Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- After the Non-Rapture, Camping's Faithful Confused
- Week 7: China Arrests 25 Church Members
- Thousands Flee Burning by North Sudan Forces
- UK Doctor under Fire for Sharing Faith with Patient
After the Non-Rapture, Camping's Faithful Confused
Harold Camping's followers spent thousands of dollars telling others that the Rapture was coming on May 21, many of them quitting their jobs and selling their homes to finance the news. But when the six o'clock hour -- the forecasted time of Christ's return -- came and went, these believers expressed everything from shock to confusion to dogged faith. In New York's Times Square, Robert Fitzpatrick, of Staten Island, said he was surprised nothing happened. "I can't tell you what I feel right now," he said, surrounded by tourists. "I don't understand it. I don't know. I don't understand what happened." According to USA Today, Pastor Jacob Denys of Milpitas-based Calvary Bible Church intended to wait outside Camping's ministry headquarters if the Rapture didn't materialize. "The cold, hard reality is going to hit them that they did this, and it was false and they basically emptied out everything to follow a false teacher," he said. "We're not all about doom and gloom. Our message is a message of salvation and of hope."
Week 7: China Arrests 25 Church Members
ChinaAid reports that the showdown between one of Beijing’s largest house churches and the government continued on Sunday, when members of Shouwang Church again showed up at the church's outdoor worship site. Police were waiting for them for the seventh week in a row. Twenty-five church members were arrested, though 18 had been released by nightfall. The 1,000-member church was ousted from its building when their landlord was pressured by officials to evict them. For the seven weeks following, Shouwang members have been meeting publicly outside. Todd Nettleton with Voice of the Martyrs says China is likely not going to budge. "In spite of all of the publicity, in spite of the international outcry, the Chinese government has continued to hold a very firm line: ‘We will not allow this church to meet because they are not registered with the Chinese religious officials,'" explains Nettleton.
Thousands Flee Burning by North Sudan Forces
Thousands of civilians have been displaced following the occupation of Abyei Town by the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) at the weekend. Reports from the area indicate that 20,000 desperate civilians have fled across the river Kiir, and are sheltering under trees. Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports that members of the UN Security Council have demanded that North Sudan withdraws its 5000-strong force from the area. Oil-rich Abyei is a disputed region, with both northern Sudan and newly-formed South Sudan staking a claim for the area, although the area is inhabited permanently by nine Ngok Dinka chiefdoms. Tensions have continued to rise since a plebiscite to determine whether Abyei remains part of the northern country or is returned to the south was postponed. The Abyei plebiscite is a key part of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which brought an end to the civil war that had ravaged the country since 1983.
UK Doctor under Fire for Sharing Faith with Patient
A Christian doctor with 28 years of experience has been reported to the General Medical Council (GMC) in the United Kingdom, and fears he could lose his job after he discussed his faith in Jesus with a patient last year. ASSIST News Service reports that Dr. Richard Scott, who works at Bethesda Medical Centre in Margate, Kent, was given an official warning from the GMC and is currently under investigation. According to the Christian Legal Centre, Scott discussed religion with a patient at the end of a consultation in 2010, each being of different faiths. The patient has continued to seek treatment from the practice, but his mother filed an official complaint. The General Practitioner is calling on his professional body to strike-out the complaint on the basis that the complaint was from a mother who was not medically qualified to comment on what treatment, if any, a medical practitioner should prescribe. He also noted that the GMC’s own guidelines state that it is acceptable to present faith to a patient as long as it is done gently and sensitively.