Sunday, April 26, 2015

The 3 - April 26 2015

In this week's edition of The 3, my week-in-review feature, a couple who once owned a bakery in Oregon has been fined over a hundred thousand dollars for not providing a cake for a same-sex wedding ceremony.   Also, the Secret Church, which has been conducted for a number of years and has a component of remembering the persecuted church, was forced to originate from an undisclosed location due to threats at the event's scheduled site.  And, another video attributed to the radical Islamic group ISIS features the deaths of over two dozen Ethiopian Christians.

3 - Oregon bakers ordered to pay stiff fines; funding campaign awareness

There continue to be implications of the decision by Aaron and Melissa Klein to not participate in a same-sex wedding ceremony by baking a cake for it.  The Kleins are the owners of the former bakery known as Sweet Cakes by Melissa in Gresham, Oregon.

According to a report on the WORLD Magazine website, the Kleins have been ordered by a judge to pay $135,000 in fines.  This ruling comes almost three months after Administrative Judge Alan McCullough ruled the couple violated an Oregon statute prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The funds will go to the lesbian couple for “emotional, mental, and physical suffering.”

WORLD reports that a supporter of the Kleins set up a fundraising page at GoFundMe and had raised more than $66,000 when the site decided to shut it down. GoFundMe said the Kleins would be able to access the money raised so far.

Why?  The Kleins were quoted as saying, according to the Sweet Cakes by Melissa Facebook page, “The GoFundMe account that was set up to help our family was shut down by the administrators of GoFundMe because they claimed it was raising money for an illegal purpose,” adding, “We are working to get the account reinstated.”  Samaritan's Purse has set up a special place on its website through which people can donate to the Kleins.

2 - Secret Church threatened; simulcast originates from undisclosed location

When David Platt, now President of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, was the Pastor of the Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, he began an event called "Secret Church."  The Christian Post reports that last year alone, the event, which has been developed into a simulcast distributed to multiple locations, drew almost 61,000 participants, as tens of thousands of Christians from various countries watched the simulcast.

The Post article quotes the Radical website about the event, which says, "Secret Church is a time where we join together to study God's Word and to identify with our brothers and sisters in Christ who are persecuted in countless places around the world..."

When you think of our fellow believers who have to meet in secret locations, isn't it interesting and ironic that this year's Secret Church was held at an undisclosed location?  The Post article quoted the announcement on the ministry website, which said, "Due to security concerns, the elders and leadership at the church have decided to close the church for the simulcast. The simulcast will take place, but not at Brook Hills. If you are a ticket holder, information has been sent to you via email."

The article said that the church's communication director, Chris Kinsley told the Yellowhammer website, "We want to ensure the safety of our staff and members, and all those who are going to participate," adding, "We live in a world where our fellow Christians around the world face threats on a daily basis. We're lucky enough to live in a country where that is unusual, but when it does happen we want to take it seriously but also not allow it to cause us to shrink back from the message we have to share."

The Post reported that the staff of Brook Hills and pupils of the preschool were evacuated, and police and fire departments were called to do a sweep of the building hours before the scheduled gathering. Nothing was found.

more at
This year's theme, according to, was "Christ, Culture, and a Call to Action."

1 - Ethiopian Christians lose their lives at hands of ISIS

Last Sunday, the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, as well as Daesh, released another video depicting the execution of Christians.  This time, it was an estimated 28 Ethiopian Christians who lost their lives in Libya, according to Christianity Today, which points out that 20 Coptic (Egyptian) Christians and a sub-Saharan African had lost their lives at the hands of ISIS in Libya.

The CT story quotes Christian Solidarity Worldwide's description of the video.  It states:
The exact numbers of victims in the latest incident cannot be confirmed. The video of the executions, entitled “Until there came to them clear evidence”, switches between a scene on a beach in eastern Libya, where an estimated 15 men in orange boiler suits are beheaded by masked militants in camouflage, and a scene in a desert area in southern Libya where similarly dressed Daesh members execute a similar number of men in black boiler suits by shooting them in the head. A subtitle refers to both groups of victims as "worshippers of the cross belonging to the hostile Ethiopian church."
The CSW report goes on to say that the video includes scenes depicting the destruction of churches in Syria and Iraq.  It also condemns the doctrine of the Trinity as a form of apostasy.   An English-speaking masked narrator dressed in black warns that "the nation of the cross" must either embrace Islam, pay the jizya tax, or face death.  The speaker reportedly made a reference to how Christians in Mosul were told to convert to Islam or pay the jizya. The speaker says, "The Christians never cooperated."

As CT points out, the video was released the same day the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, arrived in Cairo to offer condolences for the previous martyrs in Libya.

No comments: