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Is Trump Our Cyrus? The Old Testament Case for Yes and No | Christianity Today

Is Trump Our Cyrus? The Old Testament Case for Yes and No | Christianity Today
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Today in Christian History – November 14

November 14, 565: Roman Emperor Justinian dies at 82. During his reign, he reunited the Eastern and Western empires politically and religiously, erected several new basilicas in Constantinople, and created the Justinian Code, which greatly influenced the development of canon law in the Middle Ages.

November 14, 1741: English revivalist George Whitefield marries Elizabeth Burnell (see issue 38: George Whitefield).

November 14, 1976: The Plains (Ga.) Baptist Church, where then-presidential candidate Jimmy Carter was a member, votes to permit blacks to attend.

November 14, 1990: British journalist Malcolm Muggeridge dies at 87. After editorial stints at the Manchester Guardian and Punch and years as a BBC commentator, the cynical and licentious Muggeridge quietly converted to Christianity. It was his reporting on Mother Teresa that first brought her to the public’s attention.

Christianity Today – Virginia Prodan: I Found the Gospel in Communist Romania

I Found the Gospel in Communist Romania

Like most people, I was born with a hunger for truth and freedom. Unfortunately, I was born in Communist Romania under the brutal totalitarian regime of Nicolae Ceausescu. Ceausescu’s Romania was a land of lies, where simply questioning a government directive could lead to imprisonment, physical torture, and—in some cases—death.

Needless to say, we lived in a constant state of anxiety and mistrust. Anyone could arbitrarily denounce a neighbor, classmate, or family member for making “anti-government” statements. The government even had spies planted in the churches. The best way to avoid trouble was to remain silent, question nothing, and try to blend in.

For years, I watched my parents and relatives play the part of “good citizens” while privately whispering their contempt for the government. I wondered,Why do people always speak in whispers? Why are they so afraid to speak the truth? (…)

After all, the communist government was notoriously anti-church. Under Ceausescu’s rule, Christians were frequently arrested, beaten, and imprisoned. Church buildings were bulldozed, their land confiscated to make room for Ceausescu’s palace. Anyone who questioned his anti-God stance was either thrown in jail or “disappeared.” For all I knew, this could be a trick to test my loyalty. I paused briefly to consider my next move. Then I saw once again that look of peace and contentment. I wanted that—so much so that I decided it was worth the risk.

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Virginia Prodan is an international human rights attorney, and an Allied Attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom.

She is the author of Saving My Assassin (Tyndale).

Virginia Prodan, Saving my assasin

Note: This article was reported first by

Christianity Today – Biblical Archaeology’s Top Ten Discoveries of 2015

Biblical Archaeology’s Top Ten Discoveries of 2015

A section of the digitally unwrapped Ein Gedi scroll, bearing text from Leviticus.

10. Beit Shemesh idol head

9. Horvat Kur Byzantine menorah mosaic

8. The site of Herod’s palace

7. Iron Age gate at Gath

6. Rare 3,000-Year-Old seal from Jerusalem found in Temple Mount sifted dirt

5. Eshba’al name found at Khirbet Qeiyafa

4. Canaanite ostracon from Lachish

3. Hezekiah seal impression

2. The venerated home of Jesus from Nazareth

1. Carbonized scroll of Leviticus from Ein Gedi synagogue deciphered

Who are Anabaptists?

Who are Anabaptists?

Battle for the Bible Translation

At their annual summer convention, the Southern Baptists passed a resolution expressing „profound disappointment with Biblica and Zondervan Publishing House” for publishing the 2011 New International Version, concluding that „we cannot commend the 2011 NIV to Southern Baptists or the larger Christian community.”

The resolution strikes us as divisive, shortsighted, and something that brings us, and no doubt the majority of the Christian community, profound disappointment.

To be fair, the resolution was not brought to the convention by the resolution committee, which wisely determined that the convention did not need to comment on the new translation. The resolution was the work of a single delegate, and only one other person spoke on its behalf. But no one on the convention floor spoke against it, and eyewitnesses say that up to 90 percent of the delegates raised their ballots to signal their approval.

The issue at stake is what the resolution called the NIV’S „gender-neutral methods of translation,” saying the 2011 NIV has „gone beyond acceptable translation standards.”

Whose translations standards are they talking about? The translation principle the resolution refers to is properly called „dynamic equivalence” or „functional equivalence.” Such translations try to do something on the order of common sense: When arriving at a word or phrase that literally says one thing but functionally means another, they choose the functional meaning.

In biblical times, speakers would address a mixed group of believers with the greeting „brothers.” Such was the practice even in English a generation ago. If a speaker were to do that today, many people in the room would assume the speaker was addressing his remarks only to the men present. If we translate the Greek word adelphoi as „brothers” in many biblical passages, it would lead the modern reader to the same conclusion. In short, it would mislead the reader. Hence, the need for functional translations.

No single translation method can possibly convey with complete accuracy the biblical text.

Functional equivalence is the principle used by the New Living Translation, published by Tyndale. And by the New Century Version, published by Thomas Nelson. We have no reason to believe that such publishing houses, or the reputable evangelical scholars who produced their versions, are driven by a secular feminist agenda.

Even so-called formal equivalence translations—which do their best to translate the original languages word for word and syntactical structure for syntactical structure—regularly resort to functional equivalence. The English Standard Version, for example, always uses the wordman for the Greek anthropos when the context suggests a male human is in view. This is a literal and accurate translation in such cases. But when the context suggests that both men and women are in view, it uses people or others. This is a functional and accurate translation.

To be clear, no contemporary, evangelically based translation changes the gendered names used in God’s self-revelation. The first person of the Trinity is still called „Father,” and Jesus is his „Son.”

One SBC concern is ideology, a commitment to complementarianism, the view that men and women have different, divinely appointed roles in church and home. We all should be concerned about any translation that lets an ideology shape its language. But we should not let ideology—egalitarianism or complementarianism—determine whether a translation is valuable or not. The only criterion for a good translation is this: Does it accurately convey what the authors said and what the original listeners heard? Read more on this post

Google Cuts Churches Out Of Nonprofit Program

Brian Young had big plans for his church’s IT strategy. But his vision suffered a serious setback this summer after Google Inc. altered its nonprofit program to prohibit all churches and religious organizations from participating.

For years, the search and software giant individually offered some of its products—including its office software and popular Gmail—for free or discounted use to qualifying nonprofits. Eligibility requirements varied by product, but churches and faith-based groups were welcome to use some.

All of that changed in mid-March when the company launched „Google for Nonprofits.” The new initiative united a robust set of Google’s tools into one program, but it also came with new guidelines that excluded numerous entities, including schools, political thinktanks, churches, proselytizing groups, and any organization that considers religion or sexual orientation in hiring decision. Read more ….

A New Kind of Pentecostal

It’s no longer just about raising a hand to God. It’s also about reaching out a hand to the needy.

To get into the minds of today’s Pentecostals, visit a classroom of ministers in training, 20-somethings getting their first taste of practical ministry. Recently I posed several questions to a large group of them in one of my practicum classes:What are the changes going on among North American Pentecostal believers and Pentecostal churches today? In what ways does the new generation of Pentecostals differ from earlier generations? In what ways is it similar?

The first response was immediate. A young student named Emily said, „For years, Pentecostals had an inferiority complex. They felt as if they were the weird uncle of modern Christianity, as if they were not quite accepted by peer denominations. Today it is different. Pentecostal churches have become more accepted and now are part of mainstream Christianity. That may be good—in some ways, not so good.”

Indeed, Pentecostalism in North America has come a long way. It has moved from a faith to and of the disenfranchised to one that is recognized if not fully accepted across the board among evangelicals. From the movement’s origins among a few adherents in the Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles (1906), Pentecostalism grew to some 12 million adherents by 1970, and now incorporates some 600 million worldwide in its various expressions, a fourth of all Christendom. David Barrett’s monumental World Christian Encyclopedia states that in 1900, only seven-tenths of 1 percent of Christians were Pentecostal; today, approximately 25 percent are.

Another theme emerged in my classroom. As a student named Ross put it, „There is a new Pentecostalism emerging, a more meditative movement, a more social justice movement, more concerned about the outside of the church rather than [what goes on] inside.”

Ministry practitioners, denominational leaders, and scholars whom I have talked to have noted three prominent trends in North American Pentecostalism: a marked decrease in speaking in tongues in public worship; fresh developments in Pentecostal eschatology; and a broader engagement in compassionate ministry and social concern.

All three trends deserve comment, but I want to highlight the last trend: On numerous fronts and in an increasing number of ways, Pentecostals are engaging in compassionate ministries and social change.

A Different Kind of Awakening

„There is a huge awakening for social concern today,” says noted Pentecostal leader Jack Hayford, „especially from age 30 and down. It is profoundly present, and it is a welcomed renewal.”

But, says Hayford, this isn’t the first time Pentecostalism has seen such a groundswell of compassionate ministry. Hayford, a leader in the Foursquare Church, cites the hugely successful „commissary ministry” of Pentecostal revivalist Aimee Semple McPherson: „It touched millions during the Depression. It has significantly marked our movement. It spread over the first half of the 20th century.” McPherson’s compassionate work was carried out from the Angelus Temple in Los Angeles and through numerous „lighthouses” that sprung up across the nation.

Still, for many years North American Pentecostals were gunshy about using terms like „social concern” and „social justice.” Some feared losing a spiritual edge by embracing the „social gospel,” identified with Walter Rauschenbusch and mainline theology. Many worried that a social justice emphasis would undermine the message of salvation and the gift of the Holy Spirit. In addition, some felt the idea was too politically volatile and smacked of socialism.

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Interview with Billy Graham in Christianity Today

Billy Graham


In our January interview with Billy Graham, the legendary evangelist spoke candidly about his involvement in politics during his career, the good and bad in growing older, and what he believes to be the most important issues facing evangelicals today.

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