Biblical views now on trial as Finnish politician fights for free speech

John 16:2 “Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God”

Important Takeaways:

  • Finnish politician begins trial for tweet while demonstrators protest for the right to free speech
  • Prosecution alleges that right to religious freedom exists only within certain boundaries; defense responds that open dialogue is key to a democracy
  • The former Finnish Minister of the Interior has pled “not guilty” to three criminal charges she faces after sharing her deeply held belief
  • As the defendants arrived this morning, crowds gathered outside of the courthouse to show their support for the politician and her Bishop, who are both being accused of “hate speech” for expressing their faith-based views.
  • Police investigations against Räsänen started in June 2019. As an active member of the Finnish Lutheran church, she had addressed the leadership of her church on Twitter and questioned its official sponsorship of the LGBT event ‘Pride 2019,’ accompanied by an image of Bible verses from the New Testament book of Romans. Following this tweet, further investigations against Räsänen were launched, going back to a church pamphlet Räsänen wrote almost 20 years ago. In the last two years, Räsänen has attended several lengthy police interrogations about her Christian beliefs – including being frequently asked by the police to explain her understanding of the Bible.

Read the original article by clicking here.

No-stress scripture: Nigerian Christians relish Pidgin Bible

By Angela Ukomadu

LAGOS (Reuters) – At the Heavenly Citizen’s Church in Lagos, the pastor and congregation have adopted a new tool to help them understand Christian scripture: the first Bible translated into Nigerian pidgin.

Sometimes called pidgin English, the language is widely used and understood across regions and ethnic groups in the nation of 200 million people, although most books and newspapers on sale in Nigeria are in English.

“Most people here, they are not properly schooled, you know, and so we do more pidgin English here,” said pastor Ben Akpevwe, who has been using the Pidgin Bible during services at his church in the down-at-heel Ejigbo neighborhood in Lagos.

“Each time I am reading it in church they are always very excited because it is like identifying with the language of the people.”

The Pidgin Bible is the result of three years of solitary labor by amateur translator Salem Egoh. He wanted to improve the understanding of the Bible in the fervently religious country, where English is the official language, but not the mother tongue for millions of people.

He said the job had required creativity because many words found in English versions of the Bible had no exact equivalent in pidgin.

“For example the word ‘chariot’ has no word in pidgin, we had to invent a word called ‘horse motor’ to represent chariot,” said Egoh, who included a glossary of 1,000 words at the end of his translation.

So far, the Pidgin Bible consists of the New Testament, the Book of Psalms and the Book of Proverbs. Egoh is working on a translation of the rest of the Old Testament, and hopes to release a complete Bible by the end of the year.

Working his way through a passage from the Book of Chronicles, he typed: “David plus all di pipo of Israel march go Jerusalem (wey be Jebus).” This was translated from: “And David and all Israel went to Jerusalem, that is, Jebus.”

In the meantime, at the Heavenly Citizen’s Church, worshipper Elizabeth Eromosele is already making good use of the Pidgin Bible, which is on sale across Nigeria and has been adopted by a number of places of worship.

“When it comes to English language you have to really crack your brain,” she said.

“But when it comes to Pidgin Bible you will read it as if you are interacting, you are talking freely. You are just reading it with comfort, you are not stressing yourself.”

(Writing by Estelle Shirbon; Editing by Alison Williams)

Mummy Mask May Contain Oldest Discovered Gospel

A team of researchers accidentally discovered what could be the oldest known copy of a gospel in existence.

The scientists were looking at a papyrus wrapped mummy mask when they discovered a piece of the Gospel of Mark.  The papyrus dates back to around 90 A.D., at least 10 years older than any previously found Biblical gospel text.

The Smithsonian said that the mummy mask for the average person turned into a mummy was recycled material like papyrus.  The classic image of ancient mummies with jewels and golden sarcophagi was only for the wealthy.

The research team will be using a method to unglue papyrus that will keep smearing the ink.

“We’re recovering ancient documents from the first, second and third centuries,” Craig Evans, a professor of New Testament studies at Acadia Divinity College in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, told Live Science.

Evans said that the mummy mask’s text could show that the Gospel of Mark has been changed over time by multiple translations.

5.8 Billion Now Have Access To The Bible

Wycliffe Bible Translators USA has said that over 5.8 billion people worldwide now have access to God’s word.

“Last year, Wycliffe Global Alliance reported that 4.9 billion people could access at least part of the Bible in their first language. This year the number has grown to 5.8 billion,” Bob Creson, president and CEO of Wycliffe, told The Christian Post. “This represents tremendous progress toward our goal of starting a translation project in every language needing one by 2025.”

Creson said that advances in technology that increase the speed of translations have helped them.

“There are about 7000 languages in active use and at least one book of Scripture exists in almost 2,900 of these languages,” noted Wycliffe Global Alliance. “At least 1.3 billion people do not have the full Bible available in their first language. Over 634 million of these have the New Testament; others have portions or at least some level of work begun.”

John Piper Says Bullying Pastors Should Be Rebuked

Noted evangelist John Piper says that pastors who are bullying and using fear to control congregations need to be rebuked for their sinful actions.

Piper addressed a question from a listener on his podcast about abusive leaders within the church.

While Piper said the words “bully” and “bullying” are not in the Bible, the application of what the Bible calls “bad shepherds” applies in the cases of what we today would call bullying.

“Does the pastor get down and live alongside his people, giving examples to them or is he always pompously pronouncing with a domineering sense of I’m a big shot in this church and you guys ought to toe the line,” Piper said.  If it was the big shot mentality, Piper stated, “That’s bullying and that’s the opposite of what God calls his shepherds to be.”

Piper also said that in some cases what is called bullying is really pastors exercising the authority given to them by God to rebuke and correct those under their teaching to guide people to be more like Christ.

Piper added if someone is unsure about their pastor’s actions, to “go to the Bible, especially the New Testament, use all of it to form a well-rounded picture of what biblical leadership and biblical shepherding is and then measure your pastor by that.”