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An imprint by the prophet Isaiah himself may have created an 8th century BC seal impression discovered in First Temple remains near Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, according to a respected archaeologist at the Hebrew University, Dr Eilat Mazar.   ‘We appear to have discovered a seal impression, which may have belonged to the prophet Isaiah, in a scientific, archaeological excavation,’ said Mazar this week in a statement reported by the Times of Israel.   Mazar’s team found the minuscule clay bulla, or seal impression, during renewed excavations at the Ophel, which is located at the foot of the southern wall of [More]
“They threatened to kill me, and had God not protected me, they would have succeeded.”   The “they” in *Abdul’s story are not Islamic jihadist group Boko Haram that terrorizes Christians and churches in West Africa, fiercely attempting to eradicate Christianity. “They” are Abdul’s family.   When Abdul left his tribal religion of Islam and committed his life to Christ in 2000, his Muslim family felt and acted like he had just pointed a challenging dagger straight at them. Abdul’s family (part of the ethnic Kotoko group spread over Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria) always took pride in the fact that [More]
Growing up, I was in awe of the empty old farmhouse next door. I looked at it from the road, admiring the front porch, thinking it must have been grand years ago with fresh paint and shutters that weren’t losing louvers like loose teeth. Often, I’d get off my bike and climb the bank, up the two creaking porch steps to peek in the windows.   Once I saw a woman, dressed in a habit, walking by the old falling down outhouse in the backyard. Her veil blew in the breeze and she looked almost like a dream. I overheard [More]
I stood outside my sister’s house that cold March morning trying to understand how everything had changed. Police cars lined the driveway. An ambulance drove away and a coroner drove up.   How was this possible? We had all been together the night before eating Sunday dinner at my mom’s house. Could it really be true that my sister was dead?   “What do you think happened?” I looked at my mom, shivering. Neither of us had grabbed a coat in our urgent dash to my sister’s house on the other side of town.   Mom shrugged and shook her [More]
I watched in horror from the stair­case as the water gushed through the front door. The smell of salt water filled the air, mist hitting me in the face. I stepped off the last step into the ankle-deep flood and gasped. The level was rising. And fast.   I had to get help. I sloshed through the flood to the living room. That’s when I saw him. Sitting in the middle of the room on top of a pillow, with­out a care in the world. A baby in a white bodysuit. He was about seven months old, chewing on his [More]
Are you all right?” I said.   The middle-aged woman next to me on my flight home had been teary-eyed when we boarded, and now she was visibly crying.   I wasn’t doing great myself. My 22-year-old son had recently died of a blood clot in his brain. I was returning home to New York after clearing out his apartment in Phoenix, Arizona, where he’d only just moved—he hadn’t even had time yet to buy me a cross for my collection. I had one from every other place he ever lived. It was our ritual.   “Yes, well—” the woman [More]
I tend to get caught up in the process of life. I’m an analytical sort of person and definitely a planner. With every project, I try to anticipate any possible potholes and pitfalls. I build timelines and set expectations.   This was definitely true when our son was in the military and deployed, and I was anxious for his safety.   I truly believed that I could figure out solutions—in advance—to every possible scenario that might occur. In a lot of ways, I was packing my parachute for those life-moments when I would have to jump into the unknown. The exhaustive [More]
Pray with me that one day I’ll be able to go back to my hometown and testify to the people about my faith in the Lord.”   This is Vang Atu*’s prayer.   Vang Atu, a 28-year-old father to two kids, was the first Christian convert in his village in Vietnam (#18 on the World Watch List). He comes from the Hmong tribe and once worshipped different spirits asking for luck, wealth, good health and food; but when he surrendered his life to Jesus, he completely abandoned his animistic beliefs. As a part of the body of Christ, Vang Atu [More]
02/12/18 A new book touting “archeological discoveries that prove the Bible” has gotten a boost from some high-profile tweets in recent days. First it was former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich promoting “Etched in Stone” by Lisette Bassett-Brody to his million-plus Twitter feed. That was followed by one from Gov. Mike Huckabee who had this to say: “Think the Bible is full of nonsense? Do you have the courage to confront archeological evidence? Only if U have an open mind, check out Lisette Bassett-Brody’s new book.” Read More: High-profile tweets pushing ‘Etched in Stone’ book
As part of its most recent clampdown on Christian churches, Chinese authorities have instructed priests and pastors to post signs on churches barring entry to minors.   The instruction is part of a new set of communist party-controlled regulations on religious activities that went into effect on February 1, 2018 and is aimed at preventing children and young people from getting religious instruction or taking an active part in Christian worship.   According to a report Thursday from ucanews, the leading independent Catholic news source in Asia, authorities have begun enforcing the government ban on minors in church in several [More]
The month of January is always exciting because of how God uses the World Watch List to draw attention to the needs of persecuted Christians around the world. But this January, something new happened too.   Author and researcher Ed Stetzer invited Willow Creek Community Church to write encouraging letters to Christians facing persecution in Turkey. The letters, which Ed forwarded to be delivered by Open Doors, offered a heartwarming display of Christian unity as Chicago-area believers let Turkish Christians know “you are not alone.”   As I looked through the letters that arrived at our offices, it struck me how [More]
Nawal lives in the very real tension between finding ways to follow Christ in secret and being a wife and mother in a Muslim culture.   In Saudi Arabia (#12 on the World Watch List), the pressure on believers from family, society and government can be  suffocating, both emotionally and spiritually. Isolated from other Christians, Saudi wife and mom Nawal has gone almost completely silent, afraid to be in touch with other believers. Like all women who have converted from Islam to Christianity in countries governed by Sharia law, Nawal lives in the very real tension between finding ways to [More]
Lee Joo-Chan, now a pastor in China, grew up never knowing the “family secret.”   Lee Joo-Chan* (now in his 50s) is one of the thousands of North Koreans who grew up in a Christian family without knowing it. In this country (#1 on the 2018 World Watch List), parents can’t risk telling their children about their faith–perhaps the saddest consequence of North Korea’s high “squeeze factor.”   Some parents wait until the children are old enough, then let them in on the “family secret.” Others, like Lee’s parents, never feel that freedom.    30 Years of Secrets Revealed   “I [More]
Pinpoints of hope are popping up everywhere—God is doing amazing work in the Middle East and Open Doors is blessed to be His hands and feet.   In a hidden location in the Middle East, a group of female house church leaders has gathered in secret to grow and learn together. Lively conversation and warm smiles fill the room.   Outside this room, in a culture dominated by men, these women are forced to blend into the anonymous mass of covered heads. They must hide their faith and risk their lives. But the light of Christ can’t be stopped, and [More]
When a bomb exploded right next to Samiha at St. Peter’s Church in Cairo on December 11, 2016, everyone thought she was dead. But Samiha miraculously survived—and now testifies of Jesus’ presence throughout her recovery.   Samiha Tawfiq Awad and her husband Qalini prepared to go to church on one Sunday morning in December 2016. Qalini said he was tired, but Samiha encouraged him not to miss church.   Once at St. Peter’s, the two parted ways. Qalini went to sit in the men’s section, and Samiha took her seat in the women’s section—an early church tradition still practiced by [More]
01/31/18   Jim Caviezel, the actor who memorably portrayed Jesus in director Mel Gibson’s 2004 blockbuster The Passion of the Christ, says that Gibson is planning a sequel that will be “the biggest film in history. It’s that good.”   The Passion is already one the biggest films in history. Fourteen years on it still holds the domestic box office record for an R-rated movie ($371 million). From Gethsemane to Golgotha, The Passion told the story of the last 12 hours of Christ’s life — his arrest, trials, torture, and crucifixion. The Faithful turned out in droves despite an unprecedented [More]
Jan. 24, 2018   Only four of out 100 teenagers have a true biblical worldview, according to a new survey from the Barna Group.   The survey, “Gen Z: The Culture, Beliefs and Motivations Shaping the Next Generation,” said that teenagers who are part of Generation Z (born from 1999 to 2015) are the most non-Christian generation in U.S. history.   The survey found that more teens today identify themselves as atheist, agnostic, or not religious affiliated.   Of those surveyed, 35 percent of Generation Z teens say they are atheist, agnostic or unaffiliated in any religion. That number for [More]
There are reports that a popular Nigerian Pastor, Simput Eagles Dafup, has been arrested and whisked away to an unknown destination, by men of the Department of State Security Services, DSS, for allegedly converting a Muslim girl to a Christian, in Plateau State.   This was made known to the Press by the Executive Director, Voice of Northern Christian Movement, Pastor Kallamu Musa Ali Dikwa.   Pastor Dikwa noted that controversy trailing the alleged conversion of a Muslim girl to Christianity, if not handled maturely, could result in a different thing between Christians and Muslims in the country.   He [More]
She gave birth shackled to the floor on death row.   Mariam Ibrahim, a Sudanese Christian and mother of two, had been charged with apostasy and adultery for marrying a Christian man. As punishment for her crimes, she was to be lashed 100 times and hung by the neck until dead.   Like Ibrahim, pastors Michael Yat and Peter Yen were sentenced to death in a Sudanese prison–all for professing faith in Jesus.   Ibrahim was released in 2014, thanks to an international outcry and advocacy by Open Doors and other organizations, and the pastors were released in 2016.   [More]
Persecution against Christians continues to run very high, with Muslim youth being taught to treat believers with contempt   Throughout the Central Asian country of Pakistan (#5 on the 2018 World Watch List), persecution against Christians is rampant. Increasingly, Muslim youth are taught to treat believers with contempt and persecute Christians,  commonly regarded as an “untouchable caste.”   August 30, 2017. The day is indelibly marked into the memory of the Masih family.   It would be the last day Ilyasab and his wife would hear the voice of their 17-year-old son, Sharoon.   Read More: Killed Over a Cup [More]
Systematic persecution continues for Chinese Christians as new religious legislation approaches   As many as 50,000 Christians in China lifted their voices to the heavens at the Golden Lampstand Church in Linfen, China (#43 on the 2018 World Watch List, #WWL2018). Now, that seems like a long, long time ago.   As of Tuesday, Jan. 9, the well-known megachurch, which reportedly was built with nearly $3 million in contributions from local worshippers in one of China’s poorest regions, was a pile of dust and rubble after Chinese paramilitary forces reportedly used excavators and dynamite to destroy the church, and with it, the [More]
It’s been said that many, if not most Millennials are pro-life. But a respected Christian researcher says that’s not the case – that in fact, “we are tying our hope to a myth.”   Researcher and cultural analyst George Barna of American Culture & Faith Institute (ACFI) says his group has found a pattern indicating the pro-abortion stance is more common among those under the age of 30.   “We find that they’re less likely to believe that all human life is sacred, less likely to believe that the U.S. Constitution would recognize every human life as having value, [and] [More]
“Christians in the West have not experienced the persecution our brethren in the Middle East have as you’ll read about in this article. We should be thanking God everyday for the peace we enjoy while praying earnestly for those brethren who are not so fortunate.”  Admin   A document drafted by members of the global Christian community convening at the 3rd International Christian Forum, held in Moscow, detailed how over the past ten years the Middle East’s Christian population has shrunk by 80% and warned that unless current trends are reversed, Christianity “will vanish” from its ancient homelands in a [More]
By News Editors (Natural News) What is the source of …read more Source: Natural News     
One of the main tools Open Doors uses to track and measure the extent of persecution in the world is the World Watch List (#WWL). We have been monitoring the worldwide persecution of Christians since the 1970s. Throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s, the WWL methodology gradually evolved. In 2012, Open Doors’ research unit, World Watch Research (WWR), comprehensively revised the methodology of the WWL to provide greater credibility, transparency, objectivity and scientific quality. And in 2013 and 2016, we further refined the methodology. Each year, the World Watch List is independently audited by the only institution with academics dedicated to studying [More]
In the reporting period for the 2018 World Watch List, four trends have played a significant role in the persecution of Christians worldwide. By no means are they the only trends affecting believers globally. However, our research and reports from our on-the-ground partners and field reps in more than 60 countries indicate that these trends are the major forces influencing the persecution of Christians around the world. We identify and highlight them to provide insight into the battle the global Church is facing today.    Read More: The 4 Major Trends Influencing Global Christian Persecution – Open Doors USA
For the last six decades, North Korea (#1 on the 2018 World Watch List for the 16th year) has waged war on Christianity. The Kim dynasty (Kim Il-Sung, Kim Jong-Il and now Kim Jong-Un) has deported and even killed entire families who follow Jesus. With Kim Jong-Un as the new leader of the cruel regime, researchers and analysts expect that life may get even worse for Christians. Below, one of our reps draws from interviews with North Korean refugees, secrets letters from North Korean church leaders, research and accounts from the book Escaping from North Korea to bring us this informative [More]