Important developments in the church and the world (as they appeared in our April issue).
Sudan: Czech missionary gets life sentence for spying
A Czech aid worker has been sentenced by Sudan to life in prison for spying and waging war on the Muslim nation. Petr Jasek was arrested in December 2015, along with three Sudanese pastors, after attempting to help a Sudanese man get treatment for burns suffered during a student demonstration. Jasek was accused of “tarnishing Sudan’s image” by documenting persecution. Two of the accused pastors were sentenced to 12 years in prison for espionage and stoking sectarian strife; the third pastor was found innocent and released. Sudan ranks No. 5 on Open Doors’ list of countries where it’s hardest to be a Christian.
Brazil: Prosperity pastor’s prosperity investigated
Police in Brazil are investigating a prominent pastor accused of using church accounts to help launder stolen mining royalties. The biblically named Operation Timoteo included 16 searches and raids, 12 arrests, and the seizure of $21 million in assets. One raid was at the home of Silas Malafaia, a former Assemblies of God vice president who broke away to build a televangelism empire. Malafaia, whose net worth is estimated by Forbes at $150 million, said it was impossible to keep track of all his donations. “Does it mean that if someone is a bad guy and gives me an offering without my knowing the origin, I’m the bad guy?” he asked his 1.3 million Twitter followers. He told reporters that if the Brazilian government can prove the money was illegal, he will return it.
Six months after Russia restricted evangelism as part of anti-terrorism efforts, more …