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| People

Died: Kenneth Bailey, the Scholar Who Made Jesus Middle Eastern Again

The late scholar helped Western Christians see the Bible through a cultural lens.
Died: Kenneth Bailey, the Scholar Who Made Jesus Middle Eastern Again
Courtesy of the Presbytery of Shenango

Kenneth E. Bailey, the scholar who introduced evangelicals to Middle Eastern culture and history, died Monday at age 85.

Bailey gave Western readers “the eyes to see” the deeper significance of Jesus’ life and stories by placing them in the cultural context ...

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| People

Ken Starr Fired? Baylor Reviews Investigation into Football Sex Scandal

America's biggest Baptist university expected to announce changes next week.
Ken Starr Fired? Baylor Reviews Investigation into Football Sex Scandal
Robert Rogers / Baylor Marketing & Communications

Reports circulated today that Baylor University has decided to fire its leader, Ken Starr, after a months-long scandal involving charges of rape and assault against five football players.

Baylor denied the rumors.

“Ken Starr is president and chancellor of Baylor University,” ...

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| Research

Why Most Pastors Don't Do Prison Ministry

Most have gone to jail (to visit), but few have former inmates in their pews.
Why Most Pastors Don't Do Prison Ministry
Henry Hagnäs / Flickr

Most Protestant pastors have been to jail to see someone. And most want to help prisoners and their families.

But their churches often lack the training or finances to run an effective prison ministry. So instead, the work is primarily done informally by individuals in the congregation. ...

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Where Successful Church Plants Get Their Money

Here's how church plants become self-sufficient—and what financially stable churches have in common.
Where Successful Church Plants Get Their Money
Pictures of Money / Flickr

More than half of new church plants (58%) are financially self-sufficient by their fourth year, a LifeWay Research study shows.

Almost a quarter (23%) are financially independent in their first year.

LifeWay tracked the financial steps of 843 church plants in 17 denominations ...

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Evangelicals Cheer Pro-Life Vote at Methodist Conference

(UPDATE) On the last day of the General Conference, Methodists repeal four decades of Roe v Wade support.
Evangelicals Cheer Pro-Life Vote at Methodist Conference
Maile Bradfield, United Methodist News Service

Update (May 21): In one of the last actions of its 10-day General Conference, United Methodist delegates voted 445 to 310 to repeal the denomination’s 40-year-old official resolution supporting Roe v. Wade.

Paired with the earlier vote to withdraw from the Religious Coalition ...

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| International

Christians Rally to Keep World's Largest Refugee Camp Open

The country’s plans to close a 25-year-old camp would displace more than 300,000 East African refugees.
Christians Rally to Keep World's Largest Refugee Camp Open
European Commission DG ECHO / Flickr

Christian humanitarian groups are among the 11 charitable organizations calling on Kenya to reverse its decision to close the largest refugee camp in the world.

More than 320,000 displaced people face an unstable future after the country, the second-largest refugee host in Africa, ...

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Nigerian State Proposes Banning Preaching Without a License

An “obnoxious” bill would require pastors to procure an annual permit and ban playing evangelical tapes and CDs in public.
 Nigerian State Proposes Banning Preaching Without a License
Shiraz Chakera / Flickr

For more than 30 years, a state in Africa’s most populous country essentially ignored a law put in place by its military government that required preachers to get licenses, limited the playing of religious cassettes, and outlawed derogatory language by religious organizations ...

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Methodists Won’t Vote on Gay Marriage This Year After All

(UPDATE) With a narrow vote to pass same-sex questions to committee, Methodists band-aid over rumors of split.
Methodists Won’t Vote on Gay Marriage This Year After All
Photo by Paul Jeffrey, United Methodist News Service

Update (May 19): The United Methodist Church, under rising pressure from both sides to decide whether to allow same-sex marriage or non-celibate gay clergy, squeaked out of this year’s General Conference with a decision to punt the question to a committee.

By a vote of ...

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| International; Religious Freedom

Christian Refugees in Germany Report High Levels of Religious Violence

Sharing resettlement centers with Muslims can be dangerous for Christian asylum-seekers, Open Doors reports.
Christian Refugees in Germany Report High Levels of Religious Violence
Jens Meyer / AP

As the million-plus refugees who fled to Germany last year settle into packed group homes and culture-clashed neighborhoods, Christian migrants face ongoing harassment from the Muslims they live alongside.

Open Doors Germany reported Monday that three-quarters of resettled Christian ...

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The World’s Biggest Muslim Organization Wants to Protect Christians

Another major gathering of Islamic leaders denounces extremism.
The World’s Biggest Muslim Organization Wants to Protect Christians
BxHxTxCx / Flickr

Secretary of State John Kerry recently confirmed what most already knew: ISIS is committing genocide against Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East.

Many Islamic leaders knew it too. In January, 200 Muslim religious leaders, heads of state, and scholars ...

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