Wednesday, May 15, 2013
This morning we received disturbing news from The Voice of the Martys just minutes before The 700 Club broadcast my story about Christian persecution in Nigeria. We learned that Boko Haram terrorists ended the life of another prominent church leader.
Pastor Pama's assassination occurred in broad daylight, around 2PM yesterday, at his home in Maiduguri.
Pastor Pama was the Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria of Borno State.
In 2012, more Christians were murdered in Nigeria than in any other country. It's the most fatal place on earth for followers of Christ, or for those who befriend them.
So far this year, Muslim extremists have killed more than 150 Christians.
Sadly, we can now add another pastor to the list.
Watch my phone interview with Mark Lipdo of the Stefanos Foundation to learn more.
Friday, May 10, 2013
While I've read many books about Christian persecution over the years, none of those I've encountered provide a better historic and contemporary context of Christian suffering in Muslim countries than Crucified Again:Exposing Islam's New War on Christians.
The book's author, Raymond Ibrahim is an Egyptian American, a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an associate fellow at the Middle East Forum.
Ibrahim and I had the privilege of moderating religious freedom panels at the Coptic Solidarity conference in Washington, D.C. last year. Because we were busy "moderating," we were unable to meet and share our common interest and passion for the suffering church.
But this week, we conversed during lunch after Ibrahim appeared on The 700 Club. We discussed the troubling mass exodus of Christians from the Middle East and the motivation of their persecutors.
I interviewed Ibrahim for several of our news shows, including Christian World News. We didn't have time in those news programs to bring you the full interview, so I'm posting it here.
Watch the complete Raymond Ibrahim interview and then consider reading his book which Pat Robertson calls "incredibly important."
Monday, April 29, 2013
It's an alarming statistic that came across my desk here at The Global Lane--one I wish I didn't have to share with you.
According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center, 28.8 million people were displaced in their own countries in 2012 because of armed conflict and human rights violations. That's 2.4 million more than in 2011 and the highest figure ever recorded by the IDMC.
The world is truly facing an IDP crisis.
That's an astounding figure because 29 million internally displaced are as many people as the combined populations of Israel, Switzerland, Denmark, Ireland, Botswana and Cyprus! Each person needs food, shelter and clean water.
The hot spots for 2012? Syria and Congo. More than one million people were newly displaced in the eastern DRC last year, and the IDMC says the ongoing civil war in Syria is causing the greatest IDP crisis in the world today.
So, what are we to do about it? Yes, prayer is important, but faith without action is dead.
Our response begins with prayer. God will speak to each of us as we pray and He'll tell us what he expects us to do collectively and individually. Maybe he'll call some to serve in places like Mali. Others may be required to write letters to people in government. Some of us may be called to inform our churches and raise money to help. God may also ask us to give of our (His) treasure.
To find out how Operation Blessing International is helping IDP's, click here.
And to read the IDMC report on internally displaced people, click here.
Click, and then pray!
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Iraqi Pastor Jamal's (Abdi Ali Hamzah) story is truly remarkable.
It has all the elements of a compelling novel of international intrigue: Muslim turns Christian, begins ministry, leads many to Christ in the midst of war, imprisoned on charges of spying for Iran, freed by the hand of God who uses a Canadian missionary from Tulsa and a U.S. Senator to convince Kurdish leaders to free him from prison because he may die from a brain tumor!
Yes, truth is stranger than fiction.
To learn more about this amazing story, watch my full interview with World Compassion President Terry Law:
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
We've received an update from Revival Chinese Ministries International announcing that missionary Dennis Balcombe is safe in China.
In a statement posted on the ministry's web site and released to the media today, Balcombe thanks "everyone for their prayers..." and says he spent a day in his hotel room "speaking with authorities."
Balcombe has served as a missionary to China since first arriving in Hong Kong in 1969. He admitted the house church meeting he attended in Nanyang April 20th--raided by religious police-- was illegal. "...We had broken the regulations on religion by conducting a Christian meeting of over 30 people not first registering with the RAB."
Balcombe says authorities raided the meeting because someone informed them that foreigners were attending a "religious cult" gathering.
Pastor Balcombe says the next day, he went to another hotel on his own and while he had been arrested nearly 20-years ago in Fangcheng Count, he says "given the greater degreee of religious freedoms in other parts of China, I was surprised this would happen to us."
Authorities returned Balcombe's passport and invited him to preach in the future in official government Three Self Churches, or even some house churches, but first he must inform them of his intentions when he comes to Henan Province.
Balcombe says the experience was not enjoyable, but he considers it an honor and blessing to be in the same place where so many missionaries and Chinese preachers worked and gave their lives fore the Gospel.
He says the experience reminded him of the Book of Acts, 5:41:
"And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name."
Read Balcombe's full account of his "detention" here.
Monday, April 22, 2013
The whereabouts of American missionary to China, founder of Revival Chinese Ministries, Dennis Balcombe is unkown and family members and friends want some answers.
According to China Aid, Balcombe was "held under house arrest following a Saturday raid on a house church meeting" in Nanyang.
Apparently 70 Christians had gathered for a three-day revival meeting when government agents stormed into the room and began videotaping the service. China Aid says attendees were fingerprinted, interrogated and required to sign police documents.
Local church leaders say when they left the scene, Balcombe and several of his co-workers were still being held by police.
Balcombe is no stranger to this type of treatment by Chinese authorities. He's served as a missionary to the Chinese people since the late 1960's, and has been arrested numerous times simply for sharing Jesus with the spiritually hungry.
I first met Pastor Balcombe in Washington D.C. after one such arrest more than 20-years ago. I admired his love for the Chinese people and his commitment to serving them despite the risks to his personal safety. I'm sure he would say this arrest is just another distraction from doing God's work in China.
Pray for his safety, and ask that God will raise up more bold missionaries like Dennis Balcombe to serve the people of China. Pray that the Chinese government will not view Christians as a threat to society. I'm sure some believers are already helping victims of the recent earthquake in Lushan.
View this video to learn more about Revival Chinese Ministries and Dennis Balcombe:
Friday, April 19, 2013
A common sight these days following Friday prayer in Cairo is the gathering of hundreds--if not thousands-of Egyptians demonstrating either support or opposition to the policies of President Mohammed Morsi. Today was no exception.
I just viewed this video from Ahram Online and had to share it with you.
Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood are now showing their true colors. They're beating and pulling guns on those who disagree with them.
What will happen if this continues? What if secularists and Christians start fighting back? Will the Egyptian military stand idly by and watch Egyptians kill Egyptians?
Watch this video of today's violence:
Friday, April 12, 2013
First came the Egyptian security forces attack against Christians at Maspero.That happened October 9, 2011.
27 people died as military vehicles mowed-down demonstrators that autumn night in the Cairo square.
Now, 18-months later, security forces have launched an unprecedented attack against Cairo's St. Mark's Cathedral. Mourning Christians had gathered there for the funeral of four people killed April 6th by rioting Muslim militants in Al Kosous.
I visited the cathedral last January when I interviewed Pope Tawadros II. His offices are housed there and it's considered the most important church for Egyptian Orthodox Coptics. An attack against the church compound is considered an assault against the Pope and Egyptian Christianity.
The attack was no accident. It's unlikely that the Egyptian security forces would have taken action without the approval, or at least knowledge of President Mohammed Morsi.
Remember the words of Ricki Ricardo from the "I Love Lucy" show years ago? He'd say, "Lu-cy...you have some explanin' to do!" The Muslim Brotherhood-led government needs to hold those responsible accountable.United States taxpayers send nearly $2-billion to Egypt each year.
Christians around the world need to pray for their Egyptian brothers and sisters in Christ. But we also need to keep pushing the Egyptian government to do more than make meaningless pronouncements; it needs to implement a startegy to better protect the persecuted Christian minority.
The Obama Administration needs to demand accountability from the Egyptian president.
Mr. Morsi has a lot of explaining to do.
You be the judge. View the assault on the St. Mark's Cathedral compound:.
Tuesday, April 09, 2013
Pastor Benham Irani
While Christians around the world continue to pray for imprisoned Iranian American Pastor Saeed Abidini, another Iranian pastor has been imprisoned for a longer period and is in urgent need of prayer.
We've told you previously in this blog and at CBN News about Pastor Benham Irani. Let's not forget him, he's gravely ill. Our friends at Present Truth Ministries are asking that Christians remember to pray for him and his family as well as Pastor Abidini.
Imprisoned for nearly two years, the 41-year old Benham is still suffering from a bleeding intestinal ulcer. His family and friends worry he could die in prison because the Iranian authorities have yet to provide him with proper medical treatment.
Beham was arrested twice--in December 2006 and April 2010. In January 2011 he was tried and convicted of crimes against national security. He's considered a national security risk in Iran because he's leading Muslims to Christ; apparently the ayatollah's feel threatened.
When the first verdict against Benham was handed down in 2008, an appellate court recommended a death sentence against him because he was considered to be an apostate. He came to Christ in 1992 and began serving as a pastor 10-years later.
Prayer can make a difference. Just ask Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani. Prayers and pressure were instrumental in securing his release from prison last year. I'm confident Pastor Abidini will eventually be freed from prison as well.
While these two courageous Iranian Christians have gotten much media and prayer attention, let's not forget Pastor Benham. He still sits with 34 others--mostly drug dealers and convicted murderers--in a 40 x 40 foot cell. Pray for his healing and encouragement, pray he'll be reunited soon with his Armenian Christian wife Christine,10-year old daughter Rebecca and 3-year old son Adriel.
Watch this video of Pastor Benham's arrest.
Monday, April 08, 2013
When we hear the name Garry Kasparov, most of us think of the brilliant world chess champion. But Kasparov is also a champion of human rights.
The New York based, UN Watch is giving the Azerbaijani this year's Morris B. Abram Human Rights award. Abram founded UN Watch in 1993-- a watchdog group that helps dissidents and human rights victims from around the world testify before the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Kasparov is a thorn in the side of Russian Preisdent Vladimir Putin. He's demanded Russian government adherence to international agreements and the country's constitution, which guarantee protection of civil and human rights. He retired from chess in 2005 and became more actively involved in the Russian pro-democracy movement. Last year, Kasparov was elected to the Coordinating Council of the united opposition movement and also became chairman of the Human Rights Foundation in New York.
Russian police beat and jailed the chess champion last August for protesting the Putin government's arrest of the Pussy Riot musicians.
Kasparov has paid his dues; he deserves the Abram award. He's learned the hard way that human rights advocacy in Russia these days poses greater risks than a game of chess.
Watch this video of Kasparov's arrest August 17, 2012.