Survey: Even with growing concerns over the past two years, most still favor immigration reform and say the church has a responsibility to help.
American evangelicals have complex perspectives on immigration and want a nuanced political response, but most want Congress to act soon.
A Lifeway Research study sponsored by the Evangelical Immigration Table found evangelicals are increasingly concerned about the number of recent immigrants to the US but still believe Christians have a responsibility to care for those who are in the country illegally. While most want to secure the border to prevent additional illegal immigration, evangelicals also advocate for a path to citizenship for those already in the country.
“While many evangelicals fear that our nation is harmed by the volume of recent immigrants, more feel responsible to show compassion,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research. “The urgency continues to grow among evangelicals for Congress to act this year to improve laws around immigration.”
Many evangelicals have a negative perception of the recent number of immigrants to the United States. Half (50%) say they are a drain on economic resources. More than a third see the number as a threat to the safety of citizens (37%) and a threat to law and order (37%), while 28 percent say they are a threat to traditional American customs and culture.
Yet, a large percentage of evangelicals see the number coming to the country as an opportunity or even an improvement. Two in 5 evangelicals say the number of immigrants presents an opportunity to introduce them to Jesus Christ (40%) and to show them love (39%). Around a quarter (26%) believe immigrants represent an improvement to America’s cultural diversity, and 14 percent say they’re a boost to entrepreneurial activity.
Drawing from their long experience in the Islamic world, evangelical novelists pen fiction to help Muslims and Americans better see Jesus.
Can you imagine if Dune took place in the ocean instead of the desert? One Christian novel does.
With Dune: Part Two now in theaters, moviegoers are once again treated to the cinematic spectacle of Frank Herbert’s popular sci-fi epic. Less known is how his 1965 novel bears witness to the influence of Muhammad.
And even less known are the efforts of Christians to translate their Muslim world experience into novels that communicate the gospel.
“We tend … not to recognize how much Islam has contributed to our culture,” stated Herbert in a 1976 radio interview. “But we owe Islam enormous debts of gratitude.”
The American author blended many religious themes into his six-volume series but deliberately filled his sand-infused apocalyptic landscape with tribal conflicts, Shiite concepts, and Bedouin-inspired characters. Hero Paul Atreides becomes the Mahdi, mirroring the Muslim messiah-like figure anticipated at the end of the world. And as he wins acceptance among the nomadic Fremen people, he takes the name Muad’Dib, adapted from an Arabic word for “teacher.”
Their desert religion is called Zensunni , mixing Islam with the Buddhism Herbert eventually adopted.
Dune is often credited as an inspiration for Star Wars and its Eastern cosmology. But there’s similar world-creating literature by three Muslim-world Christian workers writing in the genres of sci-fi, contemporary thriller, and young adult fiction.
Each bears witness to the love of Jesus.
“As far as I am aware, this is the first time that violent Islamists, followers of Jesus from Muslim backgrounds, and science fiction have been combined,” said Steve Holloway, author of Pelagia. “Conveying an Islamic ...
Journalist Jason Kirk discusses his new novel, turn-of-the-century evangelicalism and deconstruction.
Jason Kirk’s newly released novel Hell Is a World Without You is not my usual reading fare. Nor is his book CT’s usual coverage fare. As you’ll gather from our conversation below, Kirk has left evangelicalism behind and is reflecting on the church of his youth with a critical, if somewhat sympathetic, eye.
I was too shy a teenager to really embrace early 2000s youth group life, but Kirk’s childhood church setting—which serves as the backdrop of his book—was basically the setting of my childhood too. Many evangelical-exvangelical conversations of today, which can be charged, if they happen at all, also arise from this setting; so I was intrigued at the prospect of a writer not only willing but eager to talk about that divide. I reached out to Kirk, a sports journalist at The Athletic, to discuss his experience and depiction of evangelicalism, exvangelicalism, deconstruction, and more.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
Let’s start with the basics: Tell me a bit about yourself, the book, and how you came to write it.
I was raised Southern Baptist in Atlanta and grew up attending church Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night—the whole thing, all the way until early college. I had the entire evangelical kid career.
As a teenager, I started having the vague, gnawing, constant sense that I didn’t fit in with high-control, conservative religion, even though it’s where all my friends were and where we experienced all the fun and joy and music and hugs and laughs and pizza. That disconnect involved a mix of emotions, politics, social stuff, philosophies, events I witnessed, and more—as is the case for just about any major shift in anybody’s life.
Evangelical leader: Ministers’ testimonies were never intended to be the “make-or-break” factor in judging asylum applications.
A chemical attack that injured a dozen people in the South London suburb of Clapham a month ago has sparked the resurgence of a national debate over the UK’s asylum system and the church’s involvement with migrant converts.
The suspected perpetrator, Abdul Ezedi, was an Afghan refugee who came to Britain illegally in 2016 and was granted asylum in 2020 on appeal after his two previous applications had been denied. He won his appeal even though he had been convicted of a sex offense in 2018.
At his tribunal, he claimed he had converted from Islam to Christianity and would face persecution from the Taliban if he was returned to Afghanistan. A member of the clergy vouched for the sincerity of Ezedi’s religious belief. A tribunal judge was convinced by the plea and granted Ezedi asylum status.
The uproar grew as the details of Ezedi’s case became clearer and doubt was cast on the sincerity of his conversion. (Metropolitan Police confirmed last week that they found his body in the River Thames, where he had likely drowned.)
Suella Braverman, a member of the UK Parliament who has formerly served as Home Secretary (a top cabinet position in the British government with responsibilities including immigration issues), wrote in The Telegraph that “churches around the country [are] facilitating industrial-scale bogus asylum claims.”
Braverman charged that, at some churches, migrants can simply “attend Mass once a week for a few months, befriend the vicar, get your baptism date in the diary and, bingo, you’ll be signed off by a member of the clergy that you’re now a God-fearing Christian who will face certain persecution if removed to your Islamic country of origin.”
The historic and well-funded organization has seen two years of turmoil: five CEOs, money fumbles, and a pullback from global work. It is searching for a fresh start.
The 208-year-old American Bible Society (ABS) used to have a simple mission: print and distribute Bibles in the US. At its peak in 1979, it was giving away 108 million a year.
Once Americans had access to Bibles, ABS’s challenge became getting people to read them. In the early 2000s, the organization shifted to a mission of “Scripture engagement.” That is not as clear-cut as the number of Bibles printed, and in the years since, people in ABS circles have disagreed on what to do with a large legacy organization’s resources. A new Bible museum? A Bible app for military members? Curriculum on trauma healing through Scripture?
And how much should an organization that partners with Bible societies around the globe focus on the “American” part of its mission?
This 21st-century identity crisis has sharpened in the last two years with the quick turnover of five executives in a row, tens of millions of dollars in financial shortfalls, and the loss of a major donor. Sources said that about 30 staff were laid off late last year, which amounts to about 20 percent of employees.
Amid all the issues, ABS is changing its priorities. But it’s not clear whether the organizational messes are driving those decisions or if the messes are part of the pains of changing strategy. CT heard from ABS staff, former staff, donors, and other stakeholders, all with different ideas of what is causing the problems at ABS.
The stakes are high because ABS has a roughly $100 million-a-year budget and a $600 million endowment, which puts it in the top 1 percent of Christian organizations in Ministry Watch’s database by assets. Bible societies around the world rely on its support. Over the last two years of turmoil, ...
Local and international activists discuss Voice of the Martyrs escalating the country’s religious freedom status to “restricted nation.”
The Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) has placed India in its highest persecution tier in its latest global prayer guide, bumping the country up from “hostile area” to “restricted nation.”
VOM’s mid-tier “hostile area” category identifies nations or large areas of nations where, despite government attempt to provide protection, the Christian population remains persecuted by family, friends, neighbors, or political groups because of their witness. Indian believers have largely faced this type of violence, including last year’s Manipur attacks, which killed more than 100.
In contrast, “restricted nation” describes countries where government-sanctioned circumstances or anti-Christian laws lead to the harassment of Christians or the loss of their civil liberties. It can also include government policies or practices preventing Christians from obtaining Bibles or other Christian literature. (Christians in restricted nations often also experience persecution from family, community members, and/or political groups.)
Although Indian Christians largely face persecution that reflects VOM’s mid-tier categorization, the government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been a key player in recent years in driving public opinion against non-Hindu Indians.
“The rise of Hindutva ideology—and the open and enthusiastic embrace of this ideology by Modi and other government leaders—has had the effect of making India’s national government an overt persecutor of the church rather than a protector of religious minorities and religious freedom,” said VOM spokesperson Todd Nettleton.
“This emphasis—backed by the power of the federal government as well ...
He was tortured for his faith but remained steadfast through the Cultural Revolution.
Westminster Abbey in London, the exclusive chapel of the British royal family, has served as the site for the coronation of generations of kings, royal weddings, funerals, and other significant events. Today it functions as the final resting place for many renowned British nobles, poets, generals, scientists, and writers, such as Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, and Charles Dickens.
Since 1998, ten statues of 20th-century Christian martyrs from around the globe have graced the Great West Door of the abbey, including Maximilian Kolbe, Martin Luther King Jr., and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Also among these revered figures, however, is a less widely known martyr from China: Wang Zhiming (王志明, 1907–1973), a Miao pastor from Wuding County, Yunnan Province, who was persecuted during the Chinese Cultural Revolution and executed after a violent denunciation rally in 1973.
The Miao people of China first encountered the gospel when Catholicism was introduced to the Guizhou and Sichuan provinces around 1798. Two hundred years later, Protestant missionaries Arthur Nicholls (葛秀峰) and William Theophilus Simpkin (师明庆) of the China Inland Mission (CIM) journeyed for several days from Kunming to reach the Miao tribes, who were still practicing slash-and-burn agriculture and hunting.
The foreign Protestant missionaries brought not only the Bible and the gospel but also health education measures, transforming the Miao people’s old customs of ghost worship and cohabitation with animals and treating epidemics such as plague and typhoid. Samuel Pollard (伯格里), a British Methodist missionary who had come to this area before Nicholls and Simpkin, created the Miao script, translated the Bible into the Miao language, and implemented social reforms ...
An excerpt on doubt, despair, and restoration from Land of My Sojourn: The Landscape of a Faith Lost and Found.
Think about Mount Tabor for a moment. Remember the blinding light of Jesus’ glory and the stunning presence of Elijah and Moses, the weight of that moment and what it meant in the mind and heart of Peter, and what it confirmed about the dream that had taken up residence in his heart and his spiritual imagination. The brilliance of this dream—how incredibly close it felt on Mount Tabor—creates the unbearable cognitive dissonance with the reality of Jesus, arrested, mocked, beaten, scorned, flayed, and executed. Dead in a tomb.
These visions didn’t fit together: the bleach-white light of the Transfiguration, the ashen linen that now wrapped Jesus’ dead body, and the stony blackness of the tomb as the stone rolled shut against it. Peter had expected Elijah: fire from heaven, a land cleansed of evil. What he’d gotten instead—I don’t think he had a name for it. I don’t know him.
But maybe Peter didn’t know Elijah either.
Sometimes our expectations are the source of our pain.
Peter looked at Elijah and saw a conquering hero. But he was only paying attention to part of the story.
When Elijah humiliated the prophets of Baal, the crowd of onlookers fell to the ground and cried out, “The Lord—he is God!” (1 Kings 18:39). They then slaughtered the prophets, cleansing the land of their oppression. Elijah then prayed for rain, and it came. Ahab fled to Jezreel, unable to deny what he’d seen with his own eyes. Mission accomplished.
And yet it wasn’t. Jezebel responded to all Ahab told her by promising to kill Elijah, and the menace of humiliation and death overwhelmed him. He fled to the desert, collapsed under a broom tree, and ...
Trustees found Wiebe Boer’s alleged conduct “concerning” and “inconsistent with the high standard and character” the college expects of its leadership.
The president of Calvin University has resigned after admitting he engaged in inappropriate communication with a member of the campus community.
In a statement Monday, the Calvin Board of Trustees said it had received a report alleging President Wiebe Boer “engaged in unwelcome and inappropriate communication and attention toward a non-student member of the campus community.”
“The report did not include allegations of sexually explicit communication or physical contact, but the alleged conduct is concerning and inappropriate,” the trustees said in their statement.
University officials said they then hired an outside expert to review the allegations. That review included speaking with Boer, a former oil executive and son of Christian Reformed Church missionaries who became Calvin’s president in 2022.
“After being notified of the report, Dr. Boer denied some of the allegations but did admit to sending communications that were inappropriate and inconsistent with the high standard of conduct and character expected of the President of Calvin University,” the board said in its statement. “Dr. Boer subsequently offered his resignation, which the Board accepted.”
No further details about Boer’s conduct or the complaint were given.
Gregory Elzinga, Calvin’s vice president of advancement, has been named interim president. The board’s statement described him as already being involved in the day-to-day management of the school and “well situated to provide effective continuity of leadership while the Board conducts a thorough search for the University’s next permanent President.”
School officials plan to hold a campus meeting for students with Elzinga ...
Senior minister Mark Booker asks the historic evangelical congregation to commit to work of repair after “break of trust.”
Park Street Church voted to affirm senior minister Mark Booker on Sunday by a vote of 350 to 173, with 20 abstaining.
The prominent evangelical church in Boston has been roiled by controversy as ministers, elders, staff, and lay leaders disagreed over a series of decisions—as well as the process of making decisions—at the 220-year-old congregationalist church. Ultimately the entire congregation was thrown into the dispute. The conflict became public when a group of more than 75 members petitioned for a special meeting to review the firing of an associate minister who said he had “serious concerns” about Booker’s spiritual leadership, citing “patterns at variance with the biblical qualifications.”
The conflict raised questions about checks and balances and the durability of congregationalism amid escalating disagreements about leadership. Congregationalism is the preferred polity of many evangelicals, including those in Baptist, nondenominational, and Stone-Campbell churches.
Park Street’s regularly scheduled congregational meeting on Sunday was cast as a referendum on the leadership of the church. Critics proposed a set of amendments to the bylaws that they said would add much-needed limits on church leaders’ power and nominated an alternative slate of elder candidates.
Booker, who was called to lead the church in 2020, proposed a nonbinding vote to affirm his continued leadership at Park Street. The elders approved the ballot measure, adding it to the agenda, as CT reported last week.
“It is clear there has been a break of trust at the elder, minister, and staff level,” Booker told the congregation during the fractious six-hour meeting on Sunday. “This break ...
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