Tuesday, October 5, 2010

the church in Hungary

last week I was informed of some very startling news about what the government here in Hungary wants to do about churches. In 1990 after communism fell, the government enacted "religious freedom" laws which allowed the establishment & legal registration of churches here in Hungary.  In 1995 Calvary Chapel became an officially recognized church here in Hungary. It was in 2001 when Calvary Szeged became a legally recognized local church from the national Calvary Chapel. This legal status that Calvary has nationally has allowed the church to officially invite foreign nationals to work as missionaries and this helped in applying for visas to stay / minister in Hungary. Calvary Chapel Bible College Europe received accreditation this past spring & now offers a BA in Theology.  As a legally recognized church people are able to offer 1% of their income to a church when they file their taxes every year.

the current government (which was elected in the spring) proposed a new law last week regarding the freedom of religion & churches. The government will require every church to re-register with a council they will set up which will determine what is a church or not.  Only those churches which have 10,000 members or those historical churches will be allowed to remain as churches.  Because the current government has a 2/3 majority they have the power to change any & all laws they want including ones about religious freedom. The current government coalition is strongly supported by the Catholic church who has a web site that lists pretty much every church that isn't Catholic as a cult.

this proposal is to be put before the Parliament either latter this year or early next year. Should it pass, Calvary Chapel Hungary would lose it's legal status. We'd no long be able to receive people's tax deductible donations, the accreditation of the Bible College would be lost, and Calvary would not receive any government funding for any ministries (i.e. soup kitchens).  What's probably the worst is that people following Jesus in "small" churches like Calvary Chapel would not be protected with the same religious freedoms which they're protected with now.

at the moment those who are involved in the legal aspects of the church are prayerfully considering what steps we are to take. Obviously we are encouraging everyone to pray that God would turn the hearts of the politicians that they would vote against this law which would stifle religious freedom.

please join us in praying for the church here in Hungary!

in His service,