PMT 2017-080 by Janelle P (Open Doors)
The Islamic State has been filling the headlines for a long time and filling the hearts of many people in the Middle East with fear. But in the midst of all this, the church in the Middle East is showing the love of Christ to those who fled their homes. Muslims in the Middle East are turning to Jesus in unprecedented numbers.
Before the war, it was rare that a Muslim would become a follower of Jesus Christ. The war has changed everything. Continue reading
PMT 2017-079 by Eric Metaxas & G. Shane Morris (Breakpoint)
It’s been a summer of rough news for America. Racism, riots, and political violence. Communities on the Gulf Coast continue wading through the devastation of hurricane Harvey, and now another storm is bearing down on Florida. We have plenty of reasons to be praying and doing all we can to alleviate suffering. There’s cause for grief about the news—but not for pessimism.
Writing at The Guardian, Oliver Burkeman suggests that despite a dragging civil war in Syria, heart-rending photos of drowned refugees, North Korea’s nuclear saber-rattling, disasters, terrorist attacks, and racial violence, the world is objectively better now than it’s ever been. Continue reading
PMT 2017-077 by Grant Wyeth (The Diplomat)
In early June, the Samoan Parliament passed a bill amending the constitution to transform the country from a secular to a Christian state. The objective of the amendment was “to insert in the Constitution that Samoa is a Christian nation to declare the dominance of Christianity in Samoa.” Of the Parliament’s 49 representatives, 43 voted in favor of the bill.
Samoa already had a reference to Christianity in the preamble to its Constitution, which declared that the Samoan government should conduct itself “within the limits prescribed by God’s commandments,” and that Samoan society is “based on Christian principles.” This kind of wording is common in the preambles of constitutions among Pacific Island states (the exception being Fiji). Continue reading
PMT 2017-012 by Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra (Christianity Today)
After 32 cases, lawmakers review Yarovaya restrictions on religion. Top courts could follow.
One Sunday morning in August, three policemen came to Don Ossewaarde’s home in Russia, where the Baptist missionary from Illinois was holding his weekly Bible study.
“Afterwards, they took me to the police station and charged me with conducting missionary activities in violation of a new law that took effect on July 20, 2016,” Ossewaarde wrote. “At a court hearing, I was found guilty and sentenced to pay a fine of 40,000 rubles, which is over $600.” Continue reading
PMT 2017-011 by Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra
(From the Auila Report)
With more than 16,000 students, Universitas Pelita Harapan is one of the largest Reformed Christian universities in the world. Started just 22 years ago, the university offers a law school, medical school, engineering school, and teachers college—all from a distinctly Reformed worldview.
“We don’t even have that in the United States or Europe,” said Ric Cannada, chancellor emeritus for Reformed Theological Seminary. “Here it is in Indonesia. Isn’t it just like the Lord to do something like this in the least likely place—the country with the largest Muslim population in the world?”
Though Christians compose only 10 percent of Indonesia’s population, the nation is so populous that roughly 25 million Christians live there. About one-third are Catholic, while the Protestants are typically either Pentecostal or Reformed—as in, really Reformed. 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