229 Christians Missionary Hoax

Q&A With Rev. David Felten

Question & Answer


Q: By Jerry

I received this from a friend. It is true. I am forwarding the message to you because there are 1,000s who are about to lose their lives. Please pray fervently that this horrific plan will be thwarted. Pray for confusion on the part of the enemy. I’m so saddened to hear this.

From Calvary Chapel, Chino Hills, Pastor Jack Hibbs
Please pray for the 229 Christian missionaries who have been sentenced to death tomorrow afternoon by Afghan Islamists.  Please send this message on to all you know who will pray for them. The message was sent by Judith Carmona, missionary from Chihuahua who is in Africa. The whole planet must be united in prayer.  Also the radical Islamic group has just taken Quaragosh, the largest Christian city in Iraq where there are 100s of Christian men, women and children who are being beheaded. Please take a minute to pray now. Quaragosh has already been taken several times and they have asked for this prayer coverage.

In addition, the public in Afghanistan must put their religious affiliation on their identification papers. The terrorists are now hunting them down with the goal of exterminating the Christian faith there.
Please pray for peace.
Robyn Bezanson
Amazing Grace Church
House of Grace transitional home

A: By Rev. David M. Felten

Dear Jerry, 

Thanks for forwarding the above email. However, it is NOT true.
Although it claims to be from Calvary Chapel Chino Hills and Pastor Jack Hibbs, the official Calvary Chapel Chino Hills Facebook page posted the following on their Facebook page the same day (Wednesday, Aug 18th, 2021):
“Yes, we are aware of the post regarding 229 Christians that is being shared. CCCH and Pastor Jack did not share it. We are not sure where it originated but it is not true and has made the rounds throughout the years from various places.”
The whole thing is a hoax. Someone out there has cobbled together a muddle of names (Judith? Jack? Robyn?), locations (Afghanistan? Chihuahua? Africa? Iraq?), and situations from multiple emails and scams that together might sound factual, timely, and urgent. Unfortunately, this email is none of those things.
I’m not quite sure who puts these things together, but evidently, someone gets a rush out of spreading lies, stirring people up, and fomenting angry responses from fearful people.
I’m grateful for what is clearly your big heart and passion for the vulnerable. Keep it up! But please don’t waste your prayers. Pray for — and better yet, take action to resolve — the real struggles of real people. That means not just Afghan Christians but Afghan Muslims. The Taliban is an extremist group that embraces an outdated, violent, and misogynistic distortion of Islam. Countless Afghan Muslims do not agree and essentially stand to be held hostage by these fundamentalists.
I’m especially concerned for the safety and future of Muslim girls and young women in Afghanistan who, through the influence of and with the support of the United States, have received an education and been given a taste of equality and opportunity over the last 20 years. They will likely now be plunged back into the medieval servitude, psychological torture, and domestic violence imposed on women by the Taliban. However you slice it, it’s a tragic situation that requires more than “emergency prayer.”
If you’ve sent the initial hoax email to anyone else, PLEASE let them know it’s a scam. It is the responsibility of all of us to put a stop to disinformation and fake news wherever we come across it.
Thanks in advance for being a part of the solution.

~ Rev. David M. Felten

This Q&A was originally published on Progressing Spirit – As a member of this online community, you’ll receive insightful weekly essays, access to all of the essay archives (including all of Bishop John Shelby Spong), and answers to your questions in our free weekly Q&A. Click here to see free sample essays.

About the Author
Rev. David M. Felten is a full-time pastor at The Fountains, a United Methodist Church in Fountain Hills, Arizona. David and fellow United Methodist Pastor, Jeff Procter-Murphy, are the creators of the DVD-based discussion series for Progressive Christians, “Living the Questions” and authors of Living the Questions: The Wisdom of Progressive Christianity. A co-founder of Catalyst Arizona and also a founding member of No Longer Silent: Clergy for Justice, David is an outspoken voice for LGBTQ rights both in the church and in the community at large. David is active in the Desert Southwest Conference of the United Methodist Church and tries to stay connected to his roots as a musician. You’ll find him playing saxophones in a variety of settings, including appearances with the Fountain Hills Saxophone Quartet. David is the proud father of three reliably remarkable human beings.

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