Category Archives: Christianity in Europe

Meat cleaver attack did not deter Rene Celinder from evangelizing Denmark

Rene Celinder was leading an all-night prayer vigil in support of the Jews at the Israel Plads in Copenhagen 2002, when a Palestinian immigrant struck him over the head with a cleaver at 3:00 a.m.

“Luckily, I have a hard head,” Rene quips. The doctor explained that had the attack not been a glancing blow, he could have died or wound up in a wheelchair.

From the hospital, he called his wife: “Don’t worry I’m alive,” he told her. “I just took a cleaver blow to my head. No problem. I’m ok.”

Such is the life of a Christian evangelist is Denmark. Today, he travels internationally to preach the gospel to people lost in darkness. He, too, was once lost in darkness.

Raised by an abusive father, Rene became a painter and a handyman. When he contracted stomach cancer at age 30, he made a promise to God: “If you heal me, I will serve you for the rest of my life.”

He didn’t know God but remembered his childhood prayers from the ritualistic church he visited in his youth. The surgery removing the egg-sized mass was a success. Rene didn’t immediately fulfill his promise to serve God.

Three years later, he received a $50,000 insurance payout for the damage done by chemicals he worked with as a painter and fiberglass worker. He traveled and drank extensively until he spent all the money in under two years. Later he would resonate with the Prodigal Son when he read the Bible.

After the “living it up” was over, he had no money and nothing to do. An aunt told him to go to church and get saved. So that’s what he did.

Almost immediately, he enrolled in Bible school and was fascinated with the truth of Scripture. As he grew in the Lord he stopped swearing.

Unfortunately, he didn’t stop all sin. He fell into fornication with another student at the school. Caught by administrators, he got kicked out.

He returned home and avoided Christians and church because of his guilty conscience for some time. The brethren sought him out. Why aren’t you coming to church? they asked. “ I was afraid because I had been sinning so bad,” he said sincerely.

They encouraged him to return. When he did, he was embraced. He vowed to sin no more.

Eventually, he met and married his second wife, Dora, to whom he has been married for 25 years. He is now 66.

At a Christian camp years later, he spotted the old fling from Bible School. He asked his wife what he should do.

“You need to go ask for forgiveness?” Dora responded.

He did so. Then he asked her “spiritual parents” for forgiveness and then her kids. On the final day of the camp, both went up to the altar and asked the Lord for forgiveness.

“I learned forgiveness,” he comments. “Then I was free.”

Rene and Dora had a child, Emma, who was born with three holes in her heart. Doctors operated for 12 hours but were unable to save her. Baby Emma died six days after birth.

“I was really really angry at God,” he remembers. “I’ve never been angry like this before.”

Rene wanted to run away. But the doctor encouraged him to cradle his baby and to say goodbye. The grieving process was very healing. On the day of Emma’s funeral and burial, snow was falling, and the wind was blowing inhospitably. But after the sermon inside the church when they all came out, the storm had passed, and the sun was shining. It was beautiful moment to bury Emma. The birds were singing. He felt God’s presence.

Rene prayed a very unusual request: “Lord, show us our little girl one more time. I know that we cannot ask anything like this. But if you can, can you do something about it?”

Typically, a request to communicate with the dead is strictly a no-no because it derives from witchcraft. King Saul, in an attempt to contact the dead prophet Samuel, went to a medium. It was his last act of life; the next day he was killed on the field of battle.

But God took Dora to Heaven, Rene says.

One night she had a dream and in the dream she went to heaven. The first person to greet her was God.

“Father, have you seen our daughter?” Dora asked.

Yes, yes, she’s over there crawling around having a joyful time, He responded.

Then she talked to her baby, who, not limited to earthly constrains, could talk, Rene says.

“It’s really beautiful up here,” she told Mom. “I’m going be more blessing here in Heaven.”

Dora woke up happy. “We knew that we are going to see her again,” Rene explains. “She now would be 25 in human years.”

Moved on by the Lord, Rene opened his first cafe in a cellar. He invited people, gave them coffee and food, prayed for them for healing. It was a continual outreach center.

How he got the cafe is a miracle. When he first saw it available, it cost $5,000 a month. He felt God’s urging towards this place but couldn’t afford the rent. So he waited a year. The next time he saw it, the rent was now $2,000. He made his move.

Saying he had no money, he offered to paint for the owner to be able to use the cellar. After thinking it over for three days, the owner told him that he had no need of painting but if he would clean up and repair three flights of stairs, he could use the cellar for free. The job took four days.

“That’s how I got the key for free,” he says.

For three years… Read the rest: René Celinder evangelist in Denmark.

A man of God, Torben Sondergaard, in jail for arms smuggling?

Friends are expressing dismay that a Danish man who works tirelessly spreading the gospel around the world has been arrested in America over charges of smuggling arms from Mexico into America.

“Today Torben (Søndergaard) is sitting in jail because somebody made a false accusation against him, something that is not true,” says Jón Bjarnastein on a Facebook post on The Last Reformation page. “It’s because he’s preaching the gospel. This is nothing new under the sun. The Bible says that everyone who wants to live a godly life will experience persecution.”

Torben Søndergaard fled Denmark in 2019 after repeated attacks by the government to discredit his street ministry, which riled secularists by casting out demons in public places. If you don’t believe in the supernatural, much less demons, then one might think Torben is a manipulative charlatan. He applied for asylum in America and now is being detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.


“I was invited to a meeting with Homeland Security who wanted to talk about my asylum case – a case where I, in Denmark three years ago, was accused of doing many things I had not done, and where I ended up fleeing to America seeking asylum,” he wrote on Facebook. “But then, they suddenly said that the real reason I was there was because they had been notified that I was smuggling weapons from Mexico to America.

“I was in shock.”

The accusation of arms running is strange because the illegal flow of weapons is generally southward, from America to Mexico. America is a manufacturer of arms, not an importer. What America imports illegally from Mexico is drugs, not weapons. CBN says the Department of Homeland Security had no comment on the case.

Doing ministry in Denmark for 18 years, Søndergaard, 45, founded the Last Reformation street evangelism movement with the purpose of restoring Book of Acts-style ministry. His Jesus Center trained disciples from 30 nations to spread the gospel worldwide, CBN reports.

But authorities in secularist Denmark didn’t like him and, starting in 2016, launched investigations from six separate Danish ministries into everything from food safety to unpaid taxes. They found nothing wrong, CBN reports.

The persecution continued when Søndergaard decided to homeschool his daughter. Seeking an abatement from the persecution, Sondergaard re-enrolled her in public school. But the attacks continued… Read the rest: Torben Sondergaard Danish evangelist.

One woman’s testimony sheds light on why Muslims are getting saved

Raised in England in a Muslim family, Laila Nassali was bewildered by the number of religions and different doctrines.

“It was so confusing for me,” Laila says on her YouTube video channel. “God is not a God of confusion, so why are there so many different religions out there? If he’s the one true God, why are there so many religions saying he’s this or he’s that? It looked like a confusing puzzle that I would never be able to solve.”

Like so many, she gave up on trying to compare, contrast and determine the truth. Instead, she started to live for personal pleasure and be happy-go-lucky like so many fellow university students appeared to be having fun.

“I was literally just living my best life, and that led me to a lot of sin,” she says. “I was trapped in the flesh. I didn’t believe in God, period.”

One day she randomly felt anxiety and depression, because of living in the ways of sin. “I had thoughts of death, and where am I going to go?” she says. “I had all of this torment in my heart. It led me to the point where my spirit was crying out. I couldn’t fathom that I didn’t have a purpose.

“It took me to go into the dark to realize there is a God somewhere.”

Out of her agony, she decided to pray: Who are you God? she asked.

She didn’t pray at a mosque, as her Muslim parents had taught her. She prayed in her bathroom.

In the following days God brought a Christian into her life. She just “happened” to catch a cab with a pastor, who talked the entire time about God, Christianity, and prayer. Next, she ran across two random girls on the street who talked to her about God.

Then it was Instagram. Scrolling through, all she saw was posts with crosses, which was weird because she knew the algorithms based on her previous interaction with Instagram would not lead her to crosses. Read the rest: why are Muslims getting saved in the West?

The Gospel in France rushes forward

The Gospel has grown by 10,000% in more than a century in France, evangelicalism’s holy grail in Europe.

In the year 1800, there were 2000 Protestant evangelicals, in 2019 there were more than 700,000, according to statistics in a FOCL Online video and news reports.

In 1970, there were 840 evangelical churches, today there are more than 2,440. Every 10 days, a new church opens, said David Brown, chairman of the Evangelism Commission of the French National Council of Evangelicals (CNEF).

“Their numbers are no doubt increasing with the evangelical churches’ emphasis of personal conversion and a direct relationship with God,” says anchor Stuart Norval of France 24 English news in a “Focus” report which characterized the growth as “surprising.”

The news is cheery since evangelical Christianity tails Islam and secular humanism in France. The humanist viewpoint that God is a “construct” used by the rich to suppress the poor was practically born in France. About 8% of the country is Muslim while evangelicals barely make up 1%.

Despite sobering demographics, evangelicals have been growing at about 2.4% a year, in line with most countries in the world, according to the Joshua Project.

Francois Loury is a recent convert in the Porte Ouverte Chrétienne church in Paris. He recently was baptized and brings his whole family.

“It feels like a church that belongs to the modern world,” François says. “That’s what’s so good about it. That’s what makes it stand out. The pastors wear jeans. They don’t wear suits. They like to have fun; they tell jokes. Sometimes we even find ourselves laughing about religion. I think that in today’s world, that’s important, to have an open mind.”

Porte Ouverte Chrétienne, which means Christian Open Door, stands out compared to the mass offered by the Catholic church. Porte Ouverte’s worship is dynamic and heartfelt, activities are family oriented, and they reach thousands with simultaneous streaming over social media.

“When I attended Catholic mass I felt like a spectator,” says Eric Richter. “Our faith is a bit like for a fan in a soccer stadium. They’re in it together; they have faith in their players. And we have faith in God.”

Daniel Lietchi presides over CNEF’s committee to foment church planting praises God for the growth but prays for much more.

“If we continue like this with a new church established every 10 days, we’ll never accomplish our goal of having one church for every 10,000 French citizens,” Lietchi says. “We want things to progress twice, even three times, as fast. But the outcome depends on God’s will. For example in Spain, a new church opens every three days. Here in France, that’s what we’re aiming for.”

Much of the current church growth stems from a surge of immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean, where people in their native countries have a higher level of openness to the gospel.

Monique Kapinga immigrated from the Democratic Republic of Congo when her husband died. She found a similar worship style and the same earnestness of her native land in the l’Arche de Paix Church, which after 25 years has over 500 members.

“I came to the Arch of Peace because it is a church of truth,” Monique says. “We pray like we pray back home.”

But the spiritual support is not the only help she found at the Parisian church. She also received money and assistance with renewing her immigration status. It’s no wonder immigrants, lonely in a foreign land, congregate together for camaraderie and social networking.

CNEF’s Brown tracks the history of current growth of Christianity in France in the follow epochs:

>From 1935 to 1960, Assemblies of God led the charge with successful church planting

>From 1980 to 1990, the Charismatic movement brought a surge

>From 1990 to 2010, immigration brought a boon.

>Since 1995, native church planters are taking the lead.

Personal evangelism fuels the growth, but white French resist the gospel with a “double insulation.” He says: “They rebuff evangelism by saying they are Catholic or believers in secular philosophy, which is strong in France.

“A person says, ‘Well, I’m not really a believer,’ so you start talking about philosophy and try to convince them,” Brown says. “And then they suddenly say, ‘I’m a Catholic and we can’t believe that.’” Read the rest: Gospel in France