Christians killed, churches burnt in India

Evangelical, Baptist, Roman Catholic and Presbyterian churches are among more than 120 Christian places of worship which have been completely destroyed or burnt in a wave of violence across the Manipur district of India.

Premier Radio has seen a list confirming the number of churches – including those which have been demolished since the violence began on May 3rd. It’s believed the total number of churches destroyed may be much higher.

The violence broke out in the north-eastern state of Manipur during a protest march. Thousands of Christian tribal people were opposing a demand by the majority Hindu non-tribal group for the constitutionally defined status of a scheduled tribe, which can bring with it access to jobs and education.

Police responded to attacks on homes and churches with several rounds of tear gas and rubber bullets. The worst violence took place in the state’s capital Imphal, where mobs ran amok attacking tribal people, their homes and churches.

A document seen by Premier from the Churachandpur District Christians’ Goodwill Council lists the churches which have been attacked by denomination.

The document shows 17 churches from the Evangelical Churches Association and the Evangelical Baptist Convention have been completely burnt down, with four partially burnt or vandalised. Eight churches from the Independent Church of India have been completely burnt along with nine churches from the Evangelical Free Church of India. 52 Presbyterian churches have also been completely burnt or demolished.

The violence has seen more than 36,000 people displaced from their homes, according to Manipur’s Chief Minister, N Biren Singh. Education minister Thounaoj am Basanta Kumar is reported as saying that 68 people have died in the violence, but local Christian organisations in Manipur put the figures much higher.

Premier Radio

Luther’s Bible a bestseller, but hardly anyone reads it

Only 4% of Germans say they read the Bible every day, according to a poll conducted by Insa-Consulere and the German Christian news agency IDEA. A full 70% say they never read it at all.

And yet in 2022—500 years after its initial publication—Martin Luther’s German translation of the Scripture was a bestseller once again. The German Bible Society (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft), based in Stuttgart, sold 130,000 copies last year.

This could, perhaps, presage a resurgence of Bible reading, but Christoph Rösel, the Bible society’s general secretary, would be surprised if that’s the case. It’s more likely, he said, that people care about the historic importance of the Bible for German language and literature. They buy it out of curiosity and respect.

“It is and will remain a classic,” he said. “Our understanding of the world and nature, our art, literature and music, our annual holidays have all been shaped by Luther’s Bible and the religious practice derived from it over the centuries.”

Just don’t ask too many questions about what that Bible says.

“People may not know it much,” Rösel explains, “beyond the parts they already have in their head.”

The German language is peppered with idioms from Luther’s translation, like “better an end with horror than a horror without end” (Ps. 73:18–19) and “growing with his pounds” (Luke 19:11–27). Every day, people use words developed by the 16th-century Reformer to express the holy text in workable, common language—vocabulary like bloodhound, baptism of fire, and heart’s content.

And the language itself owes a debt to Luther. Luther’s translation of the Bible contributed to the development of a common German written, literary, and stage language,” Jochen Birkenmeier, director and curator at the Lutherhaus (Luther House) museum in Eisenach, told the Central German Broadcasting network.

Read the full article here:

Christianity Today

Christians arrested in Libya

Six Christian Libyan nationals arrested during March and early April for apostasy (leaving Islam) and Christian proselytism (missionary work) could face the death penalty if found guilty. Videos of the detained believers ‘confessing’ to their ‘crimes’ have been posted on-line.

One believer is a 22-year-old woman who became a follower of Christ aged 15. Another believer is reported to have renounced his faith under torture; may he be comforted by the amazing grace of his Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Two US citizens arrested around the same time for alleged Christian proselytism have been released and deported to Tunisia. Meanwhile, Nigerian pastor Femi Abraham Akinboye – arrested by an Islamic militia in July 2021 while seeking a permit for the church he had established – remains detained, his fate unknown.

 Religious Liberty Commission

 – Supplied by Barney Zwartz