Did Jesus Actually Rise From the Dead? Majority UK Christians Not Sure

by Megan Briggs

A new poll conducted by the British Broadcasting Corporation suggests that a majority of those who consider themselves Christians in the United Kingdom are not convinced Jesus physically died and rose from the dead.

“Fewer than half of Christians in the UK think Jesus actually died and rose again for the forgiveness of their sins,” BBC Sunday host William Crawley summarized.

 
How Much of the Easter Story Does One Have to Believe to Be Christian?

The poll raises a very pertinent question as the world celebrates Holy Week. The way the BBC phrased it is, “how much of the Easter story” does one have to believe to be a Christian? Another way we may frame this question is to ask: Do you have to believe what the Gospels say word-for-word in order to be a Christian?

The idea that we may have misinterpreted the necessity of and meaning behind Jesus’ death is precisely what Brian Zahnd spent the better part of an interview discussing with us on our podcast.

Is This an Issue of Belief Vs. Faith?

So can one be a Christian and question whether Jesus actually died and rose again? This is a question the BBC posed to two subject matter experts. Lorraine Cavanaugh, a theologian and Anglican priest representing the view that one can be a Christian without believing in a physical death and resurrection, and Jo Frost, Director of communications for Evangelical Alliance representing the view that belief in a physical resurrection is integral to the Christian faith, joined the conversation.

Cavanuagh’s argument took the tactic that there is a difference between belief and faith. Many people aren’t thinking in terms of belief, instead they’re looking for something “much deeper and more complex, which we might possibly call faith,” Cavanaugh suggests. Faith, in contrast to belief, has to do with “encountering the crucified Lord.” To Cavanaugh, being a Christian is not so much signing off on a statement of belief as much as having an encounter with Jesus which elicits faith.

Is This an Issue of Biblical Literacy (or Lack Thereof)?

Frost, on the other hand, believes this poll suggests a problem with biblical illiteracy. She points to the fact that the poll showed that the majority of those who attend church at least once a month do believe in the physical resurrection.

When pressed on why does “someone have to be tortured and die on a cross in order for God to express love and forgiveness,” Frost responded by pointing to a Bible verse. Referring to Revelation 13:8, Frost implies that God showed compassion and mercy on us by anticipating and making a way for Jesus’ sacrifice even before the foundation of the world.

Still, some may struggle with the historical evidence for Jesus’ death and resurrection, a question which author Lee Strobel took upon himself to answer. Strobel, who used to work as a journalist for the Chicago Tribune, found “an avalanche of historical data” to support belief in the physical death and resurrection of Jesus. 


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YET ANOTHER CHURCH FORCED TO CLOSE IN CHINA

by Jessica Mouser

The Chinese government is continuing its persecution of Christians by shutting down another unregistered church in Beijing. On March 23, authorities shut down Shouwang Church and its affiliates, seizing the church’s belongings.

“China’s oppression against house churches will not be loosened. A systematic, in-the-name-of-law crackdown will continue to take place,” China Aid president Bob Fu told International Christian Concern (ICC).

According to China Aid, the shutdown occurred when people were meeting for Bible classes on Saturday at 1 p.m. Officials took them to a school in the area where they recorded the Christians’ information and questioned them. Authorities announced that the church was shut down, claiming the reason was the church had not registered as a “social organization” with the government. The church had applied for government approval in 2006, but did not receive it because its pastor at the time, Jin Tianming, was not ordained by the state.

Since Shouwang Church was founded in 1990, the government has harassed the church in various ways. Officials seized a multi-million dollar property, compelling the members to meet outside, even when the weather is bad. The government has also put church members, including Pastor Jin, under house arrest. While Pastor Jin has since retired, he remains under house arrest and his confinement has recently grown more limited. Now, he is not even allowed to go downstairs in his own apartment building, but must stay within the apartment itself.

The persecution has taken a toll on the people who attend Shouwang church, with some leaving the country or deciding to comply with the government.  

 

A Year of Hostility

This recent crackdown is simply the latest in a series of antagonistic moves from the Chinese government against the Christian church, an aggression which has grown more severe since the state revised its Religious Affairs Regulations in February 2018. At that time, China Aid reported that Christians in China were experiencing antagonism from government officials, who were breaking into churches, confiscating or destroying church possessions, detaining members and pastors, and otherwise threatening people. In April 2018, the Bible stopped being available online in China. In May, authorities in Shandong province raided five underground house churches and confiscated over 1,000 Bibles, as well as prayer and song books. The raids were supposedly part of a government crackdown on pornography.

One of the other churches that authorities have shut down (last August) was a large, unregistered church in Beijing called Zion Church. The shutdown followed the church’s refusal to comply with the government’s demand that it install cameras inside the sanctuary. The government also destroyed the building of a Catholic church, even though the church was properly registered with the state. Despite the increasing persecution, in September 2018, more than 300 pastors signed a statement of faith, protesting the government’s infringement on their rights.

Early Rain Arrests

The persecution has only continued. In December, officials arrested 100 members of the house church Early Rain, and attempted to get them to sign a pledge saying they would stop meeting. More recently, on February 24, 2019, authorities arrested 44 members of Early Rain Church, detaining some of them, including children, overnight. This is only a small part of the hostility Early Rain has endured from the government, yet the members remain unwavering in their devotion to Christ.

When hearing of the Shouwang Church’s shutdown, Early Rain expressed its support, saying, “When we heard that Shouwang Church is being persecuted again, […] and other churches facing various pressure from the government, we kneeled down to pray to give thanks and praises to our God, because we are delighted that the bride of Christ is closely following her husband.”

‘Deplorable’ Behavior

Finally, concerns in 2018 that the government was planning to “Sinicize” the Bible were confirmed a few weeks ago. Chinese officials announced a new translation of the Bible that will make it more “Chinese” and supposedly have less of a Western influence.

ICC Regional Manager Gina Goh says, “China’s disregard of religious freedom for its 1.4 billion citizens is deplorable. Christians outside of the state-sanctioned churches can no longer worship without fearing of harassment, detention or even imprisonment. Even official churches face increasing pressure to exalt the Communist Party over God. The international community should continue to press China over its human rights abuses until it is willing to make positive change.”

 
 
 

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DESTROYING THE SPIRIT OF REJECTION (prt6)

PART SIX-

Be Set Free!
by Apostle John Eckhardt

God wants to set us free from the spirit of rejection so that we can bring deliverance to our families, friends, and those around us. Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives.” He imparted this responsibility to us as well.

But you must minister deliverance to yourself first. We must be able to identify the causes of rejection in order to come against the demons of rejection, fear of rejection, self-rejection, hereditary rejection, roots of rejection, and the spirits that come in with rejection: hurt, anger, bitterness, rage, pride, fear, rebellion, and more. All of these things can torment your life.

This is not God’s plan for you. He wants you to be set free. You are not alone. So many people need deliverance from these demons of rejection and the other demons that accompany them. And sometimes the key to their deliverance is first yours. You can blaze a trail for deliverance, and your testimony will build others’ faith for their own deliverance.

Scripture Reading: Matthew 7:5  Luke 4:18


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DESTROYING THE SPIRIT OF REJECTION

 

PART FIVE- 

Authority in the Spirit
by Apostle John Eckhardt

One of the most important principles of spiritual warfare is that you must use your authority against the enemy. Jesus said, “I give unto you power [power is the Greek word exousia, which means ‘authority’] to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you” (Luke 10:19, KJV, emphasis added). Now some people say you can’t be hurt by the enemy because Jesus says, “I give you power.” But that’s only if you use the authority.

Just because you have been given authority doesn’t mean you’ve used it. If you don’t exercise your authority, you cannot claim the second part of that verse that says “nothing shall by any means hurt you.” We must exercise our authority, and some of the ways we do that are through prayer, through binding and loosing, and through commands and decrees that we release through our words. So it’s important to exercise your authority over the enemy on a consistent basis.

You need to bind and rebuke in the name of Jesus any demon that will try to block your path or your way. Psalm 91:13 says, “You shall tread upon the lion and adder; the young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.” The enemy is under your feet. That represents total authority and victory. Make this your confession, and go forth in victory and in the power of God. Scripture Reading: Luke 10:19  Psalm 91:13

 

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DESTROYING THE SPIRIT OF REJECTION (prt4)

PART FOUR-

Warfare Prayer
by Apostle John Eckhardt

Prayer is a very powerful weapon in the fight against rejection. Prayer brings you into the presence of God. Prayer opens up your spirit to hear the truth of your acceptance through Christ.

Prayer builds up your inner man. Psalm 144:1 is a prayer you should consistently pray over your life, so that you will be able to fight against spiritual opposition that comes against your life. This verse reads in its entirety, “Blessed be the Lord my strength, who prepares my hands for war, and my fingers to fight.” Confess, believe, and count on God to give you the strategy to gain victory over rejection.

Another one of the most inspirational psalms when it comes to spiritual warfare is Psalm 18. Praying some of the key verses in this chapter will build your faith to see great deliverance in your life. For example, verse 19 says that deliverance brings us into a large or broad place.

Sometimes the enemy wants to confine, restrict, and limit us. But through spiritual warfare we can break the limitations. We can ask God to deliver us from demons that block and obstruct our way so that we can come into a larger place.

Rejection is one of the demons that make it hard for us to move to the next level in our lives. But the Lord has given you the necks of your enemies, and you will destroy them in His name.

Scripture Reading: Psalm 18:40  Psalm 144:1


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