Religion Today Summaries - January 28, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - January 28, 2005

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

  • Like Christ Would Have Done, Gospel Message Not Forced on Tsunami Victims

  • Conference Aims to 'Bless Pastors' Wives Out of Their Socks'

  • Unique UMC Moment

  • Compassionate Ministry Offers Hope, Healing to Addicts of 'Devil's Drug'

Like Christ Would Have Done, Gospel Message Not Forced on Tsunami Victims
Allie Martin, AgapePress

The president of Gospel for Asia says Christian volunteers and staff members are able to share the life-changing message of salvation through Christ alone with tsunami victims, despite Church criticism. In the weeks since the earthquake and tsunami struck Southeast Asia, various organizations and ministries have criticized the efforts of Christian groups and relief agencies for witnessing to the victims of the tragedy.  One of the groups offering aid to the victims is Gospel for Asia, which has been working for years in many of the areas devastated by the tsunami. "We give [the survivors] all the material things, but at the same time, as [the workers'] hearts hear the pain of these people -- they're crying -- they sit down with them and share with them the love of God and the hope in Jesus," GFA president K.P. Yohannon says.  "And [to] those who can read, they give them scripture verses -- and that's all we do." And the objective, he says, is not to make converts of those in dire circumstances. "As we go to these places, we are not going to give them food and clothes and medicine and housing to make them convert from their faith to Christianity," he says. That is not the approach Jesus used -- and neither do they, says Yohannon.

Conference Aims to 'Bless Pastors' Wives Out of Their Socks'
Charisma News Service

Thousands of Christian women converged in Florida this week in a gathering billed as the first large-scale effort to reach out and support one of the most neglected groups in all of Christendom. Sponsored by the Global Pastors Wives Network (GPWN), the "Free to Soar" ( national pastors' wives conference in West Palm Beach "was part pep rally, part workshop, part networking exchange," The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported. About 2,000 pastors' wives from across the nation, Canada and 20 countries attended the three-day event. They represent about 10 denominations, including Baptist, Assemblies of God and Methodist, the Sun-Sentinel reported. "We thank God for the pastor, but we also thank God for the pastor's wife because the truth is we leaders would not be able to do what we do without the pastor's wife," James Davis, president of the Global Pastors Network, said in opening the conference, The Palm Beach Post reported. Noting that the conference sought to help wives find their roles and nourish their souls, while getting a little rest, Vonette Bright, co-founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, told participants: "We want you just to be blessed out of your socks." GPWN was founded by Bright and led by Lois Evans, wife of well-known Dallas pastors Tony Evans. (

Unique UMC Moment
Baptist Press

United Methodist Bishop Timothy Whitaker of Florida decried abortion as a "moral horror" Jan. 24 in what The Institute on Religion and Democracy described as possibly the first time a UMC bishop has denounced abortion publicly since it was legalized in 1973. Speaking to a pro-life Methodist group at the United Methodist Building in Washington on the occasion of the annual "March for Life", Whitaker said, "Can there be any doubt that there is silence and passivity about abortion in our church?" He expressed regret Methodist agencies are members of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, an interfaith organization that promotes abortion rights. "In the United Methodist Church, we ought to apply our theological reflection, our pastoral guidance and our public witness against the violence of abortion in the name of the God of peace," Whitaker said.

Compassionate Ministry Offers Hope, Healing to Addicts of 'Devil's Drug'
Charisma News Service

A compassionate ministry is reaching into the lives of addicts of methamphetamine, a drug that causes brain damage similar to the effects of a stroke, epilepsy and Alzheimer's disease. "It is the devil's greatest tool in the world of drugs," Paula Wood, reformed methamphetamine addict and founder of Break Free ministry (, told Charisma magazine. Dubbed the "devil's drug," methamphetamine is a powerfully addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system, creating an intense high that can last as long as 24 hours. But it can also produce psychotic behavior, resulting in extreme violence. Also known as "speed," "meth" or "chalk," methamphetamine is the most prevalent synthetic drug manufactured in the United States. Founded in 2003, Break Free, which reaches out to methamphetamine addicts and their families, consists of 10 team members, eight of whom are former meth addicts. Wood said her team will go anywhere to spread the message that saved her life. "We tell them that there is hope," she said. "The only hope is through Jesus Christ." The team travels to the streets equipped with a custom-built cooker that feeds hundreds. "We pray with them, we clothe them, we cook for them and we love them," Wood added. Since August 2003, Break Free has hosted four rallies and is working to establish a discipleship home for addicts because of the increasing need for in-house rehabilitation facilities specifically for meth addicts.  (