Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 1, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 1, 2007

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

  • Persecution -- Fertilizer for a Growing Church
  • Protestant, Catholic Leaders in Northern Ireland Appeal for Unity
  • Urbana Missions Conference Challenges Students to Serve God
  • Media Analyst Thinks Federal Regulation of Cable Decency Unlikely

Persecution -- Fertilizer for a Growing Church

Christians in the world's most populous Muslim nation didn't let the threat of violence keep them from church this week, AgapePress reports. On Christmas Day, tens of thousands of police guarded churches in Indonesia. The country has 190-million Muslims, but is also home to a significant Christian minority. Dr. Carl Moeller is president of Open Doors USA, a ministry that serves persecuted Christians worldwide. Moeller says over the past year, tensions have mounted between Christians and Muslims. "We've seen in just one province, Central Sulawesi ...15 bomb explosions, which have killed at least two Christians," he notes. Still, says Moeller, Christians churches are growing throughout the Muslim-dominated nation. "When the Church does its work, it is going to be persecuted; Jesus promised that," he says.

Protestant, Catholic Leaders in Northern Ireland Appeal for Unity

The Christian Post reports that the Protestant and Roman Catholic leaders of Northern Ireland's four biggest churches appealed on Thursday for their long-divided flocks to unite politically in 2007. In a joint statement, Catholic Archbishop Sean Brady, Presbyterian Moderator David Clarke, Church of Ireland Archbishop Robin Eames and Methodist President Ivan McElhinney said their people "face a year of decision which will affect our future and that of our children and grandchildren." Their comments were directed at the hope of forging a stable Catholic-Protestant administration, the central goal of Northern Ireland's 1998 peace accord.

Urbana Missions Conference Challenges Students to Serve God

Organizers of this week's Urbana '06 student missions conference in St. Louis say more than 22,000 delegates have registered, according to AgapePress. Urbana '06 director Jim Tebbe says 72 percent of them answering a questionnaire said they were coming "to seek God's will for their lives." Between now and Sunday, they will explore booths from 270 mission organizations. InterVarsity Christian Fellowship sponsors Urbana conferences every three years to challenge each generation of students with Jesus' commission to make disciples of all nations. InterVarsity USA president Alec Hill says, "If we can effectively present the case for global missions now, they will make lifelong commitments by going, giving and praying."

Media Analyst Thinks Federal Regulation of Cable Decency Unlikely

The president of a media watchdog group believes it is likely that an edited version of the Home Box Office original television show The Sopranos, which starts airing next month on the A&E network, will push the decency limits of what's already being shown on cable. However, he doubts attempts to regulate both cable and broadcast TV will succeed. AgapePress reports that Robert Peters of Morality in Media says basic cable already pushes the decency envelope far past broadcast networks, for instance by airing shows like HBO's long-running series Sex in the City on TBS. Now that A&E plans to pick up another controversial HBO-produced show, he notes, "my expectation would be that The Sopranos will go further than the Sex and the City edited version." When it comes to the debate over indecency in cable programming, Peters thinks the U.S. Supreme Court will eventually come into play. Still, he is doubtful that even a public outcry would ever result in regulation of cable.

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