Tuesday, September 25, 2007
The most recent issue of Mission Frontiers, the publication of the US Center for World Missions, included an article on the amazing effects of the Jesus Film, which I reproduce below. The entire issue was great; I was especially fascinated by Ralph Winters article on "The Future of Evangelicals in Mission." Follow the links and you will not be disappointed.
By Rick Wood
In the history of the modern mission movement,few organizations have succeeded as brilliantly
as The Jesus Film Project. Started in 1980 as an evangelistic effort of Campus Crusade for
Christ using a recently released film called the Jesus Film, which chronicles the life of Christ from the Gospel of Luke, its efforts have gone from simply amazing to astounding and earth shaking.
For at least a decade or two it has remained the most translated and viewed film in the history of film making. When we featured the Jesus Film and its mind boggling goals in the November-December 1997 issue of Mission Frontiers, they had translated the film into 419 languages and had exposed the film to over one billion people. Now as of the end of June 2007, they have translated the film into over 1,000 languages and achieved the incredible
milestone of exposing over 6.2 billion to the film with some having seen it more than once. The one million speakers of the Lanka Kol language of India are the recipients of the 1000th translation of the Jesus Film.
Even more significant is that over 201 million people have committed their lives to Christ as a result of viewing this film and hundreds of thousands of
new churches have been established...
Steve Steele, formerly of the DAWN Movement which promotes church planting has said, “Of the 1 million churches started in the last decade (1992-2002) 75 percent used the Jesus Even more significant is that over 201 million people have committed their lives to Christ as a result of viewing this film and hundreds of thousands of new churches have been established...
It took 17 years from 1980 to 1997 for the Jesus Film Project to reach 419 translations and one billion viewers. In just the last 10 years they have completed over 581 more translations and reached an additional five billion viewers. This is just the beginning of their plans to plant churches and expose as many as possible to the life saving message of the gospel of Christ.
In terms of translations, their ultimate goal is to translate the film into the heart language of every person. But their intermediate goal is to translate the Jesus Film into every language with over 100,000 speakers. Th ere are currently around 1,500 such languages, so the Jesus Film is two-thirds of the way towards that goal. With a new translation completed almost once a week, they should reach this goal within the next 10 years.
The accomplishments of the Jesus Film Project are not theirs alone. They would be the first to admit that. Their success has been largely due to the strategic partnerships that the Jesus Film Project has built with hundreds of mission and church organizations around the world. Currently they have active partnerships with 1,500 organizations that are using the Jesus Film
in their evangelism and church planting efforts. The film is shown to people around the world in some of the most remote locations by thousands of teams of missionaries and volunteers. The success of the Jesus Film is really the success of the global church in coming together to use an effective media tool.
...As the Jesus Film approaches the end of its third decade of ministry, its leaders recognize that they need to adapt the film to the needs of an increasingly sophisticated media audience,
especially in Western countries. The younger generation of 15-25 year olds will likely need new versions of the film in order to communicate the message of the gospel to them in a meaningful
way. This will involve the creation of completely new films in order to reach this and following generations of young people. The focus is not on the Jesus Film itself. It is merely a tool. The focus is the development and distribution of the most effective media tools to communicate the gospel to various types of audiences. One size or tool does not fit all.
...The Jesus Film Project is always looking for new ways to convey the message of the Jesus Film and the gospel. Currently, the Jesus Film is available to view online in any of 800 different
languages. You can also download segments of the film onto your iPod for on-the-go viewing. As technology and the mission of the Church around the world advances, you can be assured that the Jesus Film Project will be actively involved in helping to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to every tribe and tongue.
Monday, September 24, 2007
By SEAN GAFFNEY, Associated Press Writer Mon Sep 24, 8:00 AM ET
Friday, September 21, 2007
The Bible clearly tells us (see reference above) that people can be delivered from same-sex attraction affliction. New research backs that up. From Crosswalk.com...
Staff Writer/Editor(CNSNews.com) - The results of a three-year study challenge the idea that homosexuals cannot change their sexual orientation and that attempts to do so are harmful. But an opponent of "ex-gays" dismissed the findings as the result of "a deceptive sham" perpetrated by "right-wing therapists."
While writing their book, "Ex-Gays? A Longitudinal Study of Religiously Mediated Change in Sexual Orientation," researchers Stanton Jones of Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill., and Mark Yarhouse of Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va., chronicled the experiences of 98 people who contacted Christian ministries in an attempt to become heterosexuals.
"What we found by following these subjects over time is that not everyone is successful, not even a majority is successful, but a very substantial group of people report fairly dramatic change," Jones said while discussing the research during the annual conference of the American Association of Christian Counselors last Thursday in Nashville, Tenn.
"Fifteen percent of our sample of about 100 claimed to actually have changed from homosexuality to heterosexuality," said Jones. "It needs to be said that this process is not like flipping a light switch. Life is still complicated for these people, and some still have some residuals of their homosexual attractions."
"However, they report being able to function as heterosexuals, they're happy with their marriages, and they feel that their lives have changed dramatically," he said.
The study also examined the question of whether or not attempts to change were harmful to the subjects.
"We administered a standard psychological inventory that measures distress to our subjects at every point along the way," Jones said, adding that they found that there was "essentially no change" in the participants' emotional well-being.
Because both of them are from Christian colleges, Jones and Yarhouse addressed skeptics of religious researchers who deal with matters of science.
"We are evangelical Christians committed to the truth-seeking activity of science," they said in a joint statement.
"In conducting and reporting this study, we took seriously the words of one of our heroes, C. S. Lewis, who said that science produced by Christian persons would have to be 'perfectly honest. Science twisted in the interests of apologetics would be sin and folly,'" the researchers said.
Initial reaction to the research has varied dramatically along social and cultural lines.
Alan Chambers, an ex-homosexual who serves as president of the Christian ministry Exodus International - which was the source of many subjects in the study - praised the survey. In a Friday news release, he praised the work as "the first longitudinal, peer-reviewed, scientific research of its kind on this topic to date."
"Finally, there is now scientific evidence to prove what we as former homosexuals have known all along - that those who struggle with unwanted same-sex attraction can experience freedom from it," Chambers said. "For years, opponents of choice have said otherwise, and this body of research is critical in advancing the national dialogue on this issue."
Mat Staver, president of the Christian group Liberty Counsel, said in a news release of his own that the study is "groundbreaking" and would have "profound reverberations for counselors."
"The debate about homosexuality has too often been driven by political rather than scientific considerations," said Staver. "The American Psychological Association (APA) and other, similar organizations may no longer silence dissent."
The APA responded to the research by pointing to a recent statement made by the organization on its Web site: "Efforts to repathologize homosexuality by claiming that it can be cured are often guided not by rigorous scientific ... research, but sometimes by religious and political forces opposed to full civil rights for gay men and lesbians."
However, former APA President Nicholas Cummings praised the research methods of Jones and Yarhouse. "This study has broken new ground in its adherence to objectivity and a scientific precision that can be replicated and expanded, and it opens new horizons for investigation," he said.
Nevertheless, Wayne Besen, executive director of Truth Wins Out, which describes itself as "a non-profit organization that counters right-wing propaganda, exposes the 'ex-gay' myth and educates America about gay life," called the study a "deceptive sham with the goal of making it appear as if science backs fundamentalist beliefs on homosexuality."
"It comes as no shock that anti-gay 'researchers'" would produce a study claiming "you can pray away the gay," Besen said. "I suppose their next study will provide support for Pat Robertson's theory that homosexuality causes meteors and hurricanes."
Besen also criticized the size of the study sample as "unusually small" and asserted that people "should be extremely skeptical of such a mockery of the scientific method."
The 414-page book "Ex-Gays? A Longitudinal Study of Religiously Mediated Change in Sexual Orientation" is being published by InterVarsity Press and will be available to the public in October.
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Thursday, September 20, 2007
Sunday, September 09, 2007
It seems remarkable that in a city like Jerusalem, which has been a central focus of archaeologists for a long time, major finds are still being made. The most recent: two weeks ago, Israeli archaeologists discovered a massive tunnel, believed to be around a half mile long and as much as ten feet high. The tunnel was built for drainage, but has been long sought in part because of its historical role as described by Josephus:
[W]hat makes the channel doubly significant is its role as an escape hatch for Jews desperate to flee the conquering Romans, the dig's directors said.
As the [Second] [T]emple was being destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D., numerous people took shelter in the drainage channel and lived inside it until they fled Jerusalem through its southern end, the historian Josephus Flavius wrote in "The War of the Jews."
Pottery shards, vessels and coins from the First Century have been found inside the tunnel. Here is the tunnel:
And some artifacts from the tunnel:
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
In 1904 William Borden graduated from a Chicago high school. As heir to the Borden Dairy estate, he was already a millionaire. For his high school graduation present, his parents gave 16-year-old Borden a trip around the world. As the young man traveled through Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, he felt a growing burden for the world's hurting people. Finally, Bill Borden wrote home to say, "I'm going to give my life to prepare for the mission field."