Religion Today Summaries - Nov. 8, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Nov. 8, 2007

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

  • Prof: Gnostics Called Judas Demon, not Hero
  • Joyce Meyer Ministries Releases Statement Regarding Senator Grassley's Letter
  • China Bans Bibles from 2008 Olympics
  • Judge Rules Iranian Christian Woman's Beating Justified

Prof: Gnostics Called Judas Demon, not Hero

According to Baptist Press, a new book by a biblical scholar at Rice University refutes the claims of the National Geographic Society in 2006 that a third- or fourth-century fragment of the Gospel of Judas depicted "the son of perdition" as a hero. In fact, April DeConick, a professor of biblical studies at Rice and author of "The Thirteenth Apostle: What the Gospel of Judas Really Says," notes that the document actually calls Judas a "thirteenth demon." That translation of the ancient Coptic text conforms fairly well to what biblical scholars have said of Judas for centuries as well as ancient commentaries from the church fathers who regarded Gnosticism as heresy.

Joyce Meyer Ministries Releases Statement Regarding Senator Grassley's Letter

Joyce Meyer Ministries, Inc. (JMM) responded in a written statement to an inquiry letter regarding the ministry's financial integrity from the Republican staff of the Senate Finance Committee. JMM states that "Joyce Meyer Ministries is committed to financial transparency. We are diligently working on the presented requests and will continue to take the necessary steps to maintain our financial integrity. If you would like more information about our finances, please visit the Financial Accountability  section of our website." Preceding the Ministry's statement is one signed by Thomas J. Winters, Attorney at Law, which says in part: "JMM continues in its desire to be transparent, and has posted its 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 audited financial reports on the ministry website... Following a recent Internal Revenue Service tax inquiry, during which the IRS requested extensive financial information for the years 2004 to 2006, the IRS found that JMM continues to qualify for tax exemption..."

China Bans Bibles from 2008 Olympics

The Christian Post reports that China is banning Bibles from the Olympic Games next year, allegedly for security reasons. The Bible is on a list that also includes video cameras and cups, all of which are prohibited from the Games. Christian athletes will not have access to Bibles in their Olympic village housing. The country is banning all religious symbols at the Olympic facilities in Beijing, and warning visitors to not bring more than one copy of the Bible with them to China. “The banning of Bibles and religious symbols by athletes in the Olympic Village by the Chinese government is evidence that it has not progressed to the level of civility that is worthy of hosting the international Olympic games,” said the Rev. Dr. Keith Roderick, Washington representative for Christian Solidarity International.

Judge Rules Iranian Christian Woman's Beating Justified reports that an Iranian Christian who was beaten and had equipment from her sewing shop destroyed has been told by a judge in that Middle Eastern nation that she has no recourse because she is guilty of evangelism. During conversations with three young women that the Christian woman had volunteered to teach to sew, she talked about her Christian faith and began teaching them about Christianity. But one of the young women was reportedly from a Muslim family who became upset over the incident. Eventually, the sewing instructor's shop was broken into, much of her equipment destroyed, and she was beaten and threatened with death.