Tag Archives: Christians

Jonathan Merritt sees an ideological mode among Reformed Christians


The blogger and author on Twitter:

Do you think he’s right? Why? Or, why not?

(“Xians” is short for Christians.)

 

Could the evangelical crisis come from misguided outreach?


Note, 5:15 p.m. Eastern, June 12: Please also see my clarification regarding the first version of this post. 

For the most part, evangelicals have demonstrated themselves to be more interested in people who go to sports bars than people who go to museums.

That would probably be great if most evangelicals actually were going to sports bars rather than rapidly proliferating “contemporary worship services” on the pretense that the only thing keeping people from church is public order and pipe organs.

What if evangelicals offered as many soup kitchens as contemporary worship services? That would offer needy people something they actually need, rather than provide middle class families with more entertainment options.

Of course, that’s a bunch of generalization. Keep your contemporary worship service if you like it. But maybe the same energy and effort could answer specific, vital needs.

Leave the PCA, take a beating from oh-so-loving brothers


When Jason Stellman wrote a sincere and respectful letter to the Presbyterian Church in America about his decision to leave that denomination, the arrogant and hateful blowback from some members was so severe that he decided to stop blogging for a while just to keep his Christian composure.

I guess being Truly Reformed means never having to demonstrate the Fruits of the Spirit.

Your election to salvation is irrevocable, so you can act like a total shit.

And everyone else already has been damned or saved, so you don’t have to worry about your Christian witness. Just hold the occasional lecture on sovereignty and anticipate your great reward.

Survey: Most Americans do not believe Japan earthquakes, or other natural disasters, are signs from God


From a survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute and the Religion News Service:

“7-in-10 Americans see God as a person with whom one can have a relationship, and a majority (56%) say God is in control of everything that happens in the world.

“However, less than 4-in-10 (38%) believe earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters are a sign from God; and even fewer (29%) believe that God sometimes punishes nations for the sins of some of its citizens. White evangelical Protestants are the exception to this pattern. Among evangelicals, about 6-in-10 (59%) believe natural disasters are a sign from God, and a smaller majority (53%) believe that God judges nations for the sins of some of their citizens. Only one-in-five white mainline Protestants or Catholics believe God punishes nations for the sins of some.

“Nearly 6-in-10 (58%) Americans say that the severity of recent natural disasters is evidence of global climate change, compared to 44% who say that the severity of recent natural disasters is evidence of what the Bible calls the ‘end times.’

“More than 8-in-10 also say that providing financial assistance to Japan is very important (42%) of somewhat important (41%) despite economic challenges at home. Support is high across political and religious groups.”

Read more of this report.

How to talk about Holy Communion without any reference to Jesus, sacrifice, body, blood, etc.


In this otherwise not-so-bad note, the Rev. Clayton Morris, liturgical officer for The Episcopal Church, mistakenly turns the secondary reasons for Holy Communion into the primary reasons:

Why does the church gather around a table with food and drink in its primary act of worship? Because God calls the church to a ministry of reconciliation. The church is called to restore the dignity of creation. It is all about feeding and being fed. It is all about making certain that all God’s children are safe, whole and nourished. The ritual breaking of bread in the midst of the assembly reminds us of our task while it embodies its reality.

India ignores request to repatriate Christians


Fourteen Christians from India are stuck in a Bangladeshi prison weeks after completing a three-month sentence for unwittingly crossing the border while evangelizing.

They remain in the prison because the India’s authorities have not made arrangements for repatriation, adding to international skepticism about India’s committment to religious liberty and human rights.

“Their jail terms was finished on February 28,” Brig. Gen. Zakir Hasan, the Bangladeshi Inspector General of Prisons, told Compass Direct News. “We applied to our home ministry on February 9 about their repatriation to India.

“But so far, we did not get any information about their repatriation. If [India’s] high commission does not take any initiative about their repatriation, they will be in jail sine die [indefinitely].”

Bangladeshi officials are willing to send the prisoners back to India, but cannot do so unless India’s high commission makes arrangements.

“If we release them without their high commission’s initiative, they will be caught again in Bangladeshi territory for not having any valid documents and passports,” Hasan said. “They will be put in jail for another crime.”

The  Compass Direct News report explained the circumstances under which the 14 were jailed.

Roma neighborhood Sub-Inspector Babar Ali said Bangladeshi border patrols arrested the 14 evangelists on November 27 of last year, handed them over to local police the next day, and the Christians appeared in court on November 29.

“Those Christian people were actually preaching Christianity in that mountainous terrain,” said Ali. “They could not understand the demarcation line of the border between India and Bangladesh. In actual fact, there is no demarcation line of border there.”

Ali said the Christians had no illegal purpose for entering the country.

“Rather, they entered mistakenly while preaching their religion in predominantly tribal locality,” he said. “We investigated whether they were engaged in any illegal or criminal activities in Bangladeshi territory, but our investigation has drawn a blank. We did not find them involved in any criminal activities.”

Investigators found only Christian literature on them, Ali added.

India and Bangladesh share a 2,545-mile (4,095-kilometer) border that is largely unfenced. There are 111 Indian enclaves (locally known as Chits) in Bangladesh territory covering 17,258.24 acres, and there are 51 Bangladesh enclaves in Indian territory measuring 7,083.72 acres.

Convert burned, family forgives


DHAKA, Bangladesh – A 70-year-old woman convert from Islam died on Friday (Feb. 1) from burns she suffered when unknown assailants in a Muslim-majority area (about 150 miles northwest of the capital) set her home on fire last month. Rahima Beoa of Cinatuly village suffered burns over 70 to 80 percent of her body after the home she shared with her daughter and son-in-law, also converts, was set ablaze the night of Jan. 7, said Khaled Mintu, Rangpur regional supervisor of the Isha-e-Jamat (Jesus’ Church) Bangladesh denomination. Villagers were upset over her conversion to Christianity and that of her daughter and son-in-law, he said. “Before her burial, the family members forgave those who set fire in the house and prayed to God that this kind of incident not occur anymore in this country,” Mintu told Compass. “They also prayed for a situation where Muslims and Christians can practice their own religion side by side peacefully.”

-Compass Direct News

Hindu extremists attack Christians on Christmas Eve


NEW DELHIAt least four Christians are feared dead, many injured and more than 50 churches and 200 homes are either destroyed or damaged in Orissa state in anti-Christian violence that began Christmas Eve. Violence by Hindu extremists continues in some pockets despite the state imposing a curfew and deploying hundreds of police officers. Extremists have pursued Christian leaders into forests where they fled. The Delhi Catholic Archdiocese fears a repeat of 1998 attacks on Christians in Gujarat, followed the next year by the burning alive of Australian missionary Graham Staines and his sons in Orissa.

-Compass Direct News

‘The Language of God’ still selling


This coming Sunday, Dr. Francis S. Collins’ The Language of God (Free Press) will appear at No. 21 on the New York Times Paperback Nonfiction Bestseller list. It was released in 2006. Safe to say people are still reading it.

Thanks be to God.

This is a needed book in our time.  Collins, head of the Human Genome Project, explains his Christian faith as well as the reasonableness of evolutionary science. The Language of God is one of those books that can stand in the gap of our culture war.

The New York Times, however, has failed to give it more than a brief, if encouraging, review (viewing the review online requires a paid membership; if you’re signed up, click here).

India fails to protect religious minorities; violence against Christians unchecked


MUMBAI, India, November 9 — A rash of violence in Maharashtra state last weekend, Christian leaders say, is typical of a growing history of unchecked, Hindu extremists crimes against Christians in Thane district.

 

In a scene repeated for years in the area with impunity, Hindu extremists armed with wooden clubs barged into the worship service of the Mumbai Diocesan Missionary Movement in Kuttal village of Wada on Sunday (November 4) and beat several members brutally enough that they required hospital treatment.

 

When Pastor Suresh Suttar went to the police station to file a complaint against the extremists, officers instead detained him. Unable to find any evidence to file charges against him, they released him on Monday (November 5), said Dr. Abraham Mathai, vice chairperson of the Maharashtra State Minorities Commission.

 

The club-wielding extremists of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and its affiliated organizations, the Vanvasi Kalyan Parishad (VKP or Forest Dwellers Welfare Council) and the Bajrang Dal (youth wing of the VHP) were left free to pursue future victims. The Christians – Vishnu Barad and his wife Aruna Barad, Vandhana Barad, Nirmala Barad, Ramdas Ahad and Neelesh Barad – were left with swollen arms and legs, a bruised and swollen chin, bruises and abrasions to the temple and forehead and a bruised chest.

 

After the Hindu extremists had stormed into the service shouting curses and anti-Christian slogans, they struck the believers with their fists and clubs, snatched Bibles and tore pages from them and flung chairs. Some of the extremists marched up to the dais and slapped Pastor Suttar, raising the oft-repeated but baseless charge of luring poor tribal peoples to convert to the Christianity.

 

“This attack took place despite an assurance on Friday, November 2, from state Home Minister R.R. Patil that the police would take action against attacks on tribals,” said Mathai, who is also general secretary of the All India Christian Council.

 

-Compass Direct News