Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Chuck Colson in Critical Condition After Brain Surgery
- Christians Consider Fleeing Syria Amid Fears of Intolerance
- N.C. Marriage Amendment Has 20-Point Lead in New Polls
- Mark Driscoll Steps Down From Acts 29 Network, Gospel Coalition
Chuck Colson in Critical Condition After Brain Surgery
Evangelical leader and prison ministry founder Chuck Colson is in critical condition after undergoing surgery over the weekend following a brain hemorrhage, CNN reports. Colson, 80, was speaking Friday at a conference in D.C. when his speech became garbled and he had to sit down, witnesses said. He was taken by helicopter to a nearby hospital, where he "underwent surgery on Saturday morning to remove a pool of clotted blood on the surface of his brain," according to a statement from his publicist. "Colson is listed in critical condition at this point but has shown some early signs of potential for recovery." Prison Fellowship CEO Jim Liske, who visited Colson in the hospital Tuesday, said: "Chuck is resting comfortably, and his family is with him. ... I was encouraged to see that as we prayed, Chuck was responsive." Colson founded Prison Fellowship in 1976, shortly after serving a seven-month prison sentence for charges stemming from the 1972 Watergate scandal.
Christians Consider Fleeing Syria Amid Fears of Intolerance
As violent clashes between rebels and the Syrian government continue to put the lives of civilians at risk, many Christians are reportedly considering fleeing the country -- once considered a safe haven for religious minorities in the Middle East, the Christian Post reports. Syrian Christians fear being caught in the crossfire of the conflict, but fear even more the possibility of an Islamic government emerging should the rebels prevail and the regime fall. "Christians in Syria fear the overthrow of [President] Assad will result in direct persecution against the Christian minority and a mass exodus of Christians from the country, similar to what had happened in Iraq and is now occurring in Egypt," said Aidan Clay of International Christian Concern. "Throughout the Middle East, we are seeing the Arab Spring uprisings replace long-standing rulers with Islamist movements that disregard the rights of non-Muslims and women. Attacks against Middle Eastern Christians have occurred on an unparalleled scale following the uprisings. Syria will be no different."
N.C. Marriage Amendment Has 20-Point Lead in New Polls
Two new polls that use the exact language citizens will see on the ballot show a proposed North Carolina marriage amendment with a 20-point lead, Baptist Press reports. A Public Policy Polling survey has the amendment ahead 58 to 38 percent, and a SurveyUSA poll has it up 58 to 36 percent. Both surveys included in the question the same wording that will appear on the ballot on May 8: "Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state." The two polls differ dramatically from an Elon University poll that used different wording -- "Would you [support or oppose] an amendment to the North Carolina constitution that would prevent any same-sex marriages, domestic partnerships or civil unions?" -- and showed North Carolinians opposing the amendment 62 to 31 percent. Nationwide, polls have shown that people are more likely to support a marriage amendment if it is stated in the positive rather than in the negative, as the Elon poll did; Tom Jensen of Public Policy Polling called it a "fatal flaw" for Elon not to use the "exact ballot language" that voters will see in the booth.
Mark Driscoll Steps Down From Acts 29 Network, Gospel Coalition
Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, has stepped down as leader of the global church-planting organization Acts 29 Network and resigned as a council member of The Gospel Coalition to devote more time to his growing congregation, the Christian Post reports. Driscoll will remain on the Acts 29 board of directors and support its new president, pastor Matt Chandler of The Village Church in Texas, as the organization works on restructuring, he said. "With the continued growth of all the ministries in which I'm involved, it's not sustainable for me to keep up with all of them," Driscoll said in a letter posted on TGC's website. "So, this is a season of pruning for me." He clarified in the letter that he was not asked to step down from TGC nor did he have any "disagreement theologically" with other council members.
Publication date: April 5, 2012