Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 20, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 20, 2008

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

  • Many Americans Put Trust in Miracles over Medicine
  • Churches Pay Average Senior Pastor $80,000 a Year
  • Indonesia: Muslim Mob Storms Church, Call for Ban
  • UN Demands Russia Withdraw from Georgia

Many Americans Put Trust in Miracles over Medicine

The Associated Press reports that a new survey shows that more than half of American adults believe in divine intervention at the hospital, and doctors need to be sensitive to those expecting miracles. Fifty-seven percent said divine intervention could save even when medical treatment appears hopeless, and almost 20 percent of doctors and medical workers surveyed agreed. Almost 75 percent said patients have a right to such treatment. One thousand adults were surveyed on end-of-life medical care, along with 774 doctors and other medical workers. The study noted that doctors shouldn't belittle this belief. "Sensitivity to this belief will promote development of a trusting relationship" with patients and their families, according to researchers.

Churches Pay Average Senior Pastor $80,000 a Year

According to ChristianNewsWire, the average senior pastor earns $81,113 a year in pay and benefits, according to an annual survey by the Your Church Media Group. The survey also showed benefits significantly increased with education levels in all church staffing position; those with a doctorate earn $14,000-$24,000 more per year than those who hold only a Bachelor's degree, and almost $30,000 more than those without any post-secondary education. Location and setting of a church also factored into pastor's pay, as suburban senior pastors average 50 percent more earnings than those in more rural settings.

Indonesia: Muslim Mob Storms Church, Call for Ban

Compass Direct News reports that on Sunday (August 17) a Muslim mob stormed a church service in Cipayung, East Jakarta, forcing Christians to flee and then erecting banners in the street declaring a ban on “churches and religious services.” As about 20 church members were celebrating the nation’s Independence Day at the service, the angry assailants arrived at the Pentecostal Church of Indonesia in Pondok Rangon village, Cipayung, at 9:30 a.m. shouting “Allahu Akbar!” or “God is greater!” Some in the mob were neighbors, but the majority were not local residents, according to pastor Chris Ambessa. Local officials made no effort to intervene or prohibit the illegal banners. Ambessa has been in the middle of a dispute over his house church. Previously Cipayung officials had ordered him to dismantle the second floor of his home, and on July 13 it ordered him to cease religious activity for an indefinite period following neighborhood protests against his house church. Neighbors had demanded that Ambessa completely demolish the building.

UN Demands Russia Withdraw from Georgia

Although the UN Security Council has drafted a resolution demanding cease-fire, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman says there appears to be no significant changes to Russia's military occupation of Georgia despite promises to mostly withdraw, according to Fox News. The conflict began Aug. 7 when Georgia launched heavy artillery against rogue province South Ossetia. Russian troops drove back Georgian forces from the ethnically Russian province. Meanwhile, Bible Mission International's Paul Hagelgans told Mission News Network that people need to ignore the spin from both countries and focus on the humanitarian crisis. "We [don't] care about who's right and who's wrong. We only care about the more than 35,000 people," he said.