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Friday Church News Notes
Volume 18, Issue 11 - March 17, 2017
The Friday Church News Notes is designed for use in churches and is published by Way of Life Literature. Unless otherwise stated, the Notes are written by David Cloud. Of necessity we quote from a wide variety of sources, though this does not imply an endorsement.
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Girl on Smart Phone
ADDICTION EXPERT CALLS EXCESSIVE SCREEN EXPOSURE “DIGITAL HEROIN” (Friday Church News Notes, March 17, 2017, www.wayoflife.org, fbns@wayoflife.org, 866-295-4143) - The following is excerpted from “Doc claims too much screen time,” CBSMiami, Mar. 3, 2017: “Smart screens are everywhere these days and it seems like everyone has them including young kids. The debate over ‘how much screen time is too much’ is nothing new but there’s one doctor who says the problem is so severe, he’s dubbed it ‘digital heroin.’ In his book Glow Kids: How Screen Addiction is Hijacking Our Kids and How to Break the Trance, author Dr. Nicholas Kardaras likens the effects of excessive screen exposure to the neurological damage caused by drug addiction. ‘Obviously I’m not implying that screen addiction is as fatal as the opiate epidemic we are experiencing nationally, but it is, it is, as addictive as a lot of the other substance addiction we treat,’ said Dr. Kardaras. ... How do parents feel? Leci Valdes is a busy Miami mom of three daughters. A 3-year-old, and 10-month-old twins. ‘A normal day in the Valdes household is pretty crazy, but I’m getting my groove,’ said Valdes who explained it’s all about balance. That means limiting her daughter Mila’s screen time, specifically time spent on smart phones and tablets. ‘She would lay right next to me, she would be on my phone or my iPad for 25 to 30 minutes and I would get a break,’ explained Valdes. ‘I was noticing however with my child a pattern. And the pattern was, when I asked to have the iPad given back or the phone to be given back to me, the reaction was mind-blowing to be frank.’ She says the tantrums lasted longer than the screen time itself. Reactions like that are part of the reason Dr. Kardaras has dubbed smart-screens ‘digital heroin.’ ‘When I call screen technology digital heroin, I really don’t make that comparison lightly,’ said Dr. Kardaras.” (Our book The Mobile Phone and Christian Home and Church gives many practical tips for parents and youth about the safe use of electronic media.)

COMMUNIST CHINA CONTINUES WAR AGAINST UNREGISTERED CHURCHES (Friday Church News Notes, March 17, 2017, www.wayoflife.org, fbns@wayoflife.org, 866-295-4143) - The following is from “China Cracks Down,” Radio Free Asia, Feb. 23, 2017: “Chinese authorities in the restive northwestern region of Xinjiang have banned all Christian activities not linked to state-approved churches, launching a regionwide crackdown on unofficial worship in the name of "anti-terrorism" measures, RFA has learned. Underground Catholic churches and Protestant house churches have been warned to halt all activity throughout the region, a religious affairs official confirmed on Thursday. ‘Yes, that’s right,’ said the official, who answered the phone at the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region government’s religious and ethnic minority affairs bureau. ‘They all have to worship in [an officially approved] church,’ the official said, indicating that both Catholics and Protestants are affected by the new measures. China is home to an estimated 68 million Protestants, of whom 23 million worship in state-affiliated churches, and some nine million Catholics, 5.7 million of whom belong to state-sponsored organizations. But the ruling Chinese Communist Party, which embraces atheism, has stepped up controls over any form of religious practice among its citizens in recent years, putting increasing pressure on faith groups to join the Protestant Three Self Patriotic Association or the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, which has no ties with the Vatican. The administration of President Xi Jinping regards Christianity as a dangerous foreign import, with officials warning last year against the ‘infiltration of Western hostile forces’ in the form of religion. ... Authorities at the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps 31st agricultural regiment, part of a regional military-backed organization known as the bingtuan, on Feb. 19 ordered two house churches to close, local sources told RFA. Both churches were raided by local police and by dozens of officials from the local religious affairs bureau, with 21 members taken to the police station for questioning, they said. A member of a Protestant house church in the Ili (Yili) Kazakh prefecture told RFA on Thursday that local police had already handed down short-term administrative jail sentences to church members in the prefecture. ‘We don't dare gather for worship now,’ the church member said. ‘The police are saying it's part of terrorism prevention in Xinjiang, and that they won't allow gatherings of even a few people.’”

NEW YORK DROPPING LITERACY EXAM FOR TEACHERS (Friday Church News Notes, March 17, 2017, www.wayoflife.org, fbns@wayoflife.org, 866-295-4143) - The following is excerpted from “NY dropping teacher literacy test,” Fox News, Mar. 13, 2017: “At a time when the United States has plummeted in the global rankings of education standards, one of the country’s largest states is poised to scrap a test designed to measure the reading and writing skills of people trying to become teachers. Citing the fact that an outsized percentage of black and Hispanic candidates were failing the test, members of the New York state Board of Regents plans to adopt a task force's recommendation to eliminate the literacy exam, known as the Academic Literacy Skills Test, given to prospective teachers. The literacy test was among four assessments introduced in the 2013-2014 school year as part of an effort to raise the level of elementary and secondary school teaching in the state. It came after years of complaints from education reformers about the caliber of students entering education schools and the quality of the instruction they received there. A December 2016 study by the National Council on Teacher Quality found that 44 percent of the teacher-preparation programs it surveyed across the country accepted students from the bottom half of their high school classes. Education reformers believe that tests like New York’s Academic Literacy Skills Test can weed out potentially lousy teachers. The tests, however, came under intense scrutiny for their alleged racial bias, after just 46 percent of Hispanic test-takers and 41 percent of black test-takers passed it on the first try, compared with 64 percent of white candidates. ... Ian Rosenblum, the executive director of the New York office of the Education Trust, a nonprofit that advocates for high achievement for all students, called the literacy test ‘a 12th grade-level assessment’--something a high school senior should be able to pass.”

CHRISTIAN MAN SHOT DEAD AND SON BURNED ALIVE BY ISIS IN EGYPT (Friday Church News Notes, March 17, 2017, www.wayoflife.org, fbns@wayoflife.org, 866-295-4143) - The following is excerpted from “ISIS Terror Grows in Egypt,” Christian Today, Feb. 23, 2017: “A Christian man has been shot dead and his son burned alive in Egypt, according to reports from the region. Saad Hana, 65 and his son Medhat, 45 were murdered in El-Arish, North Sinai in the latest wave of violence against Christians. Father Youssef Sobhy, of the Mar Girgis Coptic Orthodox Church in El-Arish, said three masked men assaulted the father and son at their home. ‘The men knocked at the door of the home of the Christians and Medhat opened the door,’ Sobhy told International Christian Concern. ‘The men shot his old father, Saad Hanna, in the head and then they burned the home.’ More Christians are expected to be targeted as the persecution grows, according to terror group statements. A few days ago, terror groups in Egypt aligned with Islamic State said Christian believers were their ‘favorite prey.’” FINAL NOTE: The Coptic Orthodox Church has a false sacramental gospel, but the fact remains that these people are being targeted as Christians by jihadist Muslims.

THE STATE OF AMERICAN AGRICULTURAL EXPORTS (Friday Church News Notes, March 17, 2017, www.wayoflife.org, fbns@wayoflife.org, 866-295-4143) - The following is excerpted from “Planet Nebraska,” National Review, Feb. 22, 2017: “The United States exports far more farm produce than any other country, nearly twice the amount of big agricultural powers such as Brazil, France, and Germany. ... It is not as though the rest of the world doesn’t know how to farm or doesn’t have arable land and water. And it is not as though Nebraska soybeans enjoy some sort of special cachet, like French wine--soybeans are pretty much soybeans. American farmers are just better at producing them. Which is why, while all those unhappy 26-year-olds with MFAs in creative writing are moaning about the state of the world, American farmers are getting rich. According to the USDA, 97 percent of U.S. farm households are both high-wealth and high-income, meaning that they score above the national median on both counts. ... if you focus on ... families operating commercial agricultural operations, you have an average household wealth of $2.5 million. ... [and] the average debt of a farm family is only about $72,000.”

BE SURE YOUR SIN WILL FIND YOU OUT (Friday Church News Notes, March 17, 2017, www.wayoflife.org, fbns@wayoflife.org, 866-295-4143) - Valerian Trifa, a Nazi war crimes criminal from Romania, entered the United States in 1950 under the Displaced Persons Immigration Law and was granted citizenship. He became an Orthodox priest and rose to the position of bishop by 1955, the year he delivered the opening prayer before the United States Senate. In 1970 he was made archbishop. As early as the 1950s he was recognized by Jewish refugees as a prominent member of the Iron Guard, an anti-Semitic organization that was involved in the persecution and murder of Jews, and was reported to United States Department of Justice. But the evidence against him was weak. An investigation was opened in 1975, and a search of West German archives amazingly found a 1942 postcard from “Viorel Trifa” to Nazi leader Heinrich Himmler. When examined by a handwriting expert, the postcard was determined to have been written by Valerian, but this was not considered sufficient evidence to convict him. While examining the photocopy of the postcard, the expert believed that he could detect an extremely faint fingerprint, but the West German authorities would not release the original for analysis because it would have been damaged by the traditional powder method of trying to raise the print. A few years later, through newly invented, non-destructive laser technology, the FBI was able to isolate and photograph the fingerprint, and it turned out to be a match for Valerian Trifa. He subsequently gave up his U.S. citizenship and moved to Portugal until his death in 1987. “... be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23).

CONCLUSION: The Friday Church News Notes is designed for use in churches and is published by Way of Life Literature’s Fundamental Baptist Information Service. Unless otherwise stated, the Notes are written by David Cloud. Of necessity we quote from a wide variety of sources, but this obviously does not imply an endorsement. We trust that our readers will not be discouraged. It is God’s will that we know the times (1 Ch. 12:32; Mat. 16:3) and that we be as wise as serpents and harmless as doves. The News Notes remind us that the hour is very late, and we need to be ready for the Lord’s coming. Are you sure that you are born again? Are you living for Christ? “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Rom. 13:11-14).

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Distributed by Way of Life Literature., publisher of Bible Study Materials and reports for Fundamental Baptists and other fundamentalist, Bible-believing Christians. Established in 1974, Way of Life Literature is a fundamental Baptist preaching and publishing ministry based in Bethel Baptist Church, London, Ontario, of which Wilbert Unger is the founding Pastor. Brother Cloud lives in South Asia where he has been a church planting missionary since 1979. OUR GOAL IN THIS PARTICULAR ASPECT OF OUR MINISTRY (REPORTS AND FRIDAY NEWS) IS NOT DEVOTIONAL. IS TO PROVIDE INFORMATION TO ASSIST PREACHERS IN THE PROTECTION OF THE CHURCHES IN THIS APOSTATE HOUR.

David Cloud, Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, fbns@wayoflife.org

The Way of Life Literature preaching and publishing ministry is based at Bethel Baptist Church, London, Ontario, of which Wilbert Unger is the founding Pastor. A mail stop is maintained in Port Huron, Michigan.

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