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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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Brian Ross 24/02/2011 14:00
Almost forgot! I recall Aberfan all too well, Roland. I was a young student at the BTI in Glasgow when that tragedy occurred. I also remember that it was the direct result of man having piled up a mountain of coaldust, right above a school building, with no apparent regard for the effect of heavy rain thereupon.

While there are 'natural' disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis, much of the tragedy in the world is caused by man - by his greed (as in deforestation and the resulting drought); carelessness (as in the recent mudslides in South America); and cruelty (as in Gadaffi's Libya).

From a Christian perspective, it is only the grace of God that stops the situation from being much worse. This will, I believe, become tragically apparent when, at the Rapture, the influence of God the Holy Spirit is removed from the earth. (see Matt.24; Rev.13 inter al). I have no desire to appear to be in any way irreverent but, to anyone who thinks that current events are bad, I can only quote the words "You ain't seen nuthin yet"!!!
Brian Ross 24/02/2011 14:41
Andrea - I really do hope that I will have the opportunity to meet with you one day. :-)

I think that we are, broadly speaking, in agreement over this. Yes, it is sad that the visible (and nominal?) church sees to have forgotten the real "Lord's Prayer" in John 17, with the Saviour's stated desire that His disciples be one even as he and the Father are One; and His words in John 13:35.

With regard to prayer, I suspect that it is only as I have grown older that I have begun to increasingly value it. Amazingly, many who do not consider themselves to be 'religious' seem to value it as well. Three times in just the last couple of weeks, I have been made aware of specific situations and, when I have asked the individuals involved if they would have any objection to me praying for them, each one was happy to have me do so!! Something about, "There's a God-shaped blank in every heart, that only God can fill"!

Pawlo 24/02/2011 15:08
"There's a God-shaped blank in every heart, that only God can fill"!

I know it's a bit off topic but where does this statement come from as it's been quoted on more than one occasion on these forums? It seems a ludicrous thing to say, what is its scriptural foundation?
Penny Lee 24/02/2011 17:09
"Andrea - I really do hope that I will have the opportunity to meet with you one day. :-)"

We will meet in Heaven, if not before, brother!
RF (Guest) 24/02/2011 17:09
Paul I cannot help you with an answer to your 15.08 query but have observed that a scriptural foundation is not always treated as a necessity by Christians on this forum. Mr Carr springs to mind as an exception but there may be one or two more.

Brian I was aware of the Aberfan background; I deliberately mentioned the tragedy as an example of reported human folly and threw the 'big waves' in as an example of a godly flaw. Both planet and man are said to be created by god and both have fallen short too often and too cruelly.

Mind you,in my opinion, not every human is a 'sinner' worthy of that label!

We know about man made messes Brian but they do not deflect from the magnitude of godly inadequacy. Nice try [if that is what it was] but your neat pass has been intercepted!

Editor 24/02/2011 17:12
Probably from Ecclesiastes 3:11
"He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end."

Interestingly enough there is a "quotation" in the paper today from the comedian Russell Brand who is not known for his reverence of God (or anything else).

Brand is quoted: "I'm famous now. I didn't used to be but when I was younger, I always wanted to be famous. I thought it would make me happy. But now I've got fame and some of the things that I thought would make me happy it ain't worked."

In his own words he is saying what so many others have found throughout history.

Have a listen again to Brian Irvine's testimony where he speaks of the irrelevance of all his footballing success and trophies when faced with a life-threatening illness.
RF (Guest) 24/02/2011 18:28
Sorry I do not understand the full relevance. Certainly it is good for a man to realize, however late, the importance of health, because without it life can be very difficult; yes I get that.I also like Mr Irvine's acknowledgement of the medical profession in helping him. Fame? That's surely a somewhat immature desire.

The amount of credit given, or not given, to God is down to the individual and his/her world view.

So where do we take this? I am confident that someone is going to tell me and the journey will no doubt be familiar.Strong boots, compass, whistle, cloudy and wet.
Peter Walker (Guest) 24/02/2011 22:37
RF you sound as if you are a person who is seeking. But ultimately trust in God is a step of faith. Not blind faith however. The real people of faith are atheists who have very little proof to support what they believe.
RF (Guest) 25/02/2011 16:58
Mr Walker you seem a bit confused. Atheists do not have faith they rely on facts and observation in order to come to a balance of probabilities. Religious people resort to faith.
Martin Lisemore 25/02/2011 17:07
Roland, whilst what you write of atheists is true of the minority, I believe the majority so describing themselves thus are just to lazy, indifferent, or preoccupied to take anything seriously but themselves.

It's also very convenient, since matters of conscience don't arise because they have no yard stick against which to judge anything, except of course, their own base desires.
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