Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Cizik Resigns from National Association of Evangelicals
- Pope Cautions against Blurring Religious Differences
- China: Pastor 'Bike' Prevented from Filing Complaints
- Nigeria: Six Pastors Killed, 40 Churches Razed
Cizik Resigns from National Association of Evangelicals
Christianity Today reports that Richard Cizik resigned as the vice president for governmental affairs of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) Wednesday night. This development follows an interview Cizik gave National Public Radio, in which he commented on his support for same-sex civil unions and his early support of President-elect Barack Obama, causing much concern over NAE's position on traditional marriage. "Although he has subsequently expressed regret, apologized, and affirmed our values, there is a loss of trust in his credibility as a spokesperson among leaders and constituencies," Leith Anderson, president of the NAE wrote to board members today.
Pope Cautions against Blurring Lines of Religious Differences
Religion News Service reports that Pope Benedict XVI praised collaboration with other faiths in pursuit of common social goals, but cautioned against dialogue that could lead to blurring of religious differences. Benedict's statement, released on Tuesday (Dec. 9), was addressed to participants in a Vatican-sponsored academic event connected to the current European Year of Intercultural Dialogue. "Let believers always be ready to promote initiatives of intercultural and interreligious dialogue, in order to stimulate collaboration in areas of common interest, such as the dignity of the human person, the search for the common good, peace-building, and development," he wrote. Benedict added that "to be authentic, such dialogue must avoid yielding to relativism and syncretism."
China: Pastor 'Bike' Prevented from Filing Complaints
On December 4, 2008 Pastor “Bike” Zhang Mingxuan attempted to file a complaint against the government decision to abolish the Chinese House Church Alliance, but the No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court of Beijing refused to accept the case. In support of the Chinese House Church Alliance, 15 Chinese Christian legal professionals and intellectuals have issued a formal solemn declaration against the actions of the Ministry of Civil Affairs, stating in part, “If this order of abolishment continues to be used in other expanded areas, this could well cause the abolishment of all the Christian house churches.” Elsewhere in China, imprisoned Christian Shi Weihand, a Christian bookstore owner and house church leader, has yet to be formally charged since he was arrested March 19. He may be held without charges for up to three years. Authorities continue to pressure his family.
Nigeria: Six Pastors Killed, 40 Churches Razed
Compass Direct News reports that he murderous rioting sparked by Muslim attacks on Christians and their property on Nov. 28-29 left six pastors dead, at least 500 other people killed and 40 churches destroyed, according to church leaders. More than 25,000 persons have been displaced in the two days of violence, according to the National Emergency Management Agency. What began as outrage over suspected vote fraud in local elections quickly hit the religious fault line that quakes from time to time in this city located between the Islamic north and Christian south, as angry Muslims took aim at Christian sites rather than at political targets. Police and troops reportedly killed about 400 rampaging Muslims in an effort to quell the unrest, and Islamists shot, slashed or stabbed to death most of more than 100 Christians killed.