$1 billion to promote Jesus

A Christian group is spending up to $US1 billion ($A1.4 billion) on a new campaign to promote Jesus Christ and the values they believe he held. The “He Gets Us” campaign, which has already started appearing online via billboards and airwaves across the United States, with the goal of presenting Jesus in a new light to Millennials and Gen Z, has now set its sights on Super Bowl advertising. The Super Bowl is the most watched television broadcast in the United States every year.

Religion News reports that this year’s Super Bowl will feature a $20 million pair of pro-Jesus ads promoting the idea that Jesus ‘gets us,’ part of the larger ‘He Gets Us’ campaign. Organisers hope to spend a billion dollars in the next three years to redeem Jesus’ “brand”.

According to Christianity Today, the funds for He Gets Us come from The Servant Christian Foundation, a non-profit backed by a Christian donor-advised fund called The Signatry.

Donor-advised funds are popular with evangelical investors who want to make large gifts without setting up their own private foundations. Wealthy clients invest with The Signatry, which will then either manage the money in an investment fund or help them find non-profits to support. So far, The Signatry has given away more than $3 billion from Christian philanthropists.

Read the full story here.

My Christian Daily

No education for girls

Since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in 2021, life for persecuted Christians in Afghanistan has become even more difficult, especially for women and girls, reports Open Doors

“Afghanistan’s Christians are on the move, trying their best to avoid detection,” says Hana, an Open Doors partner. “Now there is no safety anywhere, for anyone.”

One of the ways the Taliban has oppressed girls is by keeping schools only for boys. Many girls are very upset that they had to stop their education mid-stream,” says Hana. “They are capable and intelligent—our Christian girls and boys are compassionate, and willing to serve people.”

For Afghani refugees who fled to other countries in Central Asia when the Taliban came to power, the opportunity for education is just as limited.

“I recently met a mother whose daughter used to freely be able to go to school in Afghanistan, and now as a refugee, she can’t,” says Desiree, an Open Doors partner.

“She doesn’t have papers or any of the requirements needed in this foreign land, she doesn’t have the means. Now this young girl just stays at home. There are no opportunities for her. And they say that as long as the Taliban is in power, they will never go back [to Afghanistan].”

Open Doors

Stele confirms biblical reliability

More physical evidence demonstrating the Bible as a reliable historical document has surfaced concerning a royal Israelite House of David inscription. Using new advanced photographic techniques, the 2800-year-old Mesha Stele was recently determined to contain clear references to King David that before were highly debated.

The Mesha Stele, also known as the Moabite Stone, is one of the oldest and most remarkable artefacts connecting biblical history to the ancient world, but there have been long standing arguments over the possible misidentification of the phrase “House of David.” The area of the inscription that features David’s name is damaged and partly unreadable. Only two of the five letters were clear until now, thanks to a new method of digital photography and a re-examination of the evidence.

2 Kings 3:4-7 says: “Now Mesha king of Moab was a sheep breeder, and he had to deliver to the king of Israel 100,000 lambs and the wool of 100,000 rams. But when Ahab died, the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel. So King Jehoram [Joram] marched out of Samaria at that time and mustered all Israel. And he went and sent word to Jehoshaphat king of Judah, “The king of Moab has rebelled against me. Will you go with me to battle against Moab?” And he said, “I will go. I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.”

The Mesha Stele was discovered intact in Jordan near the Dead Sea, the biblical site of Moab, in 1868 by an Anglican missionary. The stele was erected by King Mesha of Moab at his capital city of Dibon. Archaeologists date the inscription to around 840 BC.

Unfortunately, disaster struck a year after the stele was found. Arguments over the possession of the stele led to it being smashed into several fragments by Bedouins as an act of defiance against the Ottoman authorities. When it became clear that the ownership dispute and bidding war over the stele were about to go in favor of the Ottoman Turks, the Bedouins heated the stele over a fire while pouring water on it causing the stone to explode into pieces.

Providentially, a paper mache impression had been taken off the inscription before it was broken. Using the impression, the missing portions were able to be reconstructed along with the pieces of splintered stone. The stele now sits safely in the Louvre Museum in Paris.

Exciting new technology is allowing re-examination of ancient artifacts uncovering even more information than before. This new study of the Mesha Stele helps verify that King David did indeed exist and the Bible is an accurate record of history. This is the second clear archaeological reference to the House of David from the era of Israelite monarchy. The archaeological world is generally skeptical about David – many saying he never existed as the king of a powerful Israel like the Bible describes, making this discovery so important.

Read the full report here

Patterns of Evidence