Held in Turkey on charges of espionage and terrorism, facing a life sentence for doing the work of the church, American Pastor Andrew Brunson’s dramatic release was the work of high-powered diplomacy and prevailing prayer
A New York moment in London:
New York pastor Tim Keller, who recently retired from Redeemer Presbyterian Church, spoke to a group of British members of Parliament in late June at the United Kingdom’s National Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast. The audience of 170 included members of Parliament and the House of Lords, as well as Prime Minister Theresa May.
“It’s highly unusual for an avowed evangelical to have the opportunity to speak to the upper echelons of the British establishment,” John Stevens, the director of the UK’s Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches, wrote for the Gospel Coalition.
Keller spoke about what Christianity has given the world and how the church can be Biblical “salt” now. It is worth a listen. Keller said salt brings out the best in culture, and also preserves culture from decay.
In classic Keller apologetic style, he used a barrage of books and scholarly articles to support his thesis about the gospel as the foundation of many Western human rights. It’s no accident, he argued, that Western laws are based on an “other-oriented” value system (i.e., in our laws we value people because of their inherent, God-given dignity).
His final appeal to the room of parliamentarians was to let Christians be salty Christians. He warned that without a transcendent moral order, our society would be left to its individualism and consumerism.
“Here’s what British society can do to get the most out of Christians: not demand that they become like everybody else,” Keller said. “Our modern society says we believe in respect for difference—so respect Christians’ difference.” He added that when Christians fail, British society could critique them based on their own ideals. “How fair that is,” said Keller.
Worth your time:
For decades, the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad has tried to recover the body of legendary Israeli spy Eli Cohen from Syria, where he was executed. Cohen’s undercover work helped Israel win the Six-Day War in 1967. Now Israel says Mossad has recovered his watch.
This week I learned:
Spiders can fly hundreds of miles! Scientists have been baffled by this phenomenon, but now they have evidence that spiders use the earth’s electrical field to fly.
A court case you might not know about:
A New York woman who posed as a grant writer and fundraising expert bilked local churches out of more than $200,000. Some churches who paid for her services spent hundreds of thousands more in capital improvements on the belief that she had raised the funds. The woman has a 30-year criminal history, so she received a stiff sentenced in June: 7 1/2 to 15 years in prison.
Culture I am consuming:
The Florida Project, finally! It’s a rare film that leaves you with a better understanding of poverty in America. This one accomplishes that through the mischievous eyes of a child.
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