Monday, August 29, 2011

Nulla Celebrior and the Crusades

Kudos to T L Winslow who found this obscure papal document (which you can read HERE). This is the document whereby the Bishop of Rome (aka the Pope, aka the Greatest Bridge-builder) announced that the Patriarch of Jerusalem was to be residential, that is, the Patriarchate was no longer simply an honorary title but a real bishopric where the Patriarch had to live in what was then the diseased cesspool that was Jerusalem. A key reason for this decision was that the Protestants had established a bishopric there a few years earlier when they sent Rabbi-Bishop Michael Solomon Alexander there.

So here is what the pope said about the Crusades, just to show you that back then the West did not hate its own history:

The eyes of Christians are focused on Palestine, particularly on the Holy Sepulcher. When the city fell into the hands of the barbarians, European princes stood up to fight for it in harsh and repeated wars so as to liberate it and to rid the faithful from the enormous difficulties and extreme injustice they were suffering. We have stated all these facts to indicate that it was only fair that the Christian people treat Jerusalem with reverence whether in the old ages or at the present age.

PS: SPecial thanks to Fr Hanna Kildani for posting that document.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Good news for Christians in Turkey

Turkish leaders smooth way for Christians

TURKEY The recently reelected Muslim prime minister of Turkey is making the country more comfortable for its Christian minority. Recep Tayyip Erdogan has granted Turkish citizenship to a number of young Eastern Orthodox bishops around the world. This makes the bishops eligible for leadership in the Patriarchate of Constantinople, currently run by 71-year-old Patriarch Bartholomew and an aging cohort. Erdogan's government has also allowed Christians to reclaim land they had lost illegally, restored old churches, and criticized ultranationalists responsible for recent violence against Christians.

From Christianity Today.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Trivia: the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem

What was the name of the papal bull whereby the residential Latin patriarchate was re-established in the city of Jerusalem?

What pope issued it?

In what year was it issued?

What development in Protestant missions occasioned this event?

Answers will be posted in the comment section once I have some guesses. If anyone can actually find the text to the papal bull online (in any language), they will earn my eternal gratitude! Heaven knows I have looked...


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Christian ex-Muslim to be executed in Iran

Iran’s Supreme Court has upheld a lower court ruling that Yosef Nadarkhani, a 32 year-old Iranian evangelical pastor, must reject his Christian faith or be put to death. It’s the latest incident in the Islamist Republic’s continuous and increased assault on its small Christian population.

Nadarkhani was first arrested on the charge of apostasy (leaving Islam for another faith) in October 2009 and sentenced to death by hanging for his refusal to teach Islam to Christian children. While Nadarkhani hadn’t practiced any faith before he became a Christian at age 19, he was born to Muslim parents and thus considered to be a Muslim under Islamic law.

Coming to a European city near you soon! Read it all at Front Page.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

'...Islam is violent'? What do you think?

It is forbidden to criticize Islam because Islam is violent, intolerant and world-conquering. Islam demands submission, and the West, decultured, indoctrinated, terrified, deluded, de-Christianized and in moral limbo, submits… because it cannot conceive of fighting back and saving its own civilization. How can it save a civilization that it hates, that it never really knew, and that is a constant reminder of the qualitative differences that inevitably exist between people, nations, ethnic groups, religions and races?

From Brussels Journal. Strong words. What do you think.

Read it all here.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

The new St Francis Magazine

Well, the August 2011 SFM just came out. This is the one and only journal which explicitly deals with questions related to Christian witness in the Muslim (and especially Arab) world. While I enjoy other publications like IJFM and IBMR, I do think SFM is able to offer more for multiple reasons, but I won't go into that right now.

Anyway, have by now read most of the new issue. Here are my thoughts:

Basil Grafas, 'Year of the Lab Rat'. Well, Grafas doesn't pull any punches, his main point is that converts from Islam to Christianity are the most vocal opponents to what is often, incorrectly, called 'contextualization', ie, using Islamic forms and Islamic identity while proclaiming to be Christ-centered. My experience with Arab and Iranian MBB's totally backs this up, but then again, the insider movements I read about are mysterious and no details are given about them, so I have no way to evaluate them.

JS William, 'Inside/Outside: getting to the center of the Muslim contextualization debate'. Well, this is the main article of this SFM, imho. The writer (using another lame pseudonym...come on, William as a surname? Good grief...) has read most of the material about 'contextualization' in IJFM, SFM, and Evangelical Missions Quarterly (EMQ). But he has a huge chink in his armor. What is it? He doesn't know where the word contextualization comes from, and appears to be unaware that how his sources are using the word is incorrect. Ouch. Well, evangelicals have always been really good at not knowing history (hint: if you have not read Shoki Coe, don't even try to write about the topic). Still, the best article in this issue.

Duane Alexander Miller, 'Book Review: Charles Thorley Bridgeman, The Episcopal Church and the Middle East (New York: Morehouse-Gorham, 1958)'. A brief book review on an obscure book. But still, as an Anglican I am glad to see anything on the topic of the history of Anglicanism in the Middle East.

Download the whole issue here if you like.