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June 1988


Editorial Comment

China's Intrigue

In Hudson Taylor's Day....

Why is the China Inland Mission/North America's 100th Year Celebration So Significant For Us Today?

Why Suddenly Are Many Reports On the Number of China's Christians So Drastically Subdued?

At the Center

Dividing the Church-- What is TSPM Leadership Up To?

China's Three-Self Church

Wise as Serpents, Harmless as Doves: Christians in China Tell Their Stories

Around the World

Regional Workshops Spark Cooperation!

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Around the World

edited by John Holzmann

Concerts of Prayer Multiplying
Close to 3000 people gathered at the San Diego (California) Convention and Performing Arts Center April 29th to pray for spiritual awakening and world evangelization.

Organized by the Association of Church Missions Committees Area Team in San Diego, Prayer '88 was a spin-off from a similar effort last year in Minneapolis, Minnesota in which some 5000 people participated.

Rollo Entz, Southwest Regional Representative for ACMC and coordinator of Prayer '88, said the San Diego rally spurred some pastors in the area to conduct concerts of prayer in their own churches. "Others are anxious for another city-wide concert of prayer next year," he said.

David Bryant, minister-at-large with InterVarsity Missions, leader of the Prayer '88 meeting and one of the key proponents of concerts of prayer among Christians worldwide (see his book, With Christ in Concerts of Prayer . . . ), said a group from Sacramento, California sent a delegate to the San Diego rally in order to observe what happened there. Based on the positive results of that experience, he said, "Now we're planning a city-wide rally for Sacramento!"

Entz said an evaluation meeting for Prayer '88 and an exploratory meeting for Prayer '89 is scheduled June 20th at College Avenue Baptist Church in San Diego. For further information, call (714) 989-6388. --- ACMC

WEC Targets 21 More Unreached Peoples
Spokesmen for WEC International, founded in 1913, said in its first 75 years the group penetrated 124 unreached peoples and established churches in most of them. 

WEC plans to advance into 21 more unreached peoples by the end of this decade, they said. --- WEC

Greek Evangelicals Anticipate Relaxed Restrictions
In response to a petition filed March 24 by the Greek Evangelical Alliance, Greece's General Secretary for Ministry and Religion appointed a ten-man panel to investigate complaints lodged by religious minority groups.

According to Costas Macris, director of the Pan-Hellenic Missionary Union and executive member of the Alliance, the Alliance is requesting that the government repeal dictatorial laws controlling religion passed in the late 1930s, grant evangelical Christians full privilege to choose their place of worship and communicate their faith with the freedom granted other religions, and not interfere with the operation of churches.

Macris said the Greek government is open to religious reform, but is influenced by the Greek Orthodox Church which lobbies strongly against increased religious rights for minority groups.

"We have become the official enemy organization of the Orthodox church," he said. "The government is not so much against us (as it is) strongly influenced by the (Orthodox) church to suppress (evangelical) Christianity."

The Ministry and Religion investigating committee is expected to return its findings to the General Secretary's office by June this year, at which time the Evangelical Alliance will meet with the state to discuss ways in which the current laws can be improved.

In another development, unknown saboteurs wrecked the Athens office of Every Home Crusade in May, smashing equipment used by many Greek evangelical ministries for literature production.

--- Christian Aid News Service 


FEBC Begins Ministry to Gypsies
Far East Broadcasting Company, La Mirada, California, began broadcasting to Latin American gypsies March 5th, a company spokesman said. "As God provides additional funds, we will add broadcasts to European Gypsies."

There has been a spiritual awakening among European Gypsies so that Gypsies are evangelizing other Gypsies in Spain, Holland, Belgium, Germany, and eastern Europe, but very little is being done to evangelize Gypsies elsewhere around the world.

"Only a small percentage of the 15 million Gypsies worldwide are born again," the spokesman said, "though many Gypsies are open to the Gospel when it is communicated in their own language and adapted to their culture." 

Neither of the two major Gypsy languages has a written tradition, and literacy in any language is low among Gypsies. They rely, therefore, on oral communication, radio, and other forms of mass media. TV and radio ownership is high among them. --- FEBC

Nigeria Faces Religious Polarization
The new two-party government in Nigeria threatens to polarize Christians and Muslims in a struggle for control. Christian leaders have been killed and more than 150 churches have been destroyed by Muslims struggling to make Islam the dominant religion of this West African country. 

Islamic leader Sheikh Abubakar has predicted that the two-party system will force Christians and Muslims to opposite political parties and could divide the country because Muslims will not accept Christian leadership in the government. --- WEIS

Despite Promises, Soviets Still Hold Christians Prisoner
Nearly 300 known religious prisoners remain in the Soviet Union, according to Keston College, a well-respected research group in England. Last September, Kostantin Kharchev, chairman of the Council for Religious Affairs of the USSR, said all religious prisoners would be released by November 1987.

Keston reports that the Soviet deadline has definitely not been adhered to. Beyond the prisoners known to the college, many more are suspected to be currently held for their strong faith in God. --- WEIS

Laotian Church Begun in Nashville
Missionaries to Southeast Asia have often commented on how resistant the Laotian people have been to the gospel. Since the fall of South Vietnam and the change of government in Laos and Cambodia, however, many Laotians have come to the U.S. as refugees. In recent months, the group which settled in Nashville has shown a surprising receptivity to the gospel. Reports indicate that there is now a Laotian church of more than 100 members there.

--- RHW

Evangelical College in Northern Vietnam First in 40 Years
For the first time in 40 years, the evangelical church in northern Vietnam has a college to train pastors. Presently, the youngest pastor for the 10,000 to 20,000 evangelicals in the north is 74 years old. Western church groups helped establish the new facility. --- NNI

I Love Idi Amin Author Kivengere Dies
Perhaps best known in the West for his book I Love Idi Amin, published shortly after he fled for his life from Uganda in 1977, Festo Kivengere, bishop of the Anglican Church of Uganda, died May 18 of malignant leukemia in Nairobi (Kenya) Hospital. He was one of Africa's most prominent and best-loved contemporary evangelists and had ministered in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for almost half a century.

Kivengere and several other Ugandan clergymen in 1977 registered strong protests to Amin concerning human rights abuses in their homeland. Following the presentation, Archbishop Janani Luwum was arrested and killed. Kivengere escaped across the border. He remained out of Uganda until May 1979.

By the time Kivengere returned following Amin's ouster, the country had been devastated by eight years of terror and wanton disregard for development. Immediately upon entering the country, Kivengere began to make a unique contribution to reconciliation and reconstruction.

Along with other members of the African Enterprise East African Team, of which he had been leader since 1971, Kivengere led seminars, rallies and conferences for clergy and lay leaders, teaching that love and forgiveness through Jesus Christ are the best weapons for reconstruction in a society torn by hatred.

For his stand on freedom and human rights in Africa, Kivengere received the International Freedom Prize in October 977 in Oslo, Norway. In 1979 he was awarded the St. Augustine's Cross by the Archbishop of Canterbury for his significant ministry to the Anglican community worldwide, and in 1980 he was granted the Edward W. Browning Achievement Award by the World Council of Churches for his perseverance in spreading the Gospel.

--- African Enterprise

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