Religion Today Summaries - June 9, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - June 9, 2006

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

  • Ministries Pump Out Evangelism Resources Ahead of World Cup
  • Pastor in India Arrested after Attack by Hindu Extremists
  • Eyewitness to Earthquake Damage in Java Recounts Horrific Devastation
  • Rick Warren to Make First-Ever Appearance in a Synagogue

Ministries Pump Out Evangelism Resources Ahead of World Cup

As the world gets ready for its biggest sporting event – the World Cup – Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC) has begun an evangelistic campaign centered around a new DVD called "The Prize - Quest for the Ultimate Goal." Produced by CCC's sports ministry Athletes in Action, the DVD features interviews with soccer greats who share the importance of their faith in Jesus more than the game of soccer. The Christian Post reports CCC's media ministry Global Media Outreach recently launched an evangelistic website ( to direct soccer fans to the joy of knowing God. Global Media Outreach has put out a site with commonly searched for terms "Jesus" and "World Cup" to tell others of the one source of peace and joy. From June 9 to July 9, international prayer networks, churches and ministries all over the world will be in prayer for spiritual transformation in Germany, the security of the event, and the international evangelistic outreach. Thousands of soccer fans have already clicked on the Church of England Internet site for prayers.

Pastor in India Arrested after Attack by Hindu Extremists

A mob of Hindu extremists on Sunday (June 4) stormed a home prayer meeting in Mayapuri, Madhya Pradesh state and dragged Christians inside to a nearby temple to force them to bow before local gods, but it was the church pastor who was charged with “insulting religious beliefs.” Among 15 Christians that police took into custody, Pastor Jagdish Bharti, 27, of the Bethel Fellowship Church, was charged with insulting religious beliefs “with deliberate and malicious intention of outraging” religious feelings. He was released on bail of 20,000 rupees (US$435) yesterday (June 6), and the other 14 Christians were released on bail after four hours of interrogation on Sunday. “Police also created a scene at the police station, colluding with the fundamentalist elements and encouraging them to beat me up the next time I am caught evangelizing,” Pastor Bharti told Compass Direct.

Eyewitness to Earthquake Damage in Java Recounts Horrific Devastation

According to an ASSIST News Service story, a Barnabas Fund representative visiting the earthquake-devastated area around Yogyakarta, central Java, reports: "The devastation here is horrific. Houses, government buildings, shopping centers and, I estimate, many hundreds (if not thousands) of churches have been completely destroyed. The churches, like other buildings, are just piles of bricks, mortar and other rubble where there was once a building that testified to the love and presence of the Living God. The first church leader I met was crouching on the remains of his house... His senior pastor was sitting in the ruins of the church building. The congregation numbers 268, of whom four were killed in the earthquake. Currently the church is meeting under the nearby mango tree." In a very remote village the correspondent photographed another two churches which had been completely destroyed. The writer says: "This church is in a strongly Islamic area and prior to the quake had experienced attacks from the Muslim community. Local Muslim leaders came and told the church leaders that the church would have to be closed, because the worship music was too loud. However the church has been in the same place and used the same style of worship since 1981. This has caused great stress for the church’s pastor."

Rick Warren to Make First-Ever Appearance in a Synagogue

Saddleback Church founder and best-selling author of The Purpose-Driven Life Rick Warren has been invited to Sinai Temple following a ground-breaking meeting with Synagogue 3000. Warren will be the special guest at Friday Night Live Shabbat services on June 16 at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, according to a Religion News Service release. This exciting event will be the first time that Warren has been a featured speaker in a synagogue. The visit comes exactly one year after Pastor Warren's historic 2005 meeting with the Synagogue 3000 Leadership Network, a transdenominational group of visionary clergy and artists working to revitalize synagogue life across the country. Friday Night Live is a unique monthly Shabbat service designed for ages 25-40 that combines live music with spirituality and insightful commentary. FNL attracts over 1500 Jews from the Los Angeles area and beyond.