in this issue July/August 2001, Vol. 5 No. 4
- People Profile
- Agency Profile
- Resource Reviews
- News and Needs
- Web Site Review
New World Orders Always Advance the Plans of GodFew phrases used by politicians and preachers to draw audiences kindle more anxiety and enthusiasm than the "New World Order." Of course, the world is always changing, and yet, does it ever really change? When, I wonder, is the present order not new? When is yesterday's order not old?
by Bruce Sidebotham
Kings and kingdoms rise and fall, but God's sovereignty over them never changes. His plan for each world order never waivers. He says, "I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, 'My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure'" (Isaiah 46:9-10 NASB).
The "New World Order" is not really new. It is as old as the mind of God who is establishing his eternal purpose through it. To understand any world order, whether in the present or in the past, we must understand, therefore, the purpose of God.
Gazing at the world order of his day, King David asked, "Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain?" He observed, "The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One." Then David noted the Lord scoffing at the world's leaders, and he proclaimed God's decree that all the nations would come under the dominion of God's son. (Psalm 2 NIV). Claiming to know the "mystery of his will," Paul declares that all things in heaven and earth will have reached fulfillment when they are under the headship of Christ (Ephesians 1:9-10).
The backwards running clock of a space shuttle countdown illustrates how even the smallest preparations must be carefully sequenced in order to launch at the ordained time. Since God has already ordained that heaven will hold people of every language, tribe, and nation (Revelation 7:9), current events and world orders must be achieving this result.
Throughout the twentieth century kings and kingdoms have been raised up and cast down with record frequency. World wars ended, national boundaries were determined, Israel was established, and Communism was defeated. Through it all, the United States military played a decisive role. In the world's geopolitical landscape few features rise up more prominently than the United States armed forces.
If the rise and fall of nations plays into the eternal purposes of God, then military men have always been especially significant. Militaries of the world are invariably at the leading edge of inter-cultural relations. If professional exposure to some of the neediest parts of the world creates ministry opportunities, then no segment of the American church is more strategically positioned for cross-cultural impact than Christians who are in the U.S. military. Churches and ministries must equip their military men and women to maximize the potential of their inter-cultural exposure.
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Egypt and the Persian Gulf
from an Operation Reveille Area StudySituation Summary
The lands of Bright Star and Desert Shield exhibit high contrast and rapid change. Wealth and poverty dwell together in modern cities while Bedouins roam the desert as they have for thousands of years.
Once united into the world's dominant empire, Middle Eastern peoples are now divided from natural resources and each other by ancient rivalries and supervised national boundaries. Oil money, population pressures, and feelings of resentment are fueling the activity of radicals while inferiority and instability create unprecedented opportunities for the gospel.
Although the cost of following Jesus is high, allegiance to him in many minority communities remains steadfast, and the loyalty of many Muslims is switching.
Saudi Arabia is immune to international opinion. It boasts a quarter of the world's oil and the world's worst religious persecution. Converting from the state religion results in execution. Public and private lives are tightly controlled. Islam's holiest properties must not be defiled. Religious police (muttawa) harass, arrest, imprison, and sometimes deport expatriates who practice other faiths too seriously. Few expatriate Christians have meaningful contact with Saudis, but the number of secret believers in Jesus is increasing.
Kuwait is a wasteland blooming on oil. Sixty percent of its people are immigrant workers. Although religious freedom for citizens is legally guaranteed, any who adhere to non- Muslim faith publicly may have to flee for their lives. Expatriates run two Catholic churches and five Protestant churches. The National Evangelical Church sponsors at least twenty-five ethnic fellowships and holds worship in English, Arabic, Urdu, and Malayali.
Bahrain takes the concept of "off-shore investing" into the realms of publishing and entertainment. Visitors returning to Saudi across the causeway expect to be searched for videos, magazines, and Bibles. Besides providing a haven for various carnal activities, these oil producing islands host the well respected American Mission Hospital, a busy Christian bookstore, and a congregation of evangelical Arabs, as well as many expatriate Christian communities.
Qatar is seventy percent immigrant workers. The oil rich absolute monarchy regulates non-Muslim religions closely. There is an Anglican church, and expatriate believers may fellowship in private homes.
The United Arab Emirates flourishes on oil and immigrant workers who comprise seventy-five percent of the population. Prosperity has made the indigenous Gulf Arabs more cosmopolitan and open to new ideas, but it has also agitated radical fundamentalism. Expatriate Christians worship in English, Arabic, Urdu, Filipino and Indian languages and have considerable freedom. Two Christian organizations have medical ministries.
Oman also has oil and many expatriate workers who are free to worship as they choose. The first Protestant missionary to Muslims, Samuel Zwemer, began his work here in 1890. His heritage of hospitals and clinics with missionary workers continues under the government health service and the Reformed Church of America.
Yemen has no oil, few expatriates, and very few Christians. The whole country of sixteen million has only two churches. One is Catholic, and one is Protestant. These are expressly for expatriates in the capital city. Refugees from wars just across the Red Sea present a challenge. Friction continues between fundamentalist and moderate factions of the once divided north and south. Striking scenery of arid deserts contrasting with lush mountains seems appropriate in a land of beautiful hospitable people living in squalor amidst civil unrest.
Egypt has more Christians in its population of over sixty million than each of the oil rich Gulf states has people. Protestants and Catholics number hundreds of thousands and Orthodox Copts exceed many million. Bibles, tracts, tapes and videos are freely bought and sold, but Christians in Egypt face heavy discrimination. Theirs is a quaint superstition that belongs on the reservation as a tourist attraction. Public demonstrations of vitality are severely persecuted. For their presence and tenacity, Egyptian Christians are begrudged and hated by many.
Jordan hosts the Arab world's only evangelical seminary. Students from all the neighboring countries attend. Most Christians in Jordan are Arabs. They occupy all walks of life, including many respected and powerful positions. Jordan's constitution guarantees freedom from discrimination. It also forbids conversion out of Islam. Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox Jordanians minister to their own, convert one another, and try to avoid unsettling the Muslim majority.
Iraq was the first Arab country to show the JESUS film on national TV. Its national newspaper printed devotionals from the "Daily Bread" every day of 1999. The "secular" government forbids converting Muslims, but protects freedom for Christians to worship in fourteen recognized denominations. Some of churches use liturgies in the same Aramaic dialect spoken by Jesus. Political oppression and economic sanctions inflict more misery than religious persecution. Freedom of expression and association is curtailed so that home Bible Studies are not allowed. Iraq's wealthiest third of Christians have fled the country's depressing poverty.
Resouce Contact Information
Resource Contact Information Resource Phone Number Web Site / Address Mid-Eastern language JESUS Videos 1-800-560-8713 www.jesusfilm.org Mid-Eastern Language Audio Tapes: 1-760-745-8105 www.gospelcom.net/asi Mid-East Language Gospel Radio:
World by 2000 Database
Mid-Eastern Language Scriptures:
International Bible Society
American Bible Society
Scripture Gift Mission
Mid-East Language Christian Books:
Ministry Tools & Info 1-303-730-4170 www.calebproject.org Bible Correspondence Courses in Arabic
and other On-Line tools
Agency Contact Information
Agency Contact Information Agency Phone Number Web Site Arab World Ministry 1-800-447-3566 www.awm.org Christar 1-800-755-7955 www.christar.org Christian Aid Mission 1-800-977-5650 www.christianaid.org Frontiers 1-800-GO-2-THEM www.frontiers.org InterServe
SBC - IMB
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FrontiersIn the 1980s people preaching the gospel to Muslims were literally one in a million. Thanks partly to Frontiers, that statistic is changing.
Takes the Gospel to Muslims
Frontiers focuses exclusively on church planting among Muslims. Because missionaries are not accepted in most Muslim majority communities, Frontiers' workers gain access through alternative roles in fields like business, teaching, medicine, and tourism.
To minimize isolation and culture shock, Frontiers always sends their workers out in teams.
Frontiers also works hard to cultivate a non-judgmental ethos of grace that will facilitate cooperation among people from a wide variety of racial and theological backgrounds. Leaders and workers come from many countries.
State of the art secure communications technology as well as traveling "coaches" and regional conferences facilitate communication and support a far-flung network of teams and supporters.
Frontiers contends that Muslims are not resistant, but rather just neglected.
Recent research comparing evangelism costs with new baptisms confirms this contention. It seems Muslims isolate themselves from the gospel because they know that they are vulnerable to it. Researchers found, for example, that people in Afghanistan, which is ruled by hard-line fundamentalists, are more responsive to the gospel than people in Argentina where a revival has been running for several years.
With creative approaches, patient sowing, and Christ-like living, Frontiers has seen more Muslims start following Jesus in the last twenty years than anyone has seen in the last thousand.
For more information, contact:
P.O. Box 31177, Mesa, AZ 85275
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Consultation on Ministry to Refugees to be Held in TurkeyIn Izmir, Turkey, from November 15 to 18 the World Evangelical Fellowship will host the first ever international consultation on ways to help refugees.
Participants drawn from the world's evangelical community will look at ways to identify organizations and improve relations between those working along routes of air, land, and sea taken by people displaced by war, disaster or persecution. These routes are called "refugee highways."
These highways of overwhelming need present faith-stretching ministry opportunities. Refugee highways are primarily traveled by people from countries where Christian work is restricted.
In addition to meeting physical needs, the church of Jesus Christ provides spiritual nurture and is uniquely positioned along the "highway" to offer such help.
Organizers hope the event will be the first step in forming of an international network of refugee ministries. Such a network would allow Christians to share information, distribute effort, and conduct effective public relations.
In 1999, refugees numbered over 22 million. Including those internally displaced and living as refugees in their own countries, the number was over 52 million.
To receive an application for the Refugee Highway Consultation please contact:
Refugee Highway Consultation Coordinator
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Voice of the MartyrsThe Evangelical Press Association awarded the Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) the Award of Excellence for the best newsletter published in the year 2000.
FREE Newsletter Wins Award
VOM encourages and empowers Christians in areas of the world where they are persecuted. They provide discipleship tools and give relief to families of martyrs. They help persecuted Christians to be a good witness to their persecutors. They help Christians who have suffered to rebuild their lives, and through tools like their newsletter they help us to pray for and fellowship with our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ.
The VOM newsletter is called Voice of the Martyrs. It is published monthly, and it is FREE.
To subscribe or help VOM's ministry contact:
The Voice of the Martyrs
P.O. Box 443, Bartlesville, OK 74005
web site: www.persecution.com
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Booklet Series Inspires Ways for On-Site PrayerPrompts for Prayer Walkers: Ways to Pray for Your World
This booklet introduces the concept of on-site praying. It provides Scripture portions and "street tested" insights for novices and veterans alike.What Would Jesus Pray? Ways to Pray Like Jesus
This guide suggests relevant ways to pray which arise directly from Jesus' example.Open My City: Ways to Pray for My Neighbors
This pamphlet teaches seven Biblical themes to help you pray open lives that seem closed to Jesus.Light from My House: Ways to Pray for God's Light to Shine
This tool presents freshly-worded, focused prayers around the theme of God's light to ignite prayer meetings with the light of hope for others.
Booklets are available for $2 each from:
P.O. Box 203131, Austin, TX 78720-3131
web site: www.waymakers.org
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Book on Prophets for Middle Eastern SeekersThe book All that the Prophets Have Spoken teaches the way Jesus did on the road to Emmaus.
Beginning from the Torah, it leads readers through the Scriptures of the prophets sequentially and sensitively so they can see for themselves who Jesus really is and why he had to die on the cross. The book concludes by asking its readers if they believe the message of the prophets.
This is a great gift for people who believe in the prophets but don't know what the prophets have said.
Arabic, French, Albanian, and Turkish translations will be available soon.
P.O. Box 2890, Hayden, ID 83835
web site: www.goodseed.com/books.html
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Sudan Video DocumentsMaybe it's because the victims are black. Maybe it's because they are mostly Christians. Maybe it's because the perpetrators are Muslims. Maybe it's because of economic dependence on Middle Eastern oil. Maybe it's to reveal hypocrisy in Western rhetoric on human rights.
The Bloodiest Fight for Freedom on the Planet
Black African Christians in Sudan are actually being crucified and sold into slavery. Statistics for displacement and loss of life from Rawanda, Bosnia, Somalia, and Kosovo pale in comparison even when they are all combined. Western press, governments, and all of the organizations which traditionally lobby for human rights have been almost completely silent.
Now, into the vacuum, Jeremiah Films presents, SUDAN: The Hidden Holocaust.
This documentary goes to the front lines and behind both lines to expose the roles of resurgent slave trade, international terrorism, radical Islam, and United Nations complicity.
Incredible testimonies present a picture of courageous faith and hope amidst relentless persecution.
Unforgettable and inspiring, this video will galvanize commitment to faith and freedom.
Videos are available from:
In Touch Mission International
2115 E. Cedar St, Ste. 1, Tempe, AZ 85281
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Christian Aid Helps Macedonian Refugees through a Local Ministryfrom Christian Aid Mission's weekly e-mail "Insider Report" for July 10, 2001
news and needs
Making an emergency trip to this Balkan country, Mike "Xtreme Mike" Clinton, Christian Aid's director for Eastern Europe, delivered funds to a local ministry that helps feed refugees fleeing the ongoing violence.
"We took several vans and trucks and started going to some of the forgotten places where the people were in the greatest need," reports Clinton. "One woman that we brought food to had just given birth less than a week ago! She was crying as she shared how (she and her family) were given two hours to leave their home or be killed." Members of a rebel army later destroyed the home.
"I looked at so many cute, smiling faces of children who have lost their parents in this war or who are now living just above the level of animals," Clinton says. "These children have little hope. Yet, through (this) ministry, they are getting some of their physical needs met, as well as learning about Jesus in the process."
Working with Sasha, the leader of the local ministry, Clinton and other Christians distributed dozens of New Testaments - along with the food - to people searching for answers amid the violence. The people proved to be spiritually as well as physically hungry.
"In almost every instance, people asked for more (New Testaments) to give their friends," he says. "God is truly working here."
A day earlier, after arriving in Skopje from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Clinton met two local men, Goran and Alex. Alex shared that his cousin was the very first Macedonian soldier killed in the current conflict. His cousin was married with a year-and-a-half old baby. He went on to say that when he sees this little baby, he almost always cries as he thinks of his cousin.
He said, "How can you tell a little child that his daddy is not ever coming home again, that he was murdered? How?"
"I didn't have an answer for him, but I did share where there is hope to be found."
Since both men were Orthodox, they said they believed in Jesus but had never heard about having such an intimate relationship with Him. Clinton and the men agreed to get together again so he could share more about Jesus with them.
The Macedonian people have been terrorized by the violence for the past four months. Following in the wake of fighting in neighboring Balkan nations, war has broken out here as well. This fighting, however, is not ethnically related, according to those Clinton has been talking with. "Many people shared with me that this conflict in Macedonia is not an ethnic struggle as many in the West are saying," reports Clinton. "It is not a war between Macedonians and Albanians. There have been Albanians living in peace in Macedonia for hundreds of years. This war is the result of a handful of terrorists getting together, taking in money through drug and prostitution rings, and forcing people to give their sons for fighting."
A NATO-brokered ceasefire agreed upon July 5th appeared to be holding despite occasional clashes between government forces and rebels. In the hours leading up to the ceasefire deadline, heavy fighting had been reported in Tetovo, a city about twenty miles west of Clinton's location, with eleven people injured, five seriously. The violence quieted soon after the midnight deadline.
Macedonia has just over two million people, two-thirds of whom are Macedonian. Albanians account for twenty-two percent; Turks, four percent; Roma (Gypsies), Serbs, and others, about two percent each. About sixty-seven percent of the people are Macedonian Orthodox, followed by Muslims with thirty percent.
copyright, Christian Aid Mission
P.O. Box 9037, Charlottesville, VA 22906
Subscribe to the "Insider Report" by e-mailing:
or on the web site at
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China Government is Paranoid of Undercover ChristiansJesus' first family trip was taken at night to avoid Herod's murderous campaign against a potential challenge to his throne.
news and needs
Even though Chinese Christians thoroughly avoid political activity (as did Jesus' family), fear that church growth threatens Communist Party survival persists. Under interrogation a Christian was told, "The more that people believe in Jesus, the sooner 'Red China' will have to change."
Eighty-two year old church leader Moses Xie clarifies that the government fears what it cannot control. Consequently, all religious groups must register through parent bodies (like the Three-Self* Patriotic Movement or the Catholic Patriotic Association) with the Bureau of Religious Affairs.
Unregistered churches are considered cults, and registration is thoroughly enforced. Last year, over four-hundred unregistered meeting places were destroyed. Participants are frequently arrested, beaten, and fined. Some die from their injuries.
So why are Christians in independent churches three times the number in registered ones? Registration puts pastoral staff, finances, and all activities under the supervision of theologically liberal parent bodies and under ultimate control of the atheistic Bureau of Religious Affairs. Party control of religious bodies parallels its control of "dummy" trade unions and "puppet" democratic parties. Charges against those who participate in unregistered religious activities include "disturbing public order" and "disrupting social stability."
With so many unregistered Christians and with publishing limited to what supports those in registered fellowships, there is an acute shortage of reference books and commentaries needed to guard against heresy. Some books are printed and hand sewn secretly in caves.
A cruel and paranoid tyrant, Herod gave volatile Palestine the peace, order, and economic progress within which God timed his incarnation. In China, Jesus gets ten to twenty thousand new followers every day. No world order, however tyrannical and paranoid, frustrates the power of God.
* The three selves are "self supporting, self governing, and self propagating." They underscore intent to be independent of foreigners.
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Evangelical Seminary in Jordan Faces ChallengeTwo years after Jordan Evangelical Seminary (JETS) was ordered to re-register under the Council of Higher Education, the institution's accreditation remains unresolved.
news and needs
by Barbara G. Baker, correspondent for Compass Direct
"The council has said 'no' to registering us as a seminary, with religion as our only discipline," seminary president Dr. Imad Shehadeh confirmed in May. "But they haven't answered us yet on our application to become a university, with several disciplines."
Registered as an educational institution under the Ministry of Culture since 1995, the seminary ran into snags with security officials three years later over applications to purchase land and build a new campus.
Although the purchase permissions were finally granted in 1999, JETS was promptly informed that its authorization to obtain residence visas for non-Jordanian faculty, students and staff had been revoked. To regain that permission, the seminary was instructed to re-apply for registration under the Council of Higher Education.
In this process, Shehadeh said, "We were asked to establish several other schools alongside the school of theology, to become a university. The government said this would make our image in the community more acceptable, and would protect national security."
Accordingly, the seminary is proposing to form colleges of Theology, Music, Historical Geography, and Social Sciences under the name of Jordan Manara ("lighthouse") University.
Government officials expect to approve appointments of the faculty and president, and select the university's board of directors. Like state universities, the seminary would also be required to conduct classes on Sunday.
"If it weren't for the issue of issuing degrees and obtaining visas," Shehadeh said, "JETS would be content to continue functioning under its current registration." Unfortunately, he said, the visa restrictions limit expatriate students to mostly Syrians, Iraqis and Egyptians. Although initially accepting converts from Islam, the school must now promise not to enroll Muslim students.
Under the current registration, this is the last academic year for Sudanese students, 20 of whom are now completing their studies. Due to visa restrictions, Sudanese citizens can only obtain a one-month, non-renewable visa to Jordan. Those finishing this school year will be fined more than $2 per day by Immigration for overstaying.
JETS is jointly supported by the Baptist, Christian and Missionary Alliance, Free Evangelical, Assemblies of God, and Nazarene churches in Jordan. It has around 150 students. For the past six years the seminary has enjoyed "complete freedom from any government control on our curriculum or our choice of administrators and faculty," Shehadeh said.
"The only other option would be for JETS to obtain a special educational registration by royal decree," Shehadeh noted. Several other institutions in Jordan were established in this manner under the late King Hussein, recognizing them as academic, degree-granting institutions entitled to local accreditation and residence visas for faculty and students from abroad.
Meanwhile, as the registration debate remains in limbo, plans to break ground this summer and begin building the new seminary campus remain on hold, Shehadeh said.
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web site reviewPhase one of the Joshua Project II web site is open for business.
Data Base on Unreached People Groups at:
The Joshua Project II team is a group of four former AD2000 and Beyond Movement staff who are committed to "highlighting the least reached peoples of the world through information sharing and networking." Following are some things that you can do at the web site.
- Explore the new Joshua Project comprehensive list of 16,300 people groups. View people group lists for every country of the world. Discover which small country has over 900 people groups and which large one has only 7.
- View the current status of the original Joshua Project unreached peoples list. View or download various parts of the original data and view profiles of the people groups.
- Read about the Joshua Project initiative and why there are various total people group counts. Compare various people group lists, and see the timelines of their development.
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The Reveille Shofar
Volume 5, Number 4 - July/August 2001
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