Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- At Least 13 Killed in Cairo after Christian-Muslim Clash
- 21 Pa. Priests Named in Sex Report Suspended
- Chinese Officials Detain Christians for 'Cult' Membership
- Poll: What Evangelical Leaders Believe about the End Times
At Least 13 Killed in Cairo after Christian-Muslim Clash
Although Christians and Muslims were united in anti-government protests just a few weeks ago, an altercation between the two groups yesterday left 13 people dead. The Chrisitan Post reports that 90 others were injured in the sectarian violence Wednesday as Christians protested the burning a church 18 miles south of Cairo this weekend. About 500 Copts were reportedly on their way to join another protest over the burned church when thousands of Muslims, allegedly carrying weapons and automatic guns, stopped them en route. Eyewitnesses report that the conflict escalated until the military arrived, and that the military ultimately fired live ammunition at the Coptic side. “We were at one side and the Muslim on the other, we have hundreds of injured at the Coptic side,” said an eyewitness. “The Muslims were also shooting from behind the army tanks.”
21 Pa. Priests Named in Sex Report Suspended
USA Today reports that 21 Roman Catholic priests in the Philadelphia archdiocese have been suspended following last month's release of a scathing grand jury report. "These have been difficult weeks since the release of the grand jury report," Cardinal Justin Rigali said in a statement. "Difficult most of all for victims of sexual abuse but also for all Catholics and for everyone in our community." The grand jury investigation ultimately charged two priests, a former priest and a Catholic school teacher with the rape of young boys. The jury also found that 37 priests were allowed to remain in active ministry despite credible allegations against them. "I know that for many people their trust in the church has been shaken," Rigali stated. "I pray that the efforts of the archdiocese to address these cases of concern and to re-evaluate our way of handling allegations will help rebuild that trust."
Chinese Officials Detain Christians for 'Cult' Membership
ChinaAid reports that Chinese authorities invaded a house church in Henan Province on March 1 and detained three Christians, including two women. The agents seized copies of the Bible, over 1,000 yuan of cash and copies of a book titled “A Stormy Life” by Zhang Mingxuan, president of the Chinese House Church Alliance. All three Christians were released after questioning, but were warned to stay away from Zhang. Authorities also arrested Pastor Shi Enhao, vice-president of the Chinese House Church Alliance, on March 4. He was released two days later. All the Christians were accused of belonging to a cult.
Poll: What Evangelical Leaders Believe about the End Times
Two-thirds of evangelical leaders who affiliate with the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) share similar views on the end times, a new monthly poll from the NAE shows. The Christian Post reports that 65 percent of the NAE's board, which includes various denominations and evangelical organizations, believe that Jesus Christ will return to earth and then reign with his followers for 1,000 years; this is an eschatological view called premillenialism. Another 13 percent fall into the amillennialist camp, which believes the non-literal reign of Christ is happening now as Christ reigns in heaven. Many of those surveyed, however, said a focus on the end times can be distracting. Roy Taylor, stated clerk of the Presbyterian Church in America, commented, "As far as predicting the approximate time of Christ’s Second Advent is concerned, I have resigned from the Planning Committee and have joined the Welcoming Committee."