Religion Today Summaries - July 2, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - July 2, 2009

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

  • Pastor Quits Riverside Church after Only Two Months
  • Hundreds Flock to Calvin's 500th Anniversary Celebration
  • Eritrean Christians Tell of Torture and Imprisonment
  • Two Church Buildings Burned Down in Zanzibar, Tanzania


Pastor Quits Riverside Church after Only Two Months

Religion News Service reports that the Rev. Brad Braxton, senior minister of New York City's famed Riverside Church, has resigned just two months after his installation. Braxton's abrupt departure comes amidst congregational discord over the church's mission and the pastor's compensation package, which critics estimated as high as $600,000. Church officials said the package was consistent with that of similar high-profile pulpits. Braxton was chosen last September out of 200 applicants to be Riverside's sixth senior minister. In April, four church members unsuccessfully sued to block his installation. His resignation letter said the "consistent discord" in the church prevented the forming a "fruitful covenant" between Braxton, the church and the broader community.

Hundreds Flock to Calvin's 500th Anniversary Celebration

The Christian Post reports that John Calvin's 500th birthday has not gone unnoticed in Boston. Hundreds showed up for the "Reformation 500 Celebration" weekend to celebrate the broad cultural influence of  Protestant reformers such as Calvin. “Reformers like [John] Knox, [Martin] Luther, and [John] Calvin championed the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, opening the door for broad-sweeping cultural reform,” event organizers from Vision Forum Ministries said. “Calvin’s biblical worldview in particular took strong root in the New World - one reason why scholars describe him as the true ‘founder of America.'" Calvin was born on July 10, 1509.

Eritrean Christians Tell of Torture and Imprisonment

Christian Today reports that many Eritrean Christians are sharing their stories publicly with Release International. "The government has imprisoned Christians, they are torturing Christians, they are killing Christians," says Hanibal, a Christian activist who is documenting the persecution in Eritrea. "Christians are treated like animals." Release magazine's latest edition details incidents of solitary confinement in pitch-black, tiny cells, border guards ordered to shoot on sight, and persistent emigration from the country. The country is blacklisted as one of the ten worst persecutors of Christians worldwide by Open Doors USA. An estimated 160,000 Eritreans have escaped into Sudan, with another 20,000 fleeing to Ethiopia.

Two Church Buildings Burned Down in Zanzibar, Tanzania

Compass Direct News reports that two church buildings were razed Sunday night (June 28) on the island of Zanzibar after worship services. Suspected radical Muslims set the church buildings on fire on the outskirts of Unguja Township. With Christian movements making inroads in the Muslim-dominated area, the Evangelical Assemblies of God in Tanzania (EAGT) church and another church a few miles away were burned down as a fierce warning, church leaders said. “We don’t want churches on our street,” read a flier dropped at the door of Charles Odilo, who had donated the plot on which the EAGT building stood. “Today we are going to burn the church, and if you continue we are going to burn your house also.”

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