Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Pakistani Families Flee after Another ‘Blasphemy’ Charge
- Resolution Affirms Biblical Doctrine of Hell
- Raids Precede Azerbaijan's Religious Law
- China: Detained Activist's Wife Reveals Details of Torture
Pakistani Families Flee after Another Bogus ‘Blasphemy’ Charge
At least 10 Christian families have fled their village homes after area Muslims accused a Christian of blaspheming Islam on June 10. Yousaf Masih told Compass Direct News that his 8-year-old great-nephew, known as Sunny, had gone out to fetch ice when Muslim boys from a nearby religious school started harassing him. Masih's son, Dildar, saw the attack and rushed to help the young boy. Sunny told him that the boys were beating him because he would not recite their Kalma, at which Dildar rebuked the boys for forcing Sunny to renounce his religion. Later, some 60 Muslims claimed Dildar Masih had blasphemed Islam by abusing the Kalma. The village’s mosque loudspeakers began urging “all the faithful to find the blasphemer and punish him." Dildar was attacked by the mob, prompting the Christians to leave the village.
Resolution Affirms Biblical Doctrine of Hell
Southern Baptists approved a resolution affirming the Bible's teaching on hell during the Wednesday morning session of their annual convention. The resolution on hell, which urges faithful proclamation of the Gospel to those who face eternal suffering, was one of six passed by unanimous or nearly unanimous votes upon recommendation of the Resolutions Committee. Baptist Press reports that the resolution on hell came as part of an ongoing response to the publication earlier this year of Michigan pastor Rob Bell's book "Love Wins." Bell's controversial book "called into question the church's historic teaching on the doctrine of eternal punishment of the unregenerate," as the resolution described it. Messengers in Phoenix affirmed "our belief in the biblical teaching on eternal, conscious punishment of the unregenerate in Hell." The resolution also urged Southern Baptists "to proclaim faithfully the depth and gravity of sin against a holy God, the reality of Hell, and the salvation of sinners by God's grace alone..."
Raids Precede Azerbaijan's Religious Law
Officials in Azerbaijan raided a Baptist Church on Sunday, an event that coincided with the country's approval of a newly-amended religion law. An unregistered church was raided on Sunday, according to Mission Network News (MNN). Joel Griffith with the Slavic Gospel Association said officials burst into the unregistered church was without so much as a warrant, and the church expects to be fined. The raid came just two days after parliament approved an amendment to its religion law that requires 50 adults to come forward on behalf of a religious community before the group can apply for registration. The law previously required only 10. Registration is difficult even when requirements are met, and the process can take years. MNN reports that Azerbaijan routinely makes the list of the world's top 25 most persecuted countries.
China: Detained Activist's Wife Reveals Details of Torture
ChinaAid recently obtained a letter from blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng's wife detailing their ordeal for the first time. The letter revealed details of the beating and torture of Chen and his wife, Yuan Weijing, after Chen's smuggled recorded video footage to ChinaAid in February. Both Chen and his wife have been badly wounded. Guangcheng's mother is under worse surveillance, and their 5-year-old daughter also lost freedom of movement since Feb 24. "Peaceful legal advocates, like Chen Guangcheng, can be beaten, jailed and tortured, but they will not disappear unless the international community is silent," said Bob Fu, ChinaAid president. "Chinese police torture a poor, blind lawyer to cover up evidence of the government's abuses against women. This is unacceptable from a country that claims to follow the rule of law."