BBC director general admits Christianity gets tougher treatment than Islam, other religions

BBC The BBC director general Mark Thompson has claimed that Christianity is treated with less sensitivity than other religions because it is “pretty broad shoulders”.

He suggested other faiths had “very close identity with ethnic minorities” and as a result were covered in a more careful way by broadcasters.

Knesset panel: ‘Strengthen ties with S. American Evangelical Christians’

The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense subcommittee on Foreign Policy urged the Israeli government Tuesday to garner support from Evangelical Christians around the world, and to strengthen its connection to those outside of the US.

Iraqi converts from Islam find persecution is tolerable until it affects their children

Iraq In an Iraq torn by national and religious divides, there is no safe haven for Nuria’s family or other Arab families who convert from Islam.

Muslim family members, neighbors or employers who discover they are converts can make their lives unbearable.

In recession-hit Hungary, churches take over state schools

Hungary Local government officials in Hungary are handing state-owned schools over to churches, unable to afford their upkeep during the economic recession, according to church sources.

“Churches are entitled to run schools in Hungary as public service providers, receiving the same taxpayers’ money as public sponsors,” said Balazs Odor, ecumenical officer of Hungary’s Reformed Church.

Wycliffe Bible Translators

Wycliffe Bible Translators Translators of U.S.-based Wycliffe Associates have launched two Bible translation projects in countries where evangelism, or even reading a Bible, is forbidden.

Wycliffe CEO Bruce Smith said among the nations targeted by his organization was at least one predominately Muslim country with a strongly Islamic government, where he claimed Christians face persecution, even from family members and neighbors.

Pilgrims return to Jesus’ baptismal site as Israel removes landmines

mines Pilgrims are flowing back to the traditional site of Jesus’ baptism on the Jordan River as Israel removes 40-year-old land mines and improves the area, but barbed wire and armed soldiers testify to the area’s tense past.

Located in a closed military area on the West Bank a few kilometers from Jericho, the site — Qasr el Yahud — has been revered since the fourth or fifth century as the place where John the Baptist recognized Jesus as the Messiah

Iran Court Acquits 11 Evangelical Christians

Iran Eleven members of one of Iran’s largest evangelical house church movements, who were charged with ‘action against the order of the country’ and drinking alcohol, have been acquitted by an Iranian court, BosNewsLife learned Friday, May 20.

The charges referred to their involvement in a house church meeting and to taking communion wine, Iranian Christians said earlier.

Saudi Arabia Jails House Church Christians Without Trial

Saudi Arabia Two Indian Christians of a thriving Pentecostal house church in Saudi Arabia have been moved from pre-trial detention to a prison in the Saudi capital Ryadh where they are “forbidden to pray or read the Bible” and “suffer of a lack of food and medical attention.”

The two were initially detained in January and received 45-days of “pre-trial detention” on charges of attempted proselytizing.

Update: Pastor not ‘fired’ for not believing in hell

[Update] Turns out that the pastor of a rural United Methodist church was not ‘fired’ from his job after voicing his doubts that sinners live an eternity of torment.

It was initially reported that Reverend Chad Holtz was dismissed from Marrow’s Chapel in Henderson, North Carolina, when he posted a note on his Facebook page supporting a book written by prominent young evangelical pastor Rob Bell. But Holz explains it “was less a firing and more a divorce.”

Iran Christians Jailed, Bibles “Burned”

Human rights violations Iran Five Iranian house church Christians were behind bars Wednesday, March 15, after being sentenced to one year imprisonment on charges of “crimes against the Islamic order” and there were reports that Iranian authorities have been burning Bibles.

The attacks come amid wider reported pressure on groups deemed dangerous by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government.

Pakistani Christian Sentenced for ‘Blasphemy’ Dies in Prison; Murder Suspected

Pakistan Qamar David’s life had been threatened since he and a Muslim, Munawar Ahmad, were accused of sending derogatory text messages about Muhammad in June 2006, said David’s former lawyer, Pervaiz Chaudhry.

David was convicted under Section 295-C under Pakistan’s widely condemned blasphemy laws for derogatory remarks against Muhammad in a case registered at Karachi’s Azizabad Police Station, with another case registered at Saddar Police Station pending.

“How Bob Dylan prayed the sinners prayer in my home and wrote his first Christian album there”

Al Kasha Two-time Oscar winner, Al Kasha: Bob Dylan “came to the house every week for six months. In fact he wrote the album, ‘Slow Train Coming’ in in our house.

Bob was, at that time, going through a spiritual search and if you look at his track record as a writer, he was always seeking after Jesus and he finally realized that Jesus was his Savior.”

Sightings: Hell’s Bell

Hell Americans may have thought that cracks in the façade and framework of evangelicalism would show up most visibly when serious evangelicals argued whether Sarah Palin or Mike Huckabee would be the better presidential candidate.

But now we have a chance to see that other divisive issues among evangelicals beg for attention. The topic? Hell, and a punishing God’s use thereof.

China Court Upholds 15 Year Imprisonment For Pastor Yimiti

China An ethnic minority house church leader remained detained in China’s troubled northwestern Xinjiang region Sunday, March 6, after a court rejected an appeal to review his 15 years prison sentence on charges of revealing state secrets to overseas groups.

United Nations officials and local Christians have linked the sentence to Pastor Alimujiang Yimiti’s Christian conversion, his leadership of a house church with his wife Gulinuer and two sons, and apparent involvement in sharing reports of religious persecution.

New York Times on the Rob Bell controversy

Rob Bell While sliding close to what critics consider the heresy of “universalism” — that all humans will eventually be saved — Rob Bell never uses the term in his book.

Upcoming book by Rob Bell ignites debate over Universalism

Thee crosses Mars Hill pastor Rob Bell — one of the leaders in the supposedly leaderless Emerging Church movement — has become the subject of a heated online debate regarding his forthcoming book “Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived.”

The discussion erupted on Twitter and many Christian blogs after Justin Taylor, vice president of editorial at Crossway, published a blog post titled “Rob Bell: Universalist?”

Afghani Convert Musa Released; Another Christian Still in Prison

prison After intense diplomatic pressure last week, authorities released Afghani Christian Said Musa, who had been in prison for nearly nine months on charges of apostasy (leaving Islam), punishable by death under Islamic law. Another convert, however, remains in prison.

Details of Musa’s release remained confidential in order to protect him and his family, who still remain in danger, sources said.

Detained Afghanistan Christians Facing Death Penalty

Afghanistan Two Afghan Christians who were arrested for their conversion to Christianity remain behind bars despite diplomatic efforts by the United States to secure their release, a Christian rights group said Wednesday, February 23.

International Christian Concern (ICC) said it had obtained a letter smuggled out of Qasre Shahi prison in Mazar-e-Sharif, in which one Christian wrote that he may receive the death penalty for apostasy.

Threat of Prosecution Remains for Some Christians Freed in Iran

Islam In December and January authorities arrested up to 120 believers after Iranian religious and political figures acknowledged the existence of home fellowships and condemned them as a threat to the state. Sources estimate at least 62 of those arrested during late December and January have been released, some on bail. A typical bail amount in Iran can range between a few thousand dollars and the deed on a house.

Some of the Christians who were released reported they were subjected to solitary confinement and harsh interrogation, according to a statement by Elam Ministries on Feb. 4. The statement said some Christians held at Section 209 of Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison suffered up to 34 days in solitary confinement.
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