News

Navajo Reservation Is Scene of Sweeping' Revival

Ministry leaders claim some communities in the largest American Indian reservation in the United States are experiencing a move of God that is comparable to the miracles recorded in the Book of Acts. They say that in parts of the Navajo Nation, entire families have come to Christ, crack houses have been turned into houses of worship as drug dealers have been converted, and many have been delivered from alcohol and drugs, "The only big name involved in this revival is God, and it is sweeping the Navajo Nation," Ray Saragosa, missions pastor of New Song Fellowship in Denver, told Charisma magazine.

Saragosa has taken ministry teams seven times to the Arizona communities that are located in the Navajo Nation, which extends through a large portion of the Grand Canyon state and into New Mexico and Utah. The Navajo Nation is the largest of the 275 reservations and 500 federally recognized tribal governments in the United States. A Navajo native who was raised on the reservation, Daniel "Larry" Furcap, senior pastor of Whippoorwill Fellowship Church, said a "full explosion of revival" is happening in Whippoorwill and Ganado. (www.charismanews.com)

Charisma News Service
via Religion Today Summaries

Nigerian Governor: "Christians Must Meet Dress Code"

Christians in Northern Nigeria's Kano State are being held to an Islamic dress code. On May 16, Governor Malam Ibrahim Shekarau ordered all Christians in the state to dress in accordance with Islamic tenets. The order was sent to Christian churches and institutions in the state and implemented immediately in schools.

Meanwhile, a Christian lecturer at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) in Zaria city, Kaduna state, northern Nigeria, has disappeared since the issuance of a death sentence against him. The lecturer, Andrew Akume, had asked a Muslim female student not to wear the hijab (head-to-toe covering) because it didn't conform to the Council for Legal Education's dress code for law students. A militant Muslim group at ABU passed the death sentence on him, claiming he blasphemed Mohammed, the prophet of Islam.

Zakka Nyam, the Anglican bishop of Kano, has accused the state government of persecuting Christians.

Compass Direct via
Religion Today Summaries

Turkey Eases Church Rules to Court EU

In the drive to obtain membership in the European Union, the Turkish government has included legal reforms concerning the opening of new churches and other non-Muslim places of worship in the country. Just 55 Protestant churches have been publicly identified as places of worship in Turkey's major cities—and none of these facilities has been able to acquire legal status for its church buildings. Obstacles preventing Turkish Christians from worshiping in buildings include zoning regulations, the size of the church property, and a requirement that public meetings such as church services must have written permission from the other owners of the building. "The issue of the legalization of Protestant churcheswill continue to be one of the topics on the agenda of the European Union," said a source at the European embassy in Ankara. Critics say the relaxing of the restrictions is merely "cosmetic." Meanwhile, organizers of a conference for Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate said they viewed Christian missionary activity in part as a "security issue." Several professors from the local police academy gave presentations.

Compass via MissionNet

Mass. Ponders Outlawing Corporal Punishment

Following an April incident in which a Plymouth, Mass., father applied a belt to his son's posterior, Massachusetts lawmakers are considering making "the willful infliction of physical pain on children under 18," illegal. Besides outlawing spanking, the measure would also forbid washing a child's mouth out with soap, administering electric shocks, and placing hot pepper sauce in a child's mouth.

The bill came two weeks after a town meeting in Brookline, Mass., passed a non-binding resolution encouraging parents not to spank. The Supreme Judicial Court addressed the issue after a Woburn, Mass., minister used a belt to spank his 9-year-old son. In 1999, he was cleared when the court ruled that parents have a right to spank their children if it does not cause substantial risk of injury.

Based on an account from BostonChannel.com

Saudi Arabia Releases Five Christian Prisoners

Five East Africans arrested on April 29 and detained for a month for leading a private Christian worship service in Riyadh have been released and allowed to return to their jobs in the Saudi Arabian capital. Three weeks after their May 30 release, the three Ethiopians and two Eritreans have been given no indication that they will lose their jobs or be subjected to deportation as a result of their detention. The men were interrogated extensively, initially while blindfolded the first seven days, but were not physically mistreated. Within the past two months, at least three groups of expatriate Christians meeting privately for worship in Riyadh have been raided and their leaders put under arrest for several days or weeks. Under the rule of strict Islamic law, Saudi Arabia prohibits the public practice of any religion other than Islam within its borders.

Compass Direct via
Religion Today Summaries

"Mainline Christians Slowly Realizing Israel's Importance"

A Jewish scholar says that over the past half century, Christian churches have been undergoing a remarkable theological revolution in their attitude towards Judaism and their relationship with the Jewish people. Moshe Auman, who served 35 years in Israel's foreign ministry, devoted the last four years of that time largely to extensive study of Jewish-Christian and Israeli-Christian relations. He feels many of the so-called "mainline" Protestant churches have had trouble coming to grips with the rebirth of the Israeli nation over 50 years ago. By looking closely at the Presbyterian, Episcopalian, Lutheran, and Methodist denominations, Auman says, one finds that these and a number of other mainline churches "don't relate to what's happening today in Israel—the rejuvenation of the Jewish people, the revival of the Jewish people, their prosperity in the land."

Among these Christian groups, he contends, modern Judaism is simply "not regarded as seriously as it is in the Evangelical world." However, Auman believes many mainline Protestants are finally coming to recognize the importance of Israel today, even as Evangelicals have for years. His findings are outlined in his book, Conflict and Connection: the Jewish-Christian-Israel Triangle (Gefen Books, 2003).

Agape Press via
Religion Today Summaries

Anti-Porn Coalition Launches Outreach

A coalition involving nearly every faith group in the U.S. has launched a campaign to equip pastors and churches in the fight against pornography as the best hope to reverse the direction of an increasingly sexualized society. "Research reveals that 40 percent of pastors are wrestling with pornography," said Jerry Kirk, founder of the National Coalition for the Protection of Children & Families. "I believe it's probably 50 to 60 percent of men struggling with pornography in every church."

Young people are being affected by sexualized images at earlier and earlier ages. In 2002 an estimated 3 million young people downloaded pornography from multiple adult sites in a one-month period.

In response, the coalition is initiating a campaign to assist Christian leaders within their churches. "Our desire is to come alongside themto assist when requested in educational and discipleship programs specific to each congregation," Kirk said. "There is no revival without righteousness, and there is no righteousness without sexual purity." The coalition's video and written materials have won numerous awards.

Assist News Service via MissionNet

Missionary Urges Radical Overhaul of Sending Missions

After serving 60 years as a missionary evangelist in many parts of the world, author Bob Finley is convinced that contemporary missionary operations are in "dire need of reformation." In a new book titled Reformation in Foreign Missions, he calls for the withdrawal of all missionaries from industrialized countries who are residing in poorer countries. He maintains that their presence is generally counterproductive because it tends to identify the gospel of Christ with foreign governments or alien cultures. He added that the foreigners appear to be much richer than the people with whom they are working.

Finley said their presence only "breeds covetousness and undermines the will of local Christians to be self-sufficient." He also cautioned against mission boards competing with each other and hiring workers away from indigenous missions. While paying high tribute to the pioneers of the past, Finley says a new day has come, and traditional operations should be discontinued. He said that indigenous missionaries are doing 90% of the work with less than 10% of the total funds given to missions worldwide. He urges believers in wealthier countries to increase giving to the more than 300,000 native missionaries, who often serve with almost no financial support.

Christian Aid Mission via MissionNet

Mozambique Drought Opens Ministry Doors

Mozambique has experience a major draught since mid-January, sparking fears of a famine. Because much of the food aid went to the black market during the previous famine, mission groups such as OMS International have learned to use more effective distribution channels. Vaughn Telfer of OMS says the situation may actually help the ministry. "We need to get the funds into the people's hands that we know are going to bless those who are hungry instead of just trying to make money for themselves," he said. "That's why we urge people to give through mission organizations. God really blessed us and he just opened doors for many new churches to be planted." Due to the suffering, the spiritual crisis is at a peak. OMS missionaries have planted churches in two provinces, including an active one in Zambezia where many people have come to Christ by viewing the Jesus film and reading Bibles in their own language. "They're taking the gospel to their own people," Vaughn said. "We've only sent one of our young seminarians up there, and the gospel is spreading so quickly."

 Mission Network News

Broadcasts Reach Muslims

An evangelical satellite network is making a big impact in the Muslim world. Back in 1996, SAT-7 began broadcasting Christian programming two hours a week to the Middle East and North Africa. Today the network broadcasts 24 hours a day. Recently, surveys conducted by the audience research firm InterMedia found SAT-7 has six million occasional viewers and 2 to 3 million people watching either daily or at least once a week. The network's John Tayloe says the survey proves that many Arabs and Muslims are receptive to the good news of the gospel. "SAT-7 is an opportunity for those that just happen to tune in to hear the gospel, some even for the very first time." SAT-7 recently began broadcasting to parts of Australia and continues to expand its ministry in other areas of the world, particularly in places that are officially hostile to the gospel, but where Muslims and other non-Christians are hungry for the truth of God's Word.

Agape Press via
Religion Today Summaries

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