Porn in the Pulpit and the Pews

At what they claim will be the most comprehensive Christian conference ever on the problem of online pornography, this month Josh McDowell’s ministry and Barna Group will present their survey of how 770 pastors and 2,000 teenagers and adults use porn. Some highlights:

Syria: ISIS releases last of captured Christians

One year after ISIS beheaded 21 Coptic Christians on a Libyan beach, believers celebrated the release of the group that was feared would become the next propaganda massacre. In the wake of the videotaped martyrdoms in February 2015, Islamist extremists kidnapped 230 Assyrian Christians in Syria’s Hasakah province as ISIS quickly captured more territory. After a year in captivity, the final 43 hostages were released. Supporters worldwide donated millions to secure their ransom. The Assyrian Church of the East Relief Organization asked for prayers for healing for the former hostages.

China: House churches defend official churches

The pastor of the 10,000-member, state-approved Chongyi Church was arrested after he protested China’s removal of hundreds of crosses from churches. Most of China’s persecution of Christians has targeted unofficial “house churches,” but a campaign by officials in Zhejiang province to de-Christianize the skyline of “China’s Jerusalem” has affected even official Three-Self Patriotic Movement churches. The silver lining: the growing unity between Three-Self and “underground” Christians. House churches have petitioned in support of official churches, noted David Ro, the Lausanne Movement’s international deputy director for East Asia. “For the first time, house church leaders have crossed ...

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