March 2008 Headlines
BERLIN, Md. --"Our first year, we grew like wildfire," said Daryl McCready, pastor of SonRise Church in Berlin, Md., near the Ocean City resort area.
CWN.com - Parents are the focus of a new ministry in New Zealand, and it's a true testament to a the power of a united community.
CWN.com - Read or click play for this week's top stories affecting Christian's around the world.
JERUSALEM, Israel - Last week, 15-year-old Ami Ortiz, the son of an Israeli pastor opened a holiday package during the Jewish celebration of Purim. He thought it was a gift. Instead it was a bomb.
CWN.com - Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez recently shook the hand of his Colombian counterpart.
The personal faith of the presidential candidates has been a hot topic in this year's race for the White House.
CWN.org - BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA -- Hundreds of miles and decades removed from the world's broadest street, Buenos Aires' famed Ave. 9 de Julio, a young Matilde Palau prayed daily that her son Luis would someday impact the world for Christ. This past week, global evangelist Luis Palau's Si A La Vida festival brought an historic response to a mother's prayer as the Argentine capital saw over 800,000 fill the avenue over two days for one of the largest faith celebrations ever seen in South America.
Does broadcast and print media give atheism the same degree of scrutiny as Christianity and other religious faiths?
Latinos make up almost 15 per cent of the U.S. population and are expected to double their numbers by 2050.
CWN.com - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama made a major address about race this week.
CWN.com - Taking a look at what the war in Iraq has cost, insurgents have killed nearly 4,000 American soldiers and wounded 60,000 others.
Government authorities in Azerbaijan released a Baptist minister from prison Wednesday after holding him in custody for seven months.
CWN.org -- Police ordered two Algerian churches to cease activity last week, the latest in a series of 10 church closures and further court cases against foreign and local Christians. In Tizi Ousou, 100 kilometers east of Algiers, security police on March 9 notified pastor Salah Chalah to close his 1,200-member Full Gospel Church. Police issued notice to a second pastor, Mustapha Krireche, to close down his church in Tizi Ouzou's Nouvelle Ville district.
RAWANG, Malaysia- It's been more than a year since En Khan Khual fled Burma, leaving behind his wife and two young children.
CWN.com - JENA, La. - "You don't have to explain to the nation where Jena is," said Dominick DiCarlo Jr., pastor of the Louisiana town's First Baptist Church.
CWN.com - It's being called one of the most dramatic attacks against Iraq's small Christian community. Click play for more on the situation for Iraqi Christians from Keith Roderick, with Christian Solidarity International.
CWN.com - With increased frequency, the Chinese government is persecuting house churches and banishing foreign Christians from the country, presumably to squelch voices who might draw attention to the plight of religious minorities in the nation surrounding the Beijing Olympics. "We seem to be seeing a crackdown ahead of the Olympics. Whether that's to send a message to the church to lay low or whether it is to make sure that anybody who might cause international embarrassment is taken care of ahead of time, I don't know," Todd Nettleton, a spokesman for Voice of the Martyrs, told Baptist Press. "But we do see an increase in the level of arrests, the level of house church services being raided, that sort of activity. "We also have seen a number of foreigners who are Christians who, when the time came to renew their visa they have been denied a new visa and told that they had to leave the country," Nettleton added. "So it's happening both amongst the house churches of native Chinese people as well as foreign Christians who are living and working in China. They're finding that they're no longer welcome." Nettleton noted that about 20 percent of China's Christians are part of the official church -- the Three-Self Patriotic Movement or the Catholic version approved by the government -- while the other 80 percent go to unregistered or unofficial churches. "They don't actually have permission from the government to meet together, so their activities are illegal and they can be arrested, they can serve time in prison, their meetings can be broken up because they don't have that official government seal of approval on their meetings," Nettleton said of the 80 percent. Nettleton said his best guess for the increase in persecution is that the Chinese government views the Beijing Olympics, scheduled for Aug. 8-24, as sort of a coming out party where the eyes of the world will be on them. "The Olympics are a huge event, there will be a huge amount of international attention focused on China," he said. "They want to make sure that they put their best foot forward, and having Christians doing some sort of protest or drawing attention to the religious freedom situation there would not be good PR. It would not make a good impression on the visitors from around the world, so they're going to do everything they can to make sure that doesn't happen." China Aid Association, in its 2007 Persecution Report released in February, said the 60 reported cases of persecution against house churches in China last year was up 30.4 percent from 2006. CAA, a Christian rights defense organization, is based in Texas. The total number of people persecuted last year was 788, up 18.5 percent from 2006, China Aid said regarding 2007 statistics, and the total number of people arrested and detained was 693, up 6.6 percent. Sixteen people were sentenced to imprisonment, down 5.9 percent, according to China Aid records. "Besides these figures, two types of cases need special attention: There are 17 cases of physical abuse in the persecution (beating, torture and psychological abuse), up 325 percent from that of 2006, and the number abused was 35, up 400 percent," China Aid said. "The other type is that many foreign Christians also suffered persecution mainly in the form of arrest, interrogation and expulsion from the country. The total number of people in this category is over 100 (84 of them are confirmed), up 833 percent from the year before." China Aid, in its persecution report, identified four categories of persecution: against house church leaders, against house churches in urban areas, against Christian publications and against foreign Christians and missionaries. Among the foreign Christians and missionaries who were interrogated and expelled from China, most were from the West and a few were from South Korea and other countries, China Aid said. "Some of these foreign Christians were not missionaries, but had their own secular professions in China," the report said. "However, as they preached the Christian belief or were associated with local Christians and churches, they were persecuted by the government. This is the largest persecution operation of expelling foreign Christians since the early 1950s when the [Communist Party of China] drove out all of the foreign missionaries." Nettleton of Voice of the Martyrs said that despite the crackdown he doesn't see a high probability of Western Christians being harassed during the Beijing Olympics. "I know there are some groups who are specifically going to work on evangelism efforts during the Olympics. I don't know how it will be different from what they did in Athens [in 2004] other than the fact that in China they will need to keep a little lower profile," Nettleton said. "They'll need to be a little more cautious about the nature of their activities, about what they're doing, about drawing attention to themselves. "But the reality is that, in my opinion, the chances of a foreigner being arrested for religious activities during the Olympics are very slim because the world will be watching and the Chinese government is so aware of the need for good PR and the need to sort of make this problem go away," he added. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom in February urged President Bush to request to meet with people detained by the Chinese government for religious reasons when he attends the Olympics in August. The commission also asked Bush to attend an unregistered house church to draw attention to the Chinese government's religious freedom violations. Bush, during a White House news conference Feb. 28, said he would raise concerns about freedom of religion in China when he meets with Chinese President Hu Jintao in August. "Every time I meet with him I talk about religious freedom and the importance of China's society recognizing that if you're allowed to worship freely, it will benefit the society as a whole; that the Chinese government should not fear the idea of people praying to a God as they see fit," Bush said. "A whole society, a healthy society, a confident society is one that recognizes the value of religious freedom."
Gaza Baptist Church used to draw hundreds of Palestinian worshipers to its two Sunday services. But on a recent Sunday in January, less than 10 people risked attending the only evangelical church in the 25-mile coastal strip.
Christians in Turkey are living under a shadow of fear and insecurity due to a violent backlash by nationalist hardliners.
Ankara, Turkey - For centuries, the Hadith - a collection of the words and deeds of the prophet Muhammad - has guided Muslims in their daily lives and served as a basis for Islamic jurisprudence, offering direction on everything from hygiene to war.
The basement meeting room at Park National Bank in downtown Geneva looks nothing like a church, and the eight people gathered there were dressed in business casual, not their Sunday best.
Pastor Shorty likes to keep his sermons short and simple because that's the cowboy way and his is a cowboy church.
CBNNews.com - You may be familiar with the Seven Deadly Sins -- transgressions such as laziness, pride and greed -- that list was created 1,500 years ago.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - With silver hair and vivid memories, the faithful are coming to the Billy Graham Library to relive the glory.
BARTELLA, Iraq - The bullets lay on the desk amid Bibles and rosaries.
NEW DELHI - Christians in the capital on Sunday demanded that attacks on the community and its places of worship in various parts of the country be stopped immediately and urged the government to take action against perpetrators of such atrocities.
CWN - While the trial of five men accused of killing three Christians in Turkey has yet to resume, persecution continues for Christians. It's happening almost every day, and children are the targets.
CBNNews.com - Since 2001, Islamic terrorists have fired thousands of rockets into the Israeli town of Sderot. CBN News visited the town to find out what life is like on the front lines of Israel's battle with radical Islam.
CWN.com - Read World Watch for the latest stories affecting the global church in Mosul, China, and Colombia and more.
CWN.com - The Bible tells that God uses certain individuals for the gift of healing. Recently in the Philippines, Father Fernando Suarez, tagged as the "healing priest," has given much hope to the Filipinos in administering healing to his countrymen.
CWN.com - They call it "Mama Tungurahua." It's one of South America's most active volcanos, spewing ash and lava once again.
CWN.com - YANGON, Burma - Everthing seems normal now in the streets of Yangon.
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Can anything good come out of a place called 'Sin City'? Well, Christians in Las Vegas, Nevada say there's a whole lot more than gambling going on, and they're hoping it will soon spread to the rest of the nation.
CWN.com ― After Kosovo declared independence on Feb. 17, many Kosovars began referring to the nation's 'new birth.' Christian workers in the country it's creating opportunities for sharing the message of Christ.
An open letter from the president of the Chinese House Church Alliance has revealed the relentless persecution he and his family have endured under the hands of the Chinese Government.
BAGHDAD - After almost five years of war, many young people in Iraq, exhausted by constant firsthand exposure to the violence of religious extremism, say they have grown disillusioned with religious leaders and skeptical of the faith that they preach.
CWN.com - Kidnappers are demanding a huge ransom for a Chaldean Archbishop abducted last week in northern Iraq, sending fear through the country's Christian community, a local priest said.
CWN.com - About 40 Christians were kidnapped Feb. 27 by anti-Christian radicals in Himachal Pradesh, India, according to Gospel for Asia, a U.S.-based ministry that supports church workers in India.
(CBS) Pastor Marty Baker is a believer in the idea. "When Jesus says, 'I will build the church,' he says, financially, I've got a system for you," Baker preaches, "It's called tithing." Tithing means giving a tenth of your income - and church construction is exactly what pastor Marty Baker is pitching his congregation to pay for. "God doesn't fund the church through bingo nights, pancake suppers and chicken dinners," Baker says. "God funds the church through people willing to commit to the tithe." Over twenty years, tithing has helped transform Stevens Creek Church in Augusta, Georgia from a few people in somebody's living room to a megachurch in the making.
Evangelical Christians are under fire in Jordan, and more than two dozen missionaries and seminary students have been deported or refused visas in the past year.
The stone walls of St. Porphyrius church in Gaza were raised in the fourth century, a reminder of Christianity's long role in the Mediterranean city's history.
The response came after Pastor Leon Forte, who heads up Grace Christian Center in Athens, Ohio, asked about Obama's faith. The video is available here and the full transcript is available here.