, according to a study released Thursday.

The report, titled “The Costs of Keeping the Faith,” was compiled by the nonprofit Voice for Justice UK (VfJUK) and found that of the more than 1,500 respondents from different Christian denominations and age groups, 56% reported negative pushback for sharing their beliefs in some capacity.

Of those under 35, that number jumped to 61%.

“Bullying was also reported,” reads an executive summary of the report’s findings. “Christians did not feel free to express their views at work. The younger generation appeared to have had more of these negative experiences than the older generation, suggesting that things were getting worse.”

While acknowledging the theoretical legal safeguards for free speech in the U.K., the study claimed the country has exhibited “some of the highest levels of intolerance and discrimination against Christians in Europe,” which researchers attributed to hate speech laws that have led to a prevalence of “harassment, self-censorship, direct and indirect discrimination.”

The third chapter of the study delves into discrimination, which researchers noted is increasingly reported among younger Christians in the U.K. Some of the difficulties were reported in the workplace and ranged from being forced to work unnecessarily on a Sunday to being effectively forced to keep their Christian beliefs to themselves for fear of retribution.

The fourth chapter dedicates special attention to the National Health Service (NHS), which has seen repeated incidents of Christian employees being punished, such as Mary Onuoha, who sued after being forced to resign from a London hospital for wearing a cross necklace.

The study also goes on to explore some of the anti-Christian sentiment in U.K. education, where Christian parents and teachers say they feel increasingly shut out and discriminated against.

The study suggests the situation in the mainstream churches is no better, with the ninth chapter of the study exploring how many of them are “adopting progressive, secular ideologies, with the result that laity can feel discriminated against and are increasingly leaving them.”

Many of the Christians surveyed who held to a biblical standard did not identify with any particular Christian denomination, the researchers noted.

The study found that much of the cultural hostility toward Christians in the U.K. emerges from LBGT ideology and that most of the younger Christians they interviewed who reported worsening persecution also held to a firm belief in biblical teachings regarding sexuality, gender and marriage.

“Our research showed that when it comes to beliefs about marriage, sex, and gender, while the rest of society was swept along by progressive ideologies, most Christians appear to have remained steadfast to orthodox Christian faith,” the researchers wrote. “Counterintuitively, it was often the younger generation who had more traditional views than the older generation.”

“This set Christians on a collision course with progressives,” they added.

The Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians (OIDAC) in Europe issued a statement noting how the study’s “alarming” findings echo some of the trends the observatory has discovered regarding the rise of anti-Christian sentiment in historically Christian countries.

The OIDAC in Europe, the OIDAC in Latin America and the International Institute for Religious Freedom compiled a report in 2022 titled “Perceptions on Self-Censorship: Confirming and Understanding the ‘Chilling Effect,'” which found that many Christians in such countries are silencing themselves.

To avoid general and vague assessments, the researchers limited themselves to European Christians in France and Germany and Latin American Christians in Mexico and Colombia.

They found that despite the lack of overt, physical persecution, many Christians in those countries were self-censoring their beliefs to avoid more subtle and pervasive persecution, which the study likened to “death by a thousand cuts.”

“A few cuts do not kill you and barely hurt,” researchers said at the time. “But continuous small strikes eventually have an impact. We posit that the accumulation of seemingly insignificant incidents creates an environment in which Christians do not feel comfortable — to some degree — to live their faith freely.”

“Indeed, Western Christians experience a ‘chilling effect’ resulting from perceived pressures in their cultural environment, related to widely mediatized court cases,” they added.

The number of Christians in the U.K. has been declining, according to a 2022 survey of more than 3,000 U.K. adults commissioned by five Christian organizations.

According to data released by the U.K.’s Office for National Statistics that year, less than half of the population identifies as Christian for the first time since the country’s first census in 1801.

The data showed that only 46.2% — or 27.5 million of the country’s more than 67 million people — say they are Christian. In the 2011 census, 59.3% of the population — or 33.3 million people — described themselves as Christian.
Sources:Christian Post

http://theendtimeradio.com

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Concerning Stats Reveal Why Knowing Scripture Is So Important

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Believers serious about following Jesus need to understand Scripture.

That’s the argument Dr. Peter Bylsma, author of “The Bible I Never Knew: A Closer Look At Christianity’s Main Themes,” made on a recent episode of CBN’s “Faith vs. Culture.”

A survey released last year by the American Bible Society found a majority of Americans wish they cracked the covers of their Bibles more often. The State of the Bible analysis showed more than half (52%) of Americans aspire to reading Scripture more regularly, CBN News reported.

More than a quarter of them, though, said they just “don’t have enough time” to do it.

Perhaps even more concerning is only 6% of professing Christians hold to a biblical worldview, with the overwhelming majority (96%) choosing syncretism, a “term used to describe a customized blend of philosophies of life that a person pieces together for their own satisfaction,” the survey explained.

Failing to study and understand the themes of the Bible, Bylsma asserted, shows a lack of seriousness about following Jesus and adhering to Christianity.

“Our culture is working against us,” he explained. “In fact, we don’t even realize we are in a culture that is influencing us in different ways. For a person to take on a different perspective based on Scripture … [you need] a network of people who are thinking like you and can support one another because the message of the Gospel and the message of the Bible are countercultural and that is hard to live in today’s society.”

Another concern is New Age philosophies creeping into Christianity.

A Pew Research Center survey from 2018 found six-in-10 Christians believe in at least one of four of the New Age themes outlined in the study: “Believe spiritual energy can be located in physical things,” “believe in psychics,” “believe in reincarnation,” and “believe in astrology.”

Additionally, a YouGov poll released in late 2022 found 87% of Americans believe in at least one belief that falls loosely under the umbrella of “new-age spiritualism.” The study found more than half of respondents (55%) said they believe karma is real, with 41% believing in hypnosis, 39% believing in UFOs and extraterrestrials, and 29% believing in the “law of attraction,” known by many as “manifesting.”

It’s often a failure to understand Scripture and the tenets of the Christian faith that result in those who claim to follow Jesus espousing beliefs antithetical to Christianity. While many come to faith without a deep knowledge of the Bible, it’s critical they, upon salvation, invest in understanding Scripture and the teachings of Jesus.

“We usually come to Christ in a simple way, usually not having counted the cost, usually not having a knowledge of what you’re getting yourself into,” Bylsma said. “You jump in and then you have that relationship and then you think that’s enough. And I would say the church doesn’t really do a good job of nurturing mature Christians.”

“Some of the churches I go to kind of have the same themes over and over,” he continued. “I would say it’s elementary; it’s almost spiritual milk. And there really needs to be a deeper dive into the concepts and the themes [of the Bible]. Twenty minutes once a week just doesn’t do it.”

It’s tempting, he continued, to feel satiated in just knowing a handful of Bible passages. But those who believe they are saved and are desiring of a relationship with Jesus “need to go further.”

To make his case, he pointed to the teachings of the Apostle Paul.

In 1 Corinthians 13:11, he wrote, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me” (NIV). Paul’s point was that, as believers continue in the Christian faith, they should mature spiritually.

The central — and most important — theme of the Bible, of course, is the message of Jesus. Everything throughout Scripture, in both the Old and New Testaments, points to God becoming a man, taking on the insurmountable debt sinful humanity could not pay by dying on the cross and rising from the grave three days later.

Believers who have accepted Jesus as their savior ought to invest time in truly understanding the whole of Scripture, knowing that it is fundamentally transformational. It is, as Hebrews 4:12 explains, “alive and active” and “sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (NIV).
Sources:faithwire

http://theendtimeradio.com

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Bible Museum’s New Worship Exhibit Gives Viewers a ‘Foretaste of Heaven’

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There’s something new at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., just in time for the busy summer season. It’s a worship experience like you’ve never seen or heard before.

It’s called “All Creation Sings” and is inspired by Psalm 148 which declares, “Let them praise the name of the Lord!” It’s a 45-minute experience posing the question: What is worship?

Garrett Hinton, Chief Revenue Officer at the Museum of the Bible, says, “When somebody says worship to me, my mind immediately goes to the thing that we do at church on Sundays before the pastor gets up and gives the sermon. That’s worship and indeed, that is worship. But as the Bible talks about worship, it’s so much more than that. So the story is the story of the Bible, and it’s taking you from Creation or Genesis all the way to Revelation.”

Using the latest light detection and 3D laser technology, you can literally interact with the walls.

“Suddenly I’m a little kid again and I could go and create and paint on the walls at the beginning and at the end of this story,” Hinton explained.

The Museum of the Bible teamed up with a group called CREATR to feature some of Christian music’s biggest names for this project.

“So you think of people like Jackie Hill Perry, Tasha Cobbs, Brandon Lake, Kari Job, Cody Carnes, Phil Wickham, Brooke Ligertwood, Chris Tomlin. It is the who’s who that have come together to create this organization called CREATR, lending their voices to this before you go into the experience, really setting up the experience so that your heart and your mind is prepared to talk about worship and what it is and who deems it worthy,” Hinton said.

“A Heavenly Experience”

“All Creation Sings” is not so much an exhibit but an experience. It takes guests on a journey through four acts, immersing them in a worship adventure that can only be described as heavenly.

Mother and daughter, Laura and Madison DeMichael from Ohio were enthralled.

“To see the Word of God come alive in front of me and just to be a part of that cacophony of praise, like they said in the beginning, it is a continual praise that is echoing to our Lord and our Savior, beyond a shadow of a doubt, it was an experience by far,” Laura told us.

Her daughter Madison said, “Oh, it was incredible, I’ve never seen anything like it, all the colors, all the sounds.”

When asked if it felt like a little foretaste of heaven Laura said, “Oh absolutely, absolutely, to just be a part of it and have it surrounding you.” Madison added “It makes me excited to see what heaven will be like, but not yet!” she said.

Sixth graders from our Lady of Victory School in Washington, D.C. appeared captivated by the experience.

Twelve-year-old Eleanor Rooney, thought the interactive part was really cool. “I’ve been to an interactive thing like that before, but not all around and with the screens and the projectors and everything, it was amazing,” she said.

Classmate Alex Vassallo, also 12, said, “I think it was amazing and it was kind of out of this world. My favorite part was probably the running around and touching the walls,” he said.

Sixth grader Chat Dakat added, “It was so awesome. There were all the colors and all the lights and the sounds. It was one of the most amazing things I’ve been to so far in my life,” she said.

And 12-year-old Sofia Bohr added, “It was fantastic, actually. There were all these colors and the animation, and I just really loved it.”

For their teacher, Jenna Drummond, it helped bring to life the Old Testament stories she’s been teaching her students.

“It was really awesome to see it 360 all around different walls and then seeing all my students just in awe of everything, that just brought me a lot of joy. But also going back to what we’ve been talking about all year, I teach religion for sixth grade, which is Old Testament. So, the Creation story, how we continue that in our daily lives now, and how we continue to pay that forward,” she said.

“Worship Is Our Purpose”

And for the Bible Museum, it’s a way to focus guests on our original purpose as children of God.

Matthias Walther, Chief Marketing Officer at the Museum of the Bible, told us, “Worship is our purpose. That’s what we’re created for. So, God created us, and he created our universe. That’s where it all starts. And I think to discover this, to see the greatness of our Creation, the greatness of God’s design in our existence, it takes you to a humble, really reflective place. And I think that’s always a good starting point to kind of find your space in the context of our existence of this world. And I think that’s specifically attractive for people who don’t have a faith background because it gives them a new North Star to understand, ‘So, what on earth am I here for?'” Walther said.

The “All Creation Sings” exhibit will be at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C. for the foreseeable future.
Sources:faithwire

http://theendtimeradio.com

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Concerning Stats Reveal Why Knowing Scripture Is So Important

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on

Believers serious about following Jesus need to understand Scripture.

That’s the argument Dr. Peter Bylsma, author of “The Bible I Never Knew: A Closer Look At Christianity’s Main Themes,” made on a recent episode of CBN’s “Faith vs. Culture.”

A survey released last year by the American Bible Society found a majority of Americans wish they cracked the covers of their Bibles more often. The State of the Bible analysis showed more than half (52%) of Americans aspire to reading Scripture more regularly, CBN News reported.

More than a quarter of them, though, said they just “don’t have enough time” to do it.

Perhaps even more concerning is only 6% of professing Christians hold to a biblical worldview, with the overwhelming majority (96%) choosing syncretism, a “term used to describe a customized blend of philosophies of life that a person pieces together for their own satisfaction,” the survey explained.

Failing to study and understand the themes of the Bible, Bylsma asserted, shows a lack of seriousness about following Jesus and adhering to Christianity.

“Our culture is working against us,” he explained. “In fact, we don’t even realize we are in a culture that is influencing us in different ways. For a person to take on a different perspective based on Scripture … [you need] a network of people who are thinking like you and can support one another because the message of the Gospel and the message of the Bible are countercultural and that is hard to live in today’s society.”

Another concern is New Age philosophies creeping into Christianity.

A Pew Research Center survey from 2018 found six-in-10 Christians believe in at least one of four of the New Age themes outlined in the study: “Believe spiritual energy can be located in physical things,” “believe in psychics,” “believe in reincarnation,” and “believe in astrology.”

Additionally, a YouGov poll released in late 2022 found 87% of Americans believe in at least one belief that falls loosely under the umbrella of “new-age spiritualism.” The study found more than half of respondents (55%) said they believe karma is real, with 41% believing in hypnosis, 39% believing in UFOs and extraterrestrials, and 29% believing in the “law of attraction,” known by many as “manifesting.”

It’s often a failure to understand Scripture and the tenets of the Christian faith that result in those who claim to follow Jesus espousing beliefs antithetical to Christianity. While many come to faith without a deep knowledge of the Bible, it’s critical they, upon salvation, invest in understanding Scripture and the teachings of Jesus.

“We usually come to Christ in a simple way, usually not having counted the cost, usually not having a knowledge of what you’re getting yourself into,” Bylsma said. “You jump in and then you have that relationship and then you think that’s enough. And I would say the church doesn’t really do a good job of nurturing mature Christians.”

“Some of the churches I go to kind of have the same themes over and over,” he continued. “I would say it’s elementary; it’s almost spiritual milk. And there really needs to be a deeper dive into the concepts and the themes [of the Bible]. Twenty minutes once a week just doesn’t do it.”

It’s tempting, he continued, to feel satiated in just knowing a handful of Bible passages. But those who believe they are saved and are desiring of a relationship with Jesus “need to go further.”

To make his case, he pointed to the teachings of the Apostle Paul.

In 1 Corinthians 13:11, he wrote, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me” (NIV). Paul’s point was that, as believers continue in the Christian faith, they should mature spiritually.

The central — and most important — theme of the Bible, of course, is the message of Jesus. Everything throughout Scripture, in both the Old and New Testaments, points to God becoming a man, taking on the insurmountable debt sinful humanity could not pay by dying on the cross and rising from the grave three days later.

Believers who have accepted Jesus as their savior ought to invest time in truly understanding the whole of Scripture, knowing that it is fundamentally transformational. It is, as Hebrews 4:12 explains, “alive and active” and “sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (NIV).

You can watch our full conversation with Bylsma in the episode of “Faith vs. Culture” above.
Sources:faithwire

http://theendtimeradio.com

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