Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Extremists in India Step Up Efforts for 'Hindu Nation'
- Churches Pressure G8 Leaders to Fight Poverty
- One-Third of Americans Believe in Literal Bible
- Parents, churches Urged to Model Holiness for Young People
Extremists in India Step Up Efforts for 'Hindu Nation'
Televised attacks on Christian workers and a spurt in persecution in various parts of the country point to a renewed attempt to win support for Hindu nationalistic goals, Christians say. TV camera crews showed extremists of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council or VHP) and its youth wing, Bajrang Dal, beating up independent pastor Walter Masih in Rajasthan state’s capital Jaipur on April 29. On May 7 in Maharashtra state, television viewers saw Hindu extremists attacking two evangelists, Ramesh Gopargode and Ajit Belavi of the Friends Missionary Prayer Band, in Kolhapur district. Dr. John Dayal, member of the National Integration Council of the Government of India, told Compass Direct News he has never seen such violent attacks in the presence of TV news cameras. Dayal added that the televised assaults could invite “copy cat” tactics.
Churches Pressure G8 Leaders to Fight Poverty
As leaders of the world's industrialized countries began a three-day summit in Germany Wednesday, representatives of Christian groups from around the world are there to remind them about the Millennium Development Goals, including a pledge to cut poverty in half by 2015, CNSNews.com reports. Organizers said they wanted to make the Group of Eight (G8) leaders aware that they have only seven years left to fulfill the pledges made during the Millennium Summit in 2000. "The focus of the Millennium Development Goals was to cut poverty in half by the year 2015 and we're now halfway, so we're blowing the whistle and saying, where are we at halftime?" said Reverend Geoff Tunnicliffe, International Director of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA). Tunnicliffe said there were regions - such as Asia - where progress has been made in fighting poverty. Other areas, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, however, are struggling, amid the impact of HIV/AIDS, conflicts and droughts.
One-Third of Americans Believe in Literal Bible
About one-third of Americans believe the Bible is absolutely accurate and that it should be taken literally word for word, according to a recent Gallup poll, and the majority of those who don't believe the Bible is literally true still believe it is the inspired word of God, Baptist Press reports. About 1 in 5 Americans believe the Bible is an ancient book of "fables, legends, history and moral precepts recorded by man," Gallup said. Analysts say the higher the level of education a person has, the less likely the individual is to believe that the Bible is the actual, literal word of God, but even the majority of those with postgraduate degrees believe the Bible is the inspired word of God rather than just a human creation. Protestants are also significantly more likely than Catholics to believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God.
Parents, churches Urged to Model Holiness for Young People
According to OneNewsNow.com, Christian comedian/musician/pastor John Gray says young people need to be taught they are special in God's eyes regardless of background or upbringing. Gray, who speaks to youth and singles about God's plan for their lives, was in Tupelo, Miss. this week for the "Unifest" conference. Unifest is a gathering of churches focusing on spiritual, social, and financial issues. Gray's point is that to counter a society that does not value God's Word and commands, parents and churches must teach and live out pure and holy lives as an example to young people, citing the example of Jewish families. "One of the things that the Jewish people have done throughout their generations is they've done Deuteronomy 6," he explains, "to bind the law of God as frontlets between your eyes and to literally ingrain your children from the time that they can understand."