Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Official Orders Halt to Beleaguered Church in Indonesia
- Volcano Chaos a Reminder 'God Is in Charge'
- Iranian Pastor Assaulted and Arrested in Karaj
- Group Wants Evangelist's Pentagon Event Nixed
Official Orders Halt to Beleaguered Church in Indonesia
Compass Direct News reports that a local official in Bekasi, West Java, last week forbid all worship of the Filadelfia Huria Kristen Batak Protestan Church in Jejalan village. Regent Sa'duddin on April 12 ordered a halt to all activities, including worship services that have been held on a strip of roadside land. The government summarily sealed the church's building, which was under construction, on Jan. 12. Officials said the church's makeshift site interfered with "community activities," though the site is on a nearly deserted roadside bordering vacant fields. Sa'duddin ruled that the church needs to find a new place to construct its prospective permanent church building because local residents had rejected it. The church had secured approval from local residents when it submitted its application for a permit in 2008.
Volcano Chaos a Reminder 'God Is in Charge'
Christian Today reports that multiple groups of missionaries stranded by the volcanic ash cloud hanging over Europe see God's hand in their delays. "It is an interesting reminder to the world that there is something bigger than our plans and there is a God in charge", Steve Martens, who is part of the leadership team at Greater Europe Mission (GEM). "Just one simple volcano can throw everything we're doing upside down." Many of GEM's 300 staff and volunteers had flights cancelled, but were able to find ground transportation. Those trying to into Europe, however, had more difficulty. The volcano under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier in Iceland erupted last Thursday, spewing ash into Europe's air space and closing multiple countries' airports for days.
Iranian Pastor Assaulted and Arrested in Karaj
ASSIST News Service reports that plain clothes security officers attacked a house church in Karaj, Iran, threatening the members and taking the pastor into custody. Witnesses said several plain clothes security officers, introducing themselves as "agents of the Ministry of Information," invaded the home of a local pastor on April 14. They assaulted and arrested the pastor, Behnam Irani, and transported him to an undisclosed location. Karaj is situated about 13 miles west of Tehran. "Sources in and around the city of Karaj report than approximately 10 young men had gathered to fellowship and practice their newly found faith by studying the Bible, void of any political or current issues, when this attack occurred," a spokesperson for the Farsi Christian News Network.
Group Wants Evangelist's Pentagon Event Nixed
The Associated Press reports that the Military Religious Freedom Foundation is demanding that the Pentagon cancel its invitation to evangelist Franklin Graham for the National Day of Prayer. The group's president, Mikey Weinstein, cited Graham's designation of Islam as "evil" as the group's reason. Christian Newswire reports that Weinstein has repeatedly sued the military (and lost in court) to demand punishment of any troops who talk openly about their faith in Jesus Christ. "Given the heinously hurtful, bigoted, and very public continual statements of Mr. Graham against [Islamic terrorists], and his position as honorary chairman of the [National Day of Prayer Task Force," the group "hereby demands that the Pentagon Chaplains Office immediately rescind its invitation to Mr. Graham," he said.