Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Genocide Warning Issued for Christians in the Middle East
- Study Reveals Internet Evangelism is Effective
- Christian Indonesian Refugees in N.J. Face Deportation
- Pre-Christmas Rise of Threats and Intimidation Against Iranian Christians
Genocide Warning Issued for Christians in the Middle East
Christian Solidarity International (CSI) has issued a genocide warning for endangered religious minorities in the Islamic Middle East, Mission Network News reports. Todd Nettleton of Voice of the Martyrs USA said, "When you look at elections in Egypt where 60-some-odd percent of the vote went to the Islamic parties ... there is fear among the church about what this means." However, he added: "I think [genocide] is a very strong word. ... I haven't heard it used by the Christians who are there. ... [It] goes a little beyond what we've identified at this point." Nettleton said it wasn't outside the realm of possibility that the Middle East could experience an exodus of Christians, but he said there still remained a remnant church in even the most difficult areas.
Study Reveals Internet Evangelism is Effective
A recent study by Global Media Outreach shows that more than half of people who made a decision for Jesus over the Internet have subsequently shared their faith with others, the Christian Post reports. Of the more than 100,000 people surveyed around the world, 51 percent said they shared their faith three times or more and 37 percent said they shared their faith at least once or twice. The study indicates that "online evangelism and discipleship is truly measurable and effective," said Walt Wilson, founder and chairman of Global Media Outreach. "These findings are remarkable because they reveal that online evangelism isn't just an in-the-moment decision, and people continue to grow in their faith after they have indicated a decision."
Christian Indonesian Refugees in N.J. Face Deportation
Around 70 members of a New Jersey community of Christian Indonesian refugees who fled persecution in their country more than 10 years ago are facing imminent deportation, the Christian Post reports. The refugees had been living in the U.S. since the late 1990s, but following a crackdown on illegal immigrants after 9/11, all the men in the community decided "after much prayer" to reveal themselves in hopes of gaining asylum. They were denied, however, and the U.S. government began mass-deporting them in 2006. In 2009, the remaining group was finally granted special status to remain in the U.S. temporarily, but in recent weeks, most of the refugees have received letters from the Department of Homeland Security ordering them to appear with a one-way ticket to Indonesia. Many fear that if they are sent back to their home country, they will find themselves in danger again -- but for now, they are waiting quietly at home in New Jersey, preparing to be detained and deported any day. Two New Jersey members of Congress have begun a fight for the refugees' right to stay, but it is yet unclear how U.S. Immigration Services will respond.
Pre-Christmas Rise of Threats and Intimidation Against Iranian Christians
Reports show a sharp increase of activities against Christians in Iran in the weeks leading up to Christmas, including the interrogations of house church members and activists at local state security offices, ASSIST News Service reports. A number of Christians in Tehran and six other cities have been ordered to show up at the state security centers after the Islamic police were instructed by a senior general to "be on guard to find out the reasons behind this massive and country-wide distribution of the Bible. It is obvious that this illegal act could not have been done without the help and cooperation of Christian businessmen, and we are looking for proof of their involvement." Iran's top Islamic leaders say they will continue to follow the Supreme Leader's direct orders to prevent the spread of house churches in the country.
Publication date: December 13, 2011