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Religion Today Blog Christian Blog and Commentary

Amanda Casanova

Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world

The commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces says Turkey has “violated” the ceasefire order.

According to Fox News, Gen. Mazloum Abdi also said he was “deeply disappointed” in President Donald Trump’s decision to pull U.S. troops from northern Syria.

Abdi said there is still time for America to help Kurds.

“If we stay on this path, it will have catastrophic consequences that will affect the people of the area and create ethnic cleansing," Abdi told NPR. "We are asking Trump and the U.S. administration to keep its promises."

He said some 500 Kurdish civilians have been killed in the violence and another 400,000 have been displaced.

Abdi says his forces would rather ally with the U.S. than with Russia or Syria.

Under the ceasefire order, Turkey has agreed to stop its military offensive into the Syrian border region and the U.S. has said it will help move Kurdish troops out of the area.

Abdi, however, said he would still leave some of his soldiers in the area.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that if the Kurdish-led forces do not withdraw by Tuesday, Turkey will begin attacks again.

Regarding the U.S. decision to withdraw troops, many members of Congress disagree with the decision. The House votes last week to denounce the decision in a 354-60 vote. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the decision was "a grave strategic mistake" in an op-ed on Friday.

In an interview, former CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus told NPR that he agreed with McConnell. Petraeus, the former commander of Central Command in charge of U.S. forces in the Middle East, said the policy was not fair to Kurdish fighters.

"The Kurds always used to say ... that [they] have no friends but the mountains, and I would reassure them," Petraeus said. "I would say, 'Americans are your friends.' ... And sadly, this is arguably a betrayal."

Photo courtesy: Chicken Online/Pixabay

When Influential pastor John MacArthur thinks of preacher and author Beth Moore, he thinks she should “go home.”

Speaking at the “Truth Matters Conference” meant to honor his 50 years in ministry, MacArthur, fellow pastor Phil Johnson and a small panel of other men were asked to play a word association game. The moderator starts off the game by asking MacArthur what he thinks when he hears the name of Beth Moore. 

MacArthur responded saying, “Go home!” 

“There is no case that can be made biblically for a woman preacher – period, paragraph, end of discussion,” the 80-year-old preacher added to roaring applause.

When Johnson was asked about what word he associates to Beth Moore, he said “narcissistic.”

Johnson then recalled the first time he saw Moore preach. He said upon seeing her, he thought, “This is what it looks like to preach yourself rather than Christ.”

MacArthur then spoke up again only to further criticize Moore along with the #MeToo movement.

He said, “The #MeToo movement, again, is the culture of reclaiming ground in the church.

“When the leaders of evangelicalism roll over for women preachers, the feminists have really won the battle,” he added before the audience broke out in applause. 

“The primary effort in feminism is not equality” he continued. “They don’t want equality, that’s why 99 percent of plumbers are men. They don’t want equal power to be a plumber, they want to be senators, preachers, congressmen, president, the power structure in a university. They want power, not equality,” MacArthur asserted.

The long-time preacher’s comments sparked widespread outrage among other Christian leaders over the weekend.

Southern Baptist Convention President J.D. Greear, took to Twitter on Saturday, and speaking directly to Moore wrote, “Dear Beth Moore, you’re welcome in our home any time.”

Singer, author and wife of pastor Matthew Chandler, Lauren Chandler, wrote on Saturday, “When I hear the words ‘Beth Moore,’ I think ‘good and faithful servant.’”

Pastor Brandon Cox also commented on the situation writing, “The host says, ‘Beth Moore.’ And a man who is supposed to be a model of biblical manhood and spiritual leadership responds, ‘Go home!’ And a room full of men laugh. This is sad. It's unbiblical. But it's the fruit of arrogance.”

Preacher and Christian Counselor Kyle Howard also chimed in writing, “I have lost all respect beyond Imago Dei for John MacArthur, Friel, & Phil. To hear them mock, degrade, & publicly slander a sister in Christ like this is wicked. To hear a crowd of pastors laugh is disgusting. This is utterly shameful.”

Beth Moore has yet to respond to MacArthur’s and Johnson’s comments.

Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Terry Wyatt/Stringer

Video courtesy: Reformation Charlotte 

H/T: Relevant Magainze

On October 6, President Trump ordered U.S. troops to leave the contested area of northeastern Syria. Just three days later, Turkey began an offensive on Syria displacing thousands of Syrians and Kurds living in the region. 

When violence broke out between the neighboring nations, President Trump sent Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Turkey to meet with Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Erdoğan agreed to a 5-day ceasefire in exchange for a 60 mile “safe zone” being put in place and the promise that the U.S. would not place sanctions on Turkey. 

As a part of the ceasefire, Kurdish fighters are being forced to leave the “safe zone” and withdraw roughly 20 miles from the border. According to the Associated Press, the particular area dubbed the “safe zone” is the region where the Syrian Kurds population is concentrated. Some are calling the forced evacuation of the Kurds, ethnic cleansing.

Who are the Kurds

Wade Burleson, writer and historian, says the Kurdish people being attacked by Turkey soldiers are descendants of a grandson of Moses.

Burleson, a teaching pastor at Emmanuel Enid in Oklahoma, says the Kurds are what the Bible calls Medes, which are descendants of Madai. Madai was one of Moses’ 16 grandchildren.

“The Medes settled in Amida,” he said in a blog on his site. He said the city was renamed Diyarbakur in the 7th century AD by the Muslim Arabs during conquests of Persia.

“The Arabs called the ethnic Medes who lived in the Zagros Mountains by the Arabic name Kurds,” he said.

Burleson said that today, Divarbakir is now the largest city in southeastern Turkey with a majority of Kurds living in the area. He said as Turkish forces invade Kurdistan, the region of Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran where Kurdish people live, those civilians are facing violence.

“What we have going on during this October 2019 Turkish invasion of Kurdistan is an ethnic cleansing,” he said. “It's a holocaust. President Trump should know better than to allow it to happen.”

The Kurds and Persians are “from the same ancestral stock,” he said. He added that the Bible reveals the importance of Medes during ancient times.

He said Numbers 24:17 details that the prophet Balaam was a Kurd who prophesized about the coming of Jesus. In Isaiah 44 and 45, Burleson points to King Cyrus, who was called the “Messiah of the Jews” after freeing Jews of Judea from captivity in 539 BC. The three wise men who visited Jesus are also from Medes, having studied at the Mede/Persian School of the Magi.

“These Wise Men are what we’d call modern Kurds,” he said.

Throughout recent history, however, America has failed to follow through on its promises to officially create the country of Kurdistan, Burleson said in his post. 

“Pray for the modern Medes as they fight against an erratic Muslim leader named Erdogan,” he said. “Please, President Trump, do not abandon the Syrian Christians that need our help more than ever.”

Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Burak Kara/Stringer