News

Astronomers Claim to Pinpoint Crucifixion Time

Two Romanian astronomers claim to have pinpointed the exact time and date of the Crucifixion of Jesus, the Internet news service Ananova has reported. According to Liviu Mircea and Tiberiu Oproiu of the Astronomic Observatory Institute in Cluj, Romania, Jesus died at 3 p.m. on Friday, April 3, 33 AD. According to their reading of the New Testament data, Jesus was crucified on the day after the first night with a full moon after the vernal equinox. If the Crucifixion took place some time between the years 26 and 35, this could mean either Friday, April 7, A.D. 30, or Friday, April 3, AD 33. But it was only in the latter year that records show a solar eclipse as having occurred in Jerusalem (“And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour,” according to Mark 15:33). The two astronomers have also timed the Resurrection precisely as having occurred at 4 a.m. the following Sunday, April 5.

RNS via Religion Today Summaries

Priest Jailed for Refusing to Destroy Church in Sudan

An Anglican priest was jailed “indefinitely” on April 7 for refusing to demolish the church he built 11 years ago outside of Khartoum, Sudan. Judge Kamal Abd-Rahaman Alli ordered Samuel Dobai Amum to tear down St. Matthew’s Parish in Takamol and surrender the land to its “rightful owner.” Amum said he wouldn’t resist the destruction of the building, but he couldn’t personally destroy a building devoted to God. In response, the judge sentenced him to prison until he destroys the building or pays 7 million dinars (US$3,931) to secure the land. St. Matthew’s Parish was established for Christian refugees fleeing persecution in southern Sudan. In 1987 Amum built a chapel from straw in what was then an unclaimed plot of land. In 1992 he rebuilt the church out of mud and straw. The church averages 150-200 members. Three years later the government surveyed the area and, without notifying Amum, gave the land to Awad Abdalla Bashir, a Muslim member of the Popular Committee of the local government. Bashir then demanded a large payment for the land. Unable to pay, Amum declined and requested the courts to intervene. The court then ordered him to demolish the building.

Voice of the Martyrs via HCJB World Radio

Christian Programs Take to Air in Iraq

As military activity shifted from combat to restoring order in war-ravaged Iraq, international Christian broadcaster Trans World Radio (TWR) has been airing a series of special Arabic and Farsi language programs designed to offer spiritual encouragement and biblical perspective to listeners in Iraq and the surrounding region.

The daily 15-minute broadcasts, which began in March just prior to the commencement of the war in Iraq, were spearheaded by the Middle East Reformed Fellowship and produced in partnership with Christian broadcasters Words of HOPE and the Back to God Hour. The programs air on medium wave (AM) from TWR-affiliated outlets in Monte Carlo and Cyprus.

“These broadcasts are intended to bring people in Iraq and the rest of the region lasting hope during these difficult days,” said Lee DeYoung, vice president for broadcasting ministries at Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Words of HOPE. “Only Christ can meet the deep spiritual needs of the heart, and we trust He is using the broadcasts in a tremendous way.”

Arab Christians note there are 700,000 Iraqi Christians in need of encouragement, and millions of Muslims who need Christ. It’s a war of ideas, they say, and it’s not just about capitalism and democracy.

Trans World Radio news release

YWCA Hires Lesbian as Leader

The Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) recently hired Patricia Ireland to become the chief executive officer of the girl’s organization. Ireland is the former leader of the National Organization for Women (NOW), a radical feminist group that is pro-abortion and pro-homosexual. Ireland is also an admitted bisexual who has had a husband living in Florida and a female homosexual “partner” in Washington, DC.

“We fear the focus will now become homosexual indoctrination among young girls,” said Don Wildmon, chairman of American Family Association (AFA). “Ireland has a long history of promoting a radical agenda and will not hesitate to incorporate her left-wing values into the mission.”

Wildmon said the YWCA made a conscious decision in hiring Ireland and he wants parents to be aware of the organization’s dangerous direction. “Lesbianism, cross-dressing, and abortion are all part of Ireland’s history. It will soon become YWCA’s present.” The report noted that most local United Way programs help fund the YWCA, and urged donors to United Way make certain their donations are exempt from going to the YWCA.

AFA Action Alert

“New Type Missionaries Needed”

A new type of missionary is being recruited to go to the field, says Hanz Finzel, president of CBInternational. “For years we’ve thought, if you’re really going to be a long-term missionary you’ve got to go to Bible college or seminary. But, we’re finding today, in the closed countries it’s actually a liability to have a degree from a Bible college or a seminary. And in the closed places—which are often the most needy places where the least evangelized are—we’re looking for a whole new generation of Christian professionals who have a skill to offer that can get them in the door.” “We’re definitely looking for people with marketplace skills who we can place in restricted-access countries,” Finzel said.

Mission Network News

Baptist Association Removes Church for Condoning Homosexuality

A North Carolina church accused of baptizing two unrepentant homosexuals was removed from the Cabarrus Baptist Association April 28 by a vote of 250-11. The church, McGill Baptist in Concord, N.C., baptized the two men last June, and association officials met privately with church officials before taking action. The two men are living together.

Cabarrus Baptist Association’s Jim Wadford released a statement summarizing the association’s action: “The…association must take a stand based on the Scriptures…. To allow individuals into the membership of a local church without evidence or testimony of true repentance (a turning away from the old way of living) is to condone the old lifestyle.”

The two homosexual men visited the church for a few months before requesting membership, McGill Baptist Pastor Steven Ayers said. “When they tell us that they have experienced the risen Lord and have made a profession of faith in Him, and [a profession] to turn their life over to Him, we trust them,” he said. “... We don’t ask questions.” He added, “Even if it is a sin, that is between them and God.”

Baptist Press

Christian Life in Iran Worth Fraction of Muslim’s Life

The Guardian Council of Iran once again rejected a parliamentary bill on equal diyeh, or blood-price, for non-Muslim Iranian nationals. This effectively affirms that the life of a Muslim is worth more than that of a Christian or other non-Muslim in accordance with Islamic law. In September, 2002, an Iranian court set a new precedent when it granted the family of a murdered Christian the same compensation as that of a Muslim. In January, 2003, the reformist Iranian Parliament submitted a bill that would make the diyeh value on the lives of Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians equal to that of Muslim men, according to the BBC. The final decision as to whether the bill will be scrapped will be determined by Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei. In most Muslim nations today, especially in countries like Iran that have reimposed sharia, Christians are thought of as second-class citizens and face social discrimination.

Barnabas Fund via Religion Today Summaries

British Town to Celebrate Wesley’s 300th Birthday

Special events commemorating the 300th anniversary of the birth of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, have been planned for Epworth, North Lincolnshire, England, this summer. Among them is the staging of a new play, Mister Wesley, written by Roy Clarke, author of the popular British sitcom, Last of the Summer Wine. The play will premiere June 18 in Epworth, the small town where Wesley was born in 1703 and lived for 40 years. It was in St. Andrew’s Church in Epworth where Wesley preached on his father’s tomb after being denied access to the church’s pulpit because of his “Methodist” beliefs. Other anniversary events include a Wesleyan street market and pageant, the dedication of a specially-commissioned bronze statue of Wesley, an exhibition of his life and writings, a flower festival, and joint church services. For details visit www.wesley300.com.

Assist News Service via HCJB World Radio

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