Failed coup leaves Turkey's Christians on edge

 
In the aftermath of a failed military coup, Christians in Turkey are likely to face increased scrutiny and more persecution, an international security expert told Baptist Press. An estimated 50,000-60,000 people—soldiers, police, judges, prosecutors, civil servants and teachers—have been fired or detained since the July 15 coup attempt, according to news reports. The coup is widely seen as move by elements of the military opposed to the increased political influence of Islam in the constitutionally secular country. ...

Terror attack in Nice spawns prayer, questions

 
A terrorist attack yesterday (July 14) in Nice, France, that left at least 84 people dead has prompted calls for prayer as well as speculation on the role Islamic extremism may have played. International Mission Board spokeswoman Julie McGowan told Baptist Press the IMB does not discuss the location of its personnel "due to security considerations for IMB personnel and the national believers with whom they work." But McGowan noted, "However, with any breaking news event, we are in contact with anyone ...

Cuban believers make disciples in Ecuador

 
The first Cuban Baptist international missionary couple under the Western Cuba Baptist Convention's Cubans to the Nations initiative has started an evangelical Bible study in an area where there had been none. The missions theme of the convention, "Christ's disciples making disciples," has taken root in South America. About two years ago, International Mission Board missionary Johnny Maust began arranging for partnering mission teams from the U.S. to have lunch at Lupita Diner in Montalvo, Ecuador. He had befriended ...

Report details humanitarian crisis in Nigeria

 
Boko Haram violence has created a multifaceted humanitarian crisis in Nigeria that the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative (21CWI) and former Congressman Frank R. Wolf describe as the "gravest" in the world. The assessment is based on the 21CWI June report "Nigeria: Fractured and Forgotten" taken from onsite research conducted in 10 states in northern and middle Nigeria in 2016. Malnutrition, the lack of educational opportunities for nearly a million children, and what the 21CWI described as perhaps the second-largest number of internally ...

Video of kidnapped Chibok girls surfaces

 
Esther Yakubu has not seen her daughter Dorcas since Boko Haram kidnapped the girl with 275 classmates from the Chibok boarding school in Nigeria two years ago, but Yakubu professes faith that the Lord is with her child. "I know that the angel of the Lord Almighty is with you, and He will continue to be with you wherever you are," Yakubu told the international Pathfinders Justice Initiative for women. "But I would like to advise you, wherever you are, please ...

Layman weeps over needs in his native Ethiopia

 
Arkansas corporate executive Haileyesus Abate cries, he says, for the people of his native Ethiopia, a majority Christian nation where numerous tribes still worship nature as deities and have never heard the Gospel. Typical is the Mursi tribe in southwestern Ethiopia, whose men use clay and natural pigments to paint intricate, colorful patterns on their bodies to attract a bride, who likely will have had a hole punched just below her lip before puberty; the hole stretched by the insertion ...

Engaging Muslims, refugees with 'Gospel love' addressed

 
In order to fulfill the Great Commission, the church must learn how to teach and make disciples of the 1.6 million Muslims around the world, doing away with cultural fear and embracing them with Gospel love, said Southern Baptist leaders during the Great Commission Summit at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The three-day event, March 29-31, featured leading thinkers in the Southern Baptist Convention in engaging Islam and handling the refugee crisis, along with student-led prayer for Muslims around the world. With ...

Louisiana minister thankful to be alive after Brussels attack

 
A Louisiana Baptist music minister is thankful to be alive after surviving a terrorist attack March 22 at an airport in Brussels, Belgium. Jeff Slaughter, an interim music minister at First Baptist Church in Greenwood, La., told the Baptist Message he had just walked into the airport departure area to check in for his return flight to Shreveport, La., when he heard the first explosion, just 200 feet away. Moments later, a second bomb exploded. CNN reported today (March 28) the death toll ...

Pakistani Easter bombing death toll rising

 
The death toll is rising from a suicide bombing targeting Christians in a crowded park on Easter Sunday in Lahore, Pakistan, with at least 75 dead and more than 368 wounded, 138 of them critically, based on reports from Morning Star News and CNN. Already claiming responsibility for the evening attack and professing to have targeted Christians is the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar terrorist group, a splinter faction of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) that has professed allegiance to ISIS. "We claim responsibility for the attack on Christians ...

Florida Baptists minister to Syrian refugees

 
The Syrian refugee crisis happening thousands of miles away from Florida might soon come closer to home as the federal government seeks to relocate 10,000 Syrian refugees, with a couple hundred coming to the Sunshine State in 2016. There are 20 million refugees in the world, with almost 49,000 coming to Florida last year, according to data from World Relief and the Florida Department of Children and Families. About 100 of them were Syrian. This data represents a special opportunity for Florida Baptists to reach ...

Study: Churches twice as likely to fear refugees than help them

 
When it comes to helping refugees, Protestant churches and their pastors are often separated by faith and fear, according to a new survey from LifeWay Research. Most pastors say Christians should lend a hand to refugees and foreigners, and believe caring for refugees is a privilege. But pastors say their churches are twice as likely to fear refugees as they are to help them. “Pastors believe Scripture tells Christians to care for refugees and foreigners,” said Ed Stetzer, ...

Israeli ambassador: Terrorists fueled by 'hope'

 
The poison spread by militant Islam is rooted in hope among Mideast terrorists, Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer said Tuesday (Feb. 23) during Proclaim 16, the National Religious Broadcasters' International Christian Media Convention. Dermer, along with Fox News legal analyst Jeanine Pirro, voiced the warning during the convention's Media Leadership Dinner at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tenn. The "biggest mistake people make in dealing with terrorism" is to "think terrorism is a product of poverty or despair. It ...

Pastor Saeed Abedini in Germany awaiting wife's arrival

 
The wife of freed pastor Saeed Abedini is expected to meet him in Germany, according to news reports released Tuesday (Jan. 19), where his health was being assessed after his release from a three-and-a-half-year imprisonment in Iran. Naghmeh Abedini was preparing to fly to Germany for a reunion before his return to their Boise, Idaho, home, she said in a Jan. 17 telephone interview on Fox News. "We are ready to welcome him home. I'm getting ready to fly out to Germany ...

North Korea again tops Christian persecution list

 
As North Korea once again held its spot for the 14th consecutive year as the most dangerous country for Christians, religious persecution on every continent has appeared to increase, according to a new report. Open Doors released its annual World Watch List of the top 50 countries where it is most dangerous and difficult to be a Christian on Jan. 13. According to the list, Islamic extremism "continued to be the primary driving force behind the expansion of persecution, with its rise ...

American pastor Saeed Abedini released from Iranian prison

 
American pastor Saeed Abedini and three other prisoners have been released from prison in Iran, according to news reports. Abedini was detained in 2012 for organizing house churches and later sentenced to eight years in prison. The release reportedly comes as part of a prisoner swap coinciding with the Jan. 16 implementation of a nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers brokered in July 2015. The United States has released seven Iranian-Americans charged with violating sanctions, according to an Iranian news ...

Syrian refugee family sees 'joy' at Georgia Baptist church

 
When Syrian refugee Mohammad heard the choir sing at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, Ga., he remarked, "I don't know if I believe what they say, but they sure do have a lot of joy." Johnson Ferry Baptist Church Pastor Bryant Wright recalled the story as the church continues to help Mohammad, his wife, Ebtesam, and their 4-year-old son, Hasan, settle in the Atlanta area. "We thought that was significant because he hasn't seen much joy," Wright, former Southern ...

ERLC-led trip to Israel insightful for Southern Baptist pastors and leaders

 
American Christians need humility and helpful information to think biblically about modern Israel, pastors said after touring the Middle East country as part of a Southern Baptist delegation. The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission led the Nov. 9-16 tour to equip Southern Baptist pastors and leaders regarding issues in Israel and to acquaint them with the work of the entity's new international religious freedom office, which is located in the Middle East. The trip—organized and fully funded by ...

Boko Haram exceeds ISIS in terrorism deaths

 
Boko Haram has become the most deadly terrorist group in the world, killing more people in terrorist attacks in 2014 than ISIS, according to the 2015 Global Terrorism Index. The GTI attributed more than 6,644 deaths to Boko Haram in 2014, with most attacks occurring in northeastern Nigeria. ISIS killed 6,073 in terrorist attacks in the same year, according to the report. The GTI noted a 317 percent increase of terrorism deaths in Nigeria, the largest increase ever recorded by any country, where newly elected president ...

Syrian refugees: Balancing compassion and security

 
With at least 31 U.S. governors opposing the resettlement of Syrian refugees in their states following terrorist attacks in Paris, Christians have found themselves discussing the appropriate balance between security and compassion in immigration policy. Various media outlets reported at least one terrorism suspect in Paris entered Europe among a wave of migrants last month by falsely identifying himself as a Syrian refugee. Only 1,500 Syrian refugees have been accepted into the United States since 2011, CNN reported, but the Obama administration ...

In Paris, 'death, pain and terror' met by prayer and hope

 
Friday the 13th became a day of infamy in France after a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris left at least 129 people dead and 350 wounded. "This has been the worst attack in Paris since World War II," said Tara Chaney*, an International Mission Board worker in France. "People are in a state of shock and mourning; however, there is also a sense of resolve. Parisians are slowly going about their lives. They want to prove to the terrorists that ...

Boko Haram suicide bombings widespread in Nigeria

 
Weather and logistics have slowed military progress against Boko Haram in Nigeria and neighboring countries. And suicide bombings that are increasingly commonplace may well continue regardless of military progress, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari told Al Jazeera English news. "It is known that Nigeria is the main battleground, and we have agreed among ourselves to dedicate a number of troops in certain places by the end of last month [September] so that with the coming of the dry season … there ...

More Canaanite evidence found by NOBTS dig team

 
Added evidence that an ancient water system at Tel Gezer in Israel could be the product of Middle Bronze Age Canaanites living between the time of Abraham and the Israelite conquest was uncovered by New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary's archaeology team during a challenging dig season this summer. The Bible provides a tantalizing parallel to the Gezer system in the accounts of King David. In 2 Samuel 5:6-9, David's men utilized a "water shaft" to invade and conquer the fortress ...

Lottie Moon mission gifts top $153 million

 
As they plan creative new ways to reach the lost, International Mission Board and Woman's Missionary Union leaders expressed gratitude to Southern Baptists for the generous support churches gave to the 2014 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions. Finalized in early June, the 2014 Lottie Moon offering totaled $153,002,394.13—the second-highest total in the 126-year history of the offering. While it fell about $1 million short of 2013's all-time record offering of $154 million, the 2014 total surpassed the previous record, $150.4 million in 2007, by ...

IMB trustees open new pathways for service

 
Citing urgency for reaching a lost world and unity with the Baptist Faith & Message, International Mission Board trustees streamlined guidelines for appointing new personnel to fulfill their missionary calling. Trustees voted to approve the proposal during IMB's May 12-13 meeting in Louisville, Ky. In February, trustees approved a simplified structure with the goal of empowering limitless teams of missionaries to make disciples and multiply churches among unreached people, explained IMB President David Platt. Toward this end, IMB aims to ...

Vietnamese orphans' 'miracle' journey to U.S. in 1975 recounted

 
Pastor Nguyen Xuan Ha relayed the message to the children and workers of the Cam Ranh City Orphanage that the South Vietnamese army could not stop the communist juggernaut. The last Americans had been evacuated from Saigon, and North Vietnamese tanks had crashed the gates of the presidential palace. The iron curtain had descended over Vietnam. It was April 30, 1975. It was time to set sail. A once-sunken boat that Ha and some of the older orphan boys had patched up ...