American Bible Society today released the third chapter of the 12th annual State of the Bible report, which highlights cultural trends in the U.S. regarding spirituality and Scripture engagement. Today’s release shows that Americans who consistently read and apply the Bible report greater levels of hope and resilience.
“Our research continues to confirm that consistent Bible reading leads to hope and greater flourishing. Christians know that Jesus offers us full life; there’s no surprise here. But for those who are questioning their faith or even who need reassurance after a hard season, the data validates that applying the truths of Scripture leads to better health, better relationships, and a higher sense of purpose and meaning—all while bringing us closer to God,” said John Farquhar Plake, PhD and Director of Ministry Intelligence for American Bible Society. “To put it simply: the Bible’s message is not only spiritually transformative; it also transforms how we experience life on earth. There is restoration and healing in the Word of God, and we urgently need to point our hurting neighbors toward that life-changing truth.”
The State of the Bible 2022 findings come from a survey in January 2022 conducted by the American Bible Society in collaboration with NORC at the University of Chicago, which produced 2,598 online or telephone responses from American adults in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Afghanistan is now the worst nation in the world for Christian persecution, according to Open Doors USA, an organization that tracks global religious maltreatment. The shocking development is undoubtedly the “biggest seismic shift” in decades, as North Korea, the reclusive and oppressive East Asian country, was bumped from the top spot it had occupied for 20 years. “This year’s 2022 World Watch List, is the biggest seismic shift in over 20 years because Afghanistan is now the No. 1 country on the World Watch List, supplanting North Korea,” Open Doors USA CEO David Curry said. Afghanistan has long been embroiled in chaos, but the situation devolved further when the U.S. undertook a chaotic withdrawal last August, a retreat that carried with it serious consequences.
“Many people are aware of what’s happened since August in Afghanistan,” Curry said, citing the chaos and uncertainty. “It has emboldened Islamic extremists in other parts of the world. We believe it’s going to have a ripple effect.” Christians in Afghanistan face intensifying persecution at the hands of the resurgent Taliban, with militants purportedly arresting and possibly seeking to kill believers. Christian women, in particular, are especially vulnerable and are seen as ideological enemies.
Looking at the diverse forms of persecution that exist, Curry noted that there is a “two-front war” against Christianity that can be observed on the “World Watch List.” On one side, there are the tribal-led government forces like the Taliban and on the other are centralized and tech-savvy governments like what is seen in China.
Curry explained why the Chinese government’s actions should be deeply concerning. “Their system and their technology is the greatest threat right now overall in the future of religious expression,” he said, likening the methodical restrictions to a “high tech noose around the neck of expression of faith.”
Curry said the Chinese government has hampered the efforts of almost every church, forcing houses of worship to break into groups and to shut down. Christians are at risk of losing jobs, having travel restricted, and “even worse.” “They have artificial intelligence. They monitor all the video, they monitor the online presence,” he said.
Fortunately, we know how the underground church at the time of Mao grew strong under intense persecution. Believers were totally dependent upon God and miracles abounded as testified by Chinese believers like Brother You in his book The Heavenly Man. As prophesied, persecution increases in these last days before Jesus returns, and those totally committed to God will walk in the power of the Holy Spirit with all the gifts of the Spirit being manifested in their ministry to others.
Have you ever seen or heard Phil Roberston on faith. If you have not you are missing out on a treat.
On this episode of Faith vs. Culture: How should Christians respond to cancel culture?
Duck Commander Phil Robertson joins Dan and Billy to talk about his experience with and response to cancelling (cancel culture). It is brilliant.
Robertson, who infamously faced his own bout with cancel culture in 2013, when A&E suspended him over comments he made about homosexuality during a magazine interview, told CBN’s “Faith vs. Culture” he holds no ill will against anyone involved in his highly-publicized controversy.
Pastor and author David Platt warned young Christians this week that taking a “casual, comfortable, cultural” approach to their faith, neglecting God’s command to proactively share the Gospel, and instead pursuing material successes, will lead to a wasted life.
“Be finished and done with a form of Christianity that says, ‘Pray a prayer, go to church, live it up in the world, go to some conferences and coast your way to Heaven,’” the Virginia-based pastor said during the annual Passion conference in Atlanta this week. “That’s not Christianity, because it’s not following Christ.”
Platt, the lead pastor of McLean Bible Church, told the 65,000 young adults gathered inside the Mercedes Benz Stadium that to follow Jesus means allowing the Gospel message and mission to “dictate everything you think, desire and do, dictate your plans, dreams, how you’re going to live, what degree you’re going to get and how you’re going to make and spend money for the spread of God’s great love in Jesus among the nations.”
“You will waste your life if you get caught up in this American dream,” he continued. “Don’t do it. Lift your eyes above the distractions. Look at the destiny of this world. The train of history is headed towards people of every nation, tribe, and tongue, enjoying and praising Jesus. Jump on that train.”
Platt spoke directly about the U.S., noting it is “quite possibly” the one place in the world with the greatest access to the Gospel, set apart from the many countries whose citizens “don’t have access to someone who can tell them about Jesus” and “don’t have followers of Jesus or churches proclaiming the Good News of God’s great love.”
Displaying the Radical Stratus map, showing the myriad places around the globe where the Gospel is not accessible, the pastor explained the importance of international missions work.
“This is why we don’t say, ‘Well, I don’t know why we talk about unreached people around the world when there are unreached people on my campus, there are unreached people in my neighborhood,’” Platt said. “You say, ‘How do you know?’ Because they’re on your campus. They’re in your neighborhood. They have access to the Gospel. You’re it.”
“We’re talking about people who don’t have anyone near them to tell them about Jesus,” he added.
In light of that information, Platt closed his message by urging the Passion conference attendees to use their platforms, access, careers, finances, etc., to share the Gospel with people who have never heard it.
“Based on this picture of God’s Word and this picture in the world, I want to plead with you tonight to refuse to settle for a casual, comfortable, cultural Christianity,” he said. “I want to plead with you to refuse to do what millions of Christians and leaders of churches are doing in our country — to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to 3.2 billion people and thousands of people groups who have never heard the Gospel.”
Platt told the crowd their purpose, as believers, is to tell others about Jesus. “You are not living if you’re not living for this,” he said.
“As a result of His ultimate rescue, God’s glory shines in this broken world not only through strengths but also through scars, ” he concluded.
“Live for this. If necessary, die for this — for people from all nations to hear and receive the Good News of God’s great love in Jesus.”
Greg Sheridan widely-respected foreign editor for The Australian. has written an impassioned, informed and utterly compelling case for the truth and importance of Christianity in our lives. He presents a strong argument for the historical reliability of the New Testament, meets the living Jesus there, explores the extraordinary personality of Paul, celebrates Mary’s activism and examines the magnificent richness of John.
Filled with insights, intelligence, warmth and humour, Greg also introduces us to a range of fascinating Christians today, among them political leaders, and young activists offering the radical Christian interpretation of love to their generation. His book explores the journey of those who have been guided by faith, such as Gemma Sisia, whose school in Tanzania has transformed the lives of thousands of children, and the dynamic Chinese Christians pursuing their beliefs under harsh restrictions. He examines where Jesus can be found in popular culture and talks to Christian leaders – Pentecostal, Catholic, Evangelical and others – in Australia, the US and Britain.
At a time when the chasm of understanding between secularism and faith has never seemed wider, Christians is timely, relevant and convincing.
‘At the heart of the Christian story is the truth about the life of Jesus … Greg Sheridan’s book is a good read about Good News.’ Peter Comensoli, Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne
‘If there is ever going to be a Renaissance of Christian belief to save us from the dreariness of much secular humanism, it will come from a book like Christians. I will be buying it and giving it away to believers and sceptics alike.’
Watch this video: an unbeliever who knows and is impressed by Greg’s work as a journalist interviews the author. He now believes there is a valid case for God that needs to be explored.
2020 has proven to be a challenging year for Christians. But I believe God is using Covid to get His church to move back to church as He had planned it as described in the Book of Acts, largely house churches. Good examples of how God has used catastrophe to refine His church are China and even more recently nations such as Iran. Persecution has refined His church to get it to be totally dependent upon Him, even for survival.
Christians must meet in person for corporate worship. On line communication is a dreadful replacement for real community. Come pandemic or martyrdom, we must find a way to meet in person. Isolated we are prone to wonder from the faith, tempted by the world’s allure, and even more prone to depression.
We were never promised safety in Christ. The opposite is true; we are promised persecution (2 Timothy 3:12). A time is approaching when going to church will be dangerous (and I do not mean because of a virus). Now is the time to prepare and reinforce healthy habits. Instill in your children the need and benefit of attending church weekly. Go and be fed the gospel. Even if your church is not perfect (none are), be present and love others.
On the importance of attending church, it is helpful to look at Mosaic Law. While Christians are no longer slaves to the law. The law reflects the character of God. The law is good, valuable, and worthy of our delight. We can learn much about God’s holiness and desires in the law. Consider the absolute seriousness by which God treats the Sabbath, the day of worship, and rest: Exodus 31:12-17.
God cares deeply about the Sabbath. He cares about how He is worshiped. At one point in time, failure to honor the Sabbath as God intended was a crime punishable by death! Friends, corporate, in-person worship is non-negotiable for Christians. Go to church and do not stop.
If Christians are to spiritually flourish in a nation that hates them, they must dedicate time to understanding the significance of worldview, how it is formed, and how it can rightly engage our culture. The following summary of a Biblical world view is the only one that presents an accurate history of the cosmos:- 1. Creation by God of a perfect cosmos 6000 years ago. 2. Entrance of sin and death by man’s rebellion against God. 3. God’s judgement of the World with the worldwide flood of Noah’s day. 4. Confusion of languages at the Tower of Babel that established the nations. 5. God establishes his nation Israel that would birth the Redeemer, Jesus, God’s Son, born of a virgin. 6. Birth of the church at Pentecost. 7. 2000 year history of the church which is soon coming to its prophesied end with Jesus return, first to rescue the Saints at which time His wrath will be poured out on an unbelieving world. Then Jesus returns to earth with the Saints to rescue His nation Israel at the battle of Armageddon. 8.We then have the Millennium. Jesus will rule the nations with the glorified Saints with a rod of iron for 1000 years.
Part an extract from the article in Patheos: Persecution: The New Reality for Biblical Christianity in America by Jack lee
In a few days, we will be celebrating the Feast of Trumpets, and Jews—along with a growing number of Christians—will gather together to observe this biblical holy day.
On Rosh HaShanah, a prayer called Avinu Malkeinu (Our Father Our King) is recited. Yet His Kingship is relegated only to the His ability to forgive His people. He is much more than a forgiver; He is a redeemer and deliverer. He is strong in mighty and strong in battle. This shofar blast is not simply to call us to repentance. It is to remind us of why we are called to repentance. It is a reminder of what comes after repentance: victory.
Defeat is swallowed up by victory. This, in essence, is what the sound of the shofar should do for those hearing it.
For Israel, the King is coming with His army (Saints) to bring total victory against their enemy. Every year when the shofar blasts on Rosh HaShanah, their hearts are reminded that with every year that passes, the King riding upon His white horse is getting closer and closer and one day soon they will hear the Great Shofar sound and the enemy will be vanquished.
For Christians, we are reminded that our King will appear with His angels in the clouds to gather the elect at the Rapture. We also get to ride with our King, to deliver Israel, and defeat the enemy. For both Israel and Christians, Rosh HaShanah is not intended to remind us of our defeats; it is intended to keep us watching for His deliverance as we are set free.
The GOSPEL is as much Jesus Second Coming as it is His First Coming. There are more prophecies about Jesus Second Coming and The Day of the Lord than there were about His First Coming. The Pharisees and Sadducees did not get His First Coming and sadly the church is asleep about His Second Coming. In the Olivet Discourse Jesus tells us to WATCH and gives six signs to watch out for prior to His coming on the clouds with His angels to gather His church. We are in the “last days” when these signs are beginning to manifest.
Let me give a plug for Dr Nelson Walters book Rapture case Closed? It does a great job of revealing when the Rapture will take place.
A special edition of this book has just been sent free to a thousand Christian leaders in the USA in an effort to alert the church to coming prophesied tribulation.
Christians will not be on earth when the wrath of God is poured out, but the big question is, when is the wrath of God poured out on the earth. Nelson shows clearly that the wrath of God is poured out in the trumpet and bowl judgements.
Yes! Christians will be on earth during the tribulation and will see the Antichrist. Get the book, you will be glad you did.
As society turns its back on God, it naturally becomes more and more hostile towards those who believe in God and are unafraid to say so. The views of Christians increasingly stand at odds with those of our culture. As Christians, we nevertheless need to be courageous and unashamed of our faith and the teaching of God’s Word.
Christians need to stand up for their faith and be counted. If Christians don’t speak up to critique our culture and society, then others will, and Christians will increasingly be ignored. We need a strong voice for biblical values and morals to be reinstated in our society. The nation and individuals need to be called to account. This is not usually a popular role, but it is one that Christians in Britain today need to play.
Premier Christian Communications has published a surveyof nearly 12,000 Christians about what it’s like to be a Christian in Britain today. Ninety-three percent of those surveyed said Christianity is being marginalised in society. Furthermore, half of those responding say they have personally experienced prejudice against their faith.
In his resignation speech last month, Tim Farron, Leader of the UK Liberal Democrats said that “we are kidding ourselves if we think we live in a tolerant liberal society.”The survey shows that the majority of Christians feel that their beliefs are being marginalised and that many have encountered prejudice against their own Christian beliefs.
Christian Concern has supported many Christians who have been discriminated against or disciplined at work for expressing their Christian faith. For example, Sarah Kuteh was sacked from her job as a nurse for talking about her faith and occasionally offering to pray for patients. Is it any wonder that most Christians feel that society considers it unacceptable for them to share their faith with others?
In other cases, Barry Trayhornwas forced to resign from his job at a prison after quoting the Bible in a prison chapel service, and Felix Ngole was expelled from university for posting on Facebook in support of traditional marriage. Sarah Mbuyi was sacked after responding to a question from a colleague about her views on homosexuality. I could go on to list many other similar cases.
The point, endorsed by this survey, is that the cases that we publicise are just the tip of the iceberg. We deal with dozens more of these cases that never reach the courts, where Christians have been discriminated against in one form or another. This survey shows that there are thousands more—Christians who have experienced some kind of prejudice against their faith.
‘Unprecedented and potentially historic. That’s how organisers are billing the 2016 Mekudeshet Festival just around the corner this fall.
It might more accurately be dubbed a predecessor of the ‘one world religion’ prophesied in the Bible. Certainly an ‘end times’ event.
Christians, Jews and Muslims are expected to flock to the Holy City for a “spiritual gathering” dubbed Amen—A House of Prayer For All Believers. The self-stated goal is to create “a single home for the world’s three major religions to harness the city’s ancient powers to inspire artists, musicians and cultural figures from around the world to redefine their art and traditions and connect amid troubling times.”
“We will study, argue—yes, this is also allowed—and pray, together and alone,” says Mekudeshet artistic director Itay Mautner. “We will see if it is possible, despite all the corporeal difficulties and earthly obstacles, to create a new reality.”
You mean to create a one world religion?
Expect to see more of these kinds of gatherings in the months ahead. Although we should seek opportunities to love people of all faiths, events like Amen typically breed compromise in the name of unity.
As I’ve said before, dialogue is one thing. Compromising the tenets of Christianity is altogether different. Using art and culture as a shill, Amen appears to be nothing more than an attempt to redefine religion.
This reminds me of Pope Francis’ recent move to gather Christians, Muslims, Jews and Hindus together in prayer.
Disturbing video footage shows the pope receiving a demonic statue from a Buddhist and bending down to pray according to Muslim tradition.
“Many think differently, feel differently, seeking God or meeting God in different ways,” he says. “In this crowd, in this range of religions, there is only one certainty we have for all: We are all children of God.”
Here’s the problem: You can seek God in many ways, but there’s only one way to the Father. There is only one way to meet God, and His name is Jesus Christ. To even hint at anything else causes confusion at best and deceives many at worst. Events like Amen are a tool in the enemy’s hand to dilute the one true and living God’s gospel of salvation.
Iranian Christian converts must be granted the right to a fair evaluation of danger by European governments before they can be denied asylum and sent back to the Islamic Republic, the top human rights court in Europe ruled last Wednesday.
Apostasy from Islam is considered a criminal offence that is punishable by death.
(Photo: Reuters/Yannis Behrakis)
A stranded Iranian woman cries as she embraces a Christian colleague who just had his mouth sewed shut during a protest at the Greek-Macedonian border near the Greek village of Idomeni, November 26, 2015. Countries along the Balkan route taken by hundreds of thousands of migrants seeking refuge in western Europe last week began filtering the flow, granting passage only to those fleeing conflict in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
On the ABC 7.30 Report: the Refugee Council’s CEO, Paul Power has accused Australia of “cherry picking” Middle Eastern refugees to be resettled in Australia. Mr Power said it was wrong to respond to the Syrian refugee crisis with a programme that prioritizes persecuted minorities, when the vast majority of Syria’s nearly 5 million refugees are Muslim – many who have suffered their own persecution at the hands of the Assad regime and Shia militias because they are Sunnis.
I hope Malcolm Turnbull remains firm on his decision to give persecuted Christians priority over Muslims, as there is no doubt they are not accepted in any Muslim country, let alone go back to the Muslim country from which they came. The government did not reveal to the 7.30 Report where the extra 12,000 refugees will come from.
If you agree that Christians should receive priority, write to your local member to support Malcolm Turnbull’s original decision to give priority to persecuted Christians and other minority groups.