Our Schedule:

Teaching English and Art together, putting on the GospelCafé concerts, prayer, meeting with our new French friends. It's a good life!

A complete listing of very specific requests for prayer can be found under "Prayer Requests."

For those just getting to know us, please visit the special sections to the right.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Since the French Revolution...

Mainline Protestants and even the evangelical Protestants  could live openly in France. They were a small bunch and even up to World War II they were still small. Their growth went from 50,000 to 460,000. Today they are growing and more like 600,000 but still less than 1% - probably more like .08. In a country of over 61 million French, the Protestants as a whole are 1.2 million (many non-practicing) Evangelicals are included in that number. The Cnef - Council for the National Evangelicals of France - www.lecnef.org - said 40 years ago there were only 1200 churches in all of France. The goal is to have 1 church for 10,000 people. Right now on average there is 1 church for 30,000. (1 church of 25 - 100 people) But in Paris in 16th arrondissement - there is no evangelical church for 150,000 people! Currently, evangelicals have a little over 2000 churches in France but 4200 more churches are needed! In many mainline Protestant churches the gospel is not preached.

We had a speaker this past week at the prayer conference, Paul, (we'll refrain from mentioning last names) who just moved to that section of downtown Paris with his wife and child to begin a work there. It is very expensive to live in this section of town. There are 2 other couples who live further south in France who want to move there to help them. Trying to sell their house and being able to afford this area is another challenge. We would appreciate prayer for them.

How are evangelicals viewed in France? For most of the people in France it's "how you are born". If you were born Catholic, then you are a Catholic, whether you practice or not, if you were born Muslim, Buddhist, etc. then that's what you are whether you are practicing or not. If you say you are a Believer in Christ, they will say, that's good for you in times of death because it will give you comfort.

Many believe that evangelicals come from outside France. Even though they were here during the Reformation and called Huguenots or Protestants for protesting the Catholic policies. It used to be called a sect here and in some areas it still is because of ignorance. Since the times of President Bush it was called a sect - meaning a cult. The word, culte, in France means church. In the United States the word cult is a term whereby a group may say they are Christian but do not really follow what Christianity means (Who is Jesus to them is a tell-tale sign if it's really a Christian group. Is he God?) If Christ is not considered God then they get labeled a "cult". In France, churches are signified by the term culte or eglise. Catholic or Protestant. Either could mean church. France's use of our term "cult" would be "sect".

To graduate from high school in France the first day of tests revolve around Philosophy. The study of philosophy is very important in France.  French may be suspicious of absolute messages. They believe in meta stories, relativism, who can say what is true or not true. We have seen the tide turn this direction from our universities in the states. Masters of suspicion were Marx, Freud and Nitsche. The exciting news though, is that Christianity is now starting to be introduced in the universities in their philosophy curriculum. That is a huge move forward. It was taken out of students' learning quite a while ago.

Doors are opening.
Some of the verses we were asked to read came from Jer. 33:3,  Eph. 6:19, Col. 4:2-3, Ps. 5:3

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