Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world. In today's edition:
- Muslims in Nigerian Protest Christian Evangelistic Crusade
- Legal Group Encourages Churches to Take a Political Stand
- Nepali Missionary Abducted by Maoists
- 'True Love Waits' Plans Olympian Effort to Change Culture
Muslims in Nigerian Protest Christian Evangelistic Crusade
Obed Minchakpu, Compass Direct
Muslim fundamentalists in the city of Ilorin in the central state of Kwara, Nigeria, are threatening to break up a Christian evangelistic crusade planned by well-know German preacher the Rev. Reinhard Bonnke. On August 14, protesters took to the streets of the city vowing to never allow the crusade to be held. Riot police fired tear gas canisters to disperse a crowd of Muslim demonstrators opposed to the campaign, slated for August 18-22 at Budo-Efo. Bonnke, visiting the state for the second time in 14 years, paid a courtesy call when he arrived to Kwara governor Dr. Bukola Saraki, a Muslim. "I want to say to everyone that we are people of peace, we preach about the love of God, we are against religious strife, and animosity," Bonnke told journalists after the visit. Law enforcement authorities have deployed security teams to the crusade grounds. "Anybody who is interested in attending the crusade is free to go. We have provided enough security," Marcus Gideon of the Kwara state police command told Compass.
Legal Group Encourages Churches to Take a Political Stand
A California-based legal group that specializes in defending individuals' and groups' religious freedoms is providing a resource to churches as they deal with threats to their tax-exempt status because of sermons on social and political issues. The Church and Politics, which has been mailed out to more than 1,200 churches nationwide, outlines the legal issues involved with religious advocacy on political issues. The Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) says it is providing its booklet so that pastors and laypersons can be equipped to "speak boldly" on the issues. "In an election year, it is absolutely critical for churches to know that they have the freedom to proclaim truth and biblical perspectives from the pulpit without fearing for their church's non-profit status," says PJI president Brad Dacus. He explains that his group is "passionate about letting [churches] know the truth" because many liberal groups are attempting to "muzzle" the churches with false warnings about "being too political." PJI encourages churches to contact them for a free copy of the booklet, and suggests they also consider inviting Dacus to speak to pastors groups or individual churches so they have guidance in this area of the law.
Nepali Missionary Abducted by Maoists
Michael Ireland, ASSIST News Service
Gospel For Asia's Nepali missionary Besh's life is in danger as radical insurgency group Maoists forcibly abducted him a week ago for their purposes. "This morning we received the urgent news. Though we do not know the details of the kidnapping or where he has been taken, we know our brother's life is on the line. He is well known in the community as a Christian pastor and evangelist, and authorities in an area where he was ministering a year ago noticed his activity and asked him to leave," writes GFA's president K.P. Yohannan. "In the past, more than 200 people-teachers, students, village officials and commoners-have been abducted by the Maoists and killed without mercy. Some 9,000 lives have been claimed since the insurgency began in 1996," Yohannan said. "Missionaries are even more at risk as they travel to share the Good News. This has hindered our missionaries in their travels to reach needy villages for Christ." Elsewhere in Nepal, authorities have ordered two Christians, Pastor Basu and native missionary Imansingh, to vacate their area of ministry within a week. "Please pray earnestly with us for our missionary Besh's protection and safe return. Pray for courage for Besh and other Nepali believers in the face of persecution."
'True Love Waits' Plans Olympian Effort to Change Culture
Allie Martin and Jenni Parker, Agape Press
True Love Waits will take a global stand for purity this weekend at the Olympics in Athens, Greece. "An Evening With the Olympians: True Love Waits" will be held Sunday night at the Dora Stratou Theatre, located at the base of the Acropolis. The event will feature several athletes, including 1988 gold medallist Joe DeLoach and "Olympic Athlete of the Century" and 10-time medallist (nine gold and one silver) Carl Lewis. True Love Waits (TLW), a LifeWay Christian Resources ministry, is partnering with Lay Witnesses for Christ International to host the special program, during which athletes will be encouraging young people to make a commitment to sexual purity by choosing to abstain from sex until marriage. Jimmy Hester, co-founder of True Love Waits, says the Olympic event is a golden opportunity to communicate God's design for human sexuality. Hester says the message of abstinence transcends all cultural barriers, and the TLW movement, which began in the U.S., has caught on in several places around the globe. The TLW spokesman says event organizers in Athens have already received abstinence commitment cards of young people from every inhabited continent in the world. The "Evening With the Olympians" event is scheduled to begin on August 22 at 5 p.m. and will be taped and available that evening for viewing through the Internet.