Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Lutheran Denomination Releases Study on Human Sexuality
- Kidnappers Murder Iraqi Church Elder in Mosul
- 'Church of the Ark' Found on West Bank
- Typhoon Hits Churches Hard in the Philippines
Lutheran Denomination Releases Study on Human Sexuality
"Lutherans talk about human sexuality." That's the subject of a study released Tuesday by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, which has lost members amid divisions over homosexuality, AgapePress reports. Last year, delegates to the denomination's national meeting split almost evenly on whether to let homosexuals in long-term relationships serve as clergy. The proposal, which needed a two-thirds majority, failed but a church task force was told to keep studying issues of sexuality and prepare the report that is being issued today. ELCA officials say the new study will invite Lutherans "to consider human sexuality through the lens of Scripture and Lutheran teaching."
Kidnappers Murder Iraqi Church Elder in Mosul
Grieving Christians in Iraq’s northern city of Mosul completed three days of mourning for a murdered Presbyterian Church elder yesterday, only hours before another Iraqi clergyman was grabbed off the streets of Baghdad. Identified only as 69-year-old Elder Munthir, the murdered Christian had been kidnapped after leading worship services at the National Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Mosul on November 26. Compass Direct News reports his body was found four days later. According to one Mosul source who described the kidnappers’ conversations, “They said, ‘We will cut his throat. We will take revenge for the Pope’s words... We will kill all the Christians, and we will start with him.’” In Baghdad, the Chaldean Catholic Patriarchate confirmed that another clergyman – Father Samy Abdulahad – was kidnapped this morning from his car as he left his church in the Al-Sinaa district of the capital, near the University of Technology.
'Church of the Ark' Found on West Bank
According to the London Telegraph, archaeologists claimed yesterday to have uncovered one of the world's first churches, built on a site believed to have once housed the Ark of the Covenant. The site, in the hills of the West Bank, is richly decorated with brightly coloured mosaics and inscriptions referring to Jesus. The find dates to the late 4th century, making it one of Christianity's first formal places of worship. An inscription at the site refers to itself as Shiloh, which, according to the Old Testament, kept the Ark of the Covenant for centuries.
Typhoon Hits Churches Hard in the Philippines
According to a Mission Network News report, Typhoon Durian's death toll in the Philippines is expected to rise to 600. SEND International's Frank Severn told MNN: "Our missionaries are all safe, we thank the Lord for that. One of the areas we worked at for many years, the small Island called Marinduque, was directly hit by the typhoon. And, I just got a report this morning that said 80-percent of all the houses are without roofs." Severn added that the national church has completely taken over their work on Marinduqe, as one of SEND's ministries - a Bible camp - was "completely destroyed... I'm sure church ministries have been tremendously affected." Economics will also be a resultant problem from the damage, as the coconut crop was devastated.