News Update-1/10/2011

 

Christians Offer Prayers As Sudan Heads to Polls
Southern Sudan is halfway through a seven-day referendum that will determine whether the area remains part of a united Sudan or breaks away from the North. 

Christian Today reports that Christians around the world continue to pray for the outcome of the referendum, which is the final step in the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended decades of civil war. In a statement on Friday, the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams called on international observers "to ensure that the referendum takes place peacefully and that the process and the results are fully respected."

The World Evangelical Alliance has issued a call to its members worldwide to pray for a "free, fair and safe" referendum. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has said he will abide by the results, but many fear a return to violence is possible.

Religion Today Summaries

Aviation Ministry Finds Open Hearts in Haiti
As the effort to rebuild Haiti continues after a disaster-filled 2010, spokesmen for Mission Aviation Fellowship say the country remains open to the Gospel.

David Carwell, MAF's program manager for Haiti, says people are still searching for answers. "The widespread openness to the Gospel really peaked about a month after the earthquake," Carwell said. "People were turning to the Lord everywhere. Even Mardi Gras parties were curtailed in 2010. But after that initial surge of relief aid tapered off, things slowly went back to the way they were. I believe we're going to see another surge of people turning to the Lord again this January."

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association recently hosted a religious festival in Haiti's national soccer stadium, and several prayer services are planned for January 12, the one-year anniversary of the quake.

Religion Today Summaries

Eritrea Arrests 30 Christians at Private Prayer Service
International Christian Concern reports that Eritrean officials arrested 30 Christians for praying at a private house in the capital of Asmara on Jan. 2. Some of the Christians were only recently released after being detained for their faith.

The detained Christians are members of the Philadelphia Church, an evangelical church outlawed in Eritrea. Several churches have been forced to go underground in Eritrea since 2002 when officials required all religious groups to register. The officials only registered four religious groups: Islam, the Eritrean Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran Evangelical Church of Eritrea. More than 3,000 Christians in the tiny country have been detained for their faith and imprisoned in inhumane conditions.

Religion Today Summaries

70 Christians Arrested and Detained over Christmas in Iran
In the early hours of Christmas Day, the Iranian government arrested 25 Christians and sought to detain 16 others, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW). Fifty other Christians were also been detained but it is unclear as yet what the full details are surrounding their cases.

This is the second year in a row security services in Iran targeted Christians over the Christmas holidays. Of the 25 detained, 11 have been released. CSW has serious concerns for the remaining 14 individuals still in prison. The individuals are all evangelical believers, and include pastors and leaders from within the house church networks of Iran.

Andrew Johnston, Advocacy Director of CSW, said: "We condemn this brutal attack on evangelical Christians in Iran. The arrest of 70 members of one group reveals the clear targeting of individuals along religious lines."

Religion Today Summaries

Assassination Complicates Controversial Blasphemy Law
Church officials in Pakistan say the January 4 assassination of Salman Taseer, governor of Punjab province and an outspoken critic of Pakistan's blasphemy law, is a "setback" for the campaign to overturn the law that makes illegal to speak against Islam.

"This assassination has made it now extremely difficult for us to campaign against the blasphemy law," Victor Azariah, general secretary of the National Council of Churches in Pakistan (NCCP), told Religion News Service from his office at Lahore. "Everyone here is scared."

Taseer, 64, was shot dead on Tuesday by one of his security guards in the provincial capital of Lahore. The alleged assailant, Malik Mumtaz Husain Qadri, immediately surrendered and told the police he carried out the murder to avenge the "insult" to the blasphemy law by Taseer, who had called it a "black law."

Religion Today Summaries

Crossway Gives 50,000 Bibles to Troops
Christian Newswire reports that the publishing company Crossway has partnered with Faith Comes by Hearing to provide Scripture to military men and women stationed around the world.

The company, which publishes the English Standard Version (ESV) Bible, donated 50,000 ESV New Testaments to Faith Comes by Hearing's Military BibleStick Project. The pocket-sized publication is packaged with Faith Comes by Hearing's Military BibleStick and shipped, free of charge, to chaplains who place a request for these ministry tools.

"It is a special delight for Crossway to partner with Faith Comes by Hearing to provide the greatest gift we can give anyone-God's Word," said Dr. Lane Dennis, president and publisher of Crossway. "It is our prayer that the Lord will use this gift to bring many in our armed services to know Christ as their Savior, even as they defend the freedom of the Gospel and our nation."

Religion Today Summaries


 

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