Religion Today Summaries - May23, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - May23, 2007

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

  • Pastor, Wife Stand Strong after Muslim Attack
  • Vines Tells Liberty Grads: 'Come before winter'
  • Pastor Says Christians not Engaged in Culture War
  • Kidnapped Iraqi Priest Freed in Baghdad

Pastor, Wife Stand Strong after Muslim Attack

Journalist Lucille Talusan, in a story written for, has revealed that Pastor Luther Saragih and his wife Netty are standing strong after a Muslim attack in the troubled Indonesian region of Aceh, ASSIST News Service reports. Talusan said that last year an angry mob set fire to a church that had stood strong for 28 years. “The pastor and his wife had to flee through the jungle for safety,” she said. “Netty is emotional as she recounts that fateful night when she and her husband were inside their church as angry Muslims poured liters of gasoline on the building and set it on fire." Netty's husband, Luther Saragih, has been the pastor of the Indonesian Evangelical Mission Church since 2003. He says it was about midnight when two trucks and 50 motorcycles carrying more than 100 Muslims surrounded their church building. “The people were holding swords ready to kill us,” Pastor Saragih said. “But we were astonished when they just looked at us as we passed in front of them. I believe God's angels were there to protect us.” “These Christians insist persecution will not drive them from their village.

Advice at First Liberty Graduation sans Falwell: 'Come before Winter'

At Liberty University’s baccalaureate service, Jerry Vines, pastor emeritus of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., preached from 2 Timothy and reminisced about the late Jerry Falwell, Baptist Press reports. Vines, introduced as Jerry Falwell's closest friend in the ministry, exhorted graduates of Liberty University to "Come before winter," to recognize life's brevity, seize life's opportunity and deal with life's necessity. "Several weeks ago when Dr. Falwell requested that I bring this baccalaureate message, the Lord led me to three words in the verses I have read to you this evening," Vines, a trustee of the university, said. Vines pointed to 2 Timothy 4:13, which says in the King James Version, "The cloak that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments." Later in verse 21, Paul tells Timothy to do his best to "come before winter." "These are the words of the Apostle Paul to his young friend Timothy, words of an older man to a younger man -- one man at the ending of his life, the other man at the beginning of his life," Vines said.

Pastor Says Christians not Engaged in Culture War reports that Rod Parsley, Pastor and founder of the Center for Moral Clarity, says the current generation of believers has failed to engage the culture. In his soon to be released book Culturally Incorrect: How Clashing Worldviews Affect Your Future, the author and minister says the culture wars have entered a new, critical phase. Americans with a biblical worldview have dropped from 65 percent to 35 percent within one generation. Parsley believes in the next 25-30 years, that percentage will have dropped to only four percent. Parsley feels secular humanists are winning the culture war because Christians for the most part are not involved.

Kidnapped Iraqi Priest Freed in Baghdad

A Chaldean priest kidnapped Saturday morning (May 19) was released Monday night, Compass Direct News. Chaldean Auxiliary Bishop Shlemon Warduni told Compass from Baghdad that he had personally collected Father Nawzat Hanna from his captors at 9:30 p.m. Refraining from mentioning the exact location, Warduni said that after he stopped his car he recognized Hanna coming towards him. “He came crying and saying, ‘Oh Father, Monsignor, thank you, thank God,’” Warduni commented. Hanna, 38, was leaving the home of a sick member of his Mar Pithion parish when abducted on Saturday morning. The bishop maintained that the kidnapping had been motivated by money but did not discuss details of a ransom.