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Christian World News: November 23, 2012

On this week's show, Jamestown find upholds America's Christian heritage; outreach yields harvest in tough Bronx neighborhood; Pure Religion: Caring for Egypt's Social Outcasts; and more. Read Transcript

Today on Christian World News –

Digging up history. Archaeologists examine
the remains of the first Protestant church

in North America.

And –

A community plagued by poverty, drugs and
crime until a church steps up to bring light

in the darkness.

Plus –

They're the lowest members of an outcast group.
Orphans from Coptic Christian families in

Egypt. We'll tell you who's helping them survive
and giving them hope for the future.

Christians in America and giving thanks to
God for their spiritual heritage. Hello, everyone,

I'm Wendy Griffith. George Thomas is on assignment.

Well, believers are celebrating the fact that
America was founded as a Christian nation.

Not too long ago archaeologists at Jamestown,
Virginia, discovered the original church built

in 1608 at James Fort. It's the place where
Pocahontas married John Rolfe. And as Mark

Martin shows us, it's also powerful evidence
of America's Christian history.

No! If you kill him, you'll have to kill me,

Daughter, stand back.

I won't!

Pocahontas is legendary, best known for saving
the life of Captain John Smith who helped

establish Jamestown in 1607.

Smith claimed the daughter of Chief Powhatan
came to his rescue after he'd been taken prisoner

by her father's men.

This Native American heroine would later marry
another Jamestown colonist named John: John

Rolfe, the Virginia colony's first successful
tobacco planter.

Just where that marriage took place has been
a mystery. That is, until now, nearly 400

years after that historic wedding.

So where we're standing right now, this is
where Pocahontas and John Rolfe would have

gotten married?

Absolutely. Exactly.

Archaeologist Bill Kelso says he's now 100
percent sure he and his team have discovered

the first substantial Protestant church in
America, the 1608 church at James Fort.

He describes the "find" as a "goose bump"

This fort was supposed to have been lost to
the river, to erosion. No one could find it.

I came out here 18 years ago, and I thought,
well, I want to give this a shot in this area

because nobody really looked at it that seriously
here, and sure enough the whole fort's been

found, all the buildings; now the church.

The secretary of the Jamestown colony recorded
the church dimensions as 60 feet long and

24 feet wide.

We can go back and look at the historic record
and see how that matches up to the empirical

evidence, what we see in the ground.

The walls and thatched roof are gone, but
archaeologists uncovered deep postholes that

held heavy timber columns to support the church.

Kelso believes the columns probably would
have been two stories high.

This would then support the super-structure
of a very large building, which would have

a cathedral ceiling. Way off the charts for
us of any kind of post building we've ever

found before.

Other evidence includes several graves found
in what Kelso says would have been the church's

chancel. That's an area near the altar where
prominent Anglicans were usually buried.

It's possible the Rev. Robert Hunt is buried
here. He accompanied the first English settlers

in 1607 and planted a cross on the shore,
claiming the New World for Jesus Christ.

A spokesperson for historic Jamestown tells
CBN News an expert from the Smithsonian is

planning to examine the burials next spring.

We've got one there, one there, one over here.

The archaeologists are digging near the center
of the fort, and that matches the earliest

known diagram of Jamestown: this map, which
was presented to the King of Spain in 1608.

You can see an "X" or perhaps a cross, which
scholars believe marks the church.

Historians and archaeologists believe the
church's central location and size showed

the importance of Christianity to the settlers,
and that their long trip was not just about


The directions from the Virginia Company is
that, "Look, you can find gold, find silver,

do all these things that we want to make money
with, but if you forget about religion, this

is all going to be for naught."

The 1608 church was important to the colonists
for many reasons, including playing a key

part in the very survival of Jamestown. It
was here in June of 1610 that Virginia's first

resident governor, Sir Thomas West, addressed
the colonists, arriving at just the right

time in the New World, to motivate them to
not abandon the fort.

And it would have been another Lost Colony
had he not shown up.

So they forged ahead with the church at the
heart of the fort.

And what we take away from these stories is
our birthplace, our nation, our story.

The 1608 church lasted about ten years.

In 1617, Governor Samuel Argall called for
a new church located probably where the current

brick reconstructed church stands and still
greets visitors today.

Another testimony that Christianity served
not only as a foundation of America, but continued

to thrive in a harsh New World of uncertainty.

Mark Martin, CBN News, Jamestown, Virginia.

Fascinating. Thanks, Mark.

Well, Abraham Lincoln is one of America's
most beloved presidents. He presided over

the nation during the Civil War and he freed
the slaves.

But author Stephen Mansfield says he was also
a man who struggled with faith.

Recently, Lee Webb spoke with him about his
new book, "Lincoln's Battle With God."

Stephen, people may not know that in his younger
years Abraham Lincoln was an atheist—I was

surprised to hear this—and he rejected the
very existence of God. Tell us about that

phase of his life.

Well, Lincoln's parents were caught up in
the revivals that sort of swept the western

frontier at that time. It was very emotional,
very sort of bombastic and Lincoln didn't

have a great relationship with his father
so he started to turn away from their Christian

faith almost immediately.

But then his reading, his eager mind, turned
him toward the writings of Paine and Volney

and Gibbon, some of the rationalists of the
time. And he just simply decided to become

really the village atheist. He challenged
everybody's faith. He wrote little short manuscripts

against Christianity.

I will say just in brief that his friends
really said later that it wasn't so much that

he didn't believe in God. He was mad at God
because he thought his mother's illegitimacy

made him somehow marked or somehow rejected.

So, atheism, reaction to his parents, and
then of course feeling cursed by God, all

of that mixed in and he had a long atheist

How do you account for his conversion? What
changed his thinking on the Christian faith?

You know, unfortunately, what changed his
thinking were a series of deaths. He lost

his mother, he lost sons, he said at one point
in his life he was haunted by the thought

of rain falling on graves.

But in the providence of God, each time there
was a significant death in his life there

was a minister of the Gospel there to speak
to him. And so he lost a child as he was living

in Springfield. Mary, his wife, is just completely
flipped out in her grief. But Abraham had

a good minister who pulled in and shared the
Word with him, was a man gifted in apologetics

so he could answer Lincoln's objections, concerns,
intellectual problems, and he began then to

come to a deep and genuine faith.

Even after he came to faith, Stephen, did
he wrestle with some of the fundamentals of

the Christian faith?

He wrestled with every fundamental of the
Christian faith. He was a smart man. He had

read extensively. And, quite frankly, in his
age, especially in politics, preachers had

often misbehaved and turned him off.

And so he had to process every individual
Christian doctrine for himself. Now, he did

come towards a view and a belief in a sovereign
God who ruled in the affairs of men. And of

course that's what leads to his great speeches
like the Second Inaugural Address, and so


But he was not a man who just accepted other
men's testimony quickly. He was not a man

who could just accept the traditional creeds
uncritically. He had to study it out, research

it on his own.

One of the anecdotes I find most fascinating
occurred on the day he was assassinated. You

write that he said he longed to go to Jerusalem
to walk in the Savior's steps. Tell us about


You know, whenever we read about Lincoln's
death at Ford's theater, almost always the

final words are something like Mary Lincoln
saying, you know, "The young couple that we're

with here in the box they're going to be embarrassed
by me clinging to you so." And Abraham Lincoln

says, "Why, they will think nothing of it."
You know, that kind of thing.

But Mary said later that they were continuing
a conversation they had had during the day

and that that conversation was about what
they would do after the war. And Lincoln had

said, "I don't want to go back to Springfield.
I want to go abroad. I want to rest. I want

to go to Jerusalem." And then he said, "I
want to walk in the Savior's footsteps." And

depending on which version of Mary's story
you hear, those may have been the last words

Abraham Lincoln ever spoke.


John Wilkes Booth's Derringer ball entered
his brain at that moment and he never spoke

again. So, Lincoln was definitely on a journey
– so much so he went from being village

atheist to possibly his last words on earth
being, "I want to walk in the Savior's footsteps."

Well, the release of your book, Stephen, is
timely because we're about to see the release

of a new movie about Abraham Lincoln. You've
had an opportunity to see an advance screening

of the movie? What was your impression of

Yes, I got to sneak out to L.A. and go to
the screenwriters' preview. And I've got to

tell you, it is a powerful, powerful film.
I think it's a gift to our nation at this

time in our history with a lot of the disillusionment
and cynicism that's come out of the elections

of recent politics and events.

It's got a few small flaws. It doesn't do
justice to the issue of faith, which is why

I'm glad my book is on the market. But what
a powerful film. How well done. What an attempt

to honor our history.

And Daniel Day Lewis as Lincoln is, you know,
they use this word all the time in review,

but he's a revelation. He actually becomes
Lincoln. Him sitting still is a more powerful

reflection of Lincoln than almost anything
you can read or see in any other film. It

really is a must see. I think it's going to
impact our country at this time in our history.

Stephen Mansfield is author of "Lincoln's
Battle With God - A President's Struggle With

Faith And What It Meant For America."

Stephen, it's always a privilege and pleasure
to talk to you about the books you've written

on the Christian faith and how it's affected
us as a nation. Thanks for being with us to

talk about Abraham Lincoln.

Lee, it's always good to be with you.

Coming up –

A Bronx neighborhood in the grip of drugs
and poverty. But a local church is declaring

war on the problems that are keeping this

in darkness.

Welcome back.

Here in the United States one Bronx, New York,
community has long been plagued by poverty,

drugs and crime. Cable Network HBO even took
its cameras to Hunts Point a few years back

for a documentary on the high prostitution
rate there. However, a local church refuses

to let darkness reign in their community.

Charlene Israel reports on the amazing results.

These are the images of Hunts Point: worn
out buildings, strip clubs and girls walking

the streets.

There's a generational history in Hunts Point,
notoriously known for prostitution, crime,

drugs, gangs. Even now sex trafficking is
such a huge issue here.

Reggie Stutzman is on a mission to paint a
different picture of the Bronx neighborhood.

He and his wife planted Real Life Church in
the heart of Hunts Point.

I didn't want to come here. It wasn't my vision
at all to come to Hunts Point. But as we started

ministering here to the prostitutes, to the
pimps, the Lord directed our hearts, changed

our hearts for His people. That's why we're

For the past two years, their church has tried
a variety of ways to reach those people.

This place needs Jesus more than ever before
and God's given us favor with all kinds of

people, reaching the community. But we want
to think outside of the box.

That new way of thinking led to a different
approach to serving the community's poor.

There was a ministry in Texas called Vision
For Christ that just happened to find us on

the internet. And the eye doctor called me
and we just met over the phone just for such

an incredible marriage, just a coming together
of how can we come together to bless a community?

Stutzman teamed up with the Texas eye care
ministry for three days of offering free medical


They're doing free eye exams, free glasses.
We have diabetes testing and blood pressure


Vision For Christ brought a team of 20 medical
professionals to the Bronx event. They networked

with area clinics to provide a full-service
health outreach, complete with medical tents

and other equipment.

Dr. Andy James heads Vision for Christ.

Well, it's important because I believe that's
what Jesus called us to do. He wants us to

go and help others, and really it's all about
Him. We can help people see better and we

can help people feel better.

And they ended up helping more than 400.

We've had people with their blood pressures
just really high and they should be in the

emergency room right then, you know, we have
to refer them to the emergency room right

then because they could have a stroke any

Those attending were overwhelmed.

It touched my heart because my daughter before
she has glasses and she was playing at school,

her glasses broke. So when I went back to
the eye doctor they say, "Oh, you have to

wait for two years, otherwise you pay." I'm
a single mother and it's not easy for me and

it touched everybody along here, the community.

While hundreds received free medical services
during the medical outreach here in Hunts

Point, it was also an opportunity to hear
the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Doing the vision outreach in conjunction with
the evangelism is huge because the first thing

people say is, "Why? Why would you come out
here and give me free glasses? Why would you

give me a free eye exam?"

And it gives us the ability to say, "You know,
because there was somebody who gave us something

that we didn't ask for, we didn't deserve.
You know, Jesus Christ came and died on the

cross and that's why we're here, because of
the love of Jesus."

Single mom Elizabeth Perez is thankful for
the care she and her children received. She

also responded to the Gospel message.

It's like hard to walk, you know, but since
I walked in here I walked towards Jesus, it's

making me feel happy.

Stutzman says others were also touched.

Last night we had two of the worst drug dealers
in Hunts Point come to the altar and get prayed

for. I mean where does that happen except
when the church goes out of the building and

comes out on the street.

Deputy borough president Aurelia Green applauded
Stutzman and his team.

We are very supportive of the efforts that
churches make in order to improve their communities.

And this is a perfect example of that effort
wherein a local church, not a big church,

not a great cathedral or a church with thousands
or hundreds congregation but just a little

average church who said, "We're going to do
something different. We're going to help these

people realize that God is very much on the

Meanwhile, Real Life Church plans follow-up
with all who received medical and spiritual

help, all part of its motto of serving real
people with real issues and pointing them

to a real God.

It's time to make Jesus real and show Christ.
That's why I love these outreaches because

people are seeing who Jesus is. When they
put on a new pair of eyeglasses they're seeing


Charlene Israel, CBN News, Bronx, New York.

Coming up next –

They're among the most vulnerable people in
Egypt. But these orphans from Coptic Christian

families are finding


and hope.


election of Mohammed Morsi as president gave
Egyptians a sense of optimism and renewed

hope. Now, five months later, many are frustrated
and impatient.

Gary Lane reports how one group of outcasts
is surviving with help from American and Egyptian


The situation of course is getting worse.
There's a lot of insecurity, instability that's

happening in Egypt. It's the weakest and the
most vulnerable that suffer the most.

Twenty-five percent of all Egyptians live
at or below the poverty level, earning less

than two dollars per day.

Many of them are widows. An estimated 1.7-million
Egyptian children are orphans.

Nermien Riad is the founder of Coptic Orphans,
a Washington-based group that reaches out

to Egyptian widows and their children.

Once a father passes away you have nothing.
The first step of course, the children are

pulled out of school, you can't afford to
send them to school. They become then the

child labor, they become the child bride,
they become those who are abused, and they

grow to perpetuate this poverty.

The widows and orphans are treated as social
outcasts. Unlike Americans, Egyptians have

no unemployment or social security.

Thirty-one-year-old Naima Wahib's husband
George died from stomach cancer four years

ago. She and her two children have struggled
ever since. They live in a small, one-room

apartment near the city of Luxor.

Sana, a Coptic orphans volunteer, regularly
visits Naima and her children.

If Christian children here in Upper Egypt
are to have a brighter future, they need an

education. Eleven-year-old Antonio here could
barely read late last year, but after 15 sessions

with a volunteer from Coptic Orphans, he now
can read Bible stories. Go ahead, Antonio.

We started out by just sending money, sending
money to the children. Then we realized, "Wait

a minute, to really help them, to get them
on their feet, we need to focus on education."

A tutor provided by Coptic Orphans also helped
16-year-old Kirillos getter better grades

in school. Last year, the school ranked him
number two in his freshman class. His father,

a tailor, died at the age of 38. Today, his
sewing machine sits idle in this bedroom.

Kirillos' mother learned skills of her own,
but had no money to get started. Coptic Orphans

provided her with the seed money to operate
a small hair salon in her home.

Before, I had no social life. I was afraid
to go out in public. I didn't have much self-esteem.

I talk to people now. I'm a totally different
person. I Thank God this salon is providing

food and clothing, everything we need. I'm
grateful to the Lord that he provided for

us through Coptic Orphans. At the end of the
day it's the Lord who is providing for us.

Fifteen-year-old Aiman was only three years
old when his father died from intestinal bleeding.

Coptic Orphans paid his school fees so he
could remain in school. They also paid for

his mother Faisa's heart surgery.

She now does some small sewing jobs to help
provide for her family. They live in several

rooms of this house, but the landlord wants
them to leave.

Aiman takes Coptic Orphans volunteer Sana
on a tour of the house that the organization

is building for his family.

Their help has made a big difference. Coptic
Orphans are even building us a house and paid

for my heart surgery. And the children would
not have been able to continue with school.

They are now doing well in their classes.
I'm so thankful and grateful to God for the

help they've given us.

Aiman, Kirillos, Antonio and their siblings
now have a brighter future because of the

help of caring American and Egyptian Christians.

Unfortunately, the rise of the Islamists may
cause greater persecution against non-Muslims.

That may lead to more widows and orphans in
the days ahead. Riad says many Christians

are ready for the next wave of persecution.
Her organization will be there to help.

Many of the Christians have told me I am willing
to die for Christ, literally. And they will

be put in such a situation. We want to be
more and more ready to prepare and to support

and to make the Christians in Egypt stronger
and stronger. Actually, Christ gives us an

offer to work beside him, and to me, I think
it's the greatest honor.

Gary Lane, CBN News, Luxor, Egypt.

Several Christian ministries are launching
a series of videos aimed at inspiring Christians

to help end poverty. It's called "The Jesus
Agenda." An estimated 1.4 billion people suffer

from extreme poverty, and church leaders say
Christians are beginning to recognize their

role as global citizens.

Compassion International, Christian Aid, and
the Micah Challenge produced the videos. They

examine the church worldwide and how it can
play a larger part in helping the poor around

the world.

And thanks so much for joining us this week.
Until next week, from all of us here, good-bye

and God bless you.



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