Take Me to Church

LifeWay Research recently surveyed 2,000 Americans who do not attend church on what would draw them to one. Among the findings:

Russia: Christians pray evangelism ban isn’t enforced

Protestant leaders pray that Russia’s September elections will usher in lawmakers who will challenge sweeping restrictions on church gatherings and missionary activity that were passed in a package of anti-terrorism surveillance laws in July. Christians outside the Russian Orthodox Church anticipated that the new law—which bans evangelism in homes, online, and anywhere but registered church buildings—would be enforced inconsistently. Still, they remain concerned. Russian evangelicals will soon be “behind a new ‘Iron Curtain,’ ” stated Mission Eurasia president Sergey Rakhuba. Violators face fines, detention, and loss of government permits; foreign missionaries could be deported. Lawyers also plan to appeal to Russia’s Constitutional Court, arguing the law contradicts existing rights to religious observance.

Perry Noble’s firing renews attention to alcohol abuse

The founder of NewSpring Church insisted that fellow pastors did the right thing when they removed him from leadership July 1 due to alcohol abuse over the past year. “This was a spiritual and moral mistake on my part as I began to depend on alcohol for my refuge instead of Jesus and others,” said Perry Noble, who led the 30,000-member South Carolina church for 16 years. Noble numbers among the 17 percent of pastors who say they struggle with addiction to alcohol or prescription drugs, according to a 2015 survey by Barna Group and Pepperdine University. The pastors surveyed were split on whether to take ...

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