Monday, June 18, 2012

St Francis Magazine, Volume 8/3

The new SFM has just recently been published and our intrepid editor, John Stringer, asked me to write the comment from the editor for the issue, as he was a) recovering from a hangover after drinking too much Arak, b) in prison, or c) busy handling snakes. Here is what I wrote, and I just inserted the links in there, read, click, and enjoy:

Dear Readers,

Over my years in the Arab world I have noted that it seems like from time to time someone comes up with the Next Big Idea. The Next Big Idea is accompanied by seminars, conferences, books, mp3’s, material on YouTube (maybe), and articles in any number of journals (and perhaps in this one). You already know some of them: CAMEL, BAM, Kingdom Circles, person of peace, friendship evangelism, IM, CPM’s, NRM, and so on.

In their own ways they may, sometimes, contribute to real breakthroughs in relation to the Church’s witness in the places where we live. But what about the context of the early Church? Sporadic government-sponsored persecution; travel, migration, and translation issues; a small and often poor Christian population surrounded by a large non-Christian population which thinks it gets Christianity, but is terribly misinformed—do these sound at all familiar to you?

Yet the early church grew, both within the setting of the Roman Empire, and outside of it as well, in places like Armenia, Axum (Ethiopia), India, and Persia. This historical reality led us to the conclusion that we should look more closely at the parallels between the life and ministry of the Early Church in relation to what we are doing today.

So we have articles on Augustine and the Letter to Diognetus and, patron saint of evangelicalism, Saint Paul himself. We are also proud to present an Orthodox perspective on St Constantine, so often maligned (and misunderstood) in the evangelical world. One of the strongholds of Christianity used to be North Africa, and we are glad to include an article on St George’s Anglican Church there today.

Perhaps the next big idea will not be something new at all, but recapturing something old and good, something venerable and wise but forgotten. Messiah said, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.” We evangelicals are quite good at the new treasures, but if we are instructed about the kingdom, then we will not abandon the old ones.

Peace be with you,

Abu Daoud
Contributing Editor

Friday, June 15, 2012

Population Collapse in Europe

Did you know there are 20 countries in the world with (naturally) shrinking populations? And that they are all in Europe (except for Japan)? And that they are all (minus Japan) majority-Christian countries? Note the 8% increase in the population for Austria. All that will come from immigration, a lot of it Muslim.

Here are the figures:

Ukraine: 0.8% natural decrease annually; 28% total population decrease by 2050
Russia: -0.6%; -22%
Belarus -0.6%; -12%
Bulgaria -0.5%; -34%
Latvia -0.5%; -23%
Lithuania -0.4%; -15%
Hungary -0.3%; -11%
Romania -0.2%; -29%
Estonia -0.2%; -23%
Moldova -0.2%; -21%
Croatia -0.2%; -14%
Germany -0.2%; -9%
Czech Republic -0.1%; -8%
Japan 0%; -21%
Poland 0%; -17%
Slovakia 0%; -12%
Austria 0%; 8% increase
Italy 0%; -5%
Slovenia 0%; -5%
Greece 0%; -4%

From HERE.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Catholic Bishop Paul Hinder: "...we would not dare accept a Muslim's conversion to Christianity."

From an interview with Bishop Mgr Paul Hinder, Auxiliary Bishop of Arabia. Here is a snippet from a journalist who wrote about ministry in Arabia:
Is he an optimist or a pessimist? Bishop Hinder at least does not sweep the problems under the carpet. For instance, what pushes a Christian to embrace Islam? "Not so much conviction," he says, "as a desire to get a job, a promotion, a higher salary, or even to marry a Muslim woman. When it does happen it becomes front page news. By contrast, we would not dare accept a Muslim's conversion to Christianity. It would just be too dangerous not only for the person involved but for the Church as such."
Read it all HERE if you like. Sad to see this sort of thing. Thank God Jesus and Mary and Paul and Peter weren't worried about doing dangerous things.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Update on Qatar

Some time ago I posted a bit on the good news from Qatar, a small country which is actually allowing for churches to be built for all the Christian expats there. Here is a nice film showing what is going on at the Anglican church there: