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Christchurch earthquakes: a sombre story

The most recent earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand is the second within a matter of months. But there was a significant (non)event in between the two quakes which was not reported because it didn't happen.

The following is an account and chronicle of recent events in Christchurch, New Zealand. The article includes a message from Andrew Strom which he has entitled:

An Awful Shaking in ChristChurch

Christchurch earthquake3 September 2010:

The 2010 Canterbury earthquake (also known as the Christchurch earthquake or Darfield earthquake) was a 7.1 magnitude earthquake, which struck the South Island of New Zealand at 4:35 am on 4 September 2010 local time.

Most of the damage was in the area surrounding the epicentre, including the city of Christchurch, New Zealand's second-largest urban area with a population of 386,000. Minor damage was reported as far away as Dunedin and Nelson, both around 190–220 miles from the earthquake's epicentre.

Given the intensity of the earthquake, the cost in human death and injury was minimal. Two Christchurch residents were seriously injured, one by a falling chimney and a second by flying glass, and many suffered less serious injuries. One person died of a heart attack suffered during the quake, but doctors could not determine whether this was caused by the earthquake.

Later that same month:

A New Zealand believer thought to organise a combined act of thanksgiving by the local churches in Christchurch to praise God that there was no loss of life or significant injury. Andrew Strom has written:

As some of you know, one of the main things that I hoped to do in Christchurch ..... was to organize a large open worship event in the city - to praise and glorify God that nobody had been killed even in a huge 7.1 earthquake.

I found that no such event was being planned, but there were thousands of evangelical Christians in Christchurch, and I felt very strongly that it was important for us to publicly glorify God for the miracle of surviving such a disaster with no-one killed. The place was traumatized and it was obvious that a sensitive Worship event would do much good - and even many non-Christians would likely attend.

I have organized large events before, so the Christian Radio network knows me - and quickly agreed to promote the event for free. The PA sound people also agreed to supply excellent sound for a very low cost. And the Christchurch City Council couldn't have been more helpful. Everything was looking good.

But it was not to be.....

One of the main 'networking' Pentecostal leaders in the city told me that we could count him OUT of any support for the event. Then I spoke personally [to a very prominent church leader] who told me that we could NOT use the main Square in Christchurch for a worship event for the whole Body.

I called a number of prominent pastors and worship bands around Christchurch. I said we had the support of Radio, the Council, the sound and everything. No response. Worship bands not interested. Pastors not returning calls. (You might think they were busy after the quake - but remember no-one died and Christchurch was up and running pretty fully after only a couple of weeks).

I simply couldn't understand it. The evangelicals of Christchurch had made no public acknowledgement of God at all - no public worship for this miraculous escape - no public glorifying of Jesus. Even the secular News and the politicians were calling it a "miracle".

I felt strongly that I could not push things any further without some basic support from the church. We managed to hold a couple of outdoor concerts for the homeless, and got involved with distributing "care packages" and things, but I was so disappointed. In fact I was more than disappointed - I was alarmed and deeply disturbed. I even told some friends that it was "dangerous" to offer no public praise after God has just so obviously saved your city. I felt so strongly about it - and deeply saddened for the state of the Body of Christ.
But I could do nothing more.

17 December, 2010:

Andrew Strom and his family departed from Christchurch. 

28 December 2010:

The Strom family boarded a plane for Australia. Strom now writes: "I believe it may be some time before we ever return."

22 February 2011:

The 2011 Christchurch earthquake was a 6.3-magnitude earthquake which struck the Canterbury region in New Zealand's South Island at 12:51 p.m. on 22 February 2011 local time. Centred close to Heathcote Valley, 3 miles to the north of the town of Lyttelton, the quake caused widespread damage and multiple fatalities in nearby Christchurch, New Zealand's second-most populous city.

On the day of the quake, Prime Minister John Key stated the current death toll was 65, saying that 22 February "may well be New Zealand's darkest day".
Early the next day the Director of Civil Defence said that 38 deaths had been fully confirmed (meaning that the bodies were identified and the next of kin informed).
By the afternoon of the 23rd that number rose to 55 confirmed deaths and 20 unidentified. There are unconfirmed reports that the death toll could reach 200–400. Mayor of Christchurch Bob Parker says at least 200 people are believed trapped under rubble, saying that New Zealanders are "going to be presented with statistics that are going to be bleak".

On the morning of the 23 February the situation was declared a national emergency by the Prime Minister.

Strom further writes of the church leader who told him that he that "the main Square in Christchurch could not be used for a worship event for the whole Body."

The church leader to whom Strom has spoken personally following the first quake  who has appeared in pictures on our TV screens standing outside his ruined building. He was and is the Dean of Christchurch cathedral.

Strom writes with sorrow: "Today this man's Cathedral lies in ruins. It had survived the first quake, but it did not survive this new one." He concludes:

"My heart truly goes out to the people of Christchurch - and to all the world so poorly served by the church of our day. This was truly one of the worst 'lost opportunities' that I have ever witnessed in all my years with the church.
And Christchurch was truly one of the most beautiful cites I have ever seen. The people are so dear to us. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, my friends.

May God bless and protect you all in these dark times.

Christchurch Cathedral, a landmark of Christchurch has been a part of the city for nearly 150 years.
The 6.3 Magnitude earthquake that struck on 22 February 2011 has destroyed the building, toppling the spire. The cathedral's spire stood 63m above Cathedral Square.

At the time of the 2010 earthquake The Reverend Peter Beck, Dean of Christchurch said the cathedral escaped destruction telling the local media: "My thanks go to council for all that earthquake strengthening work. Without that we would have had major damage.''
Read on with 'before and after' pictures.....

Click on image above for BBC coverage

Andrew StromAndrew Strom is a native of New Zealand. After ministering in the USA for several years he returned to his native country in March 2008. Strom is founder of and the international REVIVAL list.

He was involved for 11 years in the same Prophetic movement as Todd Bentley until he left over what he saw as the unbiblical and bizarre phenomenon within that movement. His article originally entitled 'Why I left the prophetic movent' has since been published in book form with the title 'True and False Revival'.

Other articles by Andrew Strom:
Economic Judgement is imminent: 4 Predictions
A Strong Letter to the Apostles
Kundalini Spirits in the Church?

Andrew Strom / Christians Together, 23/02/2011

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Peter Carr 25/02/2011 18:05
RF said, "Religious people resort to faith."

God's Word says (Rom 1: 16 - 17), "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

Faith is a gift of God, in response to who He is, as revealed in His Word and in a response of trust in Jesus Christ His Son the only Saviour.

RF (Guest) 25/02/2011 19:40
Rather than dismantle ML's piece at 17.07,and in the process very likely humiliate him [which I do not wish to do] would the editor like to comment, in a diplomatic fashion, about ML's contribution at 17.07? Would anyone else like to caution him against silly, tired and unbalanced comments? If the answer is no and no I am willing to dismantle.

Thanks for your comment Peter. Amongst other things it has the merit of consistency.
Penny Lee 25/02/2011 20:21

We have discussed faith and what it is and entails before so I'm sure that you'll be glad that I won't repeat it all again! All I can really add is that I don't understand how your mind and reasoning lead you to conclude that there is no God and yet mine leads me to a very real God. Very few people who once (truly) believed in God, that is had a personal relationship with Him, reject Him and become atheist. However, there are quite a few who honestly were atheistic and at some point came to an awareness and acceptance of God as their Saviour. I know a few myself and I am just me in my own little neck of the woods. I expect most, if not all, of the others know at least one person in this category.

I guess you will tell me that there are plenty of people who have reported once believing in God and then rejecting it all but I would say they never actually personally knew God, just believed in his existence. In every poll, there are a lot of people who tick the box 'Christian' because none of the other boxes apply but that is a world away from actually being a Christian.
Peter Carr 25/02/2011 21:54
RF said, "Amongst other things it has the merit of consistency."

God's word is always consistent, as you along with the rest of us will discover one day!

Brian Ross 28/02/2011 11:33
Roland - I've been busy for the last few days, so have had to catch up with a lot just now. In order of (my) priority:

"Atheists do not have faith they rely on facts and observation" (RF) May I be as bold as to suggest that all that this says is that the 'faith' of the atheist is on his/her own observed facts and observation? Of course, we ought, then, to go one to the definition of a fact. For millennia it was a fact that the sun travelled across the sky on a daily basis - a fact basedon observation. We recognise that human knowledge wasn't as great then, but dear old Galileo got into a lot of trouble - mainly from the Roman church of the day - for suggesting that the 'fact' of the matter was contrary to the observation!

You seem to wish to insist on establishing a difference between what you accept as disasters that are the direct result of mankind's selfish, greedy, careless activity; and that which you assume (with, one suooises, an appropriate level of scepticism!) to be the inability of a flawed 'god' to control creation. That was the point of my reference to both Genesis and Romans. Because of mankind's sin, the whole of creation is what is flawed - not the Creator. When God had completed His creation, it was not only 'good', but 'very good'. Of course, it is easier to lay the blame on a Being whose existence one denies in any case, than to accept that one is a sinner oneself and, since "No man is an island" (John Donne), in part responsible.

You claim that "... in my opinion, not every human is a 'sinner' worthy of that label!" However, the written Word of God takes a diametrically-opposed perspective: "Everyone has sinned" (Rom 3:23). Only One is exempt from that charge - the Lord Jesus Who, because He was/is sinless, could, alone, pay the penalty for your sin, and for mine. I mean no disrespect, but I my personal, experiential, knowledge makes it much easier for me to believe the Word of God! I spent far too many years standing, regularly, in front of groups of up to 32 adolescents and teenagers in the secular setting of a Secondary Comprehensive School to have any illusions about "perfect people"!

Paul, you ask about the "God-shaped blank" quotation. I honestly cannot recall who first came up with that version of it ( a Google search might help!), but I use it as a modern equivalent of the saying by Augustine that, in translation, reads "Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless until they find theor hearts in Thee." (Confessions; Book 1)

Neither saying is Scriptural in the sense that neither comes directly from the Bible. That, however, does not make them any less true. On my study wall, I have a number of 'one-liners'. One, e.g., states that "In this life, I shall never be sinless but, by God's grace, I may sin less" It's not from the Bible, but it is true to Biblical teaching about my sinful nature, and the sanctifying work of God the Holy Spirit in my life! As it came to me, one morning while having my private time with the Lord, I am content to accept that it may well have been prompted by God the Holy Spirit!

Peter's comment is, of course, spot on - especially the fianl clause. Thomas disbelieved - but, when confronted by the risen Christ, his response was to fall to the ground: "My Lord, and my God" On that day when he returns in all of His glory, every knee shall, indeed, bow; and every tongue confess; His Kingship (Phil.2:10). The only difference is that there will be those among us who will be doing so with great joy, welcoming Him as Friend; others will do so with great dread, as they realise that the day of salvation (II Cor.6:2) has passed, and it is now the day of judgement.

Andrea, dear sister in the Lord, I am not so certain about us 'meeting' in glory!! I am at the stage at which I believe (but cannot give Scriptuarl reference to back up my conviction) that, althjough I will be aware of the vast throng around the throne, my eyes (and everyone else's) will be so fixed on the Lamb, praising Him in a way in which I am currently incapable, that I will not 'see' anyone else! If I'm wrong, then I look forward to meeting you there - no worries about time; a dimension of timelessness; it's so exciting. Hallelujah!
Penny Lee 28/02/2011 16:19
Brian, I base my present understanding on the testimonies of those like Ian McCormack, and others, who had the experience of dying for a short time and witnessing a small part of Heaven. They report seeing people they recognised. However, it is not important and I accept it may not necessarily be the case once you are actually permanently there. To know we will both be there is enough for me.
Brian Ross 28/02/2011 21:03
Andrea - a hearty AMEN, to that. Hallelujah!
Martin Lisemore 01/03/2011 11:54
Getting back to Christchurch NZ ...

Two quotes from a letter sent from Christchurch to Andrew Strom.

'Well Andrew, today in Christchurch many churches were forced
out into the open to praise and worship God, and many people
came along who would not normally go to church. There will also
be more sense of unity as the churches that are not damaged are
being opened up for other churches to use for services and for
funerals. Prayer meetings are being organised for this week coming, to pray for the city.'

And ...

'Outdoor services also were held at other churches and at a library, where attendees arrived on bicycle or on foot and sat in folding chairs..' According to Fox News.

I don't know what you good people think, but the walls that divide people are coming down in Christchurch, albeit perhaps for a while. Also note, many people came along who would not normally go to church.
RF (Guest) 05/03/2011 19:16
In response to Brian Ross @ 11.33

Para 1 Yes we rely on facts and observation. But scientists also test and re-evaluate when necessary. We take account of new information supplied by them. On the other hand the Bible is a collection of words that are open to interpretation; its big claims are not capable of being tested owing to a chronic lack of convincing evidence. I do not care if you think you have found it to the contrary because I have looked closely at it and moved on.

Para 2 does little for you; it blames man for just about everything. Your para 2 is unbelievable. I am looking at it in disbelief. So it is man to blame for just about everything not God! For an educated man to write what you did can only be explained as being a retrenched religious misfiring. Or something worse.

Para 3 I never said people are perfect. What you call God's people are never entirely good. Some are corrupt, some are ill,some are deceitful and some are heroes. Take your pick.Some are all four at varying times.Just do not blame them for little creatures that blind little children or the other thousands of things that go wrong with human bodies all over the planet, often through no fault of the people concerned.

I always try to be polite but your piece has tested my patience to the limit.

Andrea (Guest) 05/03/2011 22:57

I am truly perplexed as to why you keep returning to this website only to get angry or dismayed at what you see. What is it that you expect to see on a Christian website? We have confirmed many times that we believe what is in the Bible (a fact which I would imagine should not come as any great shock to you) so why keep being shocked at this? We are never going to agree, are we?

With all due respect, I wouldn't dream of registering with the Secular Society and constantly being shocked by what is written there. I would expect to see no trace of anyone who believes in God. I don't imagine anyone here minds at all that you do look in but we honestly don't understand why you do if it is only to try to convince us otherwise because it is not going to happen. All of us were on the same side as you to begin with and came over to God's side. We know what it is like to live without God so, in that respect at least, we actually have more experience of both belief systems than you.

By all means stay around if you wish but at least give us the credit for having the courage of our convictions and having faith in the very book which led us to God. Surely you wouldn't expect anything less.
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