Religion Today Summaries - May 8, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - May 8, 2008

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

  • Islamists Threaten to Tear Down Church in Indonesia
  • Armed Men Threaten Church in Turkey
  • Mission Groups Reach Out to Cyclone Survivors in Myanmar
  • Creation Museum Celebrates One Year

Islamists Threaten to Tear Down Church in Indonesia

Compass Direct News reports that Muslim extremists and local government authorities last week threatened to tear down a church building under construction in North Sumatra even though church leaders met requirements of Indonesia’s draconian law on worship places, the church’s pastor said. Emboldened by local authorities’ unwillingness to grant a church building permit to Protestant Bataks Christian Church (HKBP), some 100 Muslim extremists accompanied by government officials on April 29 tried to destroy the building under construction in Jati Makmur village, North Binjai. The Rev. Monang Silaban, HKBP pastor, said about 100 members of the Islamic extremist Front Pembela Islam, some armed with “sharp weapons,” arrived at 4:30 p.m. accompanied by Binjai municipal officials, who brought a bulldozer. Police met with church and Muslim extremist group leaders following the confrontation and reached an agreement that construction on the building would cease until the permit is approved – something that hasn’t happened in the two years since HKBP applied.

Armed Men Threaten Church in Turkey

Three men, one of them armed with a gun and wearing gloves, threatened a Protestant church and its pastor in the Turkish capital city of Ankara, Compass Direct News reports. The culprits fled in a car before police could be summoned. The men drove up to Kurtulus Church in Ankara’s Cebeci district, and a heavy-set man about 45 years old went up to the locked church building and began to ring the doorbell repeatedly. He threatened to “get rid” of the pastor, and moments later one of the men in his car began walking toward a nearby church member, shouting and waving a pistol at him. The attempted attack marked the seventh incident in the past four months of threatened violence against Turkey’s tiny Protestant community, most of whom are former Muslims who converted to Christianity.

Mission Groups Reach Out to Cyclone Survivors in Myanmar

ASSIST News Service reports that mission organizations and aid agencies are gearing up to bring relief to the survivors of Myanmar after the devastation wreaked by Cyclone Nargis. At the time of writing, the death toll is estimated to be at least 22,000 with another 41,000 missing. HCJB Global reported on two of the organizations planning to offer assistance. “The suffering of the people is unimaginable,” HCJB reported Gospel for Asia (GFA) President K.P. Yohannan said, speaking from India where he is monitoring the situation. “Hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, are homeless. Food is in short supply, and prices are skyrocketing. Electricity may be out for months. People have lost literally everything.” A GFA Bible college in Yangon, Myanmar has become a makeshift shelter for some of those devastated by the cyclone. GFA said obtaining enough food to feed all those at the college is another challenge. Banks are closed and fresh food and water are in short supply. Yohannan said, “We are facing at least six months of continuous work ministering to the people. This is a tremendous opportunity for us to reach out in love to them, just like we did after the tsunami in 2004.”

Creation Museum Celebrates One Year

After opening with much fanfare and acclaim one year ago on Memorial Day weekend, and with over 387,000 visitors to date, the Answers in Genesis Creation Museum plans to make its first anniversary no less spectacular, ASSIST News Service reports. It will also mark the opening of a petting zoo across the lake from the museum. Beginning on May 23 and running through June 1, the museum has multiple special events scheduled daily, including popular museum speakers, a live musical theatrical production, the petting zoo with exotic animals, and tethered hot air balloon rides over the grounds. “We have so much to celebrate, with all the attention that the museum has received and the number of people we have reached with the Creation message,” said Ken Ham, Answers in Genesis president, CEO, and the visionary behind the museum. “We are grateful for God’s blessings, and look forward to welcoming our 400,000th visitor very soon.”

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