Category Archives: World News

Man Escapes Fiery Car Crash When He Calls on the Name of the Lord

Bridges and Williams reunite for the first time after the car wreck.

Bridges and Williams reunite for the first time after the car wreck.

Join us on our podcast each weekday for an interesting story, well told, from Charisma News. Listen at charismapodcastnetwork.com. Michael Bridges was trapped in the fiery prison of his car. As flames licked closer, Bridges said the only thing he could think of: Jesus. “Usually when you’re hurt, you call your momma, like if you fall out of a tree or off your bike, but this time I called for Jesus Christ,” Bridges said. “I said ‘God, don’t let me die like this,’ and when I said that, this guy opened the door to the truck.” Meet Jason Williams, the man on the other side of the door. The truck driver saw Bridges’ truck blow a tire, catch on fire and careen across traffic and into the grass. “I stood there for a minute screaming ‘Is anybody in there?’ and I didn’t hear nothing, and then I heard, ‘Jesus, get me out of here,’ and that’s when I climbed up there and opened the door and helped him out or whatever happened up there. A miracle happened up there,” Williams said. According to Landmine magazine, Williams arrived at the vehicle to hear Bridges scream for help. As Williams attempted to extricate Bridges by the arms, the fire was too hot. Williams lost his grip as Bridges’ nearly melted skin slid away from Williams. Williams’ tenacity kicked in. He grabbed Bridges in a giant bear hug and successfully pulled the man to safety. “We got up and walked away from that. If that’s not God, then I don’t know what is,” Bridges said. The entire scene took place last year, but Bridges and Williams have now been reunited. Watch the video to see their emotional reunion.

Source: Man Escapes Fiery Car Crash When He Calls on the Name of the Lord — Charisma News

The Shocking Truth About How Americans View the Bible

To commemorate American Bible Society’s 200th anniversary, the organization unveiled The Bible in America, a joint effort with Barna Group providing an in-depth review of its six years of research on behaviors and beliefs about the Bible from American Bible Society’s annual State of the Bible report. While many Americans still value the Bible, the number of skeptics is rising. The current reality is viewed by American Bible Society as an opportunity to develop new strategies for helping people overcome barriers to engagement with the Bible.

“As American Bible Society celebrates its 200th anniversary, we are spending much more time looking ahead than revisiting the past,”said Andrew Hood, director of communications for American Bible Society. “The Bible in America research provides valuable insights into how people are interacting with the Bible—and why they are not.”

Over the past six years, a majority of Americans, an average of 62 percent, have expressed a desire to read the Bible more. The Bible in America points to several other positive trends that showcase Americans’ high regard for the Bible:

  • A two-thirds majority of adults believe the Bible contains everything a person needs to know in order to live a meaningful life.
  • Two-thirds of adults hold an orthodox view of the Bible, believing it is the actual or inspired Word of God.
  • Forty-four percent of Americans read the Bible at least once a month.
    On average, eight out of 10 Americans consider the Bible to be sacred literature or a holy book.
  • Most Americans, 64 percent, believe the Bible has more influence on humanity than any other text according to the 2016 State of the Bible data.

In contrast to trends about the Bible’s value, the number of Bible skeptics has increased to 22 percent in 2016, surpassing the number of Bible engaged people (now at 17 percent). Two key markers reveal how skepticism has risen and gained a stronger cultural foothold in America. These include declines in the following:

  • American adults who believe the Bible is sacred literature (86 percent in 2011; 80 percent in 2016).
  • Those who say the Bible is sufficient as a guide for meaningful living (77 percent in 2011; 67 percent in 2016).

Millennials in particular are driving these declines as the age group with the most respondents saying there were no books they considered sacred. Christian millennials, however, are very different than their non-Christian counterparts when it comes to Bible attitudes and behaviors.

  • Christian millennials share similar beliefs and engage the Bible much the same as older generations.
  • 69 percent believe the Bible contains everything a person needs to know to live a meaningful life.
  • 63 percent would describe the Bible as “fact.”
  • Non-Christian millennials are the most likely to be Bible skeptics and engage with the Bible the least.
  • 62 percent have never read the Bible.
  • 30 percent said the Bible is a useful book of moral teachings.

The percentage of American adults as a whole considered Bible friendly has declined (from 45 percent in 2011 to 37 percent in 2016), while the percentage of those identified as Bible neutral has stayed relatively the same (from 25 percent to 24 percent). In addition, the percentage of Americans who said there were no books they considered sacred doubled (from 7 to 14 percent).

“Looking at modern-day America, we see a country moving away—for decades now—from the foundational, biblical values so cherished by those who came before us,” said Roy Peterson, president and CEO of American Bible Society. “As we work together to address the skepticism of our day, now is our time to renew hope in the promises of God’s Word, to open the healing words of Scripture as people are battling extreme violence, poverty and oppression.”

Among other strategies, the ministry is leveraging technology to reach Americans wherever they are by using social media to deliver Scripture. It is also lending support to the development of a Bible-based online game for teens and administering the top-level domain .Bible.

“American Bible Society has a 10-year goal of seeing 100 million people in the U.S. regularly engaging with Scripture,” said Hood. “Our hope is that as more Americans recognize the value of reading the Bible and make time to engage with God’s Word, they will begin to see the transformation it can bring in their lives.”

For more information about The Bible in America (including additional demographic data) and the latest State of the Bible research,visit http://stateoftheBible.org.

Church of England Rocked by ‘Deeply Disturbing’ Sex Abuse Report

The Church of England has been rocked by an independent report that found major failures within the church body when it comes to dealing with child sex abuse cases, prompting Anglican leaders to promise to implement changes.

“I was horrified to hear and read of the abuse suffered by the survivor in this case. It has clearly devastated his life. I apologize profusely for the failings of the Church towards him, and for the horrific abuse he suffered,” the Bishop of Crediton, Sarah Mullally, responded to news of the Elliott Review on Tuesday.

“It has taken him years of heartache and distress to get his story heard and believed by those in authority and it is clear he has been failed in many ways over a long period of time. We should have been swifter to listen, to believe and to act. This report is deeply uncomfortable for the Church of England.”

Ian Elliott, the safeguarding expert who released the report, detailed the “deeply disturbing” failure of three bishops and a senior clergyman later ordained as a bishop to protect a survivor from abuse for almost four decades.

The Guardian reported on the case of the survivor, identified only as “Joe,” who as a 15-year-old was subjected to a “sadistic” assault in 1976 by a leading church figure.

Joe reportedly made numerous disclosures about the abuse to several CofE officials for a period of almost 40 years, but later the same senior figures claimed they had no memory of such conversations.

“What is surprising about this is that [Joe] would be speaking about a serious and sadistic sexual assault allegedly perpetrated by a senior member of the hierarchy. The fact that these conversations could be forgotten about is hard to accept,” the report states.

Mullally further said that Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, thinks “the situation is embarrassing and uncomfortable for the church.”

The Bishop of Crediton added about Joe: “I can only begin to imagine what it has cost him. We owe it to him and other survivors to get this right. This should never have happened.”

Joe, who responded to the report, revealed that CofE officials told him that not much can be done about officials who claim they have “no recollection” of the abuse he talked to them about, though he said he rejects such excuses.

He said that the church “has run out of time, but let’s hope they take ownership of painful questions and really show a willingness to change their culture and make their structure safe for survivors. I hope Welby is now wide awake.”

The Rt Revd. Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, vowed that the Church will take the recommendations of the report very seriously, and will seek to implement changes.

“As a church we will be offering full cooperation and are committed to working in an open and transparent way, with a survivor-informed response,” Butler said in a statement.

“The true cost of child abuse and the abuse of adults at risk is far higher than any of us have ever been prepared to acknowledge in terms of the mental, emotional, social and physical health and well-being of very large numbers of our population,” he added.

Source: http://www.christianpost.com/news/church-of-england-rocked-by-deeply-disturbing-sex-abuse-report-159294/

Pope Francis Quiet on Catholic Persecution of Protestants in Mexico

Update (Feb. 23): Four days after Pope Francis visited Chiapas, local officials agreed to restore water and electricity to 27 Protestant families. Two years ago, the utilities were turned off when the families refused to participate in or donate money to Catholic celebrations.

The agreement brokered with authorities “includes respect for beliefs, as well as the obligations of villagers, as long as these do not include participation in or contributions to religious festivals,” a local advocate told Christian Solidarity Worldwide.

But in another Chiapas village, Catholic officials refused last week to allow an elderly Protestant man to be buried there. The man was part of 12 Protestant families who were expelled from the village for their faith in 2012, and have been living in a homeless shelter in nearby San Cristóbal de las Casas. The city is where Francis led Mass and denounced Mexico’s treatment of its indigenous peoples.

John L. Allen Jr., associate editor of Crux, called the pope’s silence on Catholic persecution of Protestants “a striking omission.”

“Particularly with a pope who has spoken multiple times about how anti-Christian persecution is creating an ‘ecumenism of blood,’ evangelicals were hoping that he would make a point of denouncing that persecution when it comes from elements of his own flock,” he wrote in his analysis of Francis’s Mexico trip.

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During Pope Francis’s tour of Mexico this week, he visited the southern state of Chiapas in an attempt to bolster sliding Catholic numbers in the indigenous region.

Of the 90 percent of Mexican adults who were raised as Catholic, 81 percent are still Catholic, according to the Pew Research Center. In Chiapas, just 58 percent are Catholic, according to the 2010 census.

All across Latin America, Catholics are losing converts to Protestants, according to Pew’s tally of record low levels of Catholicism across 19 countries and territories. At the same time, the region’s Protestant minority has grown steadily for the past 40 years.

Chiapas borders Guatemala, where half the population is Catholic and 41 percent are Protestant, according to Pew. Numbers are similar in nearby Honduras (46% Catholic, 41% Protestant) and El Salvador (50% Catholic, 36% Protestant). (The Chiapas-Guatemala border is the frontline of a battle to prevent the illegal immigration of Central Americans to the United States.)

The Roman Catholicism practiced in southern Mexico is combined with indigenous religions. The resulting practice made the Catholic hierarchy so uncomfortable that in 2002, the Vatican under Pope John Paul II asked the diocese in Chiapas to stop ordaining deacons.

Francis, who restarted the ordinations in 2014, took a strong stand for the indigenous Catholics this week.

“Today’s world, ravaged as it is by a throwaway culture, needs you!” he told them, denouncing the “systemic and organized way your people have been misunderstood and excluded from society.”

He didn’t address the persecution that indigenous Catholics have leveled against Protestants in Chiapas.

In what Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) calls “a marginalized community within a larger marginalized community,” Chiapas Protestants have been banished fromtheir homes and land. Sometimes after having their utilities cut off. Sometimes after threats of lynching. The day before Francis’s visit, one evangelical church wasbroken into and burned down.

The expulsions and occasional physical violence have largely been ignored by the state and federal government. While the Mexican constitution guarantees the freedom of religion, that right often conflicts with the Law of Uses and Customs, which grants local and regional autonomy in parts of the country with large indigenous populations like Chiapas. The laws are meant to preserve their culture.

“Typically in such cases, the local authorities proclaim their village or municipality to be exclusive to one particular religion, prohibit the entry of members of other faiths, make participation in activities related to the ‘official’ religion compulsory, and attempt to force inhabitants who practice other faiths to convert to the declared ‘official’ religion,” a 2015 CSW report stated.

Chiapas, which has the largest number of religious freedom violations in the country, has 30 unresolved cases of displaced Protestant families.

“Serious violations of religious freedom targeting religious minorities have occurred on a widespread basis in Chiapas and Hidalgo since the 1970s,” the CSW report said. “Almost 40 years on, it is impossible to justify the government’s failure to address the issue in any comprehensive way. Instead, expulsions continue, religious tensions continue to be exploited for political and economic interests, and social instability continues to grow.”

CT has covered the growing pressure US officials and religious freedom advocates are placing on Mexico to stop Protestant persecution, the steady swing of Latin Americans away from Catholicism and into Protestantism, and what those Protestants actually believe and practice.

Women’s Ordination Debate Heats Up In Bermuda

On 26 February 2011, the very first woman elder was ordained at Restoration SDA Church. This act now paves the way for the ordination of the first woman pastor in the region. It has also sparked a great debate in the membership of the church. Many individuals are searching their Bibles to see what it has to say on the subject and taking sides on which side of the argument they ascribe to. With all that is going on, we have found it necessary to assist CRCB members in understanding why arguments are being made against women’s ordination. Therefore, please read the whole book, Searching the Scriptures by Samuel Koranteng-Pipim, now available here. If you do not have time to read it in its entirety, please read chapter 5. Thanks!