German Mission Discovers It’s in a Mission Field
Liebenzell Mission, one of the major German missionary sending agencies, is discovering its secularized home country as a mission field. In some parts of Eastern Germany the percentage of Christians is much lower than in many traditional mission areas in the Third World, said Director Martin Auch. Liebenzell Mission sent out two missionary couples to northeastern Germany, formerly a communist area for four decades. In the new outposts of Schwerin and Neubrandenburg, Christians comprise only 1% of the population, 87% call themselves atheists, and the rest are nominal church members.
Religious Media Agency
Relief Agency Ships Medical Supplies to Iraq
While the U.S. is asking the United Nations to take a more active peacekeeping role in Iraq, Christian organizations such as Food for the Hungry are helping with physical aid, said ministry spokesperson Tamara Dutch. “Food for the Hungry has shipped a container with $700,000 worth of medical supplies that’s being distributed,” she said. “That is our largest shipment that we have given to Iraq so far.” Dutch said the container will help re-supply hospitals. “We have everything from antibiotics to painkillers, gloves, gowns, gauze, oxygen masks and surgical kits.” Two Baghdad hospitals are sharing the desperately needed medical supplies.
Mission Network News
Cross Called a Symbol of Oppression
A high-ranking Southern Baptist official has taken issue with a suggestion that Christians do away with the symbol of the cross because some people find it offensive. While an executive of the American Clergy Leadership Conference has called upon Christians to take the crosses off their churches as a gesture of reconciliation because some regard it as a “symbol of oppression and perceived superiority,” mainstream Christian leaders like Dr. Bill Merrill of the Southern Baptist Convention reacted with dismay. He says it is remarkable that any who call themselves Christians should take offense at the cross. Merrill says the cross is not a symbol of oppression at all, but “a symbol of our deliverance.” The American Clergy Leadership Conference is a spin-off of the Unification Church, founded by Sun Myung Moon. They claim peace in the Middle East is blocked by how non-Christians react to the cross.
Agape Press/Religion Today
“Persecution Like Pouring Gas on Fire”
“In a very real way, Christians in India have two terrorist types coming after them rather than just the one as in some other countries,” says John DeVries of Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Mission India. “But these two groups, the Muslims and the Hindus, are also after each other,” he added. DeVries credits the hostilities and the anti-conversion movement as the catalyst triggering recent church growth in India. “The persecution is just like pouring gas on a fire. Where it comes, it makes people seriously commit to Christ,” he said.
Mission Network News
India Prepares National Anti-Conversion Rule
India’s coalition government, led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is about to introduce fresh rules to prevent religious conversion of Hindus across the nation. In a country where there are 350 million Dalits (people outside of the caste system), 260 million of whom fall below the poverty line, the rule demands aspiring converts to have undergone a secondary education. “This will effectively deny a large section of the people their right to religious faith ensured by India’s Constitution,” said Oliver D’Souza of the All India Christian Council. He said India’s Christians will fight the rule if implemented.
Compass via MissionNet
Police in Eritrea Order Youths to Renounce Their Faith
Twelve more evangelicals were arrested in Eritrea on September 7 while worshiping in a private home. Other than the owner of the home, those arrested were described as young people and were all members of the Dubre Bethel Church in Asmara, the capital of Eritrea. According to the report received from Compass Direct, the young people were ordered to renounce their faith in order to be released. When they refused, all food was ordered to be withheld until they sign the agreement. When parents of the young people tried to visit, they were told they could only see their children if they tried to convince them to deny their faith. Those who agreed were promised a meeting.
These twelve join over 200 other evangelical Christians currently in prison for their faith in Eritrea. On August 19-20, sixty-two high school students were arrested for having Bibles. Five agreed to renounce their faith and were released. To date local evangelical church leaders have received no information on the other fifty-seven.
Join in fervent prayer for these young people, as they stand firm in their faith. Pray that all those in prison will know the continual presence of Christ with them. Pray for many others who face the threat of prison and torture for their faith.
Food Sent to Help Starving Ethiopian Christians
Open Doors has delivered food and other supplies in Ethiopia to help 18,000 Christians who are facing severe hunger.
“We need to meet both the physical and spiritual needs of these Christians,” said Brother Andrew, founder of Open Doors. He added that evangelical Christians face “persecution in Ethiopia and all across East Africa. This is why we boosted our commitments to strengthen them spiritually this year by providing urgently needed training. We’re also providing Bibles, commentaries, training manuals and other Christian materials. But now we must do more to help their physical needs as well.” Leaders and training students in Open Doors’ long-time partnership of local churches will deliver the supplies to ensure that the food reaches the hungriest people.
If present trends continue, Ethiopia’s food shortage will be worse than the 1984 famine that killed 2 million people. Recent reports put the number of Ethiopians in need of food at 13.2 million. Tens of thousands of children are severely malnourished.
Police Arrest 170 at Chinese House Church
Police in Nanyang County in China’s Henan Province recently arrested 170 house church Christians in a crackdown of unregistered churches. Fourteen of the leaders remain in detention while the rest of the detainees were forced to pay fines before being fingerprinted, warned, and released. The 14 leaders face more serious charges and may be imprisoned. Local believers are concerned that they will be beaten and tortured.
Nanyang County is one of the strongest Christian areas in China after a revival began in the 1970s and still continues. Up to 50% of the 1.1 million people in the county are believers. Some villages are entirely Christian. Throughout the years, Nanyang has also been the scene of some of China’s strongest and most diabolical persecution.
Religion Today/Voice of the Martyrs
30,000 Gather for One of UK’s Largest Christian Events
More than 30,000 people gathered in Manchester Aug. 31 for the final day of one of the largest Christian events ever staged in the U.K. The Luis Palau Evangelistic Association and Manchester’s Message Trust worked with more than 500 churches, and public and private individuals to produce the outdoor event. “Festival: Manchester” combined community service and social action projects with a music festival. In conjunction with the festival, nearly 5,000 volunteer/delegates from across the UK and Western Europe worked on some 300 service projects in some of the city’s most deprived areas. More than 1,500 attendees made first-time decisions for Christ as a result of Palau’s gospel
Assist News Service via MissionNet
Members Decry Australian Church’s Decision to Allow Gay Pastors
More than 24,000 members from 500 congregations of Australia’s Uniting Church have rebuffed the denomination’s ruling body regarding the issue of ordaining homosexual ministers. The Uniting Church Assembly, comprising some 280 employees who serve mainly in bureaucratic roles, has been soundly rebuffed by the membership, said spokesman Gordon Moyes. The assembly had granted presbyteries the right to approve ministers for ordination in spite of homosexual behavior. Thousands of church members subsequently met in protest nationwide, and a petition demanding the rescinding of the assembly’s motion was presented to the group’s standing committee. “Scores of letters and notes expressed the deep spiritual and emotional dismay and concern of Uniting Church members and adherents following the assembly’s decision,” Moyes said. Even the public at large acknowledges this. All of the opinion polls taken by newspapers and television stations concerning the ordination of [practicing] homosexuals...have strongly affirmed the Christian position that church leaders should obey the scriptural injunction about holiness of living and freedom from all sexual relationships except for marriage.”
Assist News Service via MissionNet
Word has come from Rabbi Avi Shafran (at Aish.com) that a group of Egyptian expatriates in Switzerland has filed a multi-billion-dollar suit against “all the Jews of the world” for recovery of property allegedly stolen during the Exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt—some 3,300 years ago. According to the group’s calculations, which include an annual doubling in value of the material in question, 1,125 trillion tons of gold are owed by the Jews for each of the 300 tons they estimate was taken. And that doesn’t include interest!
Rabbi Shafran says this recalls a report in the Jewish Torah (Sanhedrin 91a) of a similar suit filed approximately 2,000 years ago which was heard by Alexander the Great, sitting as judge. On that occasion, the spokesman for the Jews, Geviha ben Pesisa, first ascertained that the opponents’ claim was based on the Torah. Then Geviha declared the Jews’ intention of counter-suing for wages for 630,000 men, over a period of 430 years.
That ended the farce two millennia ago, and the same response should serve as well today.<![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]>