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Cambodia Lets Anti-Trafficking Ministry Stay After Controversial News Report

Government rescinds threat to shut down a US-based evangelical charity.

A shocking news segment on child sex trafficking in Cambodia spurred American evangelicals to get involved in the cause 13 years ago. A recent CNN update on the industry almost ended more than decade of anti-trafficking ministry by a major Christian charity.

The controversial story, which portrayed mothers selling their daughters to work in brothels, offended the country’s top leader, who threatened to expel Agape International Missions (AIM) from Cambodia.

Prime Minister Hun Sen took issue with the characterization of Cambodians in CNN coverage from July since the women featured—like a disproportionate number involved in trafficking in Cambodia—were ethnically Vietnamese, not Cambodian.

On Tuesday, the leader of the majority-Buddhist nation accepted AIM’s apology over the segment and has rescinded calls to shut down the organization’s schools, shelters, and offices, mostly based in the heavily Vietnamese Svay Pak slums.

AIM, the subject of CT’s June cover story, investigates more than half of all sex trafficking raids that take place in Cambodia and has rescued over 100 underage girls in recent years.

The evangelical charity works in partnership with the anti-human trafficking division of the national police to catch perpetrators and provide recovery for young victims. It had received commendation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in July, just days before the prime minister pledged, “No matter what it costs us, this organization has to leave Cambodia.”

The government investigation ultimately found AIM to be sincere in its explanation and apology.

"Recently, myself and the NGO I led, Agape International Missions, were mistakenly accused of working ...

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[Cfamily]Challenges to Becoming a Multicultural Church
« Reply #633 on: August 28, 2017, 01:00:10 AM »
Challenges to Becoming a Multicultural Church

Sunday morning is the most segregated time in America.

One of the biggest issues in our culture is race relations. I write about it often, and the latest #Charlottesville incident reminds us of the brokenness we face in this area.

One of the biggest knocks on the Church is that 11:00 on Sunday morning is still the most segregated hour in America. There is no reason to argue it. Neither should that fact cause us to change everything we do to make it untrue. I’m not defending the reality, and I do understand that there are many reasons for it. But it is also encouraging that many churches are trying to overcome that history.

However, I also know that there is a strong movement to help us not be defined by ‘white church’ and ‘black church’ labels. There are many good people reaching across ethnic and color lines to help the Church become as diverse as the many types of people God created. There are challenges for sure. But these challenges can be met and dealt with successfully.

When we talk about churches becoming more multicultural, I’m not here to shame anyone. I get that many Anglo churches are filled with angst because they are “too white,” but that can be good or bad. The fact is, some churches are in communities that are not very diverse. A church is not primarily responsible for how multicultural its neighborhood is, but it is responsible for how kingdom-minded it is. So what does it look like to make a healthy cultural shift away from who you are to who you can be?

Notice the Neighborhood

The goal is not to meet a quota.

It is to meet the expectations God has for us. In some ways, that expectation varies from local body to local body. But it seems fair to suggest that the Church should have a goal to reflect its local community—not ...

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[Cfamily]Taylor Swift Breaks the Silence
« Reply #634 on: August 29, 2017, 01:00:54 AM »
Taylor Swift Breaks the Silence

Her recent legal case underscores the value of speaking out about sexual assault.

With military operations in Afghanistan back in the news, we’re hearing again about the fog of war. The term was first introduced by Prussian military analyst Carl von Clausewitz to describe the lack of clarity in the battlefield, despite the best-laid plans. Military leaders say it prevents us from knowing the best strategies for success in foreign wars. Military heroes are never heard from again, lost forever in the “fog of war.”

Like the fog of war, the fog of sexual assault stokes confusion, clouds judgment, and obscures reality for the victims. Public and private institutions often make it hard to report sexual assault and easy to discredit the victim. Perpetrators present alternative “facts” about incidents. Psychological and emotional barriers make it difficult for victims to accept their victimhood. Altogether, these forces form the fog of sexual assault and often prevent victims from speaking with lucidity about the crimes committed against them.

Last week in a Denver courtroom, pop icon Taylor Swift—who recently dropped a much anticipated single from her sixth album—took significant strides in clearing the fog surrounding sexual assault. Buttressed by an all-star legal team, high-powered PR, and significant social standing, Swift spoke in stark terms about the assault perpetuated against her by radio DJ David Mueller. After bluntly describing how Mueller grabbed her underneath her skirt, Swift forcefully and unwaveringly repeated her testimony throughout an hour-long interrogation: “He did not touch my rib; he did not touch my hand; he didn’t touch my arm; he grabbed my bare a--.”

The jurors—six women and two men—found that Mueller assaulted and ...

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Hurricane Harvey Is Here. Time for Christians to Show What We’ve Learned Since Katrina.

Advice for US churches on Category 4 storm from a disaster researcher who survived 2005.

If current projections hold true, Hurricane Harvey will be the strongest hurricane to strike the United States since Katrina, Rita, and Wilma hit in 2005.

A decade ago, maybe your church volunteered, planned a short-term mission trip, gave money, or helped rebuild Gulf Coast communities beaten down by one of America’s most deadly and destructive disaster seasons.

Harvey, which hit the Texas coast as a Category 4 hurricane, offers Christians a chance to be even more helpful—to show God’s grace and mercy to a disaster-filled world. But it means we have to be willing to learn from experiences like Katrina.

I’ve learned a lot myself, both personally and professionally. Katrina walloped my community six days after I moved to South Mississippi. Within weeks, I was on the ground researching how faith helps peoples’ resilience and how the church can best respond. Today, I run the Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College, the nation’s first social science research center devoted to the study of faith and disasters.

For churches in the path of Hurricane Harvey, there are still some “just-in-time” preparedness strategies you can implement before the storm makes landfall. For Christians far away, there’s a lot more you can do than wait and watch Twitter like it’s an unfolding disaster movie.

Below are some of the most important research-based ways your church can prepare and care, as well as spiritual survival tips for locals and responders alike.

What Churches in Harvey’s Crosshairs Should Do Right Now

You may have never thought about your church’s role in preparing for a disaster in your own community. Even if you have, you still may not know how to prepare ...

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[Cfamily]Hurricane Harvey & Our Response to Pray and Help
« Reply #636 on: August 31, 2017, 01:00:54 AM »
Hurricane Harvey & Our Response to Pray and Help

Here are some practical ways you can help right now.

We’ve all been watching with concern these past few days as Hurricane Harvey ravages the countless communities and cities in South Texas. News reports continue to indicate that the storm’s heavy rainfall and subsequent flooding are unprecedented and exceeding expectations. According to ABC News, the United States government is responding through the deployment of 3,000 national and state guard service members, as well as 500 vehicles and 14 aircraft.

Although it is reassuring to see the ways government workers and officials are responding to the disaster, many still wonder: is there anything we can do to help? From far away, it is easy to feel powerless. Often, our immediate reaction is to try and find the nearest plane, train, or automobile, hitch a ride, and hope that our presence at the scene of the crisis will ultimately help serve those in need. Or, it is the exact opposite—we wring our hands and do nothing. But before you or anyone you know tries to go and singlehandedly rescue victims of Hurricane Harvey, or just sits anxiously watching the television, here are some practical ways you can help right now.

First, pray. As Christ followers, our first inclination in times of struggle and strife should be to fix our eyes not on the disaster itself, but on the God who promises His steady presence throughout it. When we find ourselves slipping into dangerous patterns of worry on behalf of those in need, prayer is our best and surest remedy.

We can get together with fellow believers and pray for the safety of victims and their families. We can ask God to stop the storm and cause the floodwaters to recede. We can allow the Lord to reorient our hearts and fill our minds with the truth of His promises. He is, ...

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[Cfamily]Complementarians Issue New Manifesto on Gender Identity
« Reply #637 on: September 01, 2017, 01:00:59 AM »
Complementarians Issue New Manifesto on Gender Identity

CBMW’s Nashville Statement addresses shifting notions of sex and sexuality.

America’s top complementarian leaders have shifted their focus from gender roles to gender identity.

On Tuesday, the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) released a new declaration that reasserts the significance of biological sex and traditional marriage over society’s growing LGBT acceptance.

“We are persuaded that faithfulness in our generation means declaring once again the true story of the world and of our place in it—particularly as male and female,” according to the group’s Nashville Statement.

At the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) national conference in Nashville last week, it was endorsed by about 150 conservative Christian leaders—many of them male, Baptist, and Reformed. (The mayor of Nashville, though, was not happy about the name.)

Initial signatories include many CBMW and ERLC leaders; pastors like J. I. Packer, Francis Chan, John MacArthur, and James MacDonald; and authors Rosaria Butterfield and Christopher Yuan.

At its founding by theologian Wayne Grudem 30 years ago, CBMW issued the Danvers Statement, which affirmed the complementary differences between the genders. It came in response to an increasingly feminist society (and church), where conservative leaders feared men and women were losing their biblical distinctions.

That foundational document, often seen as the textbook definition of complementarian convictions, critiques “feminist egalitarianism” and women rising in church leadership, and upholds “vocational homemaking” and wives’ submission in marriage.

The 2017 Nashville Statement, instead of outlining how the genders should live in relation to one another, makes several ...

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[Cfamily]Missional or Attractional? The Value of Embracing a Both/And Mentality
« Reply #638 on: September 02, 2017, 01:00:54 AM »
Missional or Attractional? The Value of Embracing a Both/And Mentality

Every Christian should be missional and every church should be attractional.

Much has been said and written to help today’s churches become more missional. Organizations, parachurch communities, and conferences abound in trying to move the Church in this direction. This emphasis is certainly justified in light of how many Evangelical churches are not missional and are either in a state of plateau or decline.

Unfortunately, many churches are not trying in any measurable way to reach the people in their community who are unchurched. Too often, churches satisfy themselves with biblical teaching, music, fellowship groups, or any number of good things. They are intoxicated with a sense of church busy-ness and therefore have a sense that they are on mission. The problem is, these things too often become subtle substitutes for the mission of God. We have to be reminded that our mission is to advance His kingdom on a daily basis, being and making disciples who worship and follow Jesus.

My predecessor as Eastern District Superintendent for the EFCA, Dr. Steve Musser, did a great job speaking to the Eastern District churches about transitioning from being teaching centers to missional outposts. He led us to adopt the motto, “Churches without walls.” Some of our churches really benefited from his efforts, but all of our leaders were challenged to keep the mission in front of our churches. I inherited this value and intend to keep it as long as I’m in this role.

If you want to dive into some good reading about what it means for a church to be missional, you can go here and see some well-thought writing from credible evangelical writers and practitioners.

But in saying that we should be missional, does that mean we should completely discard the idea and value of anything attractional?

Before ...

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Iceland Capital’s Only Baptist Pastor Doesn’t Want Down Syndrome Eliminated

Pro-life minority faces major challenge in ‘most godless country’ in Europe.

My family has spent a lot of time at Landspítali, the major hospital in the capital of Iceland.

For over a year, our five-year-old son has been undergoing chemotherapy for leukemia. Our youngest son, born this April, also spent two months at the hospital as doctors ran tests on him, finding a genetic mutation in his X chromosome that only two other people in the world have been diagnosed with.

Every day, as I walked into the intensive care unit at the hospital, I looked over a wall of pictures of young children and teenagers holding up photos of themselves as premature babies. They had been born after as little as 21 or 22 weeks of pregnancy. It was a monument to the lives that were saved.

Meanwhile, the cultural conversation in the rest of Iceland seemed so distant from what I saw in the hospital. There were talks of new legislation pushing to make abortion available as late as the 22nd week of pregnancy. And this month, the issue of abortion in Iceland took the internet by storm, with a CBS News report on how the country (population 340,000) is on the verge of eliminating Down syndrome.

What sounded like an impressive medical achievement was quickly revealed to be a spin on our heartbreaking reality. Only two to three children a year are born with Down syndrome since nearly 100 percent of mothers whose tests show a high likelihood of the condition end up choosing abortion.

Those of us who value life in the womb see Iceland is not eliminating Down syndrome, but terminating babies who have it (or could have it) before they are even born.

The Icelandic media, taking up the CBS story, have even shifted to use new language around abortion. They use a term suggested by a government think tank—Þungunarrof, which ...

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Source: Iceland Capital’s Only Baptist Pastor Doesn’t Want Down Syndrome Eliminated

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