SAEED ABEDINI'S MOTHER FLEES IRAN
ChristianityToday.com, 11/3/14, “Pastor Saeed Abedini’s mother flees Iran after repeated threats” [Excerpts]: The mother of imprisoned pastor Saeed Abedini has fled Iran following repeated threats to her life, her daughter-in-law reported last week.
Abedini’s mother and two of his siblings escaped Iran on Friday, and are awaiting transport to the United States. Abedini’s wife, Naghmeh, said that her mother-in-law is heartbroken to leave Saeed behind, but had no choice.
“Saeed’s mum has been under constant threat and intimidation by the Iranian government as she has been following up on Saeed’s case (clemency, hospital....) and now she is forced to leave Iran because of it and threat of being arrested,” Naghmeh wrote on Facebook. “The government (magistrate) has now said that clemency is no longer an option and they will not allow Saeed to be treated at the hospital.”
Naghmeh said she remains hopeful and prayerful. “I know that God is in control and only Jesus (no government) will get all of the Glory for Saeed’s release,” she told over 38,000 Facebook supporters.
"BEER AND HYMNS SUNDAY" WITH THREE-BEER LIMIT
ChristianHeadlines.com, 10/30/14, “Oklahoma Church Organizes “Beer and Hymns Sunday” with Three-Beer Limit” [Excerpts]: A Tulsa church has caused controversy for allowing congregants to drink alcohol on the premises. Sunday, Oct. 26, East Side Christian Church featured “Beer and Hymns Sunday” as part of a series about the future of the Christian church around the world... The church maintains there is a three-beer limit and ID’s are checked at the door.
“Everybody’s welcome. No questions are banned. No holds barred,” Michael Riggs, senior pastor at First Christian Church of Downtown Tulsa, told Fox23.com. “Just come and respect each other’s opinions, and just have a good honest conversation about God while having a few beers at the same time.”
East Side Christian Church is affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) denomination. The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) 2014 Yearbook reports a 35 percent [decrease] in total membership over the past decade.
[Charisma news editor] Jennifer LeClaire...questions whether slamming down a few brews is the way to solve the ills of the Church. “Are beer-based outreaches really edifying in the end?,” LeClaire wrote. “If we compromise the purity and holiness of the Christian faith to win souls, are we really leading them into a true salvation after the bottle of beer is empty? Or are we merely compromising the gospel in the name of soul-winning without fruit that remains?”
DID GOD MAKE THE EBOLA VIRUS?
ICR.org, 10/29/14, “Did God Make the Ebola Virus?” [Excerpts]: When this article was written, the number of West Africans who contract the deadly Ebola virus was doubling about every three and a half weeks, making it the worst outbreak of the disease since the first recorded occurrence in 1976. Where did this virus come from?
Oddly enough it may have been transferred to humans from bats. Three species of West African fruit bats showed no symptoms when researchers infected them with Ebola virus. Out of 1,030 animals—including birds, small mammals, and 679 bats—members of three bat species showed signs that they are the “reservoirs of Ebola virus.”
Like bird or swine flu viruses, which cause no symptoms in the chickens or pigs from which they emerge, Ebola viruses appear to have become harmful when transferred to other animals and man. Like many currently pathogenic microbes and viruses, the original Ebola may have possessed a function that was actually helpful. But now, in the post-Fall world, it has become pathogenic. It’s rather like Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel’s invention of dynamite, which he intended for mining and construction, but that others readily repurposed for war.
Alternatively, Ebola may represent a degraded version of a virus that has no pathogenicity. Or Ebola may have been designed to exist in bats and not in humans, but a barrier to transmission between hosts in the pre-Fall world has since been lost due to Adam and Eve’s sin. These hypotheses and others are still under investigation, and genetic research might bring the most likely explanation to light.
While medical professionals struggle to understand and contain Ebola...we need not struggle to understand that Ebola, like dynamite, may have begun with a good purpose.
BOKO HARAM DENIES CEASEFIRE
ChristianToday.com, 11/1/14, “Boko Haram says they have not agreed to any ceasefire and the schoolgirls abducted from Chibok have been married off” [Excerpts]: Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau has denied reports of a ceasefire and insisted that the militant group will not negotiate.
There had been reports in the media that a ceasefire had been brokered by the Nigerian army and that the more than 200 schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram six months ago were soon to be freed.
The schoolgirls were abducted by the terrorist group from their school in the village of Chibok in Borno state, north-eastern Nigeria in April.
Boko Haram’s actions were condemned internationally and a social media campaign, “Bring Back Our Girls,” went global, but in the end, freeing the girls has proved extremely difficult despite the involvement of several countries.
Only a few dozen girls have managed to escape and the fate of the rest remains uncertain.
In a video message released on Friday, Shekau categorically denied reports of a ceasefire and said the abducted girls had converted to Islam and been married off, the BBC reports.
“We have not made ceasefire with anyone. We did not negotiate with anyone. It’s a lie,” he said.
“We will not negotiate. What is our business with negotiation? Allah said we should not.”
Human Rights Watch said in a 63-page report last week that forced marriage and conversion was common in Boko Haram’s treatment of the women and girls it has abducted.
The report was based on interviews with over 40 witnesses and victims of Boko Haram abductions in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states, including some of the Chibok schoolgirls who had escaped.
In the report, Human Rights Watch was critical of the Nigerian government for failing to prevent abductions and do enough to support those who manage to escape their captivity.
The Nigerian government was also criticised for failing to bring the perpetrators to justice, and Human Rights Watch warned that Boko Haram had only been “emboldened” to carry out more abductions because of the “relative ease” with which they had seized the Chibok schoolgirls.