For some Christians it's been years since they've cracked open a Bible or carried one to church. While most are familiar with well-known biblical accounts of Moses parting the Red Sea, the extraordinary strength of Samson, or how David conquered Goliath, few build upon these basic Sunday school teachings, resulting in what one apologist calls "biblical illiteracy."
In a portion of his new book Unanswered, a volume intended to shed light on several hot-button topics that loom large within the Church, apologist and New Testament scholar Jeremiah Johnston addresses biblical illiteracy and Christians who know "just enough about the Bible to be dangerous."
"The Bible can be stripped down, vandalized, added to, taken away [from], and 95 percent of people in the Church would not even know you were doing it because they simply do not know the Bible," Johnston told The Christian Post earlier this month. more >>
As Christian persecution across the globe reaches levels never before seen, churches throughout the U.S. will devote time during Sunday worship services to pray for victims by taking part in "Stand With the Persecuted Sunday."
Eight prominent religious liberty organizations — Open Doors USA, the Institute on Religion & Democracy, The Voice of the Martyrs, In Defense of Christians, Christian Solidarity Worldwide USA, International Christian Concern, 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative and the Family Research Council — are calling on over 40,000 American churches to designate a small portion of their services this weekend to pray for those around the globe that have been persecuted because of their faith in Jesus Christ.
Besides prayer, the initiative also calls on churches to show a brief video highlighting the plight of Christians across the world, distribute a special bulletin insert, participate in practical ministries and promote policy and legislation designed to protect the persecuted. more >>
Islamic State militants have reportedly murdered Muslims who helped Christians escape the wrath of the brutal terror group in the besieged Syrian town of al-Qaryatain.
It was widely reported after IS (also known as ISIS or ISIL) conquered the town of al-Qaryatain last August, the group kidnapped as many as many as 230 Assyrian Christian hostages and forced them to sign contracts that required them to submit to IS' laws or be killed. Now that the town was liberated by Russian-backed Syrian forces earlier this month, local sources have been able to detail the plight of Christians and their quests to escape from the town under IS' rule.
According to sources who spoke with Fides news agency, many of the Christians who were kidnapped by IS in the town were freed on or around Oct. 10, 2015. It was in October that Christians, aided by Muslim friends, began to flee the city. more >>
During a preaching series on revival, Pastor Saeed Abedini explained that God's grace cannot be earned through good works or church attendance, but only through an awakening of hearts.
"Revival is not measured by how many hours of service we give to our church or ministry. Revival is measured by the movement of God's Spirit and the outpouring of His grace," Abedini wrote in a Facebook message as part of a series on the topic of Revival that he has been posting throughout the week.
"Many people seek to cover their inner guilt through good works, which never resolve the reason for their separation from God. Some serve out of pride or evil motives," he added. more >>
A Christian woman was tried and caned 30 times in Aceh, Indonesia's most conservative Islamic region, for selling alcohol and breaking Shariah law.
International Christian Concern reported Wednesday that it is usually Muslims who are punished for breaking the Islamic law, for things such as alcoholic consumption, adultery, gambling, and homosexual acts, but now Christians and members of other religions have been brought under this jurisdiction as well.
A local pastor, who wasn't named, commented on the beating of the Christian woman, and said that "such things often happen here and we have become used to it." more >>
Pope Francis has warned that as Christians face severe persecution in countries where they are a minority, others are encountering what he calls "polite" persecution disguised as "culture, modernity and progress," where people see their rights to conscientious objection taken away.
The Roman Catholic Church leader said during mass on Tuesday that so called polite persecution does not occur over "confessing Christ's name, but for wanting to have and manifesting the values of the son of God."
"We see every day that the powerful make laws that force them to go on this path, and a nation that does not follow these modern, cultured laws, or at least does not have them in their legislation, are accused (and) are politely persecuted," he added, according to Catholic News Service. more >>