Religion Today Summaries - Mar. 24, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Mar. 24, 2009

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

  • Church of Nigeria Formally Accepts New Anglican Province
  • 2009 Christian Book of the Year: The ESV Study Bible
  • River Ministry Surpasses 20,000 Professions of Faith
  • Pope Warns against Witchcraft in Angola

Church of Nigeria Formally Accepts New Anglican Province

The Christian Post reports that the newly formed Anglican body in North America has gained official recognition from the Church of Nigeria, the largest province in the Anglican Communion. Archbishop Peter Akinola, primate of the Church of Nigeria, has often called for return to orthodox tradition in the U.S. Episcopal Church. The Standing Committee of the Church of Nigeria announced their decision of "full communion" with the new North American body on Friday. "In this one action, leaders representing every diocese in the Church of Nigeria, which in turn count as members more than a quarter of the world’s Anglicans, have declared themselves to be full partners of the Anglican Church in North America," said Bishop Robert Duncan, who is to lead the Anglican Church in North America.

2009 Christian Book of the Year: The ESV Study Bible

The Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) announced the 2009 Christian Book of the Year Friday, awarding the ESV Study Bible the top honor. This is the first time a study Bible won the top honor in the ECPA's 30-year history. The ESV Study Bible, which sold more than 180,000 copies within five months of release, also won its category for best Bible, the first time a Bible has won both its category and the overall Book of the Year award. The ESV Study Bible released to strong demand in October 2008, selling out of its 100,000-copy first printing as quickly as it reached bookstores shelves. Winners from other categories included Spectacular Sins by John Piper and Holiness Day by Day by Jerry Bridges.

River Ministry Surpasses 20,000 Professions of Faith

Baptist Press reports that the Southern Baptist Mississippi River Ministry (MRM) has reached a new milestone. More than 20,000 people have made professions of faith in Christ since the outreach began in 1992. The ministry has drawn more than 100,000 volunteers, and continues to work in impoverished areas along the lower Mississippi River. "MRM ministries serve people who are spiritually and/or physically living in poverty," explained Diana Lewis, who coordinates Arkansas MRM efforts. Among the 250 MRM projects in the region are evangelistic initiatives; construction and maintenance efforts; medical, dental, health and wellness clinics; children and youth activities; Hispanic outreach; crisis pregnancy centers; food and clothing assistance and assistance to battered women and their children. Eight state conventions partner in the initiative.

Pope Warns against Witchcraft in Angola

Agence France-Presse reports that Pope Benedict XVI continues his tour of Africa with a visit to Angola. There, the pope urged Angola's clergy and laypeople to actively combat witchcraft, saying that evangelism remains crucial today. "Today it is up to you, brothers and sisters... to offer the risen Christ to your fellow citizens," he said to the invitation-only crowd at Sao Paulo Church. "So many of them are living in fear of spirits, of malign and threatening powers. In their bewilderment they end up even condemning street children and the elderly as alleged sorcerers," he said. Angola's government keeps a close reign on radio and other media, limiting Catholic radio stations in spreading their message. According to the AFP, local church leaders hope the pope's visit will encourage the station to allow nationwide broadcasts.