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What Advent Waiting Means for Singles
« Reply #1096 on: December 08, 2018, 12:00:12 AM »

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What Advent Waiting Means for Singles

In the midst of relational uncertainty, this season invites me to savor God’s goodness.


Scripture is filled with stories of people who waited. Hannah waited for an unspecified number of years before having her son Samuel. The Israelites waited 70 years in exile before being allowed to return to their homeland. The Jewish people waited hundreds of years for the promised Messiah.


During Advent, we are reminded of the significance and holiness of waiting. All of us carry hopes and desires for our lives: We’re waiting for a relationship to heal, for a wayward child to return to faith, for a baby to arrive in our arms. Some waiting is definite—it has an endpoint. We experience “definite waiting” when we anticipate outcomes that we know will eventually arrive, whether it’s a verdict on a new job, a grade on a final exam, or a wedding day. Although these experiences are often laced with frustrations and the outcomes mixed, the waiting will eventually come to an end.


Mary the mother of Jesus experienced definite waiting when the angel Gabriel announced that she would be “with child.” Although the process was undoubtedly difficult at times, she knew that in nine months, the promised child would put an end to her waiting. Even in her reply to the angel, we hear a level of certainty. “‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ she answered. ‘May your word to me be fulfilled’” (Luke 1:38).


Some waiting, however, is indefinite.


In my own life, indefinite waiting has come in the form of singleness. For years I’ve prayed to meet a godly man, not only because I desire the kind of love and companionship that marriage brings, but also because I’ve seen how good marriages can make each spouse better able to love, serve, and glorify God. My single years ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/_YJRMTWNvxw/advent-singleness-what-waiting-means-for-singles.html
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https://www.christianitytoday.com/women/2018/december/advent-singleness-what-waiting-means-for-singles.html
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Interview: A Bible in One Hand, a Passport in the Other
« Reply #1097 on: December 09, 2018, 12:00:12 AM »
Interview: A Bible in One Hand, a Passport in the Other

What Christians gain from traveling the world.


Peter Grier caught the travel bug at an early age. But as he journeyed off to destinations across Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, he began pondering the relationship between his Christian faith and his wanderlust: Does God really want us spending time and money on travel for its own sake, apart from any missionary or evangelistic motivation? In Travel: In Tandem with God’s Heart, Grier—who works with students at several Irish universities as a Christian Unions team leader—walks through a Christian approach to travel. Andrew Wilson, an avid hiker and author of Here I Walk: A Thousand Miles on Foot to Rome with Martin Luther, spoke with Grier about his adventures abroad and how they have deepened his faith.


What drove you to start exploring the world?


I grew up in Belfast during the 1980s and ’90s. It was a troubled spot with much violence, and I lived through it all. Because so few people wanted to come to a country that was so divided, it was very monocultural.


It was also monocultural in another way: It was one of the largest evangelical Christian populations in the world, certainly in Europe. I grew up in a Bible-believing household, got taught the Bible from a young age, and experienced the privilege of the community there establishing me in my faith. It was only when I went off to university in Nottingham that I started to meet people of different worldviews and upbringings. That was a great challenge and a great turning point in my life of faith. Since then I’ve worked with various Christian unions to help students of faith maintain their belief and explain it to the world.


I was traveling a lot—mostly by car— for my job, and I kept hearing that it was a waste of time ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/TNtzHpxE0-8/travel-tandem-gods-heart-peter-grier.html
https://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/85455.jpg?w=460
https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2018/december-web-only/travel-tandem-gods-heart-peter-grier.html
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=TNtzHpxE0-8:xMSzgErvH7M:yIl2AUoC8zA
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Dutch Asylum Service Nears 1,000 Hours, With Evangelicals’ Support
« Reply #1098 on: December 11, 2018, 12:00:12 AM »
Dutch Asylum Service Nears 1,000 Hours, With Evangelicals’ Support

Continuous worship brings together Christians in the Netherlands across denominational divides.


A marathon worship service held by a church in the Netherlands to shield a family of asylum seekers has garnered worldwide attention. The feat has proved impressive for its longevity alone—now going on six weeks—but also represents a unique ecumenical moment among Christians in the tiny European nation.


Dutch law generally prohibits officials from interrupting a religious service, so Bethel Church in The Hague has kept worship going non-stop in order to turn its church into a sanctuary for an Armenian family who face expulsion. The congregation—part of the Protestant Church of The Hague and the country’s largest denomination, the Protestant Church of The Netherlands (PKN)—could not pull off the almost 1,000 hours of worship on its own, so its leaders have tapped more than 500 pastors from across traditions to participate.


“What this church asylum is teaching me in the first place is how enormously connecting and boundary-shattering the most basic compassion can be,” Axel Wicke, a pastor at Bethel, told CT.


“Here in the Netherlands, we have a huge amount of different Christian confessions, some of which originating in very ugly theological or liturgical fights. However, here at the church asylum in Bethel, none of this matters and everyone is working together…,” he said. “Very often, one pastor hands over the service to another colleague, with whom he would never be able to share anything else, either theologically or liturgically.”


The service has brought together not only PKN pastors—who, after a 2004 merger, represent most Reformed and Lutheran churches in the Netherlands and about 9 percent of the population overall—but also smaller denominations. ...

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Source: Dutch Asylum Service Nears 1,000 Hours, With Evangelicals’ Support

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/xgRBFAwml5U/dutch-asylum-worship-service-netherlands-kinderpardon-hague.html
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https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2018/december/dutch-asylum-worship-service-netherlands-kinderpardon-hague.html
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Technology, Politics, and Evangelicalism’s Good News
« Reply #1099 on: December 12, 2018, 12:00:11 AM »
Technology, Politics, and Evangelicalism’s Good News

Power, wealth, and political influence may not be the prize that the world needs to experience. In fact, it may be the problem.


Many evangelicals instinctively believe that our culture’s access to technology has contributed to the decay of today’s moral verve. Although that may be true in a limited scope, it is more likely that today’s technology has more often served to reveal the true nature of our moral condition, rather than contributed substantively to its demise. What was once thought hidden is now, through technology, humiliatingly paraded for all to see. The sickness was always covertly cloaked amongst us. Technology simply exposed our malady and arranged for the predictable perp-walks.


Similarly, today, many bemoan the seemingly instant free fall of evangelicalism’s reputation among those it once sought to influence. In our hand-wringing, many automatically equate this collapse of public standing to the way evangelicalism appeared to have tethered itself to a disruptive and ethically challenging political campaign. With this ecclesiastical-partisan linkage firmly established, those outside were now more outside than ever. They became committed strangers with little compelling attraction to do anything but remain stalwart outsiders.


Here is the troubling question. Was this recent sacred-secular alliance actually the cause of our missionary dissonance, or was it, like morality and technology, actually an instructive event revealing the nature of our true loyalties? Has our deep distance from missionary effectiveness resulted from a recent, political moment in history or from a sustained misunderstanding of the nature of the gospel and its calling as a gospel-surrendered people?


To me, it seems apparent that it is the latter. The cavernous division between a commissioned missionary people and its mission field serves as ...

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Source: Technology, Politics, and Evangelicalism’s Good News

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/bybn9ARNLWI/technology-politics-and-evangelicalisms-good-news-missio-mo.html
https://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/85520.jpg?w=460
https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2018/december/technology-politics-and-evangelicalisms-good-news-missio-mo.html
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=bybn9ARNLWI:zz-rakJHWjc:yIl2AUoC8zA
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Christianity Today's 2019 Book Awards
« Reply #1100 on: December 13, 2018, 12:00:13 AM »
Christianity Today's 2019 Book Awards

Our picks for the books most likely to shape evangelical life, thought, and culture.


There’s a funny graphic making the social media rounds that confirms a truth universally acknowledged, at least by bibliophiles. Under the heading “Do I need more books?” sits a pie chart partitioned into a big slice (in teal) and a much smaller slice (in yellow), representing the dueling impulses in play. Predictably enough, the teal portion depicts the overwhelming urge to answer with an emphatic “YES.” But then we confront the nagging, still small voice of conscience, whispering ever so delicately, “also YES, but in yellow.”


As someone who owns a perfectly appropriate, not even slightly excessive, but still fairly large number of books, I know the feeling. Several years ago, I was part of a book club at church. We were discussing a book about books (Tony Reinke’s Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading). At some point, I asked whether anyone else ever felt guilty about devoting too much time to reading, given all the other callings God places on our lives. One young woman in the group thought the question revealed more about the bookworm bubble I inhabited than any spiritual dilemma Christians commonly face. And of course she was right! (Thank goodness that levelheaded young woman later saw fit to become my wife.)


If only through gritted teeth, you can usually get me to concede the sinful temptations that bookaholism encourages. Like any good gift, reading can be overindulged. But each year, as I set the table for another book awards banquet, I try to ease up on the introspection, adopting the literary equivalent of the “calories don’t count” mindset that fuels so many satisfying Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner binges.


During book awards season, at least, the ...

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Source: Christianity Today's 2019 Book Awards

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/fcF5DPcMGk8/christianity-today-2019-book-awards.html
https://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/85542.jpg?w=460
https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2019/january-february/christianity-today-2019-book-awards.html
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http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~4/fcF5DPcMGk8
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Beyond Disease Transmission: Evangelical Missions and the Consequences of Colonialism

It matters how the church enters a mission field.



 

“Three of our children were folded in the arms of the Good Shepherd during the past year. Tuberculosis, the tendency to which was inherited, took each of them. As none of the teachers … or other white people at Unalaska, are so far as we know ever touched by the great white plague, we have come to the conclusion that it is not the climate but the conditions of living that make the disease so prevalent among the natives. Few children in Alaska are well born. Then, the ignorance of the parents, who seem to make it their chief avocation during the long winters to watch lest a whiff of fresh air get into their cabins, and the lack of good food add their contributions to the inherited tendency.”



Annual Report of the Woman’s Home Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 1909


Since the news of John Chau’s death reached the wider world, both pundits and people on social media have offered commentary on the merits or folly of Mr. Chau’s actions. One of the strongest criticisms has been the possibility of disease transmission. Recently, Ed Stetzer interviewed experts who helpfully contributed information on epidemiology and missions. While essential to research on colonialism and missions, disease transmission is not the only factor in understanding how disease affects mission fields.


As a historian, I research American missions movements, focusing on how American missionaries were influenced by race theories and how these race theories affected missionary education, proclamation, and public health efforts. As an Alaskan, I was drawn to this history in my home state. My research led me to the troubling story of missions and tuberculosis among Alaska Natives.


The quote that opens ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/4w2ShxZ1_nw/beyond-disease-transmission-evangelical-mission-colonialism.html
https://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/85582.jpg?w=460
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/john-allen-chau-us-missionary-north-sentinel-killed-latest-india-a8659021.html
https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2018/december/john-chau-missions-and-fools-part-2.html
https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2018/december/beyond-disease-transmission-evangelical-mission-colonialism.html
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=4w2ShxZ1_nw:LtBhw5XGYJQ:yIl2AUoC8zA
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Will John Chau Help or Harm Missions in India?
« Reply #1102 on: December 15, 2018, 12:00:14 AM »
Will John Chau Help or Harm Missions in India?

Two Indian missions experts weigh in on how the young American’s failed attempt will impact local efforts to reach Andaman tribes.


John Chau first heard of North Sentinel Island about 10 years ago, when the Washington state native made it his calling to evangelize the residents of the remote island on the other side of the world. But evangelicals in mainland India have known about the indigenous tribes in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands—territories under their country’s federal rule—for decades.


Two Indian missiologists shared their perspectives with CT on the young American’s failed attempt to evangelize the Sentinelese and how the story of his death may impact future efforts to reach tribal groups in the islands.



Even in India, Chau Raised Awareness of the Sentinelese


Atul Y. Aghamkar


India is a complex land with the most sophisticated, well-educated, urban, globalized, wealthy elites on the one hand, and—as recent news has reminded us—some of the most isolated people living in primitive conditions on the other.


The Anthropological Survey of India has identified at least 4,635 distinct people groups, including a large tribal population of about 10 million people (7–8% of the country), often referred to as adivasis, meaning “original inhabitants,” or “scheduled tribes” in government records.


The Andaman Islands are home to four “Negrito” tribes—the Great Andamanese, Onge, Jarawa, and Sentinelese—believed to have arrived from Africa some 60,000 years ago. The neighboring Nicobar Islands are home to two “Mongoloid” tribes—the Shompen and Nicobarese—believed to have come from the Malay-Burma coast 1,000 years ago. The number of original inhabitants of these islands is slowly diminishing, and some are even on the verge of extinction.


The Sentinelese—the ...

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Source: Will John Chau Help or Harm Missions in India?

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/U5PhL6T2rYk/john-chau-india-missions-sentinelese-unreached-people-group.html
https://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/85574.png?w=460
https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2018/november/missionary-killed-north-sentinel-isolated-island-tribe-chau.html
https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2018/december-web-only/john-chau-india-missions-sentinelese-unreached-people-group.html
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Hundreds Accuse Independent Baptist Pastors of Abuse
« Reply #1103 on: December 16, 2018, 12:00:10 AM »
Hundreds Accuse Independent Baptist Pastors of Abuse

Investigation by Fort Worth Star-Telegram finds 400 allegations against 168 leaders spanning almost 200 churches and institutions.


Hundreds of women and men have accused leaders of independent fundamental Baptist churches of sexual misconduct in a major investigative report published last weekend by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.


The series uncovered 412 allegations of abuse across nearly 200 churches and institutions, which by definition exist apart from denominational affiliations and in contrast to more mainstream Baptist or evangelical bodies like the Southern Baptist Convention.


“From Connecticut to California, the stories are tragically similar: A music minister molested a 15-year-old girl in North Carolina and moved to another church in Florida,” the Star-Telegram wrote. “Another girl’s parents stood in front of their Connecticut congregation to acknowledge their daughter’s ‘sin’ after she was abused by her youth pastor, beginning at 16. This year, four women accused a pastor in California of covering up sexual misconduct and shielding the abusers over almost 25 years.”


In all, 168 leaders—including some of the most prominent pastors among the group’s thousands of US congregations—faced abuse accusations over incidents spanning from the 1970s to present-day.


More than 130 of them have been found guilty of rape, kidnapping, sexual assault, and a litany of other crimes, with most victims being children and teens, according to a database compiled by the Star-Telegram. Dozens of abusive pastors had multiple victims—one raped 11 girls in his congregation—and several had abused children as young as 7 years old.


Victims repeatedly cited deference to pastoral authority as a factor for why they initially trusted their abusers and why it became so difficult to bring their wrongdoing ...

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Source: Hundreds Accuse Independent Baptist Pastors of Abuse

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