Religion Today Summaries, April 14, 2004

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries, April 14, 2004

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.  In today's edition:

  • Ministry Hopes Improved India-Pakistan Relations Bode Well for Persecuted Church 
  • Hundreds of Vietnamese Christians Killed over Easter Weekend
  • Christian Youth Channel Generates ‘Amazing’ Feedback'
  • Bible Answer Man' Shares Responses to Most Popular Questions

Ministry Hopes Improved India-Pakistan Relations Bode Well for Persecuted Church
Chad Groening, Agape Press

An international organization dedicated to the persecuted Church is encouraged by the apparent recent thaw in relations between India and Pakistan, which have been historic rivals since Pakistan gained independence from India. Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) is concerned about the ongoing persecution of Christians in both Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan. But VOM spokesman Todd Nettleton says relations between the two countries have improved recently. Nettleton says VOM is seeing more and more steps being taken towards a resolution of the difficulties between India and Pakistan. A recent cricket match between the countries was a positive sign. "People really saw that as a great step forward, to have the two countries competing on an athletic field in a peaceful and a respectful way," Nettleton says. VOM's spokesman observes that the two nations have a common past on which to build. "You know, at one point they were part of the same country," he says, "and so they do have a history of being joined and working together. Hopefully we can see a return to that in the near future." However, Nettleton notes that despite the apparent improvement in relations between India and Pakistan, both countries continue to receive poor marks in the area of religious persecution against Christians.

Hundreds of Vietnamese Christians Killed over Easter Weekend
Michael Ireland, ASSIST News Service

An estimated 400 Christians have been killed in brutal repression of peaceful and prayerful demonstrations by Montagnard Christians in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, according to the Barnabas Fund, quoting information from The Montagnard Foundation. The report states that on Saturday April 10 up to 400,000 Vietnamese Christians, from the Degar people, gathered in several Vietnamese cities to demonstrate against the government’s refusal to allow them to follow the Christian faith freely. "The demonstrators in the cities…were attacked by soldiers, police and other Vietnamese civilians. The Christians were shot at, beaten with electric batons and bombarded with rocks and stones. Hundreds were killed and many others have suffered broken bones," the Barnabas Fund said. A press release on April 9 from the Montagnard Foundation drew attention to the planned demonstrations. In a word of warning concerning the demonstrations the Foundation cautioned that “Without the direct intervention of law abiding states, the UN and the European Commission, the repression against the Montagnards will be bloody.” The Montagnard Foundation believes this incident may spark a refugee crisis, with thousands likely to head for the Cambodian border. The Cambodians have closed this border to refugees. No attempt was made by the Christians to use violence. The Christians are not seeking independence, merely the right to worship freely.

Christian Youth Channel Generates ‘Amazing’ Feedback
Charisma News Service

A youth-focused, 24-hour Christian channel is making an impact among young people nationwide and overseas. Although Trinity Broadcasting Network's (TBN) JC-TV is available on only a handful of cable outlets in the South, it is available in 3 million U.S. households and worldwide through its live Internet stream. JC-TV personality Brandon Crouch, 20, said he has received "amazing" feedback about the channel. "I've had parents come up to me and practically fall at my feet saying: 'Thank you so much. Your network has saved my son or daughter's life. What can I do to get involved?'" Crouch said. "Time after time, even in Costa Rica when I was there, I had youth coming up to me saying: 'Thank you. Your God has changed my life,'" he continued. JC-TV, which marked its first anniversary in January, features original shows such as the youth forum "WWJD-TV," the extreme sports show "Xtreme Life," the fashion and beauty show "Mind, Body and Spirit," and more than 10 hours of Christian music videos daily. Brandon Crouch believes God has blessed their ministry. "We have practically the world covered," he said. "If it wasn't for God, we wouldn't be this far in the first place. If you look at the bigger picture, God has brought us this far."

'Bible Answer Man' Shares Responses to Most Popular Questions
Allie Martin, Agape Press

A noted Christian radio personality is trying to help believers become better equipped when it comes to biblical truth, and to have a better understanding of God's Word and its relevance for today. Hank Hanegraaff is host of the popular live radio call-in show Bible Answer Man as well as president and chairman of the Christian Research Institute International (CRI).  He has authored several best-selling books, including The Prayer of Jesus and Resurrection. Hanegraaff's latest book, The Bible Answer Book, covers 80 of the top questions he has received on his radio program.  The book also tackles the issue of God's perspective on wealth -- which, according to Hanegraaff, involves far more than just money. "It's not what you have or what I have that's the real issue.  It is what we do with what we have," he says.  "And it is not just our treasure; it's also our time and our talent…Jesus, Paul, and the rest of the apostles came to show us that our gaze should not be on mean, earthly vanities, but we ought to be able to elevate our gaze to eternal verities." Hanegraaff has hosted Bible Answer Man for 15 years and boasts an audience of more than six million people.