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Rwanda Is 95 Percent Christian. So Why Is It Shutting Down Thousands of Churches?

Over the past two months, authorities have closed more than 7,000 churches across Rwanda for failing to comply with health, safety, and noise regulations. As CT has previously reported: President Paul Kagame welcomed the shutdowns but was stunned at the scale: “700 churches in Kigali?” he said during a government dialogue in March. “Are these boreholes that give people water? I don’t think we have as many boreholes. Do we even have as many factories? This has been a mess!” The government...


Why Turkey Is Accusing an American Pastor of Terrorism

Andrew Brunson had been ministering in Izmir, Turkey, for nearly a quarter of a century before it all changed. In 2016, the American pastor was arrested and thrown in jail, without knowing his charges and without bail. When Brunson’s trial finally started last month, he learned that he had been charged “of fueling unrest in the country through alleged involvement with exiled cleric Fethullah Gülen and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), an insurgent group.” Both movements are seen as...


What the Bible Says about Divorce and Abuse

Note: Malachi 2, ‘I hate divorce.’ Said by guest as 5:2, says “The man who hates and divorces his wife,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protect.” In 2000, Paige Patterson was asked about women who are abused by their husbands. Here’s what the now-president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary said: It depends on the level of abuse to some degree. I have never in my ministry counseled that anybody seek a divorce, and I do think that’s always...


Sit With Your Family at Church—But Maybe Not Your Spouse

Rebecca McLaughlin doesn’t sit with her husband at church. After reassuring her church friend that her family’s seating choices had nothing to do with the status of her marital relationship, she felt compelled to explain why. McLaughlin wrote for CT Women: Every Sunday, my husband and I walk into church and see someone new sitting alone. If possible, we go and sit with them. If there are two people, we divide. It’s often awkward and uncomfortable but nonetheless worth it. Why? Because the...


About That Evangelical Summit in Wheaton This Week

Several dozen evangelical leaders from across the country gathered at Wheaton College on Monday and Tuesday this week. In anticipation of the event, The Washington Post teased the meeting: “Dozens of evangelical leaders meet to discuss how Trump era has unleashed ‘grotesque caricature’ of their faith.” But the meeting turned out not to be a giant pilgrimage opposing Trump. “No, absolutely not,” said Harold Smith, Christianity Today’s president and CEO, who attended the summit. “It was like...


Good News for Christians Battling US Sex Trafficking

Last week, the US government shutdown the classified advertising website Backpage.com on allegations that the site was profiting off of illegal prostitution. The website and its affiliates were seized by a joint effort of the FBI, Post Office, and IRS. Online classifieds have long been criticized for facilitating sex trafficking. In 2010, human rights activists called Craigslist the "biggest online hub for selling women against their will.” (Craigslist gave up its adult service page...


What Changed for Evangelicals When MLK Was Killed

This week, we are remembering the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.who was assassinated 50 years ago on April 4, 1968. Among the many events scheduled for this week, The Gospel Coalition and the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission are holding a summit in Memphis on racial unity. But finding evangelicals willing to align with the Civil Rights movement during the 1950s and 1960s was much more difficult. Reformed Theological Seminary professor Carl...


When You Hear Sexual Misconduct Allegations About Your Pastor

Last week, the Chicago Tribune reported on multiple allegations against Willow Creek Community Church founder and longtime pastor Bill Hybels. “The alleged behavior included suggestive comments, extended hugs, an unwanted kiss, and invitations to hotel rooms. It also included an allegation of a prolonged consensual affair with a married woman who later said her claim about the affair was not true.” Hybels and his church have denied the allegations reported by the Tribune. Hybels, is of...


On Being an Evangelical Senator During a Trump Presidency

Oklahoma politician James Lankford became a US Senator in 2015, the year before Donald Trump officially became the Republican Party’s candidate. Lankford didn’t support Trump in the GOP’s primary but ultimately backed him during the election. “What I really look for in a presidential candidate is someone who is a great role model, and I didn’t get that this time,” said Lankford. “I was very frustrated. I didn’t have a good option. I didn’t have that person who I would say is a great role...


Muslim Refugees Are Finding Christ—And Facing Backlash

Over the past decade, hundreds of Muslim migrants in Europe have encountered Christianity and embraced the gospel. In 2012, CT reported on the dozens of Iranian Muslims who had converted after moving to Germany. David Cashin, who has worked in ministry in Sweden and Bangladesh and taught courses in Islamic history, theology, and Muslim-Christian relations, believes something similar is also happening in Sweden. “The largest revival in the last 100 years is going on right now and it’s...


China Just Made Life Way Harder for Christians

Last week, China announced that it would drop presidency term limits, effectively allowing current president Xi Jinping to serve indefinitely. The leader is currently concluding his first five-year term, one not particularly positive for the country’s Christians. During his time in office, a provincial government engaged in a multi-year campaign to remove crosses from the tops of churches and Xi suggested that religions that inadequately conformed to Communist ideals threatened the...


Newsweek’s ‘Second Coming Christ’ Problem

In 2013, IBT Media purchased the acclaimed American magazine Newsweek. This acquisition had immediate positive effects for the floundering publication when its new owners announced a return to print. But some wondered about the identity and desired endgame of its new owners. “Who’s Behind Newsweek?” asked a 2014 Mother Jones report. “Why are the new owners so anxious to hide their ties to an enigmatic religious figure?” The article went on to identify the true owner of the publication as...


A Billy Graham Biographer Tells All!

Evangelist Billy Graham died this week. Christianity Today published more than two dozen articles on our site as part of our special commemorative coverage. But when you lived 99 years it can be hard to capture a life, even with this volume of pieces. This week on Quick to Listen historian and author of America’s Pastor: Billy Graham and the Shaping of a Nation Grant Wacker joined associate editor Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to talk about the regrets, paradoxes, and surprises...


What Made Mental Illness a ‘Sin’? Paganism

Is suffering from mental illness the result of personal sin? Last week, many Christians felt two prominent evangelical ministries affirmed that this was the case. At last week’s evangelical women’s conference the IF Gathering, speaker Rebekah Lyons, in telling about her daughter’s anxiety attacks, suggested that mental illness could be healed through prayer. The incidents at IF occurred several days after John Piper’s Desiring God ministry tweeted “We will find mental health when we stop...


‘Muscular Christianity’ Influenced the Creation of the Modern Olympics

The ancient Olympics lasted more than a millennium before they were stopped by—you guessed it—Christians. It’s true: In AD 390, Emperor Theodosius I criticized the games as pagan and banned them. Ironically or not, faith also played a role in the beginning of the modern Olympics. One of the theologies undergirding the resurrection of the Olympics was “muscular Christianity,” a philosophy of “developing leaders with moral integrity and grit while also being physically strong,” said Nicholas...


Why the US Believes Global Religious Freedom Is Good Foreign Policy

Last week, the US Senate confirmed Sam Brownback as America’s next ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom. The appointment came six months after President Trump had nominated the former Kansas Republican governor. Brown’s position is part of the Office of International Religious Freedom (IRF), a State Department office which monitors persecution and discrimination on a global scale. Created during the Clinton administration in 1998, the IRF exists as part of a larger...


Proximity to Poverty’s ‘Destructive Culture’

Writer Rod Dreher’s recent comments on poverty and immigration have sparked intense criticism by Christians and non-Christians alike. In a recent post, Dreher wrote about his conflicted feelings on Trump’s derogatory remarks about African countries by drawing a comparison to immigrants from these countries and public housing: Let’s think about Section 8 housing. If word got out that the government was planning to build a housing project for the poor in your neighborhood, how would you feel...


Trump Talk Is Relentless. It’s Not Always Newsworthy.

“This is Your Brain on Trump TV,” is the title of a recent piece at The American Conservative published in between the president’s incendiary tweets about North Korea and his leaked disparaging remarks about those from African countries and Haiti. While the former comments caused concern, the latter led to what has now become a routine cycle of debate, criticism, analysis, and pushback. “Trump fascinates all Americans, it seems,” wrote Gracy Olmstead. “We hate him or love him, fear him or...


How Gang Brutality and US Immigration Policies Threaten El Salvador’s Christians

In 2001, a 7.7 earthquake struck El Salvador, killing nearly 1,000 people. In the wake of the humanitarian disaster triggered by the natural disaster, the United States welcomed nearly 200,000 Salvadorans to live and work legally. (Undocumented Salvadorans already in America could also apply for status.) For more than 15 years, this population has existed under temporary protected status. This week, the Trump administration announced that this program will end in fall 2019, at which “We’re...


What Iranian Christians Want

For more than a week, thousands of Iranians have taken to the streets to protest their government. Spurred by anger over a weak economy and increasing fuel and food prices, their grievances accompany frustration that loosening economic sanctions have had little effect on their everyday lives. Nearly all the protesters are Muslims—no surprise in a country where 99 percent of the population adheres to Islam. Despite Muslims’ numeric dominance, some researchers say there’s no country in the...


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