Thursday, February 28, 2013

Christians Should Be Creative

Christians should be a creative—the salt of the earth, the light of the world, and the leaven that leavens the whole lump.

Pastor teaches country church (Photo by S.A.).

(The Cross and the Crescent) Muslims can understand as little about Christianity as many Christians understand about Islam. Yet both are evangelistic religions. Christianity practices evangelism, and proclaims the Good News of Jesus Christ. Islam practices Da'wa (a Call) inviting all to accept its faith. Against such a background, the message... can be summed up in a single statement:

That if God calls us to evangelize the Muslim world, He will give us everything we need to do it successfully. For God never orders us to do the impossible.

To start with, though, we need to ask what difficulties underlie the task of evangelizing Muslims, and why it is that many Christians have effectively “given up” the challenge. I suggest there are two factors at work. These have to do, first, with the weakness of the Church, and second, with the resistance of Islam.

1. Lack of obedience to the Great Commission

The greatest impediment to the evangelizing of Muslims lies in the Christian Church. A weak and lukewarm Church neglects its first duty, which is missions. Divided believers have much time to fight—and no time to witness. Many congregations are self-satisfied. They prefer the cozy atmosphere of their closed fellowships to the challenge of going out to reach the lost. The result is that believers “lose touch” with the surrounding world. They actually drive sinners away because nobody wants to be like them.

By contrast, the Spirit-filled and Spirit-obeying believer witnesses to God's saving power, and thus leads others to know Christ as personal Savior.

2. Lack of confidence in the Christian faith

In almost all countries where Christians are a minority, they exhibit a lack of confidence, both in themselves and in what they believe. The act like the ten spies who returned to Moses from Canaan and declared that the proposed invasion should be called off (Num 13:28-33).

In Muslim states, this behavior is reinforced by social attitudes dating back to the seventh century Covenant of Umar. A major purpose of the Covenant was to protect the life and property of non-Muslims—particularly Christians and Jews—who were resident in Muslim countries. But it did so on strict conditions. First, that Christians put no obstacles in the way of a fellow Christian who desired to become a Muslim. And second, that Christians make no attempt to convert Muslims to Christianity.

Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab used the Covenant to consolidate his conquests. He would present it to Christians in subject territories and demand they sign....

Centuries later, the terms of the Covenant remain deeply embedded in the way Christian and Muslim communities relate in Islamic nations.

Against this background, it is important for Christian minorities in Muslim countries to know what is expected of them. They should be a creative minority—the salt of the earth, the light of the world, and the leaven that leavens the whole lump (Matt 5:13,14; 13:33).
(Continued later.)

--Abdul Hadi
The Cross and the Crescent (excerpt)

Abdul Hadi is an international Bible scholar who has lectured and taught in several countries around the world; a Christian apologist, evangelist, and international authority on Islam.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Pakistan Rules Justice Against Slander

Pakistani judge throws out slanderous blasphemy charge against Christian.

Justice is a grindstone to the Law
(Photo by Bill Hunt).

LAHORE, Pakistan, Feb. 19 (World Watch Monitor) — A Pakistan court last month surprised all involved when it dismissed charges of blasphemy against a Christian man accused of insulting Islam. 

The Jan. 28 ruling by a trial court in Punjab province surprised defendant Barkat Masih, his attorney and religious-rights advocates. It came two months after a different judge threw out similar charges against a teen-aged girl that drew worldwide criticism of Pakistan’s anti-blasphemy laws. 

Masih was arrested in October 2011 on the basis of a complaint filed by two men who accused him of insulting the prophet Muhammad. After one judge balked at taking up the case, a second stepped in an ordered a police investigation of the charge. Police found evidence that the accusers were attempting to wrest property away from Masih, and prosecutors could provide no evidence to support the blasphemy charge. 

The judge then threw out the case and set Masih free. 

This is a remarkable case in which a trial court judge has released a person charged with blasphemy,” said Masih’s lawyer, Allah Rakha. “In my several years of legal practice I have never seen a trial judge showing guts in such a sensitive matter.” 

Some government officials drew a link from the case of Barkat Masih to the much more widely covered case of Rimsha Masih, an Islamabad girl arrested in August on charges that she burned some pages of an Islamic text. The courts threw out the case when police provided evidence the burned pages were planted on the girl by a local Imam.

Rimsha Masih’s case is a clear example of how the blasphemy laws are misused by people,” Peter Jacob, of the National Commission for Justice and Peace, told World Watch Monitor. 

Even in Barkat Masih’s case, it’s quite clear that the complainants wanted to grab his property therefore they charged him with an allegation quite a few people in Pakistan dare to question. The government and judiciary should review all blasphemy cases because most of those accused are victims of jealousy and prejudice.”

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World Watch Monitor is distributed to raise awareness of Christians worldwide who are persecuted for their faith. Articles may be reprinted by active subscribers only. For subscription information, contact:

Friday, February 15, 2013

Crisis in Mali turns to Joy and Reconstruction

Crisis in Mali turns to joy at French intervention, says church leader, but relief and anxiety for needed reconstruction.

Sahara Desert, Timbuktu, Mali by Senani P(

Feb. 11 (World Watch Monitor) —The liberation of the main cities of Northern Mali has created a great sense of relief and joy in the country, but the task of reconstruction and reconciliation is huge.

A month after the French offensive, the Malian and African troops have regained control of the main cities in the North, previously occupied by Islamist armed groups. The French-led operation began on Jan. 11, following an attempt by Islamist militants to progress further south.

“The whole of Mali was in turmoil when we learned with dismay the progress of Islamists to the South,” Mohamed-Ibrahim Yattara, a church leader in Bamako, told World Watch Monitor.

A year ago, he and his family fled Timbuktu in the northeast and headed to the capital, in the southwest of the country. Like him, thousands of Malians have sought refuge in the South and others in neighboring Niger, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.

“For us who fled our homes and our cities in recent months, the victory of the Islamists over the armed forces and security has aroused painful and excruciating memories. Our minds were full of intrusive memories of looting and destruction of our homes and institutions,” he said.

For nearly a year the Islamist armed groups imposed a strict Islamic law in the regions under their control. Intimidation, threats and mutilation became common practice. The practice of other religions was banned. Places of worship and churches were desecrated and looted.

“All these memories suddenly vanished and turned into a dream when we learned with great joy about the French army intervention. What was commonly called ‘the crisis in Mali’ has come to an early settlement,” said Yattara, who also is the head of a Bible training institute in Timbuktu.

Despite regaining freedom, Malian people face new challenges created by the Islamic takeover. Nine months of occupation have left Northern Mali in great need of reconstruction. A number of public buildings were destroyed, including schools, health clinics, ancient monuments, hotels and restaurants.

Human-rights groups have accused the army of attacking civilians. Malian government forces targeted light-skinned Arab and Tuareg ethnic groups associated with the rebels, Human Rights Watch said in a report published Feb. 1. The Malian government has denied the accusations and has publicly warned against revenge attacks.

Mali is No. 7 on the 2013 World Watch List, a ranking of the 50 countries where persecution of Christians is most severe. The list is published annually by Open Doors International, a ministry to persecuted Christians worldwide.


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World Watch Monitor is distributed to raise awareness of Christians worldwide who are persecuted for their faith. Articles may be reprinted, with attribution, by active subscribers only. For subscription information, contact:


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Chat with God

Why do we hear two different voices in our spirit?

Boys and Girls in the Sudan /tpsdave(

Are you having your morning chat with God or with the devil? How can you tell? The devil accuses you of your sin and paralyzes you with guilt. Jesus forgives your sin perfectly and forgets your sin perfectly, when you turn to Him.

Jesus molds you One with God and God One with you. He restores you to perfect innocence in perfect grace. God clothes you in his Son who bought, paid for, ransomed, and redeemed you. He sees you in the image of His own reflection.

Jesus the Messiah is the radiance of God's Glory and the exact representation of his Being. “Be Holy for I am Holy,” He says. In Him, there is nothing you are unable to do in carrying out His plan.

God's whole purpose is to be One with you, and you, One with Him.

The devil's purpose is to make you serve his evil deeds for eternity. He hates God and you so much he wants to destroy you as God's creature to suffer in hell for eternity. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil. God wants you to live for eternity in Paradise.

I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” said Jesus. He is the Word, Jesus is the only Way to Heaven. “You shall know the Truth and the Truth shall make you free.” He is the Absolute Truth, the manifested Word of the Holy God made flesh. He is the Life, the Living Light and the Living Love of His Holy Spirit, the Presence of God.

In Him, we live and move and have our being. In Him is Light and there is no darkness at all. God invites us through Jesus to step into His Spirit forever to enjoy living in His Love and in His Light.

In Jesus,
Bill Hunt
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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

ERITREA: Ten Christian Leaders Arrested

Jerry Dykstra, Media Relations Director
Phone: 616-915-4117

Ten Christian Leaders Arrested
In Eritrea in Government Attempt To Eliminate Underground Church

SANTA ANA, Calif. (Jan. 22, 2013) – Only hours before news of a failed coup attempt in Eritrea hit the news on Monday, Open Doors learned of a new wave of systematic arrest of church leaders in Eritrea. It is not clear exactly when the campaign started, but at least 10 leaders of churches banned by the government in 2002 have been rounded up.
There have been several such campaigns in the past, but church leaders fear that this particular campaign is far more serious because it wants to “eradicate the underground church by targeting its key leaders around the country.” 
Since news of the renewed systematic arrests emerged, several church leaders have gone into hiding for a second time in only a few months.  According to trusted sources close to the events in Eritrea, church leaders have remained in good spirits despite these pressures. 

For Christians in Eritrea, an eastern African country of 4 million, the past few months have been a somewhat of a roller-coaster ride. After the death of the Ethiopian Prime Minister in August last year, there was heightened tension in Eritrea. Christians testified that talk of renewed fighting between Eritrea and Ethiopia after the demise of one of their long-time rivals led to a very grim atmosphere. There were reports of the government circulating rifles to households in case war broke out. Some Christians described those months of uncertainty as their darkest night while praying earnestly for the light of a new dawn for their country. 

These tensions were then followed in December by the news of the release of 31 Christian students kept at Sawa Military Training Centre since 2006. The group of students from Mai-Nefhi University included 14 females. They were arrested after refusing to participate against their conscience in cultural dancing during Independence Day celebrations.
The believers later testified that despite the difficulties they faced in the harsh prison conditions, they were never placed in a situation where they were forced to deny their faith. Some of the women were apparently enticed with release in exchange for sexual favors.  None gave in, but remained strong in the faith. 

In the media there were mixed reactions to the failed coup attempt. Reports indicated that about 100 soldiers marched on the Ministry of Information, made it as far as the director’s office and forced him to read a statement on air calling for the release of political prisoners. Then the broadcast signal abruptly cut out. It is believed that the soldiers may have briefly taken hostage the president’s daughter, Elsa, who apparently works in the Ministry of Information. The president of Eritrea is Isaias Afewerkie.
However, the New York Times reported that troops loyal to the government were able to beat the coup-attempting soldiers back. The renegade soldiers were later arrested.
Reports of the coup came amid speculations that President Afewerki’s health is worsening. He has traveled abroad in the past to seek medical attention for a liver condition, but official information services refuted these speculations, insisting the 66 year old was in good health.
Reports of the coup were met by mixed reactions. Some observers fear even more repressive measures by the government to keep society in check. 

Eritrea is ranked No. 10 on the Open Doors World Watch List which was released two weeks ago,” Open Doors USA spokesman Jerry Dykstra stated. “Open Doors research reported 31 Christians died in Eritrean prisons in 2012. Eritrean Christians value our prayers as their circumstances remain uncertain.”
Christians are persecuted for their faith in at least 60 countries worldwide. They suffer interrogation, arrest and even death in some of the most dangerous and restrictive countries in the world. For 58 years Open Doors has supported and strengthened believers worldwide through Bible and Christian literature distribution, leadership training and assistance, Christian community development and prayer and presence ministry. To partner with Open Doors USA, call toll free at 888-5-BIBLE-5 (888-524-2535) or go to our Website at

(For more information or to set up an interview, contact Jerry Dykstra at 616-915-4117 or email

Friday, February 1, 2013

90 Day Dash to Freedom

True Story, a Christian family makes a dash from prison to the border.

Makset Djabbarbergenov in his prison cell,
where blankets draped from the bunks
provided a measure of privacy (photo courtesy
of Makset Djabbarbergenov).

For 90 days last fall, Makset Djabbarbergenov lived in a Kazakh prison cell, under threat of deportation to his native Uzbekistan to face almost-certain years of harsh jail time.

His alleged crime: Leading small Christian communities in house churches without official registration. By 2007, this had made “Pastor Makset” a wanted criminal, and he fled across the border into Kazakhstan to escape arrest.

By 2009, he and his family had won refugee status there from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR. So far, Kazakhstan has refused to recognize the family’s refugee status.

Last year, Uzbekistan bumped up the convert pastor’s “criminal accusations” to charges of terrorism, and demanded the Kazakh government send him back home to face trial and a potential 15-year prison sentence.

His pregnant wife, Aygul, and their four young sons were left watching wide-eyed as the Kazakh police arrested him in their Almaty home at noon on Sept. 5. It would be three months before they saw each other again.

In late December, a few weeks after they had flown to safety and a new life in Europe, they told the story of their family’s faith ordeal in a series of interviews with World Watch Monitor. Their location is being withheld to preserve their security.

--Read the full story of Makset's family's daring

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Copyright 2013 World Watch Monitor
World Watch Monitor is distributed to raise awareness of Christians worldwide who are persecuted for their faith. Articles may be reprinted, with attribution, by active subscribers only. For subscription information, contact: .

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