Showing posts from 2012

Abu Daoud: Short, Sharp and Shocking

Short, Sharp and Shocking by Abu Daoud Normally when I'm talking with M's I take an irenic approach, but I have also learned that sometimes you meet someone who wants to talk about religion with you but from a combative point of view. This happened the other day and I felt in my spirit that  I should take a short, sharp, and shocking approach  (I learned this from an Egyptian pastor). One can hope that something you say will stick in the person's head and over time lead to a genuine openness and questioning attitude. John the Baptist and Jesus used this approach quite often when they were talking with the self-righteous folks of their day. Sitting in his shop this man started off with what he thought were the weaknesses of our faith. I had pulled up the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5-7) on his computer, in Arabic, and told him to read it, which he did not want to do. And then he pointed out how our book is translated, while his book is the same all over the world (in Arabic

Spengler: Secularism is a 'prescription for despair'

Spengler at Asia Times writes: Enlightened secular culture tells us that the brain is a machine, albeit a very sophisticated one, that ultimately will be decoded by the neuroscientists; that sin and salvation were sad imaginings of our ignorant ancestors; that the soul is an illusion of flickering neural impulses; that human life has nothing more to offer than fleshly satisfaction combined with a random sense of idiosyncratic spirituality; that our choices of lifestyle are ultimately arbitrary, such that every culture, quirk, and sexual subculture has equal rights to social esteem; that there is nothing sacred to

Excellent new church-planting resource

Well, I'm not doing church-planting in the West, but I must say I am impressed by this website and its content. Check it out and plant a church. Yes, I mean you Catholic and Orthodox readers too! People of YES! Also, leave a comment and let me know what you think. PS: My favorite was this part about church-planting in a context of persecution .

The Wisdom of the Prophet Muhammad

The wisdom of the Prophet Muhammad (ص) on sleeping too much: Sahiih al Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 54, Number 492: Narrated 'Abdullah: It was mentioned before the Prophet that there was a man who slept the night till morning (after sunrise). The Prophet said, " He is a man in whose ears (or ear) Satan had urinated."

Daniel Ali: Kurdish convert to Catholicism

Recently read a review of Daniel Ali's book Out of Islam, Free at Last . So I decided to see if he had a website and sure enough he does. What is most interesting to me is that he is an evangelical Catholic. He became a Christian and only later joined the Catholic Church (with his wife). Here is the story of how he was attracted to Catholic Christianity: Soon after my baptism, Sara and I began a neighborhood Bible study for anyone from any denomination who would come. To this Bible study came a nine-year-old neighbor boy, Joe Sobran, who would read questions and answers from his Baltimore Catechism. Sara and I were shocked at the unique questions and were floored by the simple and profound answers in the back of each chapter.  Little Joey did not give up, asking us why we were not Catholic. He would plant seeds every time he spoke to us of the Catholic faith.  One evening, Sara and I were watching television and happened upon a broadcast  of the Mass on EWTN at the exact mom

Archeology and the Qur'an

From Does archeology support the Quran? Mecca According to the Qur’an, Mecca was the first and most important city in the world. Adam placed the black stone in the original Ka’ba (sanctuary) there, while Abraham and Ishmael rebuilt the Meccan Ka’ba centuries later (Sura 2:125-127). Mecca was allegedly the centre of Arabian trading routes before Muhammad’s time. Yet there is no archeological corroboration for this. Such a great ancient city would surely have received a mention in ancient history. However, the earliest reference to Mecca as a city is in the Continuato Byzantia Arabica, an 8th century document. Mecca is certainly not on the natural overland trade routes- it is a barren valley requiring a one hundred mile detour. Moreover, there was only maritime Graeco-Roman trade with India after the first century, controlled by the Ethiopian Red Sea port Adulis, not by the Arabs. If Mecca was not even a viable city, let alone a great commercial centre until after Muhammad’

St Francis Magazine Vol 8/6 is out

The December 2012 issue of St Francis Magazine is now out. Slimmer than some previous volumes, but still with some good material: Evangelism through the eyes of Jesus in Luke 5:1-11 and holistic evangelism for the 21st century: Towards life, justice and equality… but not as we know it , by John Baxter-Brown Translating ‘Son of God’: insights from the early church , by Donald Fairbairn How does Christianity ‘subversively fulfil’ Islam? by Chris Flint   The failure of multiculturalism: a review of Londonistan: How Briatin has created a terror state within, by Melanie Phillips, reviewed by Tony Foreman Forming missionaries in Jordan: an interview with a former Anglican missionary to the Hashemite Kingdom , by Duane Alexander Miller I am especially interested in Tony Foreman's review of Londonistan . I have spent time in London from time to time and feel that the future of the West is in many represented in fast forward and in miniature (if you can call London a mini

Aquinas on Tyranny

St. Thomas Aquinas, II-II, Question 42: Tyrannical governance is unjust, since it is ordered to the private good of the ruler, not to the common good, as the Philosopher makes clear in the Politics and the Ethics. And so disturbances of such governance does not have the character or rebellion, except, perhaps, in cases where the tyrant’s governance is so inordinately disturbed that the subject people suffer greater harm from the resulting disturbance than from the tyrant’s governance. Rather, tyrants, who by seeking greater domination incite discontent and rebellion in the people subject to them, are the rebels. For governance is tyrannical when ordered to the ruler’s own good to the detriment of the people. HT to Joel Martin over at  Living Word .

Action: save this Wikipedia page!

One of my favorite Wikipedia pages, on ex-Muslim studies , is up for deletion! I like this page because it has some good material on the new field of study of ex-Muslims and also because it references one of my articles, Apostates of Islam, which you should really read if you haven't. Anyway, there is a question as to whether 'ex-Muslim studies' is a hoax, because there are no departments of ex-Muslim studies out there. Duh. There are all sorts of people engaged in ex-Muslim studies (myself included), but one does not advertise it. Why? A few reasons: 1) If you work for a secular institution it is politically incorrect. 2) If you live in the West, it is politically incorrect. 3) If you are in the mission field, it could get you kicked out of your country. There are additional reasons, but that's a starter. In some ways much of this blog's content is related to the discipline of ex-Muslim studies, though of course I focus on the folks who convert to Chris

Emir Rishawi, ex-Muslim Christian, rejects penal substitution

Good quote here: I have read some explanations on the death of our Redeemer and Saviour that represent it as a work that Christ did to appease the wrath of God, or as a ransom that Christ paid for man to free him from the bondage of Satan. But I believe that the wrath of God upon sinners and their bondage to Satan are moral images that aim at manifesting the true dimension and the deep contradiction between sin and God. The animal sacrifices that the Children of Israel offered to God expressed man's realisation of the distance that sin creates between him and God, and his conviction that death only can atone for sin, since sin is an uttermost offence against God. This is from Rishawi's book A Struggle that led to Conversion .  It is interesting to note how an Egyptian Christian, from an ex-Muslim background , accepts the doctrine of vicarious atonement, while rejecting the evangelical theory of penal substitution. Good for him!

John Gray on Al Qaeda, terror and making a New World

Splendid little book here by John Gray , Al Qaeda and what it means to be modern . I recommend it, though some of his left-leaning suggestions seem incorrect to me. Also, I do not think we can accept without qualification his conviction that Al Qaeda is completely part and parcel of modernity. The idea of Al Qaeda of using violence to cause a revolution is, granted. But the use of terror to coerce political and social change for the entire world is as old as the Prophet himself. Strong points are his treatment of Saint-Simon and Positivism. A few good quotes from this book: [Al Qaeda is]...a by-product of globalisation. (1) Totalitarianism follows wherever the goal of a world without conflict or power is consistently pursued. (9) There was never any doubt in Hitler's mind that Nazism was a modern project. An ardent admirer of Henry Ford and American techniques of mass production, the Nazi leader saw technology as a means of enhancing human power. Science enabled humanity--or so

Orthodox outreach to Muslims in Indonesia

I have blogged from time to time on Indonesia. Click here to see some previous posts . I ran across this article from SFM and it has a little synopsis of Orthodox outreach there. I know this blog has a few Orthodox readers, and I'm here in a city/country where the biggest Christian church is Orthodox. Just a few days ago I stepped into the local church to say a prayer for healing (back pains, ugh). Anyway, here it is, by Darrell Jackson, " Mission and Orthodox Churches " in St Francis Magazine (September 2005), page 8: The Orthodox Church in Indonesia started by the conversion of a young man of Muslim background who had converted to Protestant Christianity and was active in the Charismatic Movements of the 1970s. After studying at the Asian Center for Theological Studies and Mission, (ACTS) in Seoul, Korea, 1978, he picked up a copy of Timothy Ware’s book The Orthodox Church. In 1983 he converted to Orthodoxy and, after theological study in the US, returned as P

Ali Sina: the Prophet Muhammad and mental illness

Ali Sina, a vocal critique of Islam and ex-Muslim, has written what appears to be quite a fascinating book: Understanding Muhammad: a Psychobiography . Here is a section of the book's website : Muhammad was an orphan.   Spurned by his mother in his infancy and left in the care of a Bedouin couple, he had a loveless childhood.   He then passed to the care of his grandfather and uncle who took pity on him and spoiled him.   Not receiving love at a time he needed unconditional love and not receiving discipline when he needed to learn about boundaries, he developed narcissistic personality disorder, a trait that made him a megalomaniac bereft of conscience.   He fantasized about unlimited power, expected praise and admiration, believed he was special, and expected others to believe him and go along with his ideas and plans.   He took advantage of others, was jealous, yet believed others were jealous of h

Islam, religion of peace and religion of jihad...

Thus it has become unfathomable to the Arab mind to comprehend loving both Arabs and Jews and wishing both well. Our culture has deprived us for many centuries from loving all of humanity as equals, through intense religious indoctrination resulting in self-imposed isolation and non-integration with other cultures. This isolation and jihad against non-Muslims has become increasingly difficult to maintain. Muslims everywhere are trying desperately to save face, reform Islam’s image and deny the undeniable. But they also want to have their cake and eat it too. While they are telling the world Islam is a religion of peace, they still want to continue with the jihad against non-Muslim countries. While one leader says, let’s kill all the Jews and take over Rome, another says to Western media that Islam is a religion of peace and we are deeply offended by the anti-Islam rhetoric. To play [t]his sick game, Muslim culture must live a dysfunctional double life where everyone is deceived, incl

Kenneth Cragg, Rest in Peace, some great quotes

From the Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf website: We mourn the death, give thanks for the life, and pray for the soul of the Rt Revd Kenneth Cragg , who has died in England at the age of 99.  One of the greatest scholars of the relationship between Christianity and Islam, and one of the greatest workers in the field of Muslim-Christian understanding, Bishop Kenneth Cragg served both in Britain and in the Middle East, notably as Assistant Bishop in Jerusalem with particular oversight of Egypt, and in many other places too. His scholarly and popular published works span more than 55 years and draw deeply on lived pastoral and human encounter. He was the most gracious and shrewd of Christians. May he rise in glory. Bp Cragg has been very influential to me and I have blogged on him from time to time. Here are some links to quotes on this blog that I think show his brilliance and skill: On Islam and self-idolatry Sacramentality and Islam Cragg, Islam, and Prison Liturgy

"Game Over, America" by Abu Daoud

Game Over, America by Abu Daoud November, 2012  It was an interesting experiment, but all things come to an end. The American experiment is over now. The country is destined to decline and stagnate and there is no hope in the near or medium-term future for any sort of real recovery. Why do I say this? A few points: 1) A state is only as healthy as its families. American families have deteriorated very seriously. Unprecedented numbers of children are begotten out of wedlock and/or do not live in two-parent households. Want to know why American kids are doing so poorly in school? It's all about the family situation. Read more HERE . 2) A nation of takers. The stats are terrible. Read them all HERE . More and more Americans are consuming and not contributing to the government or common life of the country. There has been a huge rise in entitlement outlays and no one will talk about how to fix it. 3) Huge retirement costs. You know all about this already. (If not, check out t

Israel and the evangelicals

Many evangelicals naively support Israel, not understanding that the State of Israel treats Christians with disdain and discrimination just like her Muslim neighbors. Israel likes Christian money and Christian weapons and Christian tourists. Israel does not like Israeli Christians though. Recently from Christianity Today: Christians Fight Israel's Marriage Ban

A new pope for the see of Alexandria!

The Coptic Orthodox Church is the largest indigenous Church in the entire Middle East. It also is based in the most populous Arab country in the world. All of this to say, this man will make decisions that have repercussions far beyond his country and Church. May God bless him and guide him! Check out here for more info: Oriental Orthodox Blog PS: Tawadrus = Theodore

What does 'Christian' mean in a Muslim context?

A rather arcane (1938) document has recently come to my attention. It is the Riggs Report from the Near East Christian Council (NECC) meeting in Beirut back in the day. They were trying to figure out why so few Muslims were converting. (Though most people are interested in how this relates or does not relate to the whole Insider Movement debate, several other interesting points are made.) Anyway, here is a section I thought was quite interesting and wanted to share with you: [...] the name Christian, in the Near East, has almost exclusively a racial, political and social group-connotation, and does not suggest either a new way of life nor a spiritual rebirth within. If a group of believers is to grow up as indigenous and not alien, they cannot take on themselves that particular name. Some other terminology must be developed. So what do you think? Can we toss out the word 'Christian' because it is misunderstood by Muslims? If so, what should we use in its stead? The w

Missionary Secrets 4: our churches don't know what to do with us...

Missionary Secrets 4: our churches don't know what to do with us... by Abu Daoud It's true. They send us money. They are normally happy to see us when we get back to our native country. They have good intentions. But in the end, they have no idea what to do with missionaries. It's mostly out of sight, out of mind. Which is not great. I personally love to hear from our churches. I don't mind answering their questions or e-mailing some recent prayer requests or pictures. So here is some good advice which I got from an eNewsLetter send out by this agency on a regular basis. (You can sign up for it at their website if you like.) Here is the section I liked, with some great advice on taking care of missionaries and keeping in touch with them: Neal Pirolo wrote the best book on this subject, Serving as Senders Today: how to care for your missionaries as they prepare to go, are on the field, and return home. Here's a list to get you started, but to read more

A Triumph for World/Global Christianity

Today the Pope announced a special session to install a number of new cardinals. Cardinals are bishops who have the special faculty of coming together as a college to choose a new pope when there is such a need (normally when he dies, and after a certain age they can no longer vote). Check out this fantastic list. I really think it shows Christians around the world that the Catholic Church is global (as are so many other Churches increasingly). This makes me happy: Archbishop  James Harvey,  63, the Milwaukee-born prefect of the Papal Household; Patriarch  Bechara Boutros al-Rai , 72, the Lebanon-based head of the worldwide, 5 million-member Maronite church; Major Archbishop  Basilios Cleemis , 53, head of India's Syro-Malankara church – the first hierarch from the 600,000-member community to receive the red hat (and, by two years, set to become the youngest cardinal); Archbishop  John Onaiyekan  of Abuja (Nigeria), 68 Archbishop  Ruben Salazar Gomez  of Bogotá, 70 Archbis

Where David Goldman (Spengler) is wrong (I think)

I am a big fan of David Goldman (Spengler) who writes for Asia Times and First Things , among other publications. His recent book How Civilizations Die (and why Islam is Dying too) was a great read. On the whole I enjoyed it and learned a lot. I do not share his optimism about Israel and the USA, but on the whole he is making some great points. (I am, in the end, a neo-medievalist , after all.) But there is a real problem here...I don't think his case that Islam is 'dying too' is really correct. Yes, there are some really low birth rates in Iran and a few other places, but let's take a look at the TFR (total fertility rate) of the world's eleven most populous Muslim-majority countries:                 Name             Population               TFR [1]          Net migration/1000 population 11.        Indonesia            204,847,000                        2.23                        -1.08 22.        Pakistan               178,097,000                     

Abu Daoud on Insider Movements

For a long time now this has been one of the main debates going on in misiology (I dislike the word--who combines Latin and Greek? Oh yeah, Americans). The debate goes by various names, all of which are annoying. The most recent label is Insider Movement. Nobody knows exactly what these are, or where they are happening, or how to define them. It appears to have something to do with Muslims staying within their birth communities while following Jesus. For most Muslims this means remaining within the Umma, one would think. Most Muslims and Christians throughout history agree that the Umma and the Holy, Apostolic Church do not overlap. Remaining within the Umma would appear to mean that one continues to call one's self a Muslim, if not actually go to mosque (lots of Muslims don't go to mosque, lots of Muslim women can't go to mosque at all). The whole thing is very confusing. John Piper has recently spoken out against IM . Cody Lorance (don't know who this person is at a

Asia Times Online :: Palestinians ditched; Egypt next?

Egypt collapsing? What do you think? Check out what Spengler says here in this great article: Asia Times Online :: Palestinians ditched; Egypt next?

Orient & Occident: Great News from Anglican Diocese of Egypt

Just read this on the Anglican Communion website . I am happy to hear this news that this wonderful publication, Orient & Occident , is being revived in an online, bi-lingual format. Check out this interview with the Episcopal bishop of Egypt. He seems to really understand the important of Temple Gairdner, one of my heroes. I have mentioned Temple Gairdner in a number of previous posts ( here , here , here , and here ). Here is a snippet from the article. Why did you choose to relaunch Orient & Occident instead of a new publication? Orient and Occident was launched by Temple Gairdner and Douglas Thornton, and they are very precious figures to us. They were behind the real start of the Anglican Church in Egypt. They are not the ones who started the church, but they are the ones who started to engage with the Egyptian society and not just care for British citizens who lived in Egypt. Temple Gairdner was a great thinker and a pioneer. He was 100 years ahead of

Friday Demonstrations: Pray for Jordan

Hi All, Here is a prayer update from some colleagues in the country of Jordan where things are less stable than you might think. All names have been removed. Please keep this little country in your prayers: ...a huge demonstration/march that is being planned for this coming Friday, October 5th here in Amman. It will take place at around 1 p.m. (6 a.m. EST) after Friday prayers.   As you know, the Middle East has been in the news quite a bit lately. While countries to the north, east and west of us are grabbing the headlines, the weakening Jordanian economy is taking a toll on the poor and middle class. Over the past year, there have been demonstrations throughout the country. Most of those have been peaceful. Our prayer is that they continue to remain that way.   The organizers of the event this Friday have been voicing more and more that the government has had a year to come through on promises and it has fulfilled very little. There are two parties that both desire change, howe

Victor Davis Hanson on the Neurotic Middle East

Asymmetry is, of course, assumed. One expects to be detained for having a Bible in one’s baggage at Riyadh, whereas a Koran in a tote bag is of no importance at the Toronto airport. The Egyptian immigrant in San Francisco, or the Pakistani who moves to London, expects to be allowed to demonstrate against the freewheeling protocols of his hosts, while a Westerner protesting against life under sharia in the streets of Karachi or Gaza would earn a death sentence. What is nauseating about this is not the hypocrisy per se, but the Middle Eastern insistence that there is no such hypocrisy. We expect the immigrant from Egypt to deface public posters and call it freedom of expression; we expect Mr. Morsi, who enjoyed American freedom while he studied for his Ph.D. and then taught for three years in California, to deny it to others and trash his former host. Read it all HERE . The Middle East will have no progress until the folks here get that there really is a double standard and that, to pu

St Augustine's Jerusalem

It does not matter where you live in the Muslim world, sooner or later the topic of Zionism will come up , if not from Muslims from Christians. Regarding this topic, I love how Augustine writes about his Jerusalem: As for myself I will enter into my closet and there sing to thee the songs of love, groaning with groanings that are unutterable now in my pilgrimage, and remembering Jerusalem with my heart uplifted to Jerusalem my country, Jerusalem my mother; and to thee thyself, the Ruler of the source of Light, its Father, Guardian, Husband; its chaste and strong delight, its solid joy and all its goods ineffable--and all of this at the same time, since thou art the one supreme and true Good! --Confessions 12:16.

Circumpolar: Identity Issues for Ex-Muslim Christians, Tim Gree...

Circumpolar: Identity Issues for Ex-Muslim Christians, Tim Gree... : Identity issues for ex-Muslim Christians, with particular reference to marriage, by Tim Green   at St. Francis Magazine . Here is a very t...

Prayer Request

Abu Daoud and family are applying for visa renewals. Please pray that all would go smoothly.

Abu Daoud: on training potential MBB leaders

On Training Potential MBB Leaders by Abu Daoud A few days I hopped on a morning bus for a neighboring city. I had a meeting there and I figured that afterward I would drop in and see a friend of mine as well. This friend is a local guy (not a foreigner) and in his city/area there is a lot more going on in terms of ministry to Muslims than in my city. Anyway, I asked him how the Muslim-background congregation was doing and he said that he was shifting his focus, and would be meeting with some baptized men to focus on leadership training, rather than helping to run the church meetings. Right away he asked me what I would teach them about. I get this quite a bit actually. After a few years some of the locals came to the conclusion that I was good guy to consult with in making decisions about local ministry, I guess. I thought about the example of the early church and how  and I took a  piece  of paper and drew a triangle, on each side of the triangle I wrote a word (all in Ara

Missionary Secrets 3: Communicating with supporters sucks...sometimes

Missionary Secrets 3: Communicating with supporters sucks...sometimes By Abu Daoud So here’s the deal: I spend time writing an e-mail update about some recent encounter with a Muslim here in town, or some other observation about Islam, or something encouraging that happened with one of our Christian friends, or what have you. I send them out to about 400 people on my e-mail account. And a few people…maybe…respond. Who reads these things? I have no idea. Am I wasting half a day in doing this? I often feel like it. Two or three times a year I Um Daoud and I put a few days into producing a high-quality newsletter, we e-mail it to out agency back in the West, and they distribute it to 500+ post addresses on THAT mailing list. Another business prints them, our mission envelopes them, and posts them. The whole project comes out of our funds to the tune of $400 or so. How many people read these things? We normally see an uptick in contributions after we send it out, so it must m

Contemporary Muslim apologetic of mysogeny

Ran across this on Facebook. Nice example of how some Muslims defend what non-Muslims perceive as some of the unjust ways that some Muslim men treat some Muslim women. (How's that for a lot of qualifications?) Anyway, there's a good insight here. (BTW, Alim means teacher or scholar). A non Muslim came to an alim and asked : Why is it not permissible to shake hand s with a man? The alim said : Can you shake hands with queen Elizabeth? He said: Of course not there are only certain people who can shake hands with Queen Elizabeth.  The alim said: our women are queens and queens do not shake hands with strange men.  Then the non Muslim asked: Why do your girls cover up their body and hair? The alim smiled and got two sweets, he opened the first one and kept the other one closed. He threw them both on the dusty floor and asked, " If I asked you to take one of the sweets which one would you choose?" The non muslim said, " the covered one." The a

Christianity growing among Muslims in Indonesia

I recently ran across a video for a (Muslim-run) ministry called Save Maryam. Their goal is to stop Muslims in Indonesia from converting to Christianity. Here is the Save Maryam video: The figure mentioned in there of two million Muslims converting each year appears pretty incredible to me, as in one should not believe it. After a bit of digging I think the number is way too high. That having been said, Muslims are turning to Christ in Indonesia in significant numbers, we are talking about tens or perhaps hundreds of thousands per year. Time Magazine has a good article from 2010 about this, authored by Temang Gung and Hannah Beech (my favorite writer for Time who looks like she's twelve :-) The article is titled Christianity's Surge in Indonesia and you can read it all HERE . For now, here is one section about this surprising growth and also the persecution that comes along with a vibrant, bold, growing faith. What is it about Evangelical Christianity that has so reso

Neo-medievalism and Islamized Europe

Neo-medievalism and Islamized Europe by Abu Daoud Some time ago I wrote a post titled " The Islamization of Europe " wherein I argued as follows: Also, every one of those states has a Muslim population that is willing to use acts of violence to further their politico-religious aims (in Islam there is no distinction, of course). So yes, a Muslim city-state in France with Algerian leadership will look different than the Turkish Islamic city-state in Germany or the Pakistani one in England. They will not be alike, but they will all be Islamic which tells us a few clear things: no religious freedom, an inferior status for women, persecution of homosexuality, an increase in nepotism and decline in rule of law, and the use of state-sponsored violence to proscribe dissent. These are trends that one can find in every single Muslim state in the world.  In other words, I see the decline of the nation state and the rise of the city state in the future. I recently made this point i

NPR: "From all sides, Iran under siege"

Very good segment on Iran from National Public Radio right here .

BBC Movie on the Satanic Verses Affair


Islam in Europe: Muslim population in European cities

Islam in Europe: Muslim population in European cities : I was recently asked which cities in Europe have the highest Muslim percentage. The following is what I found in my research. I linked to ...

Baptizing Muslims in India

The recent St Francis Magazine  (8:4, Aug 2012) has an interview between the issue editor and a veteran missionary to Muslims in India which is quite interesting. One of the questions is about how they do baptisms for new converts. Here is the question and answer: 10) Tell me about baptisms--when you baptize new believers, who does the baptism? What sort of confession of faith do they make? Who is present? Where and how often do these take place? What does baptism mean for them as best you can discern?   Most of the baptisms are done by our main man although some have been done by the 19 leaders. A few have been done by me. Almost always, two people are doing the baptism. It is always done with a group of ten or more. Although the people should already know the facts, we teach about baptism once again, emphasizing faith. Their confession is that they are only trusting in Jesus for their salvation. If anyone is wearing a charm, he or she must take it off. There are about three ba

Resources on Iranian Christianity

One of the most exciting movements going on in the world right now from Islam to Christianity is happening among Iranians, both in Iran and outside of Iran. The new issue of St Francis Magazine ( 8/4, Aug 2012 ) has an interesting article by Roy Oksnevad on some of the sources of disharmony among leadership in Iranian Christian churches.  I thought I would list a few links here to other articles and books on the topic. It is not meant to be exhaustive, but for those interested these are some good resources. If you know of any additional good resources (and I mean articles and books, not just websites), please post them in the comments. Resources on the Web: Today's Iranian Revolution by K Markarian The Secret World of God: Aesthetics, Relationships, and the Conversion of 'Frances' from Shi'a Islam to Christianity by D A Miller Christian Missions in Persia (Encyclopedia Iranica) by Y Armajani The Mission of the Iranian Church by M Hershberger BMB Di

Hadith on urination

Some of you are perhaps familiar with the prohibition regarding urinating facing Mecca. Here is a hadith upon which this is based: From al Bukhari  Volume 4, Book 53, Number 334 : Narrated by 'Abdullah bin 'Umar Once I went upstairs in Hafsa's house and saw the Prophet answering the call of nature with his back towards the Qibla and facing Sham.