(Note: There have only been a few comments on this blog so far about the Tom White VOM scandal, but I have been simply amazed at the number of viewers visiting this blog from all over the world!
It is staggering to comprehend the wide-spread influence VOM has, and because of that, I feel it’s a Christian RESPONSIBILITY on my part, that I should re-blog a powerful comment made by a very astute reader, Steve Rugg, who posted some information not generally included in the Voice of the Martyrs publications. I think many people are going to be shocked by what Steve has to say…as follows):
“A letter I had sent to Tom White, VOM that mirrors your email blog (above):
March 22, 2012
The Voice of the Martyrs
P.O. Box 443
Bartlesville, OK 74005-0443
I am writing this letter as a result of a careful reading of a small book I received recently from VOM, The Persecuted Church Global Report 2012.
I was bothered by several references made about certain countries representing significant Christian populations as a percentage of the total population. Some examples were quite surprising to me:
70.5% Christian in Belarus (Eastern Orthodox)
94.4% Christian in Colombia (Roman Catholic)
12.8% Christian in Egypt (Coptic Christian)
56.5% Christian in Cuba (Roman Catholic)
32.0% Christian in Lebanon (Maronite Catholics)
I am not writing this letter in an effort to convince you of anything, but those five examples sadly do not represent countries with significant populations of Christians. Biblical exegesis speaks clearly of what a Christian is. Religious institutions (like Roman Catholic & Orthodox) are NOT “the keepers of the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven.”
My question to you is:
• Does VOM make a distinction between persecuted Christians and persecuted Catholics for example?
• Does VOM aid persecuted people groups that happen to be Orthodox or Roman Catholic as persecuted Christians or aid these groups in a humanitarian mission?
• And lastly, is the presentation of the gospel by VOM considered off limits to Catholics and Orthodox believers?
In your Global Report you reference “harassment” of evangelicals by groups, such as the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Maronite Catholics, Orthodox or Roman Catholic churches. I believe that description of “harassment” greatly understates the persecution of non-religious Christians. It is no surprise the extent of Muslim persecution of non-Muslim groups, especially Christians. Absent Muslim oppression, these dominant religious systems (Catholic or Orthodox, for example) persecute Christians just the same but perhaps without the same level of violence found from Muslim persecutors.
A note of interest:
The narrative of Chiapas in the Global Report is interesting. Roman Catholicism is fundamentally idolatrous and pagan since its inception. Every year Catholics in Mexico, Central and South America engage in several unchristian religious festivities and practices including parties, drinking and pagan parades.
The small number of people groups unreached by the gospel (using Colombia as an example) is patently incorrect. The majority of Roman Catholics worldwide have never opened a bible, do not know what is in the bible and are reminded by their priests that they will tell them what they need to know.
Some bible references I believe are clear on these matters:
1 Cor 10:7, 14
John 3:3, 5
There are well over several hundred bible passages that define “what is” and “what is not” a saint, a child of the Father, a Christian, how to be saved (by faith and by not works), etc.
I would be saddened to find out that VOM avoids ministering to lost religious multitudes who are not saved.
I hope to receive a response from you. My wife and I have been a part of VOM ministry for several years but we are concerned with what seems like ecumenism where all beliefs are “Christian” even if they do not accord with the Scriptures.
Thank you for your time.
Saved by Grace through Faith in Jesus Christ,
Steve & Katherine Rugg
Endnote: This letter was answered by some VOM public relations person who responded as if he had not even read my letter. His response was ecumenical and a whitewash–the Word of God does not matter to them.”