Recent Magazine Articles

9 Aug 2017

Joys and challenges

by Jim Forbes, Christiana DeGroot, Joe Roche, Jack Heller, Susannah Moore | Issue 123

Jim Forbes is media director at Prison Fellowship.

For more than 40 years, Prison Fellowship has been going into correctional facilities, sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with those behind bars, and offering the hope of true transformation. Through the use of Bible-based programming and with the help of thousands of committed volunteers, lives are being changed, hope is being restored, and darkness is being replaced with the promise of a future.

At the same time, we also envision a safer, more redemptive society. With the help of our...

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9 Aug 2017

Prison as a parish: Christian responses

by Todd V. Cioffi | Issue 123

From Joseph’s imprisonment in Genesis to Satan’s in Revelation, references to prisons fill the Bible. And Christians have spent considerable effort on how best to respond to crime and punishment, imprisonment and release. They have sought to minister to prisoners; they have tried to influence the justice system; and their input became crucial in the rise of the modern-day prison.

proclaiming freedom

Biblical testimony in general speaks little of verdicts of crime and punishment and more of mercy and fellowship. In Genesis we read of...

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9 Aug 2017

Paradoxes of prison

by Dan Graves | Issue 123

Jerry McAuley (1839–1884) committed every crime short of murder. The Irish-born young man caused so much trouble as a teenager that his grandmother (who was raising him) sent him to relatives in New York City, where he became a street fighter and a “river thief.” Eager to get rid of him, residents of New York City’s Fourth Ward swore he had committed a hold-up, though he always maintained his innocence. He was sentenced to 15 years in Sing Sing Prison.

“Punishment never did me a particle of good, it only made me harder,” he wrote in his...

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8 Aug 2017

Thinking long thoughts

by Catherine Barnett | Issue 123

“What else can one do when he is alone in a narrow jail cell, other than write long letters, think long thoughts and pray long prayers?”

These words from Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” (1963) might have been penned by any number of imprisoned Christians since the time of the apostle Paul. Innumerable letters, thoughts, prayers, poems, hymns, and novels have been composed under some of the worst conditions possible—many, like King’s letter, becoming classics that continue to exhort, comfort, and inspire readers...

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8 Aug 2017

Christians on trial

by Dwight D. Brautigam | Issue 123

How do Christians end up in prison? In many cases their beliefs are at odds with the prevailing government, they are arrested, and they are put on trial. From the earliest days of the church, followers of the Way were tried before Jewish and Roman authorities: not only Jesus himself, but Stephen, Paul, and others. Peter and Silas escaped their famous imprisonment the night before they were to be tried. 

a hymn to christ as to a god 

In the early second century, we find one of the first records outside the Bible of Christians on trial before...

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8 Aug 2017

Prison as a parish: Christian inmates

by Roy Stults and Jennifer Woodruff Tait | Issue 123

Ever since Jesus Christ was arrested and tried before Pilate, imprisonment has been the experience of many who follow him. Seldom are Christians imprisoned only for religious beliefs. There are often ethnic, social, political, or cultural reasons. And some Christians, sadly, are imprisoned for actual crimes. 

when in rome. …

Ancient Romans believed in gods who oversaw and protected various areas of life. Not showing respect and loyalty to these gods undermined the security of the state; when early Christians proclaimed one God as supreme,...

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