Religion Today Summaries - March 30, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - March 30, 2010

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

  • John Piper to Take Leave to Reexamine Soul
  • One in Four U.S. Christians Identify as Charismatic
  • Christians Pray Ahead of Sudan Elections
  • Chile: Bible Translation Facility Destroyed in Quake

John Piper to Take Leave to Reexamine Soul

The Christian Post reports that well-known author and pastor John Piper will be leaving the pulpit for eight months, his first-ever break from ministry in 30 years. Piper stressed that the break is not a resignation from ministry, but a time to address "ongoing character flaws." After his Sunday sermon at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, he said, "The reality check is what will happen to John Piper's soul ... and to my marriage ... and to my future ... when there will be no prideful sipping from the poisonous cup of international fame and notoriety." The 64-year-old preacher continued, "I need to find that out and I don't know any other way to do it." He stated that there is "no whiff of unfaithfulness" in his marriage, but that "several species of pride" have taken an emotional impact on Piper and his wife of 46 years, Noel. He said he hopes to return to ministry for another five years after this period of "fasting."

One in Four U.S. Christians Identify as Charismatic

The Barna Group reports that the charismatic movement is very much alive in young Christians, both Protestant and Catholic. More than half (56) of younger Christians, aged 18 to 25, say they believe charismatic gifts are valid today, and about one in four identified as charismatic or Pentecostal. That number was slightly lower among U.S. Christians as a whole, but 25 percent of Protestants and 20 percent of Catholics still identify with the charismatic movement. Younger Christians, however, are less likely to adopt specific theology with their charismatic beliefs. "It raises the question of what will define the next generation of young charismatics and Pentecostal believers in the U.S.," said David Kinnaman, president of the Barna Group. "Facing less criticism from within the ranks of Christians, they must focus on being grounded theologically and finding a way to live faithfully within the broader culture of arts, media, technology, science, and business."

Christians Pray Ahead of Sudan Elections

Christian Today reports that Samaritan's Purse is urging Christian's worldwide to pray for upcoming elections in Sudan, saying that the results could tip the scales towards lasting peace or another civil war. "In 17 years of doing relief work in Sudan, we've witnessed so much horrific violence in this nation," said Gary Lundstrom, vice president of Samaritan's Purse International. "Yet with this historic election, Sudan sits at a crossroads and has an opportunity for long-term peace." Sudanese churches are praying for peaceful elections April 11-13. The country's 21-year-long civil war destroyed hundreds of churches and killed millions in religious and ethnic genocide. "We are praying that everything will run smoothly," James, a church pastor in Sudan whose last name was not given, told Samaritan's Purse. "We are praying for the nation of Sudan."

Chile: Bible Translation Facility Destroyed in Quake

Mission News Network reports that damage reports are still trickling in from Chile following last month's massive earthquake. Wycliffe Associates says some of its offices were completely destroyed. "Primary damage was in the Santiago area, but just down the coast a little ways is the city of Concepción," says Bruce Smith, Wycliffe President. "That's where our partners in Bible translation's offices were completely destroyed." The translation efforts in Chile are in the final stages, Smith said, as teams have been working in the country for 50 years. He said distribution of new materials has been disrupted since the quake. "[I]t's going to require long-term reconstruction and it's going to depend on donors and partners participating to help them rebuild in that arena."