News Briefs for March, 2002

Content Author: 
Reagan, David
  • The largest church in Africa is a Pentecostal church in Nigeria called the Winner’s Church.  It is located on a 565 acre campus called Canaan Land with a hotel, gas station, bank, restaurants and shops as well as a church auditorium that has seating for 50,000 people.  The church is modeled after the work of Kenneth Hagin of Tulsa, Oklahoma.  The church is built on promising members financial success in a country where a third of the people live on less than $1 a day.  At a tollgate into the church, hawkers sell white handkerchiefs for 15 cents to be waved during the service and donation envelopes for one penny.At the similar Household of God church in Lagos, the Rev. Okotie shows off his new Mercedes-Benz.  He said that the drums, electric guitars and dancing at Pentecostal churches allowed for a closer connection to God by focusing on the outpouring of emotions.  “It’s like being at a party.” Information and some wording taken from The New York Times, Wednesday, March 13, 2002 – “Africans Fill Churches That Celebrate Wealth.”
  • “A month after the September 11 tragedy, a Muslim cleric, Fisal Hammouda, shared Hybel’s pulpit [Bill Hybels’s of Willow Creek Community Church] for a discussion about Islam.  The imam and pastor discussed strong ties between Christianity and Islam and the congregation was impressed.  They learned…that jihad, more often than not was an individual “holy war” to overcome personal weaknesses such as a sweet tooth…Hybels was concerned that there ‘are some Christians spreading rumors and half-truths that the Qur’an encourages violence.’  …Hammouda claimed that Muslims ‘believe in Jesus, more than [Christians] do in fact.’” Robert Schuller has personally preached in the mosque of the Grand Mufti in Damascus and has allowed the Islamic leader’s son to preach in his own pulpit. Taken from The Berean Call, March 2002, “Where’s Your Head…and Your Heart” by T. A. McMahon.
  • Religious book sales were up by 4.7% in 2001 but Bible sales were down by 2.6%.  You should see the kinds of books people are buying.  The number one fiction book (out of all books as per Publishers Weekly) for last year was Desecration by Tim Lahaye in the Left Behind Series.  The number one non-fiction book was The Prayer of Jabez by Wilkinson.  Oh, how we need to get some good material out!  This is the first time in 100 years that religious books topped both categories.  People are looking but what are they getting?
  • From a Public School Literature Book printed in 1914 about Thanksgiving:  “The first autumn that the Pilgrims lived at Plymouth there was a fine crop.  They were so glad, and so thankful to God for taking care of them…And now every year the President and the governors…set apart this day…that we may thank God for his blessings to us…You will find here a Thanksgiving song from the Bible—the One Hundredth Psalm—which has been used for many hundreds of years, when people want to show their thankfulness to God.”  [They then quote the 100th Psalm.  In the copy I have, some early student has written above the psalm in pencil, “learn.”
  • In the year 1858, Hudson Taylor’s mission in China was beginning to reach some of the Chinese people with the gospel.  There was Neng-kuei the basket-maker, Wang the farmer and Tsui the teacher.  One evening, a Mr. Ni passed by the open door where the bell was being rung to announce the time for Bible services to begin.  Mr. Ni had never heard the gospel, but he had searched all his life for the truth.  He had studied Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism and had found no rest.  He stepped in to hear the religious message. As he listened to the message taken from John 3:14-17 about how Christ became sin for all, he understood many things for the first time.  At the close of the service, he arose and announced that he had finally found the peace he had long sought for and that from henceforth he would be a believer in Jesus. He proved true to his word and became one of the most faithful workers in the mission.  One day, he asked Hudson Taylor, “How long have you had the Glad Tidings in your country?”  The missionary reluctantly told him, “Some hundreds of years.”  “What!” replied Mr. Ni, “My father sought the Truth and died without finding it.  Oh, why did you not come sooner?” Adapted from Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret by Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor.
  • Did you know that a century ago, Chinese men wore their hair in long pigtails as a sign of submission to the Chinese emperor?  If they cut them off, it was an act of rebellion against the state.
  • “Death of the martyr for the unification of all the people in the cause of God and his word is the happiest, best, easiest and most virtuous of deaths.” –from the medieval scholar Taqi al-Din ibn Taimiya, who is often cited by bin Laden
  • Westminster Abbey in London, England, has a room called the Jerusalem Chamber.  Its name comes from the Holy Land tapestries which hung in it when it was first built in the 14th century.  This room was the scene of the translation of the King James Bible in 1611.
  • Fifty-four years after the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in the caves above Qumran, the complete text of the scrolls has finally been published.  Despite many claims to the contrary, nothing has been found that changed the authority of the Bible in any way—Old Testament or New Testament.
  • All across America, the game of dodgeball is being banned from public schools.  According to the critics, dodgeball is much too individualistic and its entire purpose is to eliminate other players.  A representative of Canadian Safe School Network said, “It’s a form of legalized bullying.”  Personally, I remember dodgeball with great satisfaction.  I was not good in any sport, usually being the last or next-to-the-last one to be chosen for teams.  Even in dodgeball, my throw was not strong or accurate.  However, I found that by spending the first few minutes of the game concentrating on dodging, I could often be one of the last players in the game.  Then, I would get the balls and throw them the best I could.  I was often able to take one or two others out before I was hit.  Sometimes I made it to the last.  I think in dodgeball I began to learn that if you concentrated on your strengths and could stay with something long enough, you could still come out in the long run.  I mourn the loss of this institution in our schools—one more politically correct nail in the coffin of public education.   –David Reagan
  • American pollsters are surprised at the magnitude of the spike in religious interest following the attack of September 11th.  Shortly after the attack, three-fourths of Americans thought the influence of religion was increasing.  But now, 52% think religion’s influence is decreasing.  Pollster Andrew Kohut says, “I’ve never seen such a dramatic change disappear so quickly.”
  • From The Islamic Invasion by Robert Morey – “There are now more Arab Muslims in England than there are Methodists!  There are even more Muslims than there are evangelical Christians…Muslims are buying abandoned Anglican churches and turning them into mosques at such a rate that some Muslims claim that England will be the first Muslim European country.”  Question:  We have such trouble getting missionaries into Islamic countries.  Could we not profitably send them to the Muslims in England and other countries where a certain level of freedom gives us the right to witness to them?
David Reagan
Daily Proverb

Proverbs 16:31

The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.