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In Case With Global Implications, Finland Puts Christians On Trial For Their Faith

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  • In Case With Global Implications, Finland Puts Christians On Trial For Their Faith

    In Case With Global Implications, Finland Puts Christians On Trial For Their Faith

    pastor.jpg

    Juhana Pohjola wouldn’t be cast to play his own part if Hollywood made a movie about a bishop put on trial for his faith. The Finnish pastor has inherited a place in the church of Martin Luther, but it appears none of Luther’s pugnacity or vitriol.

    In person, Pohjola, 49, is forthright but unassuming, and gentle. Stereotypically, the Finn is thin and tall. He often pauses while speaking to carefully consider his next words. He listens attentively to others with far less impressive resumes.

    In more than two decades as a pastor, Pohjola has ministered to congregations as small as 30. He has spent his life building a network of faithful churches across Finland, many of which started with a few people gathered for prayer, Bible study, hymn-singing—and communion, if they can get a pastor. In an in-person interview with The Federalist, Pohjola urged fellow Christian leaders to be willing to seek out “one lost sheep” instead of crowds and acclaim.

    This is the man who appears to be the first in the post-Soviet Union West to be brought up on criminal charges for preaching the Christian message as it has been established for thousands of years. Also charged in the case that goes to trial on January 24 is Pohjola’s fellow Lutheran and a Finnish member of Parliament, Paivi Rasanen.

    Rasanen’s alleged crimes in a country that claims to guarantee freedom of speech and religion include tweeting a picture of a Bible verse. Potential penalties if they are convicted include fines and up to two years in prison.

    Finnish Authorities: The Bible Is Hate Speech

    Rasanen and Pohjola are being charged with “hate speech” for respectively writing and publishing a 24-page 2004 booklet that explains basic Christian theology about sex and marriage, which reserves sex exclusively for within marriage, which can only consist of one man and one woman, for life. The Finnish prosecutor claims centuries-old Christian teachings about sex “incite hatred” and violate legal preferences for government-privileged identity groups.

    Writer Rod Dreher pointed out the witch hunt nature of this prosecution: “Räsänen wrote that pamphlet seven years before LGBT was added to the national hate-speech law as a protected class. She was investigated once before for the pamphlet, and cleared — but now she’s going to undergo another interrogation.”

    Rasanen and Pohjola both have adamantly affirmed “the divinely given dignity, value, and human rights of all, including all who identify with the LGBTQ community.” Christian theology teaches that all human beings are precious, as all are made in God’s image and offered eternal life through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

    In advance of the trial, Rasanen and Pohjola have been interrogated by police for hours about their theology. Pohjola told me in the interrogation police treated Christian beliefs as thought crimes. In a statement, Rasanen noted that the police publicly admitted their interpretation of Finland’s law would make publishing the Bible a hate crime.

    “It is impossible for me to think that the classical Christian views and the doctrine of the majority of denominations would become illegal. The question here is about the core of Christian faith; how a person gets saved into unity with God and into everlasting life though the redemptive sacrifice of Jesus. Therefore, it is crucial to also talk about the nature of sin,” Rasanen told Dreher. “As we are living in a democratic country, we must be able to disagree and express our disagreement. We have to be able to cope with speech that we feel insults our feelings. Many questions are so debatable and contradictory that we have to have the possibility of discussing. Otherwise the development is towards a totalitarian system, with only one correct view.”
    The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

  • #2
    Lord come soon.

    I'm always still in trouble again

    "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
    "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
    "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

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    • #3
      This writing has been on the wall for quite a while. I believe Canada has a near similar position. I think we'd better start prepping for what's coming.
      "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

      "Theology can be an intellectual entertainment." Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Thoughtful Monk View Post
        This writing has been on the wall for quite a while. I believe Canada has a near similar position. I think we'd better start prepping for what's coming.
        On a positive note, the Church has always done better under persecution - it's kind of a purifying and purging.
        The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post

          On a positive note, the Church has always done better under persecution - it's kind of a purifying and purging.
          It's sort of like major surgery. The process and recovery are no fun but the results are usually better. It will cleanout a lot bad doctrine like the prosperity gospel, God wants you to be happy and successful, etc.
          "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

          "Theology can be an intellectual entertainment." Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Thoughtful Monk View Post

            It's sort of like major surgery. The process and recovery are no fun but the results are usually better. It will cleanout a lot bad doctrine like the prosperity gospel, God wants you to be happy and successful, etc.
            One would think -- like the "trying by fire", burning out the dross and improving the product.
            The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
              One would think -- like the "trying by fire", burning out the dross and improving the product.
              I think it's a pity that the church, generally speaking, has stopped preaching on sin, the Fall, and redemption. If they did, I think there would be more Christians produced than good citizens of the world. Well, it's the times we live in so let's keep our eyes on God.
              "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

              "Theology can be an intellectual entertainment." Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Thoughtful Monk View Post

                I think it's a pity that the church, generally speaking, has stopped preaching on sin, the Fall, and redemption. If they did, I think there would be more Christians produced than good citizens of the world. Well, it's the times we live in so let's keep our eyes on God.
                We still do that old-fashioned stuff at our church. Just recently, been focusing on Jesus being God's Agent of Creation, Agent of Redemption, and Agent of Judgment.
                The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

                Comment

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