Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
New Study Shows Changing Evangelical Views on Islam Since 9/11
Religion News Service
After the 9/11 terrorists attacks on the U.S., evangelical leaders emerged as the strongest critics and even antagonists of Islam. Numerous surveys have likewise found evangelicals in general to have more negative views on Islam than other Americans. This rhetoric is reflected in evangelical books and articles that have been published in the last decade, but particularly since 9/11. A new study by Richard Cimino, editor of Religion Watch newsletter, finds that this discourse sheds as much light on how evangelicals view the challenges of pluralism and relativism in American society as it does about their views on Islam. The study, entitled, “No God In Common: American Evangelical Discourse on Islam After 9/11,” is published in the December issue of the Review of Religious Research. Through conducting an analysis of popular evangelical books published before and after 9/11, the study finds that most of the post-9/11 literature draws sharper distinctions between Islam and Christianity, as well as asserting that Islam is essentially violent. This polemic against Islam takes three forms: evangelical apologetics to prove the truth of Christianity against Islam; prophetic literature linking Islam as the main protagonist in end-times scenarios; and charismatic literature applying “spiritual warfare” teachings to Islam.
Judge Throws Out Florida Woman's Defamation Suit Against Jews for Jesus
A circuit court has dismissed a lawsuit against Jews for Jesus, and the group's legal counsel says the ruling is an important victory that upholds the right of the Messianic Jewish missionary organization to share the gospel of truth with others. It was three years ago that Bruce Rapp, a missionary with Jews for Jesus, reported in a monthly newsletter that his stepmother, Edith Rapp of Delray Beach, had received Christ as her Lord and Savior. One year later, Mrs. Rapp sued the ministry, claiming Jews for Jesus had defamed her by falsely implying she had become a believer. She also demanded one million dollars in damages from the Jewish Christian organization. Edith Rapp claims to have filed the defamation suit only after her written requests for a retraction and an apology went unanswered. The legal defense team for Jews for Jesus argued on the organization's behalf that the woman's claim was without merit because it is not defamatory to call someone a believer in Jesus or a Christian. Florida Circuit Court Judge Edward Fine agreed and dismissed all claims filed against Jews for Jesus by Mrs. Rapp. He also ordered that she and her lawyer, Barry Silver, pay attorney's fees and costs for the defendant.
Relief Efforts in Kashmir Delayed
Gospel for Asia
Gospel for Asia's construction of permanent shelters for those affected by the earthquake in Kashmir has been delayed until April due to heavy snowfall. A GFA Compassion Services relief team is planning on constructing 25-30 houses for the families who are in desperate need of shelter. Currently, people are living in temporary shelters provided by the government. GFA has been providing relief services to the Kashmir region since the earthquake hit months ago. A team spent eight days distributing food, medical treatment and blankets to the needy. They also handed out several tracts and New Testaments, all of which were well received. After returning to Jammu, another team traveled to Kashmir with fresh supplies. Gospel for Asia's state leader and his small team attempted to get permission to construct permanent housing for the homeless victims of that region, but were not granted permission to reenter Kashmir until April due to heavy snowfall. As the winter months approach, those living near the Himalayan Mountains are in danger of freezing to death without proper living conditions. Although the situation appears bleak, many have received food supplies of rice and lentils. Helicopters have brought food into the region through sling operations. Please pray that the people in Pakistan and Kashmir would be warm this winter as they are currently living in makeshift homes. Pray that the GFA team will have access to enter the region to provide relief and show the love of Jesus Christ to those who are suffering so much.
Celebrations of Christmas in Indonesia Will Be Guarded by Muslims
Five years ago a rash of bombings throughout Indonesia claimed the lives of at least 19 people, mostly Christians. This year police and Muslims will be doing their part to ensure this doesn't happen again. According to the Jakarta Post, on Christmas, volunteers from Indonesia's largest Islamic group will guard churches across the world's most populous Muslim nation. They're also asking young people from other religious groups to join their project. These volunteers will join 17,000 policemen who are expected to safeguard Christmas celebrations in Jakarta alone. The attacks on churches and on the tourist Island of Bali have been blamed on a terrorist network linked to al-Qaeda. Another terrorist group, Laskar Jihad, which also has ties to al-Qaeda's Osama bin Laden and the Taliban, is believed to be responsible for killing Christian school girls in the country. The group claims to have 10,000 fighters there dedicated to defending hard-line Islamic beliefs across Indonesia. There's a reason for the move. According to reports, there's a general mistrust of churches by radical Muslims because of their rapid growth in recent years. The Christian population is some 21 million out of a total of 210 million.