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Source: (consider it) Thread: "Open Doors" and the persecuted church
Eutychus
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Yesterday I attended an event put on by Open Doors (of Brother Andrew fame) focusing on the plight of Christians in the Middle East, notably Syria.

The high point of the evening, from my perspective, was a live link with a church in Aleppo (who would have thought a basic Skype video connection would work there for the entire duration of the meeting?!) during which the pastor shared prayer subjects, and congregations in both venues joined in a multilingual rendition of How Great Thou Art.

This was undoubtedly moving and delivered a resounding "yes" to the MW question of "did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian"? However, I also came away with a number of unanswered questions.

- Open Doors is strongly encouraging Middle Eastern Christians to stay in their home countries and not leave, on the basis of maintaining a Christian presence in the historic cradle of the faith and withstanding the advance of Islam. Is this justified? (I was thinking that according to this rationale, Open Doors would have enjoined those fleeing Jerusalem in the first ever wave of persecution to return, thus halting world evangelisation...*). Is it ethical? Are Open Doors in danger of being Useful Idiots for Western foreign policy? (more paranoid question: are they infiltrated by the CIA? I worry this about not a few international mission organisations).

- How does one legitimately draw attention to the plight of believers undergoing physical persecution and torture without glorifying it or exploiting it for other ends? How to avoid motivation through guilt or fear? Is there a danger of cheap thrills or, worst prospect, encouraging believers misguidedly to seek martyrdom?

- Just what is Open Doors anyway? Is it an advocacy group lobbying the UN and others in the field of human rights, or is it an evangelistic organisation formerly dedicated to combating communism and now dedicated to combating Islam? If the answer is "both", are these objectives compatible? Does it bring a danger of Islamophobia with it? Is the current mammoth organisation with all its fundraising accoutrements the worthy successor of Brother Andrew's original calling and ministry?

The world seemed a simpler place when it was just a case of getting a few Bibles behind the Iron Curtain in the luggage compartment of a VW Beetle, somehow.

==

*In a further irony, the church in Aleppo was an Armenian Evangelical Church which was founded in the early 20th century by those fleeing the genocide in Turkey...

[ 14. May 2017, 07:41: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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Gamaliel
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I'd have similar questions. Call me cynical, but I've always felt the Brother Andrew in a Volkswagen thing was over-romanticised.

I'm not sure what the answer is.

I wouldn't want to see all the Middle Eastern Christians driven out of their ancestral homes, but at the same time I wouldn't want to see them being 'forged' to stay put and be persecuted and destroyed.

Also, is it a simple West Vs The Rest thing? Russia strongly supports Middle Eastern Christians and although not all the Orthodox I know here support Putin - not by a long chalk - there is a strong sense among some of the Orthodox jurisdictions that Russia could defend their brothers and sisters in Syria and elsewhere if the West weren't so paranoid about Putin and so keen to block him at every turn ...

It's a real mess.

The Middle Eastern Christians are pawns in the game of real-politik.

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Stetson
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quote:
- Open Doors is strongly encouraging Middle Eastern Christians to stay in their home countries and not leave, on the basis of maintaining a Christian presence in the historic cradle of the faith and withstanding the advance of Islam. Is this justified? (I was thinking that according to this rationale, Open Doors would have enjoined those fleeing Jerusalem in the first ever wave of persecution to return, thus halting world evangelisation...*). Is it ethical? Are Open Doors in danger of being Useful Idiots for Western foreign policy? (more paranoid question: are they infiltrated by the CIA? I worry this about not a few international mission organisations).
Is the CIA/western imperialism known to be pro-Christians in Syria? My impression(and I'm open to correction) is that most Christians in Syria are NOT in favour of turfing the Baathist regime, on the grounds that the current alternative(as they see it) would be a bunch of fundamentalist nutbars who would just as soon kill Christians as look at them.

Whereas the analysis held by western governments is to support the supposed "democratic opposition", in the hope that the guys who replace Assad and company will turn out to be a bunch of Jeffersonian democrats.

So, at the present time, it seems to me that supporting the continued presence of Christians in Syria is to support the continued presence of a group largely hostile to the foreign-policy aims of western governments.

This isn't the Cold War, where people of all faiths, Catholics in Poland, Muslims in Afghanistan etc, could unite in common opposition to an atheistic USSR.I could easily imagine Brother Andrew in those days getting CIA support.

TL/DR: Given that Syrian Christians tend to be relatively supportive of the Baathist regime, I'm not sure if the CIA would really want to support them.

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Martin60
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Open Doors and Barnabas (far worse) both labour under the delusion that they are supporting Christian witness, i.e. martyrdom. My village church a couple or three years ago revelled in hysterical reports from Iraq with no mention of the huge suffering of the Yazidi. 1:1000 Muslim refugees convert in the West, matching the rate of conversion to Islam. The conversion rate in situ will be an order of magnitude less. Any other premise apart from supporting minorities in cultures undergoing social disruption is delusional.

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Gamaliel
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FWIW, I think Western policies are confused and purely related to oil interests and trying to keep Russian influence out of the region ...

There's also the support for Israel of course, which is a biggie ...

But I think Stetson's right. Those Christians I know with contacts in Syria don't like Assad but see him as the lesser of two evils. They are terrified that with Assad removed it would be open season on them from ISIS and similar nutjob groups.

They don't understand why the West is apparently turning a blind eye to their plight and some of the whackier ones assume it's because the West is covertly pro-Islamist and so politically correct and secularised that they are running their hands with glee at the prospect of the eradication of the Christian minorities in the Middle East ...

That might sound bonkers to us but that's how they think and given the raw memories of the Armenian genocide and so on then one can understand why they might be tempted down a more populist and pro-Putin route ...

I don't have a great deal of time, I'm afraid, for the Barnabas Fund nor Open Doors, if I'm honest ... But groups like Christian Solidarity Worldwide seem rather more nuanced ...

But it's all tricky and complex territory. I really don't know what the answer is.

If I had my way, Russia and the West would collaborate more on combating ISIS and looking to broker a peaceful solution in the nightmare that is Syria. A tall order, I know ...

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Martin60
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I'm certainly not interested in raising the profile of Christians to cause even more resentment. Paying their ransom or underground railway extraction like for gays in Chechnya, yes.

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fletcher christian

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I think it is right that Christians in these countries should be remaining in them, for a whole host of reasons, but the decision should lie entirely with them and with no outside pressure. If anything, outside groups can offer support to those who make that hard decision to stay, but I'm not sure outside groups encouraging it is entirely wise.

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mr cheesy
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I think there is great danger of people projecting their own values onto Christians in the Middle East.

Some years ago, I was visiting Egypt and wandered into the back of an Evangelical church which had foreign speakers as part of a mission event. This was a tricky time, there was a military guard outside and the "mission" was not allowed to continue beyond the walls of the church.

The speaker was a large American, using projector slides in English with simultaneous translation. I remember wondering how much of it would be understood by members of the Egyptian church given the colloquial language.

As I contrast, I also visited the Anglican Cathedral in Cairo - where there were multiple services every day in many different African languages for various refugee communities.

Of course, it is clear that Anglicanism is as much a foreign import as Evangelicalism - but to me that snapshot suggested that there were ways of engaging with local Christians which respected them and their culture and ways which seemed to just import imagined "Christian" (but really foreign) norms and values.

I think I've talked here relatively recently about my doubts about Brother Andrew and his supposed relationship with the expelled Hamas militants on the mountain.

To me, Open Doors has very little credibility and is more about the audience than the beneficiaries.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by fletcher christian:
I think it is right that Christians in these countries should be remaining in them, for a whole host of reasons, but the decision should lie entirely with them and with no outside pressure. If anything, outside groups can offer support to those who make that hard decision to stay, but I'm not sure outside groups encouraging it is entirely wise.

I've not been to many countries in the Middle East, but I know many are hellholes and Christians have a particularly hard time. I'd not even be prepared to assume that I have the right to type here what they "should" do.

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:

I don't have a great deal of time, I'm afraid, for the Barnabas Fund nor Open Doors, if I'm honest ... But groups like Christian Solidarity Worldwide seem rather more nuanced ...

The Barnabas Fund is definitely at the scaremongering end of the spectrum - see the founders various engagements with elements in the military as well as his talks with Islam (which seem to stem in large part from imagining that biography is socio-politics).

I'm would definitely not give CSW/CSI a pass based on their past conduct though.

As for missionaries working with the intelligence services, I suspect that as evangelicals grow closer to the Republican Right and as Islam gets recast as the 'Beast' (in all but name) that such collaborations get more likely, even as the types of people going into mission work tend to be more at the more extreme end of fundamentalism.

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mr cheesy
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Unfortunately I think CSW have been pretty burned by Caroline Cox and her various wild and extreme comments and friends.

CSW's claims of slave buying and over-zealous support of the "Christian" state of South Sudan fairly clearly suggest to me that they're not to be trusted.

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mr cheesy
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I think it is fairly well established that intelligence agencies create "honeypot" organisations which attract fruitcakes so that they can be monitored by the authorities.

I've no idea about whether this is what is happening here, but various aspect of various activities by various groups make one wonder whether they only really exist to draw out the wilder Christian elements.

For sure there is something going on about performance which seems to have little bearing on the realities on the ground.

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Martin60
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I was told in person by a certain person that he was offered a Lockheed Hercules full of special forces by a member of the House of Lords for an act of deliverance from the foulest situation I have EVER heard of. He declined. I went through a phase of kill them, kill them all at that time.

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Eutychus
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I take what Stetson says about the main supporters of Syrian Christians being Russians.

More broadly, though, I think it more than likely that the objectives of mission organisations in many "10-40 window" countries may appear aligned to those of Western powers and their intelligence agencies, and that there is witting or unwitting collusion.

Any more thoughts on reporting vs. exploitation of persecution and on advocacy vs. evangelism? Open Doors appears to have built up quite a solid reputation as a persecuted church watchdog, including with the UN. At least I can't find much well-sourced criticism of it (willing to be proved wrong). Perhaps the organisation itself is actually pursuing a variety of possibly conflicting aims on the ground?

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:

More broadly, though, I think it more than likely that the objectives of mission organisations in many "10-40 window" countries may appear aligned to those of Western powers and their intelligence agencies, and that there is witting or unwitting collusion.

I don't know about this. It seems to me (with not much recent knowledge, admittedly) that OD tends to focus on Evangelical Christians, who in turn tend to have historical connections with churches in the West. IIRC CSW has a wider focus, but seems particularly to focus on individuals experiencing intense bullying.

But I could be completely wrong.

Generally speaking, from what I know about the situation in the West Bank, the message given by outside Christian HR organisations is often completely biased in one direction or another. It is hard to believe that the same isn't happening in other parts of the ME that I'm not aware of personally.

I suspect that ME Christians - who are much more likely to be Orthodox, Catholic or Coptic than denoms that Western Evangelicals recognise as kosher - are only really considered to be "Christian" by some of these organisations for the purposes of highlighting how everyone is being nasty to them.

Again, that might not be OD or CSW, it is a while since I've seen their stuff. But it certainly happens.

quote:
Any more thoughts on reporting vs. exploitation of persecution and on advocacy vs. evangelism? Open Doors appears to have built up quite a solid reputation as a persecuted church watchdog, including with the UN. At least I can't find much well-sourced criticism of it (willing to be proved wrong). Perhaps the organisation itself is actually pursuing a variety of possibly conflicting aims on the ground?
CSW and OD certainly have an audience at the UN, but I'm not sure exactly that they've got a "solid" reputation. I do know that there are (or possibly were) people within these organisations who attempt to rigorously fact-check reports to avoid spreading unfounded rumours - but whether or not they're really given as much credence at the UN as Amnesty or HRW, I can't say.

I've no idea about evangelism. As far as I can observe in places where I've visited in the ME, evangelism is a pretty difficult thing which you'd probably not want to discuss with anyone in public.

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Stetson
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Eutychus wrote:

quote:
I take what Stetson says about the main supporters of Syrian Christians being Russians.
Just for the record, I wasn't the one who mentioned Russia in the context of Syria. I only mentioned the Soviets as an example of an enemy that could unite various faiths in opposition.

And since people are still speculating about this, I have to re-iterate that I really don't see why western intelligence agencies would be involved in Bible-smuggling in Syria. As far as I can tell, almost all the groups that the west is backing in that country are Islamic to one degree or another. Unless the intelligence agencies are being run by absolute morons, they are gonna realize that it is NOT in their interests to become known as Christian missionaries.

[ 14. May 2017, 16:20: Message edited by: Stetson ]

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mr cheesy
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Also there is a widely held myth in various ME countries that various Christian groups are western and fronts for the CIA. It'd be kinda crackers (and more than slightly dangerous) if that was actually true.

[ 14. May 2017, 16:25: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
It seems to me (with not much recent knowledge, admittedly) that OD tends to focus on Evangelical Christians, who in turn tend to have historical connections with churches in the West.

The church live-linked to yesterday evening was, as stated, Evangelical Armenian. That said, judging from some of the other content I get the impression OD are deliberately a bit fuzzy about which churches they are working with when speaking to a Western evangelical audience.

In terms of links to the intelligence community, I wasn't thinking so much about actual operatives of skullduggery so much as about providers of in-field local intelligence, again either wittingly or unwittingly.

Nothing to do with Open Doors, but the documentary God Loves Uganda gives a fairly plausible and terrifying idea of how evangelical missions could be exploited to further a Dead Horse western policy agenda.

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Stetson:

And since people are still speculating about this, I have to re-iterate that I really don't see why western intelligence agencies would be involved in Bible-smuggling in Syria.

I do not believe that was what anyone was suggesting - it isn't that the organisations are fronts in toto or that their official work is supported as such. More that members of their staff can be persuaded to blur the lines between support for God and support for country (because after all those Communists/Islamists are all part of the kingdom of Satan), and that there is a history of things like community development efforts being targeted to help other things entirely as side effects (such as counter insurgency).

Not to mention using missionaries/mission organisations as a source of logistics, language expertise and so on.

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Stetson
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quote:
I do not believe that was what anyone was suggesting - it isn't that the organisations are fronts in toto or that their official work is supported as such. More that members of their staff can be persuaded to blur the lines between support for God and support for country (because after all those Communists/Islamists are all part of the kingdom of Satan),
But right now, the Islamists in Syria are the ALLIES of the western-intelligence agences. So why would those same agencies want to procur the services of people who think Islam is part of the Kingdom Of Satan? Sooner or later, the Christians would clue-in that the anti-Assad rebels they're abetting are all Islamic.

If you want an example of where there almost certainly is collusion between Christian aid agencies and western-intelligence, I'd suggest checking out northeast China, bordering on North Korea, where Christians have been involved in smuggling refugees out of the DPRK. Those Christians would be coming into contact with a lot of people who are hostile to the DPRK(which is also hated by the west), and would have a lot of information about what things are like there.

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chris stiles
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quote:
But right now, the Islamists in Syria are the ALLIES of the western-intelligence agences. So why would those same agencies want to procur the services of people who think Islam is part of the Kingdom Of Satan? Sooner or later, the Christians would clue-in that the anti-Assad rebels they're abetting are all Islamic.
[/QB]

You are assuming that they are and have been only supporting a single side - and that's completely separate from the stuff that the OP alludes to - which is presumably about spreading a particular set of PR messages about one side or the other or a narrative of the conflict as a whole.

I have no dog in this particular fight. I'd just add that history has proven that evangelical Christian organisations have a terrible record when it comes to socio-political prognostications.

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
history has proven that evangelical Christian organisations have a terrible record when it comes to socio-political prognostications.

Care to expand on that?

One of the things that has really stuck with Mrs Eutychus and I is an OD rep predicting, in autumn 1982 (at around the time OD started its seven years of prayer for the communist world, which finished up in... 1989), that communism was finished and that the next threat to the West was Islam. Which was a hugely counter-intuitive thing to assert at that time, at least to us undergraduates.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Stetson:


If you want an example of where there almost certainly is collusion between Christian aid agencies and western-intelligence, I'd suggest checking out northeast China, bordering on North Korea, where Christians have been involved in smuggling refugees out of the DPRK. Those Christians would be coming into contact with a lot of people who are hostile to the DPRK(which is also hated by the west), and would have a lot of information about what things are like there.

Without wanting to go into detail, there are places where there are Christian workers who are there "without permission" (as it were). If it became known that (a) they were actually Christian missionaries and (b) they were also working for the CIA in any capacity, that would be really bad for them and really bad for the USA. I don't think that's very likely as the risks would be enormous.

The only scenario that makes any sense to me is some kind of intelligence-led briefing after they've returned to gather what they know. Any closer relationship would be extremely dangerous in the situations I know about.

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Stetson
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quote:
Without wanting to go into detail, there are places where there are Christian workers who are there "without permission" (as it were). If it became known that (a) they were actually Christian missionaries and (b) they were also working for the CIA in any capacity, that would be really bad for them and really bad for the USA. I don't think that's very likely as the risks would be enormous.
Well, for what it's worth, up until Nixon shook hands with Mao, there were Tibetan guerrillas being flown to Colorado for CIA training, and then smuggled back into China to do whatever it was they were supposed to do there(mostly, kill Chinese, I think). Yeah, I'm sure the Chinese were pretty ticked off about that, and would have killed any of those Tibetans they managed to catch, but apparently both the CIA and the Tibetans were willing to take the risk.

In any case, I wasn't really thinking that Christians are going into Manchuria on the direct orders of the CIA and carrying out orders from Langley, but more stuff along the lines of what you suggest in your second paragraph, ie. debriefing and passing on information, once out of harm's way(and if the CIA isn't talking to them, you can bet that the South Koreans are). The main point of bringing that up was to provide an example of a theatre where collaboration between Christians and western-intelligence does make sense, as opposed to the current situation in Syria, where I don't quite see why they would have much use for each other.

CIA Tibetan Program

[ 14. May 2017, 18:09: Message edited by: Stetson ]

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
Care to expand on that?

I was thinking of the support for various right wing regimes down the years on the basis that 'such and such' as going to bring about a Christian regime and there were already mass conversions and so on.

Without knowing the context and basis for the OD speakers claim it's impossible to comment; but the predictions that the Soviet Union was going to collapse wasn't completely unknown in the early 80s from slightly outside the mainstream - there were a couple of studies based on grain imports and debt. Similarly there were some predictions of the rise of Islam based largely on demographics.

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Gamaliel
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Well yes, I remember a Czech dissident at university predicting all of that way back in 1979/80.

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Baptist Trainfan
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I certainly remember hearing Brother Andrew predicting the bloodbath between the Hutus and Tutsis in Rwanda at least 10 years before it happened.
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Eutychus
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So, good levels of intelligence, then...?

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chris stiles
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Assuming they are regularly getting things right (and it's not just a case of confirmation bias - and people forgetting all the times they got things wrong [*])

If it's supernatural, to what end?

If not, why wouldn't they be linked to intelligence either at the source or at the destination?

[*] On which note, doesn't the other anecdotes that people related here - which seemed far fetched - rather hit at their credibility.

[ 14. May 2017, 22:07: Message edited by: chris stiles ]

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Kaplan Corday
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Those Christians I know with contacts in Syria don't like Assad but see him as the lesser of two evils.

Earlier this year I attended the launch of a book by a Christian writer on the ME, and in the accompanying public discussion I put this view, ie that Assad was a repulsive dictator, but arguably a lesser evil than possible alternatives such as ISIS.

I was surprised to be taken to task by a Syrian Christian woman, who told us all that Assad was in fact a wonderful man, a glorious defender of Christians, with whom she was clearly infatuated.

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Stetson
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The Pentagon's Missionary Spies

I haven't read the whole thing, just skimmed it. Apparently, they supported bible-smuggling into North Korea in order to test out methods that could later be used to smuggle other stuff. From the sounds of it, this wasn't a big success, as can probably be determined from the mere fact that the article got written.

And I still doubt that you'd be able to recruit Christians for similar work in Syria, for the reasons encapsulated by Kaplan's story above.

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I have the power...Lucifer is lord!

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
Assuming they are regularly getting things right (and it's not just a case of confirmation bias - and people forgetting all the times they got things wrong [*])

I was thinking simply that they did actually have good intelligence. That doesn't make them spies, but it would make them good sources of intelligence, with plenty of people on the ground, often discreetly. Which could be of interest to intelligence agencies.
quote:
[*] On which note, doesn't the other anecdotes that people related here - which seemed far fetched - rather hit at their credibility.
This is one of the bits I feel conflicted about. As mr cheesy says, Open Doors' factual reporting on persecuted Christians seems to have a good reputation. And as for the anecdotes, I personally know at least one person who did considerably more than just your average sneaking a few bibles across communist borders on a tourist visa. At the same time, I fear the temptation to embroider actual stories for which no verification is possible, consciously or unconsciously, for the sake of the "cause" might be irresistible, and the risk of inadvertently turning a fraud into a star considerable (anyone remember the "Heavenly Man"? - although I don't think OD ever sponsored him).
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
I was surprised to be taken to task by a Syrian Christian woman, who told us all that Assad was in fact a wonderful man, a glorious defender of Christians, with whom she was clearly infatuated.

As someone with Christian inlaws in the ME, this comes to me as no surprise at all. As mr cheesy said earlier, I think that to outsiders, the reality of the ME looks very different depending on who is painting the picture.

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
I was thinking simply that they did actually have good intelligence.

Right - that's the way in which I thought you meant that, but thought I should cover all bases anyway.

In any case a few disconnected thoughts; Yes, the scenario you outline seems realistic. This could have been done either at a quasi institutional level, or more likely at a personal level. I'm sure such relationships could operate in both directions. A lot of sources may not necessarily know they were sources, and finally I'm sure an organisation that regularly traveled into strategic areas would quickly come to the attention of the PTB and be attractive for low level infiltration.

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Martin60
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@Eutychus. The Heavenly Man, Brother Yun, a fraud? In what regard?

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
@Eutychus. The Heavenly Man, Brother Yun, a fraud? In what regard?

I think amongst the wild claims of supernatural stuff that can't be checked are other claims of things which can be, and (some say) are inaccurate.

Personally I never thought it was anything other than a load of twaddle.

[ 15. May 2017, 10:48: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]

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overheard on a Welsh bus-stop: Jesus don't care about you, he's only interested in your soul

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Martin60
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Yeah but he believed it. A pious fraud. Just mad not bad. Evangelicals believe every word.

[ 15. May 2017, 10:58: Message edited by: Martin60 ]

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Yeah but he believed it. A pious fraud. Just mad not bad. Evangelicals believe every word.

Hard to say. I suspect at some point he must have believed it, but whether he is consciously rearranging reality for his own agenda or is just delusional (or a combination of the two), I don't know.

And personally I've found that conservative Evangelicals are most suspicious of the claims, because they often hold zero truck with claims of supernatural events.

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Martin60
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Not in any of the three large evangelical Anglican congos I've been in. They are credulous of Brother Yun and MUCH worse. May be the silent majority aren't, but you'd never know. They cannot express otherwise. The vociferous ALL are. Away with the fairies. From the top down. All claims by North and South Korean, Chinese and African Christians and Western missionaries, Bethel in the UK, the box-jelly guy; that whole villages of Muslims in the Lebanon and further east have synchronized dreams of Jesus are touted or justified or unaddressed from the top and believed throughout. All that's missing is that Prince William is the lizard Antichrist.

[ 15. May 2017, 14:37: Message edited by: Martin60 ]

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Stetson
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quote:
the box-jelly guy
What exactly does this refer to? Just curious.
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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Stetson:
What exactly does this refer to? Just curious.

Some guy who got some kind of visions after being stung by a jellyfish. Ian somethingorother.

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Stetson:
quote:
the box-jelly guy
What exactly does this refer to? Just curious.
Ian McCormack an Australian who got stung by a box jelly fish was revived and allegedly had a near death experience which involved going into Hell and meeting Jesus.

quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Not in any of the three large evangelical Anglican congos I've been in.

I assume mr cheesy was thinking of the more Reform end of the evangelical spectrum or Banner of Truth/Metropolitan Tabernacle, than evangelicals that might have a slight New Wine edge.

[ 15. May 2017, 15:09: Message edited by: chris stiles ]

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Stetson
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McCormack, apparently. Seems there was a movie based on his experiences.

Cross-posted with Stiles.

[ 15. May 2017, 15:08: Message edited by: Stetson ]

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
quote:
Originally posted by Stetson:
quote:
the box-jelly guy
What exactly does this refer to? Just curious.
Ian McCormack an Australian who got stung by a box jelly fish was revived and allegedly had a near death experience which involved going into Hell and meeting Jesus.

quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Not in any of the three large evangelical Anglican congos I've been in.

I assume mr cheesy was thinking of the more Reform end of the evangelical spectrum or Banner of Truth/Metropolitan Tabernacle, than evangelicals that might have a slight New Wine edge.

Thought mr cheesy were an Anglican?

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Thought mr cheesy were an Anglican?

Unfortunately mr cheesy has been around the houses with various evangelicals and has knowledge of both the New Wine Anglicans and the Banner of Truth crowds.

I can imagine the former might be excited by these things, the latter not so.

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overheard on a Welsh bus-stop: Jesus don't care about you, he's only interested in your soul

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Martin60
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A fascinating insight! That the Truly Reformed are LESS away with the fairies.

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Thought mr cheesy were an Anglican?

Both tendencies are represented within the Anglican church in any case. In London - St Helens Bishopsgate would probably be very sceptical, and somewhere like HTB or Soul Survivor less so.
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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
@Eutychus. The Heavenly Man, Brother Yun, a fraud? In what regard?

I haven't checked this one out very thoroughly, I admit, but I've basically set little store by any unsubstantiated testimony since I discovered that the amount of fact-checking done by the publisher of the "true story" I did investigate was: none at all.

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One has to take part. Scary as it is. - Martin60
Jerusalem is a city without walls

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Martin60
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A fascinating insight! That the Truly Reformed are LESS away with the fairies.

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Love wins

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Martin60
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I have NO idea why the same post appears twice with a 20 hour time difference! Sorry. And well done of the fact checking Eutychus. Not that any supernatural claims, including C.S. Lewis style prayer coincidences, can ever be validated.

The answer to the latter is, we see what we're looking for, whether it's there or not and if it really is there, if we didn't pray for it, we wouldn't notice or wouldn't attribute our finding a random parking spot, cancer remission or being butchered by ISIS glory be to God breaking the laws of physics.

The rational answer to the former must be that I used the back button and re-posted in my dotage.

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Martin60
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Sorry, William Temple style. Jack Lewis would never have been so ... dumb.

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