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Coptic Martyr

The Coptic Martyr of Cairo

The latest international thriller from best-selling author Martin Roth

Four Americans in Egypt on an archaeological dig. In the blistering summer heat they are fighting amongst themselves. Then they unearth a body. It is an old priest who has been murdered.

The gruesome discovery sets in train a sequence of events that leads to a deadly Islamist attack on the ancient church where the Americans are working.

The leader of the expedition, Professor Rafa Harel, must decide whether to withdraw his fractious team or continue on a mission to unveil a controversial series of wall paintings, knowing that these images have the power to spark even greater violence.

Meanwhile, watching over all of them is a dreamy young Egyptian Christian named Amir. His only quest in life is to become a martyr...

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Christian Mortgage - What Is It?

What on earth is a Christian mortgage? Enter the term in Google and you get more than 20,000 responses.

I guess it’s a mortgage that’s provided by a Christian mortgage company.

Which of course raises the next question, what is a Christian mortgage company? Presumably it’s an enterprise run by Christians, and operating on some kind of Christian principles.

I wrote recently about so-called Christian real estate companies, and if such entities can exist, then why not “Christian” companies that provide just about any other kind of service.

Perhaps the more important question is this: should Christians be borrowing huge amounts of money to buy a home? Is this really what God calls us to do?

I was impressed recently to read a lengthy article on Christians and finance, on the Christianity Today website. It was centered on an interview with financial adviser Dave Ramsey, described as “a fast-talking, in-your-face kind of guy whose tough-love guidance—both in books and over the airwaves from Nashville—connects with a lot of Americans.”

Here’s a little of what the article has to say on Christians and their debts:

"A whole bunch of us got all this stuff we really didn't want with money we really didn't have to impress people we really didn't like," Ramsey says.

…"We are essentially trying to deprogram what many people believe is normal," says Dave Briggs, director of the South Barrington, Illinois, megachurch program that has been adopted by almost 3,000 other congregations. "Many people have bought into the teachings of the culture: the idea that debt is good, that everybody is in debt, that debt is an opportunity to get things you couldn't otherwise afford, that debt really isn't a big deal. But the more you buy into the message of the culture, the more you get into the whirlpool of debt."

…Most Christian financial leaders acknowledge that debt isn't called sin in the Bible, but they believe that Scripture discourages debt. They concede that debt is a reality of modern life and even drives the economy, but warn against a lifelong pattern of debt.

…Ramsey says he doesn't berate callers for taking out a 15-year fixed mortgage. "It's not my job to tell people they're going to hell if they have a home mortgage," Ramsey says. "But I can't find in the Bible that it's okay."

That seems to make sense to me. I live in a relatively upmarket part of my city that attracts some people looking for what they perceive to be the “good life”. I’ve seen people in our church struggling with their mortgages, and I wonder if God has really called them to live in this part of town.

Indeed, I wonder if a Christian mortgage company would be prepared to tell that to potential clients. Now that would really be a service to Christian mortgage seekers.

May 23rd, 2006


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