PODCAST: Nigerian Megachurch Pastor’s Son Dies at 42 (International Christian Herald 5.8.21)

This is the International Christian Herald podcast. Here are the top stories you need to know about today.

According to This Day News, The family of Nigerian megachurch pastor Enoch Adeboye were thrown into mourning over the passing of his son Dare who died in his sleep on Tuesday, May 4. The Church officially released a statement on its Twitter page, hours after the news broke. “It is with a deep and heartfelt sense of loss, we announce the departure of our beloved son, brother, husband and father, Oluwadamilare Temitayo Adeboye who went to be with the Lord on the 4th of May, 2021. His life was well lived as he served the Lord without reserve, giving effortlessly and leading fearlessly. He was crowned by the Lord with blessings of three seeds and a beautiful wife. Though shaken, our anchor remains Jesus Christ in whom we have the assurance that we will one day meet in a place where there is no pain,” the statement read. Dare is the third child of the clergyman and bears striking semblance with him. A pastor too like his father, the deceased was one of the regional youths pastors in RCCG. He was based in Eket, Akwa-Ibom where he died. Sources claimed that the younger Adeboye had no health issue but simply went to bed after ministering the previous day. His wife Temiloluwa alerted people when her husband didn’t wake up as expected. Dare has also held numerous positions in the church including the Senior Pastor of RCCG House of Praise Birmingham, UK. On Twitter and Facebook, Nigerians sympathised with the family, sharing their condolences and praying for the family. President Muhammadu Buhari was among those who commiserated with the family. The Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo who is also a member of the church reportedly visited the family Thursday morning accompanied by Ogun State governor Dapo Abiodun and Minister of State, Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo. Dare is the third child and second son of Adeboye. He was aged 42.

According to the Daily Mail, A school secretly reported its chaplain to the anti-terrorism Prevent programme after he delivered a sermon defending the right of pupils to question its introduction of new LGBT policies. The Reverend Dr Bernard Randall told pupils at independent Trent College near Nottingham that they were allowed to disagree with the measures, particularly if they felt they ran contrary to Church of England principles. Among them was a plan to ‘develop a whole school LGBT+ inclusive curriculum’. Having decided that Dr Randall’s sermon was ‘harmful to LGBT’ students, the school flagged him to Prevent, which normally identifies those at risk of radicalisation. Police investigated the tip-off but advised the school by email that Dr Randall, 48, posed ‘no counter terrorism risk, or risk of radicalisation’. Derbyshire Police confirmed that the case ‘did not meet the threshold for a Prevent referral’. But in a disturbing development, Dr Randall, a former Cambridge University chaplain and Oxford graduate, claims that the school later told him that any future sermons would be censored in advance. He also claims that he was warned his chapel services would be monitored ‘to ensure that… requirements are met’. Dr Randall was later dismissed. He is suing for discrimination, harassment, victimisation and unfair dismissal and his case is due to be heard next month. ‘My career and life are in tatters,’ he said. Campaigners said the case was one of the most extraordinary of its kind and raised disturbing questions about freedom of speech. Former Education Minister Sir John Hayes said, if the claims are proved, the school had ‘behaved appallingly’. Dr Randall’s sermon, delivered in the school chapel on June 21, 2019, was prompted, he says, by concerns from pupils about an organisation called Educate & Celebrate, run by Dr Elly Barnes, which was invited to ‘embed gender, gender identity and sexual orientation into the fabric’ of the school. In it, he said: ‘You should no more be told you have to accept LGBT ideology, than you should be told you must be in favour of Brexit, or must be Muslim.’ But he stressed the ‘need to treat each other with respect’. Several days later, he will tell the tribunal, he was called to a meeting and told the sermon was inflammatory, divisive and ‘harmful to LGBT pupils’.

According to the Daily Mail, Israeli police have fired rubber bullets and stun grenades at rock-hurling Palestinian youths during protests over West Bank settlements. Clashes grew increasingly violent outside the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Friday amid Palestinians’ growing anger over potentially being evicted from their homes to make way for Jewish settlers. At least 178 Palestinians and six Israeli officers were injured in the night-time clashes at Islam’s third-holiest site and around East Jerusalem, Palestinian medics and Israeli police said, as thousands faced off against several hundred Israeli police in riot gear. Tension has mounted in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, with nightly clashes in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah – a neighbourhood where numerous Palestinian families face eviction in a long-running legal case. Calls for calm and restraint poured in on Friday from the United States and the United Nations, with others including the European Union and Jordan voicing alarm at the possible evictions. Tens of thousands of Palestinians packed into the hilltop compound surrounding the mosque earlier on Friday for prayers. Many stayed on to protest against the evictions in the city at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But following the evening meal that breaks the Ramadan fast, clashes broke out at Al-Aqsa with smaller scuffles near Sheikh Jarrah, which sits near the walled Old City’s famous Damascus Gate. Police used water cannon mounted on armoured vehicles to disperse several hundred protesters gathered near the homes of families facing potential eviction.

According to Baptist Press, Mart Green has a vision that everyone in the world will have the Bible in their own heart language in the next 12 years. Green, founder and CEO of Mardel Christian & Education, a chain of 37 stores in seven U.S. states, is helping lead a Bible translation project featuring a variety of organizations with the goal of translating the Bible into all known languages by the year 2033. The translation effort, called illumiNations, includes a partnership among 10 of the largest Bible translation organizations in the world, including Wycliffe Bible Translators, American Bible Society, Pioneer Bible Translators and Deaf Bible Society. Green, son of Hobby Lobby founder and CEO David Green, also serves as the ministry investment officer for Hobby Lobby. The goal of the illumiNations alliance is to eliminate “Bible poverty,” or not having Scripture in a language one can read and understand. The group estimates there are 3,800 language communities that do not have a completed Bible in their language, and 2,000 of these groups do not even have one verse of Scripture in their language. The number of people worldwide who do not have a Bible in their language is estimated to be more than 1 billion. Green said the ministry of Bible translation has been on his heart for a long time after a “life-defining moment” more than 20 years ago. During a trip to Central America, he witnessed a man become overwhelmed with emotion after receiving a personal copy of a completed Bible in his own language that had taken more than 40 years to translate. After previously being unsure about whether the ministry of Bible translation was worth the time, money and effort it involved, Green said his outlook on the ministry changed in that moment. “The Holy Spirit prompted me with a question in my heart, ‘Why don’t you tell this man he’s not a good return on investment,’” he said. “I then started to think what kind of return on investment am I to God? I’ve grown up in a Christian family and work with a Christian organization, but I didn’t read the Bible on any kind of consistent basis. But on that day I made a vow that I would get up every morning and read the Bible as well as continue to invest in translation projects. I went from focusing on a practical return on investment to looking at the eternal return on investment.”

According to Christianity Today, With life-saving oxygen in short supply, families are left on their own to ferry people sick with COVID-19 from hospital to hospital in search of treatment as India is engulfed in a devastating surge of infections. Too often, their efforts end in mourning. On social media and in television footage, desperate relatives plead for oxygen outside hospitals or weep in the street for loved ones who died waiting for treatment. India has been setting global daily records of new coronavirus infections, spurred by an insidious new variant that emerged here. On Friday, the number of new confirmed cases breached 400,000 for the third time since the devastating surge began last month. The 414,188 new cases pushed India’s official tally to more than 21.4 million, behind only the United States. The Health Ministry also reported 3,915 new deaths on Friday, bringing the confirmed total over 234,000 (behind only the US and Brazil). Health experts believe both figures are an undercount. Leaders of Christian churches and ministries in India have been overwhelmed by cases and deaths among their staff and congregants amid the unavailability of treatment. In response, today was jointly declared a day of prayer and fasting by the leaders of the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI), the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI), and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI). The current crisis is one of the darkest times in the history of the nation, according to Prabhu Singh, principal of the South Asia Institute of Advanced Christian Studies (SAIACS), an evangelical research institution in Bengaluru. “One of the heartbreaking results of this intense second wave in the country is the tragic loss of senior leaders of Christian organizations and seminaries as well as church pastors and lay leaders,” he told CT. “The other leaders are also experiencing severe strain as they struggle to cope with the impact of the pandemic.” “We estimate 350 to 400 pastors, evangelists, and bishops have lost their lives—and that is a conservative figure,” said Vijayesh Lal, general secretary of EFI, citing tallies in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi, and other states. “The church has lost a lot of leadership,” he told CT. “And when you consider that it takes time and effort to build up leadership, I believe we are headed for a leadership vacuum.”

According to Religion News Service, The Vatican presented its plans for the 107th World Day of Migrants and Refugees during a news conference Thursday (May 6). The event will take place on Sept. 26 with the theme “Toward an Even Wider We.” The Migrants and Refugee section at the Vatican will spearhead this year’s campaign. Speakers at the news conference addressed the challenges faced by immigrants and refugees, from the U.S.-Mexico border to England, highlighting how the situation has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and “hostile public policies.” “We are all in the same boat and we are called to commit ourselves so that no more walls separate us, so that there are no longer others but only one we, a we as wide as us, an us as great as all of humanity,” Pope Francis said in a video message released for the launch of the media campaign.

According to International Christian Concern, two preachers from the Beijing-based Zion Church were taken from their homes and put in detention. According to urgent prayer requests sent out by the now disbanded house church, local police removed preacher Qie Jiafu from his home in Changping district at 11:30 pm on April 28 for the purpose of interrogation. Despite multiple phone calls to the Shahe Police Station, Zion Church members were unable to learn about the motive behind Qie’s detention. Qie’s wife received only one phone call from police at 1:00 a.m. on April 30, informing her that Qie was placed under a 10-day administrative detention for violating Art.54 of the Regulations on Administrative Penalties for Public Security. He was also fined 500 Yuan (77 USD). Preacher Huang Chunzi’s detention, despite taking place at the same time, was only discovered three days later, and her church was occupied with assisting Qie’s family. The last time her church members heard from her was on April 28, when she notified them that local authorities were at her door. She soon went missing.

In closing, remember, God loves you. He always has and He always will. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you don’t know Jesus as your Saviour, today is a good day to get to know Him. Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead for you. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Thanks so much for listening and may God bless your day!

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