Dear Friends,

News Digest is back after a break for a month. While we have some encouraging news about Christians who had fled Mosul in Iraq, situation there is still grave. Amidst awe-inspiring news of standing of faith, Christians in that town had to go through a lot. Surely, their rewards in heaven will be great! While that is Iraq, it is quite disheartening to hear how pastors and Bible-believing Christians are having a tough time in the USA, a nation built under Christian principles. While some are facing jail sentences and fines for refusing to officiate gay marriages, others had to show their sermons/teachings to the City heads. Goes to show why four out of ten Americans haven’t been to a church for a long time, as per a study. This month, add the great nation of the USA to your prayer list as well.

Yet, trips to US will turn out to be exciting in about three years from now for those who love to study the Word by seeing and observing. A Noah’s Ark theme park and a Museum of the Bible are all set to be open by then, if the Lord wills.

Christians of Mosul Find Haven in Jordan

jordanAbout 4000 Christians from the city of Mosul in Iraq have found asylum in Jordan. These Iraqi Christians had fled their hometown after Islamic State (ISIS) had captured the city in June leaving them to choose between conversion, paying a tax and getting killed. Their flight is part of a larger exodus of Christians leaving those Arab lands where religious intolerance is on the rise, a trend that has caused concern among Christians outside the region. When fighters from the Islamic State stormed into Mosul, the Jordanian government threw open the country to Iraq’s Christians despite rising tensions in Jordan over waves of Syrian refugees whose presence has increasingly burdened ill-prepared communities. Click here to read more on this.

Pastors Face Jail, Thousands in Fines for Refusing to Officiate Gay Weddings

Two ordained Christian pastors in Idaho have filed a federal lawsuit and a motion for temporarily restraining Coeur d’Alene city officials from forcing them to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies or face prosecution for violating “non-discrimination” laws. Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed the lawsuit and the motion on behalf of Donald Knapp and his wife, Evelyn, who run Hitching Post Wedding Chapel and have been required by city officials to perform gay ceremonies or face months in jail and/or thousands of dollars in fines. Excerpt from this link.

Pastor Escapes from Boko Haram After 10 Months in Captivity

A pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God who was kidnapped 10 months ago escaped from Boko Haram militants in Borno, Nigeria, in early October. Pastor Rotimi Obajimi, who served as a pastor in the rural area of Borno/Yobe province, was on his to Maiduguri on January 6th this year when Boko Haram militants abducted him. According to a pastor in Redeem church in Maiduguri told SaharaReporters that they were surprised to see Mr. Obajimi emerge from nowhere, he said, “we were so amazed to see him because we have been praying earnestly for long time trusting Jesus that he would surely come back but lo and behold he was brought to our headquarters in Maiduguri by the military.” Read more about this Apostle Peteresque story here.

Chinese Pastor Arrested During Government Crackdown ‘Grateful to God’ for Jail Opportunity

Huang-YiziForty-year-old Chinese Pastor Huang Yizi, who was arrested by the government and faces upto seven seven years in prison for speaking out against the government’s demolitions of churches, said that he is “grateful” to God for giving him the opportunity to go to jail. He was detained in early August and formally arrested at the end of that month for allegedly “gathering crowds to disturb social order” – a charge often used to silence government critics and which carries a maximum sentence of seven years in prison. More on this story in this link.

Former Arkansas Governor Asks Pastors Across the US to Send Sermons, Bibles to Houston Mayor

mike-huckabeeAfter the Houston City Attorney’s attempt to subpoena the sermons and correspondence of five pastors through an ordinance, allegedly with the knowledge of the openly gay Houston Mayor Annise D. Parker, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee said pastors from across the United States should send “thousands and thousands” of Bibles and sermons to the Houston mayor. More on this story in this link.

Four in 10 Americans Are ‘Churchless’

EmptyChurchReligion researcher David Kinnaman calculates that roughly four in 10 people living in the continental United States are actually “churchless.” By his count, roughly four in 10 people living in the continental United States are actually “post-Christian” and “essentially secular in belief and practice.” If asked, the “churchless” would likely check the “Christian” box on a survey, even though they may not have darkened the door of a church in years. Click here for more on this.

Noah’s Ark Theme Park Will Hire Bible-Believing Employees

Ark-Encounter-modelThe developer of a Noah’s Ark-based theme park in Kentucky said that he would fight for his religious rights after state officials warned he could lose millions in potential tax credits if he hires only people who believe in the biblical flood. Ark Encounter, which is slated to open in 2016 in Williamston, Kentucky, is not hiring anyone yet, but its parent company, Answers in Genesis, asks employees to sign a faith statement including a belief in creationism and the flood. From this link.

‘Museum of the Bible’ All Set To Be Open in 2017

WASHINGTON (RNS) Museum of the Bible is on track to be completed and open to the public by fall 2017. The museum is the brainchild of Steve Green, who is also funding the project. The new museum will feature standing exhibits on the history and impact of the Bible as well as interactive features to bring viewers into Bible stories and characters. More on this interesting news in this link.