Religion Today Summaries - February 22, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - February 22, 2005

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world. In today's edition:

  • Religious Involvement Essential In The Political Process

  • FAITH Done Right Revitalizes Church's Evangelistic Reach

  • Christians Urged to Write Jailed Vietnamese Christians

  • Final Ruling Delayed in Jordan Custody Case

Religious Involvement Essential In The Political Process

The Center for the Study of American Values believes that religious involvement in the political process is essential if America is to survive. Center director Don Devine recently pointed out that it takes 2.1 children per married couple in order to maintain the population of this country at current levels; however, he contends that this idea goes against the selfish nature of men. "This is an irrational decision if you're trying to maximize your comfort, your income or whatever," Devine says. But, according to the Center spokesman, that is exactly where religion comes in and why he contends it is integral to national survival. "You need something else that says no, that you've got some kind of obligation to go and multiply," he asserts. Devine contends that if religion declines in the U.S., so will the nation's population; and eventually Americans will find themselves like many other countries today that are so materialistic they cannot even produce enough children to replenish their populations.

FAITH Done Right Revitalizes Church's Evangelistic Reach
Polly House, Baptist Press

FAITH was dead when Mike Napier arrived at First Baptist Church in 2001 as the new minister of education and outreach. Now, three years later, FAITH is thriving, with 43 active teams -- a total of 129 people. The Owasso, Okla., church had used the FAITH Sunday School Evangelism Strategy for three semesters before Napier's arrival, with little success. Now FAITH prospers at the church. "I asked the pastor if he would be willing to let me try to resurrect our FAITH ministry. He said I could," said Napier. FAITH is a strategy created by LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention that combines Sunday School with evangelism. It uses the acrostic F-A-I-T-H (forgiveness, available, impossible, turn and heaven) as a tool for leading people to a point of receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Napier began looking at what was happening with FAITH at the church, and he discovered that the recommended formula of having a meal, a training period, visitation time and celebration wasn't being followed. Napier added a new FAITH group on Monday nights. This one followed the formula and thrived. "People began to see great results and enjoyed the whole experience," Napier said.Napier believes everything in FAITH rises and falls on the leadership.

Christians Urged to Write Jailed Vietnamese Christians
Allie Martin, AgapePress

A ministry that serves the persecuted Church has started a letter-writing campaign to encourage believers jailed for their faith in Vietnam. Six Vietnamese Mennonite workers have received sentences ranging from nine months to three years because of their Christian beliefs. According to the ministry Open Doors USA, the sentences were handed down last November. Now the organization's president, Carl Moeller, is calling on Christians worldwide to join an advocacy campaign on the Vietnamese believers' behalf. Moeller is asking fellow Christians to write letters of support to the jailed Mennonites. Open Doors' sources report that the six Christians detainees were tortured because they refused to sign prepared documents making false accusations against their pastor. Meanwhile, Moeller says conditions continue to worsen for followers of Christ throughout Vietnam. "The government there this past year has passed a repressive new law against the underground church and the practice of unregistered Christianity," the Open Doors spokesman says. "And we all know that registered Christianity is the government-controlled variety." Increasingly, Moeller says Open Doors is hearing stories of repression and persecution in Vietnam, and it is becoming increasingly difficult for Church members there to worship freely or speak out about their faith. The ministry president is encouraging believers worldwide to pray for and write letters of encouragement to Vietnamese Christian prisoners of conscience.

Final Ruling Delayed in Jordan Custody Case
Compass Direct

The Muslim guardian trying to take custody of a Christian widow's two minor children appeared before an Islamic court in Jordan yesterday, asking the judge to postpone the scheduled hearing until March 15. A final verdict was expected yesterday from Amman's Al-Abdali Sharia Court, where Siham Qandah's lawyer was arguing an appeals case to remove Abdullah al-Muhtadi as guardian of his client's children. Al-Muhtadi has been accused of financial improprieties for withdrawing nearly $17,000 from the children's trust funds. The current appeals case is the Christian mother's last lawsuit in a three-year battle since the Supreme Islamic Court of Jordan revoked her legal custody in February 2002 of her daughter Rawan and son Fadi, now 16 and 15. Reportedly, Judge Mahmud Zghl assured Qandah that March 15 would be the final hearing. "I hope that the judge is now convinced that this guardian is corrupt," stated a close friend of Qandah.