Government Bans Bonnke Crusade

The Malian government canceled a campaign by evangelist Reinhard Bonnke only days before it was scheduled to begin, citing inability to ensure security. A government official said the cancellation was based on past campaigns held by the German evangelist in neighboring African states. In 1991, Bonnke’s scheduled crusade in Kano, Nigeria, led to a riot that left hundreds of Christians and Muslims dead.

The controversy centers on Bonnke’s references to Islam in his preaching, which are considered by some Muslims to be blasphemous. Though the Malian Association for the Unity and Progress of Islam had consented to the campaign, the governmemt cited evidence of a plot by radical Islamic elements to attack Christians and churches.

Christians represent less than 5 percent of the population; Muslims, 90 percent. The Bonnke campaign, scheduled for October, involved a massive interdenominational effort, yet it was not sponsored by the Association of Protestant and Evangelical Churches and Missions of Mali—the only Protestant group recognized by the government.

By Kelly Madden in Bamako, Mali.

Church Defrocks Gleb Yakunin

The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church has defrocked maverick priest Gleb Yakunin, the Russian Parliament member who led the summer fight against proposed restrictions on minority churches and foreign missionaries (CT, Oct. 25, 1993, p. 90).

The synod divested Yakunin of his priestly rank on November 2, citing his refusal to remove his name from a list of Parliament candidates in the December 12 election. The synod in October had issued a decree saying priests cannot “remain faithful to their personal calling” while being active in politics.

Yakunin ignored the directive, ...

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