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Christians targeted in Lahore

Christians targeted in Lahore

The Guardian reports that a Taliban spokesman confirmed that Christians were deliberately targeted during the Easter atrocity in Lahore.

A spokesman for the Taliban splinter group Jamaat-ul-Ahrar said Christians were deliberately targeted.

A large number of Christians – who are among the country’s most economically disadvantaged communities – had been attracted to the cheap and affordable public attraction as an Easter treat for their children. Christians make up about 2% of Pakistan’s 192 million population.

But there were also plenty of Muslims among the hundreds wounded.

The article describes excited children waking early for Easter services at church and rounding out the day with a trip to the amusement park. At least 72 people died and 280 were injured as a suicide bomber deployed by the Taliban attacked the festivities.

The Archbishop of Canterbury tweeted shortly after the news broke, praying “to the crucified God who brings hope in despair, whose love is with the victims, who promises justice”:

lahore tweet

The Pope issued a statement via a spokesman, saying the the attacks cast “a shadow of sadness and anguish” over Easter, and calling them “cowardly murderous hatred rages on the most defenceless.”

ENS pointed to a video message on Facebook from Bishop Samuel Azariah, moderator of the Church of Pakistan (United), who had just returned from visiting the wounded in area hospitals very soon after the attack. His voice cracking, he asked for prayer and offered a blessing.

Bishop Samuel Azariah, moderator of the Church of Pakistan (United), posted a video message on his Facebook page shortly after the bombing. He said some of the victims were members of his Diocese of Raiwind. “Please keep us in your prayers and may this time of Easter, the celebration of Christ’s victory over death and grave, be a meaningful and a consoling experience for many of our people who are in the hospital at the moment,” he said.

As the three days of national mourning continue in Pakistan, weary grief is turning to anger at the lack of security for the nation’s minority Christians, the Guardian reports.

“We have had to learn to live with fear,” Gul said. “Every time there is a religious festival we Christians feel a looming sense of threat. We cannot be happy on our holy occasions.”

But one Christian pastor, who led six funerals for children and young people on Monday said, “I’m not angry,”…. “I’m just full of despair.”

Featured image: from the Facebook video by Bishop Samuel Azariah, Church of Pakistan (United)

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Paul Woodrum

It is pathetic to be making linguistic distinctions and rearguing the Christian dogma of the holy, blessed and glorious Trinity – the Father is God, the Son is God, the Spirit is God – when living in comfort as Christians in other parts of the world are living in fear and being persecuted for their faith. Holy martyrs, pray for us.

Thom Forde

Absolutely Mr. Woodrum!

May GD arise! May His enemies be scattered!

Leslie Marshall

In these end times, Satan is on his way to the lake of fire. But, before he goes he’s having a heyday, last hurrah, swan song. Jihadists are gleefully doing his work, every day, every where. Jesus is coming soon for his church, then again –to judge everyone. Justice will prevail.

Dr. William A. Flint, MDiv, PhD

Yes, WORDS matter. Jesus Himself never referred to Himself as God. He called Himself, the Son of Man, all male Hebrews were referred to as the Sons of God including Jesus, He was the Messiah (Christ). In a world with so many religions, it is important for Christians to speak clearly and precisely when talking about God – whether Father, Son or Holy Spirit. The only time Jesus used the term “I AM” was at His trial when answering the high priest question. It was that one answer that caused him to be sent to Pilate for death.

Yes, in a pluralistic world, words matter. The Archbishop should have spoke clearly. There should always be a reverence shown toward God the Father and we do that with our words and actions.

I regret others don’t understand why what we say is important enough to say it correctly. The Vatican spends a great deal of time clarifying and correcting what Pope’s say because they get it.

Chris Harwood

Words do matter, so do culture and original language. Christ is not God to Muslims. He is a blessed prophet; they are more reverent speaking his name than almost all Western Christians, but only a man. The Christians were attacked BECAUSE they believe Christ is part of the Triune God. In the Muslim world “God” is “Allah” alone, no one and nothing else. Whether one is Christian or Muslim there depends on Christ’s divinity. Can we please just give some leeway in PhD grammatical law to someone from another language and culture? Grammar isn’t the same everywhere in English speaking countries. His parishioners are dying; he could be next, and this sounds like one of his attackers, “Don’t call Christ God”. Prayers, words of support, and gifts to relief organizations in Pakistan would be more useful to our brothers and sisters there. They aren’t going to get them from everyone like those in Brussels or France.

Shirley O'Shea

With respect to the first comment, words fail, even as they matter. Children are dead, and you raise an argument as to who exactly was crucified on the cross. Get a heart already.

Dr. William A. Flint, MDiv, PhD

You have no way of knowing what kind of heart I have or what paths I have walked. Be assured that I have seen the suffering of many children. I also know that in most of the world children are not valued as much as they are in our world. The question the world might ask us is why would God allow this to happen in the first place? There is no easy answer. I would rather have a Risen Lord to offer hope for the world.

In WWII in the concentration camps the Nazis would throw live Jewish babies into the fire and laugh as they burned to death. It took a man with a heart to write these words: “I saw the Nazis burn babies alive simply because they were Jewish. I asked God why? God spoke to my heart and said: ‘Do not grieve for the babies because they were with Me before the flames even touched them, but grieve for the men who did this instead.’ I asked why? God replied: ‘Because they did this to Me and I still love them.'”

Yes, Words do matter.

Carolyn Peet

Thoughts on why coverage on this atrocity is so much less in Western media than the ones in Brussels and Paris? After all, these were mostly women and children, and fully human.

Dr. William A. Flint, MDiv, PhD

“to the crucified God who brings hope in despair, whose love is with the victims, who promises justice”

I don’t recall any Scriptures telling of God the Father as being the Person of the Trinity that was crucified. I am not comfortable with the interchanging of words. The crucified was God the Son, the Lamb of God, the Messiah. I do not think Jesus would have referred to Himself as the crucified God.

Words matter.

Jerald Liko

I think the church would refer to Jesus as the crucified God. Indeed, the ABC obviously did. I don’t have a PhD, but I do teach confirmation classes, and I spend plenty of time hammering the idea that Jesus IS God into their hard little heads. That doesn’t tell the whole story of the relationship (and I would, in class, try to tell the whole story insofar as any of us understand it), but it seems to me that arguing that the Son can’t be called “God” is just as severe an error of incompleteness as merely characterizing the Crucified One as God. The ABC didn’t say “the crucified God, the Father.” If we’ve collectively agreed that the word “God,” standing alone, refers to the Father, I missed the meeting.

In the larger picture, do you really think that precision in the Trinitarian niceties were the point of the ABC’s statement? If not, are you addressing the merit of the matter, or just quibbling for lack of anything substantive to say?

Dr. William A. Flint, MDiv, PhD

I mean WORDS matter. When we frame a statement or response, it is best to be precised in what we say in today’s world. God by itself does infer the Sovereign, the Father, Yahweh, even so Jesus was the Incarnation (Word in the flesh) of God, but Jesus was not God. Most may not care to be specific, but it is important to be correct in the proclamation. The New Testament takes great care in how this Trinity is proclaimed. The Apostle Paul was considered a task theologian working out the mysteries of faith as he proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus.

I apologize if what I am saying doesn’t fit, but it is important to be said.

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