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All articles in category News

News

March 2019
News > Church news

Hambleton Evangelical Church’s 50th anniversary

On the first weekend of 2019, members and friends of Hambleton Evangelical Church, near Thirsk, met to give thanks to God for his faithfulness over the fifty years since the church was founded. A list was compiled of fifty things for which to feel gratitude. The Saturday afternoon saw a time of recollection. A display around the church illustrated various activities which had occurred since the church’s founding. This was followed by a time of informal fellowship and a buffet. An illustrated talk by Malcolm Peters followed. Malcolm was the first pastor and spoke of its founding. Three couples with young families had covenanted together...

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News

March 2019
News > International

China: Government bans first commandment in church

The Chinese government has ordered one church to remove the first commandment, ‘You shall have no other gods before me’, from its wall. Chinese officials claim that displaying the first commandment contradicts the policy of China’s president, Xi Jinping. It is yet another example of increasingly intense persecution of Christians and churches by the Chinese state. Meeting places are being closed down, and pastors and church members are being imprisoned. The Chinese authorities are issuing a new state translation of the Bible to establish the ‘correct understanding’ of Scripture. The current approach has been deemed the worst religious persecution since Chairman Mao’s attempts to eradicate...

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News

March 2019
News > International

US: New York State legalises abortion up to birth

The American state of New York has passed ‘horrific’ legislation which allows abortions up to the point of birth in many cases. Democratic state governor, Andrew Cuomo, directed the One World Trade Center and other landmarks to be lit in pink to celebrate the passage of the ‘Reproductive Health Act (RHA)’. Under the new law, non-doctors are now allowed to conduct abortions and the procedure could be done until the mother’s due date if the woman’s health is endangered or if the foetus is not viable. The previous law only allowed abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy if a woman’s life was at risk. The...

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News

March 2019
News > Ethics

Netherlands: Quarter of all deaths ‘induced’

Fifteen years after euthanasia was legalised in the Netherlands, over a quarter of all deaths in 2017 were ‘induced’, according to a report in The Guardian newspaper. In the report, journalist Christopher de Bellaigue traces the history of euthanasia in the Netherlands from when it was introduced for extreme cases to now being applied more freely. ‘The process of bringing in euthanasia legislation began with a desire to deal with the most heart-breaking cases — really terrible forms of death’, said Theo Boer, who teaches ethics at the Theological University of Kampen. ‘But there have been important changes in the way the law is applied....

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News

March 2019
News > Persecution

Pakistan: Asia Bibi’s acquittal upheld

Asia Bibi, the Roman Catholic woman who has been on death row in Pakistan for allegedly committing blasphemy against Islam, has had her acquittal upheld. The Supreme Court of Pakistan maintained its decision to overturn her conviction and death sentence. She was originally convicted in 2010 after being accused of insulting the Prophet Muhammad in a row with her neighbours and spent eight years on death row. But the Supreme Court quashed her conviction last October, sparking protests by Islamic hardliners who petitioned the court to overturn their ruling. Asia Bibi, also known as Asia Noreen, was unable to leave Pakistan while an appeal request...

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News

March 2019
News > Media

Experimental puberty blockers examined in BBC documentary

A new documentary called Pausing Puberty on BBC Radio 4 has investigated puberty blockers, the controversial drugs given to children who are confused about their gender. The drugs were originally designed to pause development in children suffering from ‘precocious puberty’, where they begin to go through puberty at a very early age. They are, however, largely untested on healthy children who are given them to aid ‘gender transition’. Presenter Britt Wray spoke to Dr Stephen Rosenthal, from the Child and Adolescent Gender Center in San Francisco, who is researching the long-term impact of hormone blockers on young people. He said using drugs to pause puberty...

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News

March 2019
News > Society

Scottish nursery staff told not to say ‘boys and girls’

Nursery staff in Scotland have been told not to call children ‘boys and girls’, or tell them stories about male characters, in an attempt to stamp out gender discrimination. The guidance from the Care Inspectorate also cautions against using words such as ‘man-made’ and ‘mankind’ and urges staff to change story characters such as Mr Squirrel to ‘Squirrel’. Nurseries are also encouraged to display male ballet dancers to break down gender divisions. But critics have called the guidance ‘patronising’ and ‘out of control’. The Inspectorate urges nursery staff to ‘retell nursery rhymes or fairy tales in a more gender-equal manner’ and not to greet children...

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News

March 2019
News > Church news

Archbishop Justin Welby prays ‘in tongues’ every day

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, says he prays ‘in tongues’ every morning and he expects to hear messages and prophecies from God through others. He made the disclosure in an interview with Christian radio station, Premier. He said, ‘In my own prayer life, and as part of my daily discipline I pray in tongues every day – not as an occasional thing but as part of daily prayer’. He added: ‘It’s not something to make a great song and dance about. Given it’s usually extremely early in the morning it’s not usually an immensely ecstatic moment because I’m sort of ‘Urrgh’ – struggling’. He...

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News

March 2019
News > Religious liberty

Free speech guidance issued for Universities

New guidance has been published for students and universities setting out the legal rights and obligations to help protect free speech on campuses. In recent years, Christian and pro-life groups have been forced off campus because of their religious and ethical beliefs. And well-known feminists like Germaine Greer have been banned from giving lectures to students because of her views on transgender people. But now new guidance produced by the Equality and Human Rights Commission says student unions and universities must do more to protect free speech. David Isaac, Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: ‘The free expression and exchange of different...

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News

March 2019
News > Ethics

Woman launches court case to liberalise abortion law in NI

Abortion activist Sarah Ewart has started a court case to force the liberalisation of the abortion law in Northern Ireland. She has launched a judicial review of the legislation in Northern Ireland, and the case will be ruled upon by judges in the High Court. It comes after a previous Supreme Court appeal, led by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC), failed last year. In that case, the judges said Northern Ireland’s ban on abortion was incompatible with human rights laws in the case of fatal foetal abnormality and sexual crime. However, the case failed because the judges said the NIHRC did not have...

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News

March 2019
News > Society

Britain’s ‘first trans family’ now changing their son, 5, to a girl

A Scottish couple once dubbed Britain’s ‘first transgender family’ have announced that they are encouraging the gender transition of their five-year-old son, Jayden. According to the couple, Jayden, a male, likes dresses and hates ‘everything about being a boy’. Parent Greg Rogers, who was born a woman, said: ‘We’ve had people saying we’re using Jayden for attention and that she just wants to be a girl because I changed sex’. Greg’s partner Jody said Jayden ‘came out and told us she hates being a boy and that she’s actually a girl. She wanted to wear girls’ clothes so we decided to go with the flow...

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News

March 2019
News > Church news

Baptist figurehead Andrew Fuller’s shorthand notes cracked by student

The shorthand notes of leading Baptist theologian Andrew Fuller have finally been deciphered, after baffling academics for generations. Hundreds of pages of his sermon notes are held in archives, but until now they have been a mystery to researchers. Andrew Fuller, who was born in Cambridgeshire in 1754, became a Baptist minister, and is best known for founding the Baptist Missionary Society. Such was his international standing, he was offered honorary doctorates by both Yale and the College of New Jersey — now Princeton — although he turned them down. His early sermons and other documents have survived only as shorthand notes, although a number...

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