Religion Today Summaries -- May 12, 2004

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries -- May 12, 2004

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

  • Nigerian Believers Slaughtered by Islamic Radicals
  • Research Reveals Ministers' Favorites Among Various Bible Versions
  • Defending Ten Commandments Monument Costly for City
  • Human Rights Commission Hears Testimony from Chinese Christians

Nigerian Believers Slaughtered by Islamic Radicals
Eric Tiansay, Charisma News

Muslim fundamentalists in the northern states of Plateau and Nasarawa recently killed eight pastors and 1,500 believers, while destroying 173 churches. The Muslim-Christian violence last month also displaced 25,000 people, Compass Direct reported. Christian leaders condemned the attacks, warning that the government's inability to address the violence could turn the country into "a theater for religious war." The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) asked, "How can anyone explain the reason for invading a church where women, children and men were worshiping, asking them to surrender and lie face down and then proceed to machete and axe them to death in their house of worship?" CAN officials noted that Christians in the African nation have never initiated violence against Muslims, and Nigerian officials have lukewarm attitudes toward the plight of believers, Compass reported.

Research Reveals Ministers' Favorites Among Various Bible Versions
Allie Martin, Agape Press

A new study shows that, although there are many different Bible versions available, the market continues to be dominated by just five. The study by Ellison Research surveyed 700 pastors and found that the Bible version most likely to be used by pastors in their work is the New International Version (NIV). In fact, 31 percent of pastors favored the NIV, followed by the King James, the New Revised Standard, the New King James, and the New American Standard Version. Ron Sellers, president of Ellison Research, says the survey found that ministers tend to select their preferred Bible versions based on perceived accuracy of the translation and its readability. Sellers points out that many of the newer versions and translations of the Bible have yet to make significant inroads into the market. Meanwhile, he says, "When you take everything other than those [aforementioned versions], just nine percent of all Protestant ministers rely on anything other than the big five, if you will. So it was a bit of a surprise that other ones have really done very little to impact the clergy market." The study also revealed that there is "tremendous variation denominationally in what Bibles are used by ministers as well as what Bibles they would recommend to their congregation," Sellers says. He notes that different denominations appear to have obvious favorites. "Number one among the Pentecostal churches was the King James Version -- it almost wasn't mentioned among Methodists," the researcher notes. "The New American Standard was very popular among Southern Baptists," he adds.

Defending Ten Commandments Monument Costly for City
Agape Press

The legal bills for one city are mounting in a dispute over a Ten Commandments monument. To date, the city of Everett, Washington, has paid more than $70,000 to defend itself against a lawsuit challenging a Decalogue monolith on city property.  But city officials estimate the total legal costs could top $100,000 before the battle is over.  Americans United for Separation of Church and State sued the city, claiming that the Ten Commandments monument on city property violated the alleged constitutional separation of Church and State.  However, city leaders argue that the display is nothing more than a historic landmark that promotes universal legal principles and values -- not a particular religion.  The Everett Eagles donated the monument to the city in 1959.

Human Rights Commission Hears Testimony from Chinese Christians
Compass Direct

Chinese Christians gave evidence of persecution at a special meeting called by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) in April. The speakers included Xu Yongze of the Born Again house church movement and Brother Yun, subject of the best-selling autobiography The Heavenly Man, who testified to beatings, imprisonment, torture and harassment. Female members of the South China Church also testified to torture and sexual assault at the hands of police officers. Their evidence was supported by official documents and a video showing the destruction of a church in Zhejiang province. However, when the United States moved to censure China for its poor human rights record 27, member states voted with China against the move. "You have a lot of authoritarian countries who are members of the UN and of the commission," Nicholas Becquelin of Human Rights in China said. "These states share with China the opposition to the scrutiny of their human rights situations." (