PMW 2017-098 by Eric W. Tuininga (New Horizons, OPC)
Gentry introductory note:
With widespread corruption in American politics, the declining fidelity of the church, the threat of Islam, and the danger of Kim Jong-un, many cannot bring themselves to believe that “the gospel is the power of God unto salvation” and that it will one day reign throughout the world. But we must learn not to “despise the day of small things.”
As we look at various places in the world, we see small mission works growing. They should give us encouragement in recognizing that the gospel will ultimately triumph on a global scale, even as we see it percolating in small places in the world today. This article provides a glimpse into the glory of gospel salvation. Read it, and be encouraged.
PMT 2017-034 by Fox News
Christianity is making a comeback in Europe – and it’s mostly thanks to Muslims, say experts in Islam and faith leaders.
A soaring number of Muslims, many of them refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, are converting to Christianity, breathing new life into Europe’s once floundering Christian churches. The Muslims are flocking to various Christian denominations, experts said, including becoming Protestants, evangelical or Catholic.
As many parts of Europe are becoming more secular and houses of worship are seeing congregants leave in droves, it is Muslim converts who are reviving struggling Christian churches. Continue reading
Interview of Ian Johnson by Rob Moll (Christianity Today)
Under Mao Zedong’s dictatorship, Christianity, Buddhism, and Taoism suffered persecution and near-extinction. In recent decades, however, they have each made an astounding comeback. In The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao, Ian Johnson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author who has covered China for The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, and other publications, offers an intimate look at this remarkable recovery. CT editor at large Rob Moll spoke with Johnson about the reasons for spiritual ferment among the Chinese people.
What spurred your interest in China’s religious resurgence?
When I first went to China in the 1980s, I thought there was probably no religious belief at all. Continue reading
PMT 2016-090 by Jeremy Weber in Christianity Today
Gentry note: Christianity is experiencing growth in many unexpected parts of the world. Let’s pray for its continued growth and its growth into Reformed maturity.
The world’s most unexpected megachurch pastor might be an illiterate, barefoot father of five.
Bhagwana Lal grows maize and raises goats on a hilltop in Rajasthan, India’s largest state, famous for its supply of marble that graces the Taj Mahal. He belongs to the tribals: the cultural group below the Dalits, whose members are literally outcasts from India’s caste system (and often called “thumb signers” because of how they vote).
Yet every Sunday, his one-room church, with cheerful blue windows and ceiling fans barely six feet off the ground, pulls in 2,000 people. His indigenous congregation draws from local farmers, whose families’ members take turns attending so that someone is tending the family’s animals. The cracks in the church’s white outer walls are a source of pride: They mark the three times the building has been expanded. Continue reading
PMT 2016-078 by The Guardian
A growing number of Muslim refugees in Europe are converting to Christianity, according to churches, which have conducted mass baptisms in some places.
Reliable data on conversions is not available but anecdotal evidence suggests a pattern of rising church attendance by Muslims who have fled conflict, repression and economic hardship in countries across the Middle East and central Asia.
Complex factors behind the trend include heartfelt faith in a new religion, gratitude to Christian groups offering support during perilous and frightening journeys, and an expectation that conversion may aid asylum applications. Continue reading
PMT 2016-062 by Mark Howard
(The Gospel Coalition)
Ken Gentry note: The gospel is the power of God unto salvation. Even among Muslims. Despite persecution Christianity is growing in Islamic lands, as postmillennialism would expect. In a time of decline of the church in America, it is encouraging to see its strengthening under the most grueling circumstances in Muslim countries. Pray for the church in the Middle East.
Everyone loves a good story. As Christians, we especially love stories that tell us how, when all seems lost, God makes a way.
One such story is about the church in Iran—and it’s one of the greatest stories in the world today.
It’s a simple story that can be summarized in just two sentences: Persecution threatened to wipe out Iran’s tiny church. Instead, the church in Iran has become the fastest growing in the world, and it is influencing the region for Christ. Continue reading
PMT 2016-048 by Brian Douglas
Fear for the church’s future is trending. It’s almost too easy nowadays to fall into despair: Christians’ interactions with culture and politics can often seem clumsy or foolish, and you don’t have to look far for biblical compromise, destructive power-plays, or “scandal du jour” moral failure. Compounding the problem is the fact that the modern church has been shattered into 30,000 to 42,000 denominations (depending on which study you read)-a degree of division that further damages its credibility. Continue reading