182 Year Wait for a Bible Translation

Christians in Southeast Asia have successfully translated the New Testament into their mother-tongue, and are now able to read the Word in their own language for the first time.

CHR Comment: Wycliffe Bible Translators are employing a new strategy for developing translations rapidly by working with a team of local persons who know the language by heart. On the Wycliffe site, a picture of persons from the tribe have their faces blanked out since they are facing persecution. Apparently, the translation society was concerned about revealing the identities of the team members due to persecution. See second link below.

Source: Persecuted Christians read Bible for first time in their own language after 182 year wait | Christian News on Christian Today


Street Preachers Disrupting Target Stores

Religious protestors employ Bible scriptures to condemn the retailer’s bathroom policies.

CHR Comment: The Target company policy regarding use of restrooms by transgender persons continues to make news as street preachers enter the stores with loud protests. Earlier CHR posted a story about a peaceful boycott of the Target company, a strategy that differs markedly from the protests described here.

Source: Anti-Queer Christians Invading Target Stores To Preach Are Wreaking Havoc

Orthodox Easter Celebrated on May 1

Orthodox Christians celebrated the resurrection with a fire ceremony, cake and processions.

CHR Comment: The article describes the variety and pageantry of Orthodox Easter observed at numerous of locations. The different dates for observing Easter in western and eastern churches are due to the use of different calendars: the Gregorian in the West and the Julian in the East. The second link below describes the ruling about Easter from the Early Christian Council of Nicaea and provides an explanation of the two calendars that cause Christians to observe different dates for the feast.

Source: Orthodox Easter spreads “holy fire” around the world


Philippine Tribal People Embrace Jesus Christ

Things will never be the same again in a far-flung village in southern Philippines after missionaries from the Christian Aid Mission brought the light of Christianity to tribal people who have known only spiritual darkness.

CHR Comment: Missionaries taught the Manobo tribe the history of God’s people from the Old Testament and shared with them the film The Passion of the Christ. Many tribal members were moved by the account of Christ’s suffering, sacrifice, and resurrection. Although the film includes a riveting depiction of Christ’s experiences, it also includes some non-biblical and unusual scenes that are based on visions of Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824). For more about Emmerich, see the second link below.

Source: Philippine tribal people embrace Jesus Christ after hearing Gospel and viewing ‘Passion of the Christ’ movie | Christian News on Christian Today


Christian Woman Attacked in Pakistan

A Christian woman in Pakistan was brutally attacked and gang-raped by two young Muslim men while her husband was away serving in the army.

CHR Comment: According to the British Pakistani Christian Association, the woman reported her experience to the police the next morning and the suspects were apprehended, though there is doubt whether they will be appropriately punished.

Source: Christian Woman Gang-Raped in Pakistan as Attacks Against Believers Escalate

Beautification Campaign Demolishes Churches

Government officials in China’s coastal Zhejiang province have ordered the destruction of yet another church building as part of an ongoing campaign against so-called illegal buildings.

CHR Comment: The Communist government of China enforces a beautification campaign that allows them to demolish church buildings that are, for example, displaying the cross too high. The article describes several examples from this ongoing campaign, including the death of a woman who protested it. China Aid President Bof Fu believes the campaign is motived by the fears of Communist Party members who are atheists and feel threatened by the continuing growth of Christianity.

Source: Christian Churches Deemed ‘Illegal Buildings’ in China’s Mass Demolition Campaign

Reaching Youth with Applied Theology

eutychus youth


John Oberdeck. Eutychus Youth: Applied Theology for Youth Ministry, Reaching Youth on the Ledge. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2010. 270 pp.

Beginning with the biblical story of Eutychus, the young man who falls asleep during the Apostle Paul’s teaching (Acts 20:7–12), Oberdeck introduces the reader to the importance of theology for reaching at-risk youth. He argues that theology is too often the missing element in youth ministry, which tends to focus on activities, safe environment, and felt needs rather than the deep, abiding truths that actually shape and change people’s lives. Theology is the reason to have youth ministry so it must not be lost in the blur of matters that can distract from what is most important.

Oberdeck writes as a Lutheran, emphasizing the role of God’s Word and Sacraments as gracious means through which God reaches young people and brings them to faith. Central to his presentation is the forgiveness of sins that youth need to free them from the many pitfalls of adolescence and equip them for mature life and faith, fulfilling their God-giving responsibilities as redeemed people. He turns often to the distinction between God’s Law, which convicts us of sin and disarms us from our self-righteousness, and God’s Gospel, which declares God’s loving forgiveness and restores us as His holy children.

Oberdeck also distinguishes the “from above” perspective that theology provides and the “from below” perspective through the various forms of research on beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors of youth today. The result is a comprehensive look at how to understand youth, apply theology for them, and lead them into the mature life of faith that their heavenly Father desires for them.

Rev. Dr. John Oberdeck is Professor of Theology and Director of the Lay Ministry Program at Concordia University Wisconsin where he teaches courses on youth ministry. In addition to his theological studies, he holds a doctorate in educational psychology from the University of Missouri and has years of experience with youth ministry training. Throughout the book he includes numerous stories about his experiences with youth, which are poignant and worth sharing with others.

The book makes an excellent case for bringing or keeping theology in youth ministry, including a lesson plan approach to developing events so that well-rounded presentations of theology and activities compliment one another. Oberdeck’s writing is conversational and pleasant to read while not shying away from the finer points of theology and studies of human development. Many passages of the book lend themselves to diagrams and visual information to make the points memorable.

The very Greek name “Eutychus” in the title may be off-putting for some readers since the name is more biblical than common. Readers must bear in mind that the author uses the Eutychus story as a metaphor since Acts 20 does not prescribe practices for serving in youth ministry. The fact that Oberdeck writes as a Lutheran makes the book most helpful to that audience, though readers from other traditions may comfortably adapt his points in view of their own doctrine and practice. Missing from the book are the usual helpful indices that allow a reader to return to favorite passages or to find needed topics. A Scripture index would likewise allow readers to access points of doctrine readily for the sake of one’s own teaching. Occasional types appear in the book.

Applying theology for the sake of reaching youth is the proper goal of youth ministry. Eutychus Youth helpfully refocuses and informs professional youth workers and volunteers who would reach that goal.

Reconstructed Medieval Songs Performed

“Songs of Consolation” was performed in its entirety for the first time in 1,000 years at Cambridge University last weekend.

CHR Comment: “Songs of Consolation,” from the Cambridge Songs collection, are based on the theological/philosophical writings of Boethius, a transitional figure from the late Roman Empire to the medieval era. Medieval thinkers valued Boethius as a Christian philosopher. However, some modern philosophers, such as Bertrand Russell, interpret his works as more Neoplatonic than Christian.

Source: Reconstructed Medieval Song Performed for the First Time in 1000 Years | Mental Floss

Abuse of Christian Girls in Pakistan

Five Christian girls have been kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam just this month, according to a human rights group that monitors ongoing abuses of religious minorities in Pakistan.

CHR Comment: The report includes other stories of persecution and abuse in Pakistan where Muslims form the majority. The Human rights groups include the Legal Evangelical Association Development and British Pakistani Christian Association.

Source: Christian Girls Kidnapped in Pakistan, Forced to Convert to Islam and Marry Captors