How biblical are Iftar meals with Muslims?

Since the world has been struck by Covid-19, participating in any form of social gathering has proved challenging or impossible, but this crisis has not completely disrupted everything. Muslims all over the world are still in the midst of Ramadan, which this year fell between 24th April and 23rd May, and while this year (in many places) it may not be feasible for Christians to join Muslims as they break fast, now is the perfect time to consider whether doing so is biblical. Mission leader and author Steve Bell explores…

During Ramadan it is not unusual for some Christians to break fast in Iftar meals with Muslims they know – some in a Muslim home; some in their own home; some on mosque turf and others on church turf. Some Christians ask how appropriate all this is. 

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Learning from Africa in the covid-19 crisis: how to ‘dol’

“In this Crisis, we need to learn how to survive from poor communities,” a friend said to me recently. I didn’t respond. Social-distancing and self-isolation do not represent instinctive responses of poor communities in Africa to disease threats like covid-19. Absolutely contrarily; more closeness would be their response! I could hardly tell him that though, as he had already declared social distancing to be a no-brainer.

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Reaching the community during lockdown

In the midst of this crisis we know God is at work, and hearing stories of hope and of how God is working through others reminds us that his hand is on this situation. The following post, from the Chaplain at Nazarene Theological College, demonstrates why we must continue to share the love of Christ with others during lockdown:
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What The Early Church Can Teach Us About The Coronavirus

The early church was no stranger to plagues, epidemics, and mass hysteria. In fact, according to both Christian and also non-Christian accounts, one of the main catalysts for the church’s explosive growth in its early years was how Christians navigated disease, suffering, and death. The church’s posture made such a strong impression on Roman society that even pagan Roman emperors complained to pagan priests about their declining numbers, telling them to step up their game. 

So what did Christians do differently that shook the Roman Empire? And what can the early church teach us in light of the coronavirus? 

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To Lent or Not To Lent?

Let it be said, that in many ways, I’m about as non-conformist, non-liturgical as you can get. Instinctively, I rebel against the idea of the church year and its associated festivals. I won’t unpack my reasons for this, just take it that I’m an old Free Evangelical curmudgeon.

However, while I’m a natural iconoclast, I am enough of a historian to recognise that something would not have survived for as long as the concept of the church year if it did not have some value. I can see that in pre-literate societies, the rhythm of the church year, combined with the rolling of the seasons would have a value in teaching the message of the Gospels through a process of repetition. However, in an urban, literate society some of this value would undoubtedly be lost.

That being said, over the past few years, I’ve begun to think that churches in my tradition are missing a trick by not celebrating Lent. Let me explain.

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