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Church Building in Ethiopia Attacked; Christians Injured

October 20, 2015 by Janelle P

This past Sunday, October 18, a large group of locals attacked a church in the Afar Province of Ethiopia during a morning worship service. Details are limited at this stage, but we know that while thankfully no one was killed, an unknown number of Christians sustained non-life threatening injuries. The attackers also destroyed chairs, benches, musical instruments and choir uniforms. There is significant damage to the roof and doors of the building. The cost of the damage is not yet known.

Church leaders have reported the situation to police and are awaiting their response.

Local researchers report that Christians who live in the Muslim-dominated Afar region face a great deal of marginalization and often endure unfair treatment for their evangelical faith. For instance, local Muslims often refuse to rent their accommodations to Christians, and recently a Christian man endured four months in jail on false accusations of rape.

Local sources told Open Doors that the local Christians are in shock following the attack.

Thank God for preventing far worse damage.

Pray for comfort for these believers who have witnessed this large-scale attack against their church.

Pray for God to grant their church leader wisdom as He ministers to His congregation in this time of frustration and confusion.

Ethiopia is ranked #22 on the Open Doors 2015 World Watch List ( of the worst persecutors of Christians. While Christianity has ancient roots in the country, growing Islamic extremism, government pressure and persecution of non-traditional Protestant churches by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church result in hardship for Ethiopian Christians.

Compiled by Brett Tarbell. For media inquiries, contact Katie Rouse at 678-410-9575 or Christy Lynn Wilson at 770-401-9842.

One response to “Church Building in Ethiopia Attacked; Christians Injured”

  1. The Orthodox appreciate the support of the Orthodox Bibles to the poor congregations of Palestine.

    Do you know that the Orthodox Liturgy has 193 direct quotes from the Bible, and 87 indirect quotes used in context, not counting the daily Gospel and the Epistle readings, and the fact that Canon Law requires that all hymns, usually six every Sunday, must only use passages of scripture for their content and metaphors? Or that Iconography, is scripture in the international language of pictures, and by Orthodox Canon Law must be an accurate and sound portrayal of scripture? The Orthodox Church is far more scriptural, Theological and Christological than the Protestant Churches my family attended during my childhood. The Orthodox Church lives scripture in its entirety, not in selected passages. Everything, absolutely Everything from vesting, to blessing, to movement, to prayer, to hymns, to images are scripturally based and give glory to the Father, the Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. In Orthodox worship, the entire body, individually and corporately, is fully engaged in worship, praise and prayer. You may not recognize it, because your tradition has lost the early church’s practice of faith, but it is present. The practice of Orthodox Christianity is far, far from a dead letter; it is dynamic, vibrant, and continues to live and worship in continuity with the Spirit-filled the Body of Christ throughout the history of the Orthodox Church.

    It is a huge difference to read scripture in the context of a practicing Orthodox Church, because you recognize that you need to read ignored passages, or to re-read passages that you have been taught in a Protestant context — because suddenly its clear that the context and content of scripture have been lost in the West. The Lord ordained an entire way of life in his direction to his Apostles, and that which He established has been maintained for two thousand years in the Orthodox Church.

    The Eastern Orthodox have not needed a Reformation, because they never interpreted the writings of Augustine that are the foundation of both Roman Catholicism and Protestant belief in the West, and whose writings led to the very practices the Reformation sought to reform. Just because you think you know Orthodoxy, “because you know Roman Catholicism,” find out why that assumption is utterly wrong. Before you make suggest the Orthodox Church needing a Reformation, perhaps you should not make assumptions based on the erroneous writings of your mission leaders (most of what I’ve read is so far off base as to make Orthodoxy unrecognizable to the Orthodox), but actually get to know the scripture of the faith; learn Koine Greek from a linguist whose area of expertise is the Septuagint and New Testament writings, not translating from a dictionary or glossary (which might as well be a phonebook) which misses the grammar, the theology, the idioms, the conjugation of singular and plural. Study the history of the Eastern Orthodox from inside their Spirit-filled writings from the first century to the present. The Holy Spirit dwells in every practicing Orthodox Christian and has never left the Orthodox Church, regardless of the assumptions and hindsight of Western Christians.

    Sit down and actually talk to the Orthodox priest and learn how his linguistic, scriptural, historical and patristic education informs his sermons. Orthodox seminaries provide a much more comprehensive education in scriptural exegesis than do other seminaries, and those blessed from among the clergy and laity to preach are stellar in what they impart to the worshipping community.

    The beauty is that so much 20th century European (primarily Protestant) scholarship on the early Church and its origins describes not only early church practices, but is describing those identical practices are still informing our Orthodox faith today through the scriptural words, scriptural symbols and scriptural practices The Father ordained, the Lord taught and the Apostles established. The Reformation was not so much a reforming of Christian practice in the West, but a re-designing that stripped Christian worship of its worship and embedded meaning, until it has become a Saturday evening or Sunday entertainment and lecture. 54,000 different Protestant traditions based on the unending Reformation of beliefs do not make one belief in Jesus Christ and what He taught, or even one church than can agree on what the word “holy” means. Many Christians know that there has to be more to faith than they’ve been taught, and coming to the Orthodox Churches, they, in increasing numbers, find what they know to be missing from their church.

    Suggesting that the Orthodox are in need of a Reformation is arrogant and shows ignorance of the practice of Christian faith that has made truly holy people of God, living more in the presence of God than in the world, and sustained the faith of martyrs during their tribulations today throughout the centuries.

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