Monday, December 29, 2003

Web Clips and Comments: Dec 29, 2003

SYNOPSIS: The capture of Mr Saddam Hussein has seemed to spark both
the "premptive surrender"
of Libya
, which declared that it was abandoning its WMD programmes (including
nuclear programmes), and an upsurge in terrorism as the Islamists and Baathists
across the ME and world desperately try to still be in the fight. Sharon in
Israel has announced a disengagement option, where if talks show no progress,
he will pull back behind the now controversial West Bank wall/fence -- note
that a fence around Gaza has sufficed to prevent suicide bombings from the heartland
of Hamas and Islamic Jihad support!

Of course our local pundits continue their disconnect from and massive denial
of reality, both relative to the ongoing resurgence of the 1,000 year Jihad
that lasted from the 600s to the late 1600s, but also over local issues. For
instance, the Jamaica Theological Seminary-Caribbean Graduate School of Theology
[JTS-CGST] recently announced
the intent to become a regional Christian University
, only to be pounced
on by Mr Mark Wignall
, a former evangelical turned hedonist and secularist.
His major claim: that it is highly dubious that Christians can create a credible
university that addresses science and clinical psychology -- despite the existence
of the well-recognised Northern Caribbean University [a Seventh-Day Adventist
Institution] and the equally well respected JTS-CGST programmes in Counselling
Psychology and Guidance, at masters and bachelors levels. This I pointed out
in a rebuttal
that was published -- in a badly edited form. [I append the original.]

Perhaps the most significant item over the past two weeks or so is the David
Aikman National Review interview
, in which he highlighted trends in the
church in China, which he numbers at approximately 92 Millions. [BTW, if the
usual claim that circa 1950 there were 5 million Christians in China, then about
80 Millions by the early 90s are correct, then this means four doublings over
forty years, or a compound growth rate of some 7%. That would mean that if the
rate continued, the current numbers should be about 150 - 160 millions. Of course,
such trends are seldom very smooth.] He observes that the trends are parallel
to the Roman Empire in the 200's which had the educated classes increasingly
becoming Christian, even in the face of waves of persecution. Such a trend portends
a tipping point in which the Christian community attains critical mass that
affects the national character, culture and policy -- pointing out that South
Korea, with Christians as 1/3 the population and a similar pattern of conversions,
has "tipped." [If that is a good indicator, it suggests China may
be as little as 20 - 50 years away from tipping, if the growth continues at
rates similar to those over the past half-century.]

Of course, that would be globally decisive, as it would mean that the two greatest
powers in the world at that time would be strongly even decisively influenced
by the Christian World- and Life- view. On that basis, though we see regional
and global turbulence over the next generation, the underlying trend is in favour
of the Southern Christian Reformation, not the Islamists or the Secularists
and Neopagans.

Something to think and pray about, especially as we consider that the Caribbean's
Christian community are in large part the people from the 10/40 Window, brought
under the influence of the gospel, and now able and empowered to carry that
message to the world.


  • The current Advent Season brings to mind the perennial question of when
    Jesus was actually born
    ( Farah gives a minority view; the Shepherds in
    the Fields is usually held to indicate September-October) -- but, of course,
    Christmas is actually simply an Official Birthday, similar to the Queen's
    Birthday. I found a review
    on Saint Nicholas
    very interesting, given the beginnings of an attack
    on Santa Claus as being a religious figure too!

  • The reflections of Rabbi Lapin on the significance
    of Hanukkah and the miracle of provision and sustenance by God
    are well
    worth a thought or two in a world where economic and environmental crises
    are the cry -- sometimes, the hysteria -- of the day. But also, we should
    not forget that the Season is a peak time for persecution by those who would
    drive Christ from the public square, and the
    . Let us continue to pray for the suffereingf church under dhimmitude
    and jihad, as well as the church under seige by the secularists and neopagans
    in the West.

  • The US upgrading of terror level to Orange, has had quite an impact on International
    Travel, and will probably not do our Winter Tourist Season any good. It is
    claimed that the underlying
    is from Mr bin Laden's current plans. However, be that as it may,
    we dare not forget that the 9/11 losses were approximately equal to the number
    of babies aborted on any given day in trhe USA, and the blood of these innocents
    also cries out to God for justice, against the US establishment that refuses
    to hear their cry.

  • On this score, I was intrigued to see Jill
    Stanek point out a biblical fact
    I had long observed: that when Mary went
    to the Hil Country to see her cousin Elizabeth, who was in her sixth month,
    John the Baptist, by the Spirit, even in the womb responded to the weeks-old
    embryonic Christ in utero, with joy! (There is no way that perceptive, consistent
    and informed Bible-based Christians should view the embryo as less than fully
    human and fully deserving of protection of life! BTW, this should make us
    think again about the use of contraceptive devices such as IUDs and Morning
    After Pills (and some "standard" pills) that do not block conception,
    but prevent implantation.)

  • Neil Boortz raises a worrying question about how we perceive economic reality,
    and how
    our Profs and Teachers may in part be responsible for it
    , through manipulation
    of the classroom process. This is particularly in my mind because of a recent
    conversations with Christian brothers who seems to be fiormly of the opinion
    that the basis of the free enterprise economic system is greed and oppression
    of the working classes, not liberty and opportunity to pursue one's dreams,
    in ways that as Jeremiah 29 points out, can be compatible with the general
    benefit and advancement of the community. perhaps the online version of my
    CC article on Enterprise under God as a part of the work of the church should
    be of help. Cf. Table
    of Contents, Why Not Now

  • Dr Hamza, Saddam's bombmaker who fled to the West in 1995 and has spent
    years warning against the danger of the Iraqi programme, was seriously wounded
    in an assassination attempt in Iraq. The
    is worrying, and lends support to the credibility of his testimony.
    Don't expect to read this anytime soon in the writings of our local pundits!

  • In a similar vein, it is sobering to read the
    assessment of the Clinton Administration in 1998 on Iraq
    , and contrast
    the public pillorying of the Bush Administration's similar claims over the
    past year and a half. Let us hear Senator Lieberman, from a recent hardball
    interview with Chris Matthews: "I want to be real clear about the connection
    with terrorists. I've seen a lot of evidence on this. There are extensive
    contacts between Saddam Hussein's government and al Qaeda and other terrorist
    groups. I never could reach the conclusion that [Saddam] was part of September
    11. Don't get me wrong about that. But there was so much smoke there that
    it made me worry. And you know, some people say with a great facility, al
    Qaeda and Saddam could never get together. He is secular and they're theological.
    But there's something that tied them together. It's their hatred of us." Developing
    . . .


Global tipping point

The Aikman story raises several interesting themes as we reflect on the three-way
contest for the hearts and minds of a global world:

  1. The Secularists, neopagans and Apostates of the West

  2. The Islamists and Jihadists of the Middle East

  3. The rising Southern Christian Reformation

If the church in China can maintain an annual compound growth rate similar
to that over the past half century, within a Generation, China will become a
Christian culture. This alone would have great implications for the world, but
China is actually a striking example of a global phenomenon: the rising tide
of reformation that even now is transforming the South of the planet. For, Africa
has seen a truly spectacular explosion in Christian Faith over trhe past century
(which will make it and its extensions in the Caribbean ands the Americas a
focal point for the clash between militant islam and the Christian Faith), and
Latin America is shifting to a more evangelical form of the Christian Faith.
South Korea, as noted, has already tipped.

This highlights the responsibilityt of the Christians of the Caribbean. For
we are in the main the people of the 10/40 window, brought into the Caribbean,
and under the power of the gospel to liberate and transform, for instance leading
to relatively harmonious racial relationships, never mind the lingering but
thankfully fading stench of colour-class-race barriers.

Never have we been so well off economically, nor so well educated, nor so accessible
to travel. Does not this imply that it is a time for us to look back on the
heritage of the ex-slaves such as Fuller and Merrick, who in the 1840s pioneered
missions in Africa? Similarly, we cannot be dismissed in the North as right-wing
redneck ill-educated yahoos shouting out bigotry and fundamentalism.

Thatr is, we are well-positioned to play a leading roile in the work of the
church in bringing the gospel to the 10/40 window and the secularised and paganised

So, itr comes down to a familiar question:

If not NOW, when? If not HERE, where? If not US, who?



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