Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world. In today's edition:
- Promise Keepers Decries Critics' Allegations as 'Anti-Christian Bigotry'
- Study Finds Evangelistic Effectiveness of Southern Baptists Stagnant Since 50’s
- India: Hindu Extremists Attack And Beat Eight Bible University Students
- Vietnam: Pray for a Brother in Chains
Promise Keepers Decries Critics' Allegations as 'Anti-Christian Bigotry'
Charisma News Service
Promise Keepers (PK) has defended its rally in Arkansas despite a planned protest by liberal groups against the national men's ministry. The Denver-based organization responded to allegations by the Green Party of Washington County and the National Organization for Women (NOW) that it is sexist and anti-gay by decrying the "feminization of men," the Associated Press (AP) reported. PK national spokesman Steve Chavis defended plans to hold a rally at the University of Arkansas' taxpayer-financed stadium. "The university is being fair and correct and has dealt with the situation properly, and our message to men from the Christian perspective has a place in the marketplace of ideas," Chavis said, The Arkansas News reported. He described the criticism as "inaccurate stereotypes that seem to be consistent, to put it generously." "How can you try and limit our free speech in the name of tolerance?" he asked. PK says it teaches men to be both servants and leaders to their wives in the way that Jesus Christ was a servant and leader to the church. "Our critics, their own form of intolerance is political correctness, which is anti-Christian bigotry," said Chavis. The Green Party and NOW said last month that they are planning an alternative event to the Promise Keepers rally. The event will celebrate equality and diversity, the News reported. (www.charismanews.com)
Study Finds Evangelistic Effectiveness of Southern Baptists Stagnant Since 50’s
A Baptist Press report is suggesting that one of the reasons Southern Baptists are facing struggles with their evangelism efforts is that many church members may not be saved themselves. Tom Rainer is the dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism, and Church Growth at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. In a recent study, he found that the evangelistic effectiveness of the denomination has remained fairly stagnant since 1950. A Baptist Press commentary by Todd Brady of Union University says one of the most troubling reasons Rainer gives for this stagnation is "unregenerate" church members. Brady notes that for the most part, not much is required to join a Southern Baptist church -- walk down an aisle, nod affirmatively at the pastor's leading questions, and wait for the congregation to say "Amen." In fact, the study's assessment is that nearly one-half of all church members may not be Christians. Brady says the conclusion is not hard to draw: an unbelieving church cannot be an evangelistic church -- and some, he says, would question whether a church half full of unbelievers is even a church in the first place.
India: Hindu Extremists Attack And Beat Eight Bible University Students
Charisma News Service
A group of Hindu extremists recently attacked and beat eight Bible university students. On May 12, the Beersheba Bible College (BBC) students were on their way to attend a funeral when members of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) assaulted them with knives and other sharp weapons, Compass Direct reported. The students were treated at a hospital for injuries sustained in the attack. Beersheba Bible College is affiliated with the Indian Pentecostal Church of God at Maraman, located in Chettimukku State. According to witnesses, the students were attending a funeral service of a former Pentecostal Church of God member. The attack occurred as the body of the deceased was being transferred from his home to the cemetery. Fifteen armed RSS members on motorcycles and riding in a jeep converged on the scene. They started beating the students without warning and shouted anti-Christian slogans, Compass reported. The incident has instilled fear in the students. Reports of further threats against the Bible college have added to the tension. The Rev. Shibu Nalweli, principal of the college and pastor of the local church, said the Bible school community has chosen to forgive the attackers and does not wish to press charges against them. However, local police have filed charges against the Hindu extremists. (www.charismanews.com)
Vietnam: Pray for a Brother in Chains
Christian Aid Mission
Though its communist government has made steps towards increasing religious liberty, scores of Vietnam's tribal Christians remain in prison. The leader of an underground indigenous mission wrote Christian Aid recently with the story of one such brother in Christ. Brother L. had been working in northern Vietnam, a region of intense persecution compared to the relatively tolerant south. Brother L. was a good Christian worker, translating Christian materials from Vietnamese into the Hmong language. His work was interrupted when he was arrested one year ago and sentenced to six years in prison. Now he is kept in cell K2 in a prison on northern Vietnam. He was assigned to work in the quarry. The work was very hard, and the diet was meager. He had became numb in both arms and legs and his skin turned very yellow. After much prayer for him to be transferred to another kind of work, he was transferred to a group that prepares meals for the other prisoners. This work is much easier for him. Please pray that while he serves his sentence, the authorities may see his good works and reduce his sentence and return him to his family. Christian Aid knows of dozens of imprisoned believers, many from the Hmong tribe of northern Vietnam, being kept under such conditions.