Religion Today Summaries, January 5, 2003

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries, January 5, 2003

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

  • Ministry Spreading Word Through Newspaper Advertisements
  • Christian Centre Attacked by Army This Morning
  • Christians Increasingly Boycott Filth on TV
  • Methodists Given Temporary Access to Their Stolen Church

Ministry Spreading Word Through Newspaper Advertisements
Agape Press

A Tennessee-based ministry is using newspapers throughout the world to spread the gospel of Christ. Advancing the Ministries of the Gospel International (AMG), works with Christian groups worldwide to buy ads in newspapers -- ads that proclaim the gospel and offer readers a chance to take part in a Bible correspondence course. Paul Jenks, a spokesman for AMG, says the goal of newspaper evangelism is not only to get a response from seekers, but also to disciple new believers. "Newspapers are filled with bad news," Jenks says, "and so what a wonderful opportunity it is to give the people of the world an opportunity to hear the best news that there is -- that there is a redeemer, that there's salvation in Jesus Christ." The ministry spokesman says AMG helps people build faith through studying the word of God. He notes that the correspondence course generally starts individuals off with a study of the book of John or one of the gospels; but  "once they've accepted Christ, then we move them on to material on how to grow as a new believer." Jenks notes that the gospel message contained in AMG's ads and in its courses has met with widespread appreciation and is especially well received in Muslim countries.

Christian Centre Attacked by Army This Morning
Barnabas News Fund

Today beginning at 11:30 am local time the Egyptian army subjected the Patmos Christian Centre to an hour long attack; this is the ninth attack on the centre in six years. Five hundred soldiers descended upon the centre, accompanied by two bulldozers. They blocked the entrance to the compound with a large pile of stones and rubble and then they destroyed seven metres of adjoining wall. Those working at the centre rushed out en masse to prevent the army from coming onto their property. Soldiers threw stones and bottles at the protestors. A bus ploughed into a crowd surrounding Bishop Botros who heads the centre. One staff member, Kirilos Daoud, was killed. Seven people are currently in hospital. Also injured was a nun who was beaten by soldiers. Soldiers from the local army unit are seeking to destroy the wall supposedly in order to conform to a new law that requires all buildings to be at least 100 metres from the Cairo-Suez road. Church leaders say that the Minister of Defence, who is opposed to the centre, ordered extreme and conservative Muslim officers from the local army unit to enforce the law on the Patmos Centre. They believe the repeated attacks are a result of anti-Christian prejudice rather than a simple disagreement over building regulations. The Patmos Centre has been serving the local community in Egypt for fifteen years.

Christians Increasingly Boycott Filth on TV
Agape Press, Rusty Pugh

One pro-family advocate says many Americans reached a saturation point this past year and increasingly said 'No' to the filth on television. Randy Sharp, Director of Special Projects for the American Family Association, says many Christians are fed up with non-stop sex and violence and are turning off the TV, a form of protest that has caused corporate America to take note. According to the AFA spokesman, there have been several examples of corporations that pulled their sponsorship of trash TV in the past year. In some cases, this has dealt a death-blow to a bad show.  "Some programs, due to a lack of advertising support, were pulled off the air completely," Sharp notes. "The American family is changing the channel from those offensive shock-jock shows.  Some television shows were canceled this year because the viewers simply tuned them out -- programs that contained a lot of sex, a lot of violence, nudity, and pro-homosexual agenda."  Sharp expresses the hopes that the movie industry will take a cue from the television industry and begin to institute changes there as well. "Our culture has been so saturated with sex on television that people are fed up with it," Sharp says, "and hopefully Hollywood is getting the message that sex doesn't sell like it used to."

Methodists Given Temporary Access to Their Stolen Church
Voice of the Martyrs News

After six freezing nights on the street outside their stolen building, members of the Korean Kwan Lim Methodist church in northern Moscow were allowed temporary access by police on 29 December. "Nothing has changed legally," United Methodist Church superintendent for northern Moscow Pastor Valeri told Forum 18 News Service, acknowledging that church members are now "at least able to await a court verdict in the warm." A local court is due to set a date soon after 7 January to hear the church's complaint that the Moscow justice department accepted the fraudulently-amended church charter which allowed a commercial firm to seize the Methodists' building.