Mapping Missionaries

Missions has become truly global—yet remains imbalanced. The top 10 sending countries sent almost three-quarters of the world's 400,000 international missionaries in 2010, but are home to only one-third of the world's church members. Meanwhile, the top nine receiving countries received more than one-third of the world's missionaries, but are home to only 3.5 percent of the world's non-Christians. When the Center for the Study of Global Christianity calculated missionaries per capita,
it produced very different rankings. Top senders per million church members: Palestine, Ireland, Malta, Samoa, and South Korea. The top receivers per million people? Majority-Christian islands in the Caribbean and Oceania.

Pat Robertson's successor resigns from Regent

Carlos Campo went from valet parker to
university president within 10 years. Then, three weeks into the current school year,
the Regent University president resigned. The surprise decision by the first Latino president of a regionally accredited Christian university was actually not the school's first September departure: in 2000, Paul Cerjan was similarly replaced as president by Pat Robertson, founder and broadcaster. "I knew it was likely to happen with me," said Campo, a rising leader among Latino evangelicals who now expects to become more vocal and active on higher education and immigration reform. But he believes the
situation is "pretty appropriate and typical of founder-led institutions." Robertson now heads Regent for the fourth time. "Frankly," said Campo, "it's his place."

In Pakistan, Death penalty is good news for Christians

A symbolic church whose mosque-like architecture promoted peace between religions bore the deadliest attack against Christians in Pakistan's 66-year history. Two suicide bombers killed more than 120 Sunday worshipers at All Saints Church in Peshawar, prompting protests nationwide for more government protection. However, good news emerged days later on the Christian minority's other main challenge: false accusations of blasphemy. The influential Council of Islamic Ideology, which advises Pakistan's lawmakers, urged that the death penalty for blaspheming Muhammad or Islam be expanded to those who falsely accuse others. The decision may produce fewer
victims like Rimsha Masih (now in Canada) and still-imprisoned Asia Bibi.

Article continues below

Can prayer and Bible study overcome mental illness?

Rick and Kay Warren's candid cnn interview regarding their son Matthew's suicide aired hours after LifeWay Research reported that nearly half of evangelical, fundamentalist,
or born-again Christians (48%) believe that serious mental illness can be overcome through prayer and Bible study alone (35 percent of Americans agree). Adults under 30 were both more likely to believe this (50%) and more likely to know someone with mental illness (54%), while older adults were both less likely to believe this (30% of those 55-64) and less likely to know someone with mental illness (37% of those over 65).

Bolivia: Animist worldview imposed on churches

Pastors led protest marches in five Bolivian cities against government orders to promote the "horizon of good living." The phrase may sound innocuous, but church leaders are suing to revoke Law 351. It requires all churches to standardize leadership, report finances, and promote the indigenous Aymara concept of "living well"—or else lose their legal status. "This is an imposition of a cultural and spiritual worldview totally foreign to ours," Agustín Aguilera, president of the National Association of Evangelicals of Bolivia, told Morning Star News. Protestant leaders fear animism is replacing Catholicism as the Andean government's favored religion.

'Play Hard, Pray Harder'

This motivational slogan can no longer be used commercially by Los Angeles Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton after a small Christian clothing company took him to court. Dallas-based Play Hard Pray Harder began selling such sports apparel across state lines before the mlb star did. So Hamilton settled and relinquished his right to the trademark, citing the Sermon on the Mount's imperative to turn the other cheek. A wry twist to Jesus' words: "And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well."

"I am a sinner."
Pope Francis, when asked, "Who is Jorge Mario Bergoglio?" in an unprecedentedly frank interview with Jesuit publications worldwide. "This is the most accurate definition," he said. "It is not a figure of speech." (La Civiltà Cattolica)

"I don't know if what D. L. Moody's opinion might have been was reallytaken into consideration."
Moody Bible Institute spokeswoman Christine Gorz, on the school dropping its ban on alcohol and tobacco consumption by employees in order to emphasize "values not rules." Amid the 19th-century temperance movement, its famed evangelist founder argued for voluntary abstinence rather than prohibition enforced by law. (Religion News Service)

Article continues below


The Assemblies of God continues to grow and diversify at an enviable rate. Today, one-third of its 3.1 million U.S. members are under 25. But is its distinctive teaching on speaking in tongues being lost amid outreach efforts?

+ 3.9% Increase in water baptisms in 2012, to a near-record high of more than 131,700.

- 2.9% Decrease in spirit baptisms in 2012, to the lowest total (less than 82,000) since 1995.

Superintendent George O. Wood denies that speaking in tongues is waning, saying many spirit baptisms take place at youth camps and other church-sponsored events not accounted for in annual statistics.

African American Church Plants

Conversions peak three years after many black pastors plant churches, even while attendance continues to grow, according to LifeWay Research. Two standout sources of "new commitments to Jesus": door-to-door evangelism and new members' classes.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.