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Since 2009 ADRA Romania has helped over 1,000 families seek a life without abuse

She had been praying about reaching the city after hearing an Annual Council sermon.

Revolutionary, a 10-part series, premieres on Hope Channel this Sunday

School leaders making plans for alternate location

Strong US dollar still impacting Church’s budget and tithe.

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Christian World News

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  • Christians, Conflict and Change – Religion News Service
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- Ben Witherington III

And other facts about Bible translation that transformed the world.

At the very beginning of the Reformation, the only Bible available was the Latin Vulgate, the Bible Jerome had produced in Latin in A.D. 380. It included both a translation of the Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek New Testament, plus Tobit, Judith, Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach, Baruch, some additions to the Book of Daniel, and 1 and 2 Maccabees.

This was not a book the general public was familiar with. It was not a book most individuals or families could own. There were pulpit Bibles usually chained to the pulpit; there were manuscripts of Bibles in monasteries; there were Bibles owned by kings and the socially elite. But the Bible was not a book possessed by many.

Furthermore, the Bible was not in the language of the people. Yes, the well-educated social elite could read Latin, but your average resident of England or France or Germany or Italy or Spain knew only snippets of Latin from the Mass. And indeed, often enough they garbled the snippets they knew. If you want to get a good feel for the poverty of biblical literacy in the general public in this era, read Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, written between 1387 and 1400 in Middle English. Confusion and misunderstandings of the Bible abound in Chaucer’s stories.

The Latin Vulgate may have been the Bible that gave Luther his revolutionary insights, but Luther quickly realized that if things were really going to change, it would not come just by debating theology with other learned souls. The Bible needed to be made available in the vernacular, in his case, German. In my view, the most dangerous thing Luther ever did was not nail the 95 Theses to a door. It was translating the Bible into ordinary German.

Luther’s ‘Heresy’

By 1522, Luther had translated ...

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- Bronwyn Lea

The threat of disaster forces me to reckon with salvation—mine and others.

For a week now, I’ve been tracking live online maps of Northern California. The blue dot representing our house is in the “fire watch” zone. We are not in immediate danger but close enough to know many people who are—and close enough that I’ve been fielding messages all week: “I saw the fires on TV. Are you safe?”

A few weeks ago, I was starting a mental list of potential Christmas luxuries. Now I’m making a list of the most important “grab bag” necessities, which is exposing a much deeper set of priorities. If we had ten minutes to evacuate, the “essential” list is surprisingly short: our kids. The dog. The folder with our passports, birth certificates, and green cards. Our wallets. Phones and chargers. Maybe our wedding photos. But the rest is replaceable.

The looming threat of fire—or any other disaster—distills down our core values not just in practical ways but also in spiritual ways, too. As thousands face devastating displacement and loss, Jesus’ words to clothe, visit, care for, and feed others in need (Matt. 25:35–36) sound out a clarion call to action. My family and I are thinking deeply over how to donate and give well in this crisis.

But there are other words from Jesus that strike an even deeper chord as I hear story after story of devastation.

In Luke 13, Jesus was asked to comment on a local tragedy: Pilate had killed Galilean Jews and mixed their blood with sacrifices—a horrific, bloody offense. Jesus’ response was stunning. He told them not to draw any conclusions about whether the Galileans were worse sinners simply because they’d suffered. That tragedy and others like it weren’t indicative ...

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- Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra

The Communist country proves that it is serious about its newest religious restrictions.

A Chinese house church pastor, her daughter, and her young grandson have been arrested, weeks after being accused of overstepping the country’s newly tightened religious restrictions.

Chinese officials warned Xu Shizhen in August that publicly sharing her faith puts her in violation of the government policy. It wasn’t her first run-in with authorities; five years before, her previous church was forcibly seized by officials and given to China’s official Three-Self Patriotic Movement church, according to ChinaAid.

After that, she started Zion Church. By singing, dancing, and preaching in the parks and public spaces of Xianning, Hubei province, Xu’s ministry broke the new law, which confines most faith activities to the walls of registered churches.

Last month, Xu, her daughter Xu Yuqing, and her three-year-old grandson Xu Shouwang were arrested; the two women were transferred to other facilities while the boy was held at the station. Christian advocates in China report that their exact whereabouts remain unknown.

Their detention came just two weeks after China toughened up its restrictions on religious activities.

“The new religion regulations are sweeping in scope and, if fully enforced, could mean major changes for China’s unregistered church, not only in its worship and meeting practices, but also engagement in areas such as Christian education, media, and interaction with the global church,” wrote ChinaSource president Brent Fulton.

“Yet the nature of these activities and, indeed, of much religious practice throughout China, makes enforcement extremely problematic.”

It appears enforcement, at least in Xu’s Xianan district of Xianning, is going to be strict. The regulations—which ...

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- Mats Tunehag

Lausanne and BAM Global respond to Ron Sider.

We, as leaders of Lausanne and BAM Global, representing the Wealth Creation Consultation, appreciate Ron Sider’s kind and affirmative words about the Wealth Creation Manifesto. He says that “virtually all that this manifesto says is true and important,” as well as “helpful, and much-needed.”

On the other hand, we simply cannot agree with his assertion that it is “woefully one-sided” and “ultimately fails.” It fails, Sider argues, because it “fails to provide the balanced wisdom and guidance so urgently needed.”

Now, whether any deed or statement fails or succeeds depends on what it initially sets out to do. What this statement set out to do is to reverse decades of negligence by the evangelical community on this important topic. The great omission has been the role of wealth creation—through business—for the holistic transformation of people and societies, to the greater glory of God. This was the focus of our consultation and its resultant manifesto.

Additionally, Sider seems to expect more in a brief manifesto than it can deliver. He wants detailed attention to themes the manifesto only highlighted summarily. These themes are addressed thoroughly in the seven papers, which the manifesto’s authors also have produced. They deal with wealth creation and the poor, justice, creation care, cultural perspectives and more. Our findings will, we hope, help balance the debate that for far too long has been one-sided in favor of wealth distribution and material simplicity.

The evangelical focus has centered more on the problems associated with wealth and its production than on its positive benefits and possibilities. Statements abound on its godlessness, ...

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- Ed Stetzer

Reclaiming God’s kingdom vision for the rural church

God’s Country: Faith, Hope, and the Future of the Rural Church

For many, rural brings a positive, sentimental vision of the untouched countryside populated by good-hearted people with a little dirt under their fingernails. Or maybe, in the other vision of rural, they’re local yokels who say crick when they mean creek and have a strange fondness for old pickup trucks and chewing tobacco. This all adds up to an easy dismissiveness of rural people and places. (11)

This book is about reclaiming God’s kingdom vision for the rural church. It’s about learning to praise, abide, watch, pray, grow, work the edges, die, befriend, and dream. Each of these disciplines is rooted in the biblical narrative and Christ’s enduring commitment to the rural church. (13)

In the end, rural and urban are human realities, and any distinctive of rural or urban mind-sets and lifestyle will always be limited by that fact. Regardless of what the country mouse and the city mouse might think of each other, in fundamental ways, the country soul is the city soul. We’re talking about people, and people have the same hurts and hungers wherever they happen to live. (23)

It turns out that rural identity can’t be chalked up to addresses. It can’t be measured solely by statistics. Rural identity has more to do with how rural people experience the world. What this means is that rural identity is more of a worldview, more like a culture—a distinct way of framing and knowing the world. (24)

All of this is to say that rural identity is complex and diverse. Rural is a kind of spiritual and psychological landscape populated by a relationship to the city, nearness of neighbors, agriculture, and a history of marginality ...

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- David Gushee

(RNS) — 'Perhaps voices will emerge that will enable us to find new ways forward together, past the screaming and the litigation, through a return to deeper theological and ecclesial wellsprings. I pray that this is so,' writes David Gushee.

- David Gushee

The reality of a hopelessly divided American Christian scene.

- David Gushee

White supremacist Christian nationalism must be clearly repudiated by all followers of Jesus Christ.

- David Gushee

We had every reason to know what kind of president Donald Trump would become.

- David Gushee

Agreement on a principle is just the beginning of a moral conversation.

Residents of Refugio, Texas, defying a hurricane’s destruction, rallied around a football team and each other.

A new United Nations Population Fund report says giving women and girls in developing countries control over when and how many children they have is key to ending global poverty by 2030. 

In reaction to anti-immigration sentiment in the US, some tech giants are setting up operations in Mexico, hoping to retain and attract foreign tech talent.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces ended the clash in Raqqa on Tuesday, combing the northern Syrian city for land mines and searching for any IS sleeper cells left behind. 

While more children haven been attending school in Afghanistan over the past several years, threats from Islamic militants undermines that progress. Human rights organizations say that when schools face challenges or closures, young girls are the first to feel the effects.