Syria: Jesus Lifted High

Jesus' arrival in a Syrian city that still speaks his language was ironic, apropos, or both. "I Have Come to Save the World" is the latest Jesus statue in the worldwide ranks of those towering 100 feet or higher. Begun in Armenia in 2005, the bronze statue was installed in Saidnaya, a pilgrimage destination, this fall. It arrived just as the Aramaic-speaking region (most notably, Maaloula) became a hot spot in Syria's civil war. Slightly taller than Rio de Janeiro's famous Christ the Redeemer, the statue isn't the tallest—not by a long shot. Meanwhile, approximately 50,000 Christians in the mountainous region have appealed for citizenship in Russia. There, the president of the Russian Academy of Art happens to be building a Jesus statue twice as tall.

Africa: Few strange fires

After a decade of rapprochement between Christians who emphasize speaking in tongues and those who believe charismatic gifts ended in the early church, John MacArthur's Strange Fire conference stirred the pot by accusing the charismatic movement of blasphemy. One featured speaker: Conrad Mbewe, a Zambian pastor who criticizes the rise of his continent's charismatics. However, the surprise was not that MacArthur found an African ally, but that he found only one. Researchers estimate only 33 percent of African Christians are charismatics, Pentecostals, or otherwise "renewalists."

Presidents sent packing

Two presidents were recently released less than one year into their tenures. The American Bible Society fired Doug Birdsall, citing "significant differences" in vision for how to get more people reading the Bible. Weeks later, the Council for Christian Colleges and ...

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