European Jews Afraid To Attend Festivals
JPost.com, 9/20/16, “‘70% of European Jews won’t go to shul on High Holy Days despite heightened security’” [Excerpts]: Seventy percent of European Jews will not go to synagogue on Rosh Hashana or Yom Kippur this year, according to a poll released Tuesday. The survey was conducted last week by the European Jewish Association (EJA) and the Rabbinical Center of Europe (RCE) among a representative sample of 700 capital cities and communities in the periphery throughout Europe—from Britain in the west to Ukraine in the east.
Respondents—which numbered 78—included rabbis as well as Jewish community leaders, both religious and secular. The margin of error was ±4.9%. The pollsters explained that while the number of respondents is far lower than the number of communities represented, each respondent speaks for multiple communities as within certain cities and areas, many communities share similar characteristics.
Approximately half of Jewish communities across the continent reported a decline in the number of active members in their community, while only 11% reported a rise in members and 39% of the communities reported no change in the number of registered community members.
Meanwhile 75% of the communities reported increased security measures taken by their respective governments. EJA and RCE General Director Rabbi Menachem Margolin said that this was in light of an increase in anti-Semitism since last year’s High Holy Days and the vast majority of community leaders reported increased security and policing measures around Jewish schools, synagogues and other affiliated institutions.
For The Bible Tells Me So
ChristianHeadlines.com, 9/26/16, “For the Bible Tells Me So: Biblical Authority Denied...Again ” [Excerpts]: “Jesus loves me—this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” This is a childish error?
Evangelical Christianity has a big problem, says Andy Stanley, and that problem is a reliance on the Bible that is both unwarranted and unhelpful. In a recent message delivered at North Point Community Church and posted online, Stanley identifies the evangelical impulse to turn to the Bible in our defense and presentation of Christianity as a huge blunder that must be corrected....No doubt, many Christians might be surprised to see an apologetic ambition identified as an entry point for theological liberalism, but this has held constant since Friedrich Schleiermacher, the father of modern theological liberalism, issued his book, On Religion: Speeches to Its Cultured Despisers in 1799.
In the wake of the Enlightenment, Schleiermacher understood that the intellectual elites in Germany were already turning a skeptical eye to Christianity....No problem, Schleiermacher responded—we can still salvage spiritual and moral value out of Christianity while jettisoning its troublesome doctrinal claims, supernatural structure, and dependence upon the Bible. He was certain that his strategy would “save” Christianity from irrelevance.
Of course, the “Christianity” that remains after this doctrinal surgery bears little resemblance to biblical Christianity and, as Scripture makes abundantly clear, it cannot save.
Pleading For Mexico’s Persecuted Evangelicals
World.WNG.com, 8/18/16, “U.S. Lawmakers Plead for Mexico’s Persecuted Evangelicals” [Excerpts]: Evangelical Christians in rural villages of southern Mexico have suffered persecution for decades.
But the Protestants’ plight finally is getting some high-profile attention. In what ICC called a “historic first,” 13 U.S. lawmakers on the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission sent a letter to Mexico’s attorney general, Arely Gonzalez, calling for prosecution of religious freedom violators.
In villages in four Mexican states, syncretists or “traditionalist” Catholics, who have blended Catholicism with their indigenous pagan practices, have persecuted evangelicals at least since the 1970s, said ICC advocacy director Isaac Six, who noted more than 150 instances of persecution just in recent years.
Christians have been fired, driven into exile, and even imprisoned for years under false charges—especially in Chiapas.