Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Eritrea Releases 14 Believers on Bail
- Lutherans Unveil Name, Plan for Rival Body
- Demand for Bible Outstripping Supply in China
- Over 70 Haitian Relief Teams Deliver Audio Bibles
Eritrea Releases 14 Believers on Bail
Open Doors USA reports that authorities in Eritrea have released on bail 12 Christians who had spent the past two years in prison. The 12 Christians - seven men and five women - from the Kale-Hiwot Church were in high school at the time of their arrest. At their Feb. 5 release, the young adults were warned not to participate in any Christian activities. They were threatened with execution should they be caught disobeying the order. Officials at Mitire Military camp also released on bail Aklilu Tesfamichel and Gebru Tesfayon on Monday, Feb. 8. These two men, members of the Rhema Church in Adi-Kuala, were held at Mitire for the past one year and seven months for witnessing about Christ to fellow military soldiers. They were sent back to the military units where they served before their arrests. Sources inside Eritrea estimate that 2,221 Christians remain incarcerated in Eritrea's harsh detention centers.
Lutherans Unveil Name, Plan for Rival Body
The Christian Post reports that dissidents from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in American (ELCA) have taken the next step in becoming a new body by choosing a name. According to a proposal released Thursday, the North American Lutheran Church would provide a new home for conservative Lutherans who do not agree with the ELCA's stance on homosexual clergy or other issues. "It is fitting that these proposals are being announced on the day that the Lutheran church remembers the great reformer Martin Luther. Luther brought new life and renewal to the church of his day," said the Rev. Paul Spring of State College, Pa., chair of Lutheran CORE (Coalition for Renewal). "We pray that God will use these proposals to bring new life and renewal to the church of our day." Some 220 ELCA congregations have taken initial votes to disaffiliate from the denomination.
Demand for Bible Outstripping Supply in China
Christian Today reports that the need for Bibles in China grew again in 2009, when an estimated half million people converted to Christianity. "As more and more people are joining the Church they are asking for a Bible," says Bible Society's China Partnership Coordinator Kua Wee Seng. About 4 million Bibles were distributed across China last year, but continued growth means that more are needed. According to official numbers, about 28.6 million Christians live in China, but that figure could be as high as 90 million if unregistered house churches are included. "Every year we have to raise funds for Bible subsidy. The reason is that in the rural areas where most Christians are found, they are living in relatively poor conditions. In order for them to have a copy of the Bible we have to provide paper so that a Bible is affordable for most of the Christians in China."
Over 70 Haitian Relief Teams Deliver Audio Bibles
Christian Newswire reports that Faith Comes By Hearing, the global Audio Bible ministry leader, is providing solar-powered Audio Bibles called Proclaimers to over 70 aid groups in Haiti. The small digital players, pre-loaded with the Haitian Creole New Testament, broadcast to about 300 people at once. "It's important that we meet people's physical needs first. We believe in earning the right to be heard. We feed them first, then we provide them the message. That's what these Audio Bibles do; they provide a good, solid Christian message. That is important to people in despair," said Jeff Nene, Convoy of Hope's director of communications. In the month since a massive earthquake shook Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas, aid groups estimated that more than 212,000 people were killed, 300,000 injured, and more than 1 million left homeless. If you'd like to support earthquake relief efforts in Haiti, consider joining some of Crosswalk.com's partners in their work: Global Aid Network (GAiN) USA, Food for the Hungry, Samaritan's Purse, and World Vision