Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Egypt: Strong Voter Turnout From Christians Trying to Stem Islamist Win
- Iran Declares House Churches a Threat
- Billy Graham Hospitalized, Condition Stable
- Evangelicals Take a Stand on the Trinity
Egypt: Strong Voter Turnout From Christians Trying to Stem Islamist Win
Egypt's Christian minority turned out in droves for voting Monday and Tuesday in the country's first elections since the fall of Hosni Mubarak in February, International Christian Concern reports. Ahead of elections, the Coptic Church discreetly told members to vote for an alliance of leftist and liberal parties sponsored by a Christian tycoon -- a move that reflected a deep fear of radical Islamists coming to power. In Christian areas of Egypt, voter lines remained continually long, and almost all expressed a common motivation: Stop the Islamists. "We are voting for liberal parties as a means of survival," said Farid George of Assiut. "Egypt is our country. My kids were raised here and I will die here." The prospect of an Islamic victory in the election has Egypt's Christians, which make up 10 percent of the population, terrified that one day strict Islamic sharia law will be imposed. Islamist parties, including the Muslim Brotherhood, are expected to be the biggest winners in the election, likely to gain a plurality or even a majority in the new parliament.
Iran Declares House Churches a Threat
In the latest attempt to fight the growth of Iran's house church network, the country's Minister of Intelligence announced that house churches were a threat to youth, Mission Network News reports. Todd Nettleton of Voice of the Martyrs said, "In the last year, we have seen a real change of tone in government reports in the speeches of leaders there, from basically ignoring the church and ignoring the growth of the church to now speaking out forcefully against the church and against people becoming Christians." As more and more Iranian youth are turning to Christ, the government has cracked down harder, arresting and imprisoning Christian leaders and converts. However, Nettleton said there was an increasing spiritual hunger, adding that he remained optimistic the Gospel would continue to fuel the growth of the church.
Billy Graham Hospitalized, Condition Stable
Evangelist Billy Graham has been hospitalized at Mission Hospital in Asheville, N.C., to be tested for possible pneumonia, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association reports. Graham, 93, is in stable condition, and upon admittance, he was alert, smiling and waving at hospital staff. He was previously hospitalized for successful treatment of pneumonia in May 2011, after which he resumed normal activity, including finalizing his most recent book, Nearing Home, published last month, and beginning work on a new project reaffirming the message he has preached for more than 60 years. No date has been set for discharge, but Graham is looking forward to returning home to spend Christmas with his family.
Evangelicals Take a Stand on the Trinity
A group of 73 evangelicals (and counting) have joined together in a declaration affirming that God is one being composed of three persons that are co-equal and co-eternal, the Christian Post reports. The signers of "An Evangelical Statement on the Trinity," which was posted this month at TrinityStatement.com, said it was necessary given the lingering debate over Trinity doctrine among Christians in the U.S. and abroad. "This is the central tradition of Christianity," said William David Spencer, author of the declaration. "We believe that God is one God in three equal, co-eternal persons. Drawing artificial distinctions around God undermines his oneness. We don't want to posit three separate gods or beings." Dr. Mimi Haddad, president of Christians for Bible Equality, added, "Subordination wrecks the doctrine of oneness in God completely."
Publication date: December 1, 2011