Young people in Iran converting to Christianity in their droves despite Islamic indoctrination

Young people in Iran converting to Christianity in their droves despite Islamic indoctrination

Christian women attend a church service in Tehran, Iran.Reuters The massive rise of Christianity in Iran, especially among youths, continues despite the Islamic government’s efforts to suppress the faith. Even Islamic leaders admitted that more and more young people are choosing to follow Christ. According to Mohabat News, which reports on the persecution and state of Christianity in Iran, the “exponential rate” of Christian growth has been a factor for the last couple of decades. Now even leading Islamic seminary officials, such as Ayatollah Alavi Boroujerdi, have pointed to “accurate reports indicating that the youth are becoming Christians in Qom and attending house churches.” Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi has also been raising alarm over the number of Iranian youths becoming Christians, and has blamed “foreign influence” for the conversions....Read more
How these brave Iraqi women are sewing signs of hope from a mark of terror

How these brave Iraqi women are sewing signs of hope from a mark of terror

Bible Society A group of brave Iraqi women living in Jordan have taken what was a mark of terror, and are literally using it to sew new signs of hope.  When Islamic State began identifying Christians by the Arabic ‘n’ letter – which stands for Nazarene – there did not seem much to celebrate. The Christians targeted in this way faced a literal life-or-death decision – convert to Islam, pay tax or be murdered.  But now the ‘n’ symbol has a new purpose, the Bible Society reports. Iraqi women in Jordan are earning their living by embroidering bookmarks with the letter, pronounced ‘noon’. Unable to find any other work because they are Iraqi not Jordanian, they are then able to sell the bookmarks and earn a small amount to help feed themselves and their refugee families.  The Bible Society reports that when IS captured...Read more
Barcelona terror attack: Are we becoming desensitised to barbarity?

Barcelona terror attack: Are we becoming desensitised to barbarity?

It’s only a matter of months since 84 people were killed in Nice.Reuters Hannah Arendt’s famous phrase ‘the banality of evil’ has itself become so well-worn it’s easy to miss the powerful point she was making. The German-American philosopher, who became an American citizen, famously sat through the trial of Nazi Adolf Eichmann. In the book that she wrote about the experience, ‘Eichmann in Jerusalem’ the subtitle was  ‘A Report on the Banality of Evil.’ In this totemic work, Arendt described how Eichmann and many other Nazis weren’t uniquely evil. Instead she says, ‘The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.’ The banality of evil is not only a concept that helps us think about its perpetrators. It also helps us to think about the effect of evil events on...Read more
White evangelicals are being criticised on race – but Billy Graham showed the way

White evangelicals are being criticised on race – but Billy Graham showed the way

The response of some – by no means all – white evangelicals to the events in Charlottesville has been curiously tone-deaf. None of them approves of white supremacists, but there’s been an attempt to draw equivalences between that and the opposing far-left fringe that has compromised some of their critical statements. Evangelicalism in the US has always been on the front line of debates about race, because of its strength in the South – and sometimes it has been on the wrong side of that line. But one of the world’s greatest evangelists showed how it was possible to overcome the prejudices and assumptions of early upbringing. Billy Graham’s was a powerful voice denouncing racism.BGEA Billy Graham’s record in opposing racism, at a time when it was far more blatant, is a shining example to follow. In Grant Wacker’s biography, America’s...Read more
It’s worse than you think: Four things Christians get wrong about ‘sin’

It’s worse than you think: Four things Christians get wrong about ‘sin’

A recent survey by LifeWay Research probed American views on ‘sin’. But sin, a theological concept at the heart of Christianity, can be tragically misunderstood both in and outside the Church. ‘Sin’ can be though of as purely individual, legalistic, or just not a big deal. But its more like a dark valley or looming storm – far bigger than we thought.Pexels Earlier this year then-Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron, a Christian, was plagued by a question I’m sure he learned to dread: ‘Is gay *** a sin?’ His responses, initially failing to provide the simple ‘no’ that people presumably wanted, dogged the General Election campaign. Farron would later suggest they showed the impossibility of being a committed Christian in mainstream politics. But that wider debate aside, there was a sense that the word ‘sin’ was...Read more
Why every church should build a kids’ holiday club into its mission plan

Why every church should build a kids’ holiday club into its mission plan

I’m sitting in the middle of the stage at the front of my church, while nearly 200 children point at me and howl with laughter. I’m wearing a spectacularly unflattering orange t-shirt, not that you can see much of it, since gloopy blue gunge is currently running down my face and all over my clothes. There’s mess everywhere; I and the rest of the team behind this debacle are in a constant state of near-chaos, and yet everyone in that packed room is having a profound – and perhaps even spiritual – experience. Martin Saunders enters into the spirit of his church’s holiday club.Vaughan Parry Alright, maybe not at that exact moment. I’m fairly sure though, that the kids who have attended our summer holiday club over the previous few days have had their ideas about church, and perhaps also God, completely rearranged. Those who have served on the team...Read more
After A-levels, volunteering overseas gave me direction and purpose

After A-levels, volunteering overseas gave me direction and purpose

Celebrations were in full flow exactly a year ago today, as I collected my A-level results. They were great. I’d worked hard and achieved what I needed. It was an amazing feeling of satisfaction. Yet, it hadn’t always felt like that. Throughout my final year of A-levels I was questioning, what should I do next? Should I head to university? What should I study? Could I afford the rising fees? Joel Lines with the ICS team.Tearfund Faced with uncertainty, I began to look around at different options. Perhaps taking time out would give me space to figure out where I should be. There was also my faith to think about. God had always been part of my life, but over the last few years, the importance of my faith had begun to waiver. I began to research overseas volunteering opportunities with Christian organisations and stumbled across Tearfund. I found its UK government funded...Read more
Does Romans 13 give Donald Trump authority to ‘take out’ Kim Jong Un?

Does Romans 13 give Donald Trump authority to ‘take out’ Kim Jong Un?

Does God give governments the right to wage war? Trump-supporting Rev Robert Jeffress thinks so; the pastor of First Baptist Church, Dallas was widely condemned for appearing to encourage the US president to nuke North Korea, saying ‘God has endowed rulers with full power to use whatever means necessary – including war – to stop evil. God has given Trump authority to take out Kim Jong-Un.’ Pastor Robert Jeffress said Romans 13 gave Donald Trump authority to act against North Korea.Screenshot/First Baptist Church video He’s now said people overreacted to his statement; he was simply referring to Romans 13: 1-7, where Paul writes of the authority of rulers. ‘The authorities that exist have been established by God,’ he says, adding that ‘he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who...Read more
Christian woman was happy living as transgender man until she heard a Bible study on 1 Corinthians 6:19

Christian woman was happy living as transgender man until she heard a Bible study on 1 Corinthians 6:19

KathyGrace Duncan, back in her early 20s when she was living as ‘Keith’(Photo: Courtesy of KathyGrace Duncan) KathyGrace Duncan spent years living life as ‘Keith’ and was so convincing as a man that her girlfriend and the church she attended for years had no clue she was really a woman.  Duncan grew up in Portland, Oregon, and remembers wanting to be a boy from a very young age.  Her home was ‘very dysfunctional’, with her dad often being verbally and emotionally abusive towards her mom.  Then later on, her older stepbrother sexually abused her.  It convinced her women were weak and she would rather be a strong and affirmed male, she tells The Christian Post in an insightful interview into the journey of a Christian woman who transitioned into a man only to detransition back into a woman again after truly understanding what...Read more
Does your church need a mission statement? Why you’re better off without one

Does your church need a mission statement? Why you’re better off without one

Church mission statements. You’ve got to have one because – well, you just do. Everyone’s got one, so it must be right. ‘Leading people to experience a God-First Life.’ ‘Connecting people to Jesus and one another.’ ‘Helping people find their way back to God.’ Do churches really need mission statements?Pixabay These examples are from a list put together in 2013 by ChurchRelevance.com. I don’t know how many of them have stood the test of time, but is it terribly unspiritual of me to say they just leave me yawning? And is it just too antique of me to question the whole idea? Here’s the thing. I think the fashion for mission statements is fundamentally secular. I think it imports a commercial way of thinking into the life of the church. It sees a church as something that has to achieve and hit targets. It implies a...Read more

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