Religion Today Summaries - November 26, 2004

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - November 26, 2004

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

  • Low-Profile 24/7 Intercessory Ministry a 'Winning Strategy' For Chicago

  • Nigeria: Native Missionaries Preach Peace in Midst of Religious Violence

  • Apologetics Group Plans 'Defending the Faith' Conference 

  • Sudan: Ministries to Deliver Aid to Growing Number of Refugees

Low-Profile 24/7 Intercessory Ministry a 'Winning Strategy' For Chicago
Charisma News Service

An intercessory ministry located in an unassuming storefront in Chicago is committed to praying 24 hours a day for one of America's neediest cities. The Prayer Furnace is committed to round-the-clock prayer with a distinctly urban focus. "Having set-aside places devoted centrally to prayer and worship where at any time anyone who worships Jesus may come and pray and seek His face is a winning strategy for our city," director Marvin Adams told Charisma magazine. Adams and his wife, Sally, had a vision for a ministry built on day-and-night prayer and worship since 1996, when they experienced a powerful visitation from God while serving an inner-city church in Chicago as youth pastors. Adams sees The Prayer Furnace as a servant, not a competitor, of local churches. "A house of prayer allows the many intercessors to have a place to gather throughout the week as 'watchmen' for the city -- yet does not take away from their commitment to their local church," he said. Adams points out that the ministry's advisory team is made up of pastors and other Christian leaders from the area. They all have committed to pray for the 10,000 churches of the Chicago metropolitan area daily.

Nigeria: Native Missionaries Preach Peace in Midst of Religious Violence

In a country torn by fighting between Muslims and Christians, evangelical believers find themselves caught in the midst of the conflict, preaching a gospel of peace and not retaliation. The fighting has been ongoing for decades ever since some Christians, weary of persecution by militant Muslims, took up arms against Islamic tribes. Tension escalated in 2000 when several northern states adopted sharia (Islamic-derived law) as the official law of the land. Sharia, which often extends beyond judicial mandates to rules regarding clothing and circumcision, was adopted as certain Muslims began to fear a newly-elected Christian president would impose his beliefs on the country. Extremists stepped up persecution of Christians, and in retaliation some nominal Christians turned to violence, escalating the problem. The fighting spread to parts of central Nigeria. Thousands have been killed or displaced as militant Muslims and Christians clashed in recent years. This May alone, attacks and counter-attacks claimed over 500 lives. Evangelical Christians are concerned about this decidedly un-biblical approach to the problem of persecution. They strongly oppose inter-religious fighting and hold all-night prayer vigils in times of conflict, trying to spread the peace of Christ and end the cycle of violence. Native missionaries continue to preach Christ in these troubled times.

Apologetics Group Plans 'Defending the Faith' Conference
Allie Martin, AgapePress

Defending the Christian faith in an anti-Christian culture -- that is the focus of an event planned for early next year in Florida. Answers in Genesis is sponsoring the "Defending the Faith" winter conference at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The three-day event will feature a variety of speakers who are experts in apologetics. Dr. Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis (AIG), says today's Christians need to be better prepared to defend their faith. Ham says AIG wants to help believers "know how to be equipped to answer the questions the world is asking so that we can tell the Church and the culture that we can trust the Bible. Its history is true, and that's why we can trust what it teaches concerning morality and the gospel." The Florida gathering will expose attendees to two and a half days of intense apologetics educating and give them access to unique apologetics resources and training. The conference is designed to provide each participant with a better understanding of how to respond to the cultural crises of the day, such as abortion, same-sex "marriage," creation/evolution, and many other topical issues. The Defending the Faith Winter Conference takes place January 31 through February 2.

Sudan: Ministries to Deliver Aid to Growing Number of Refugees

Indigenous ministries in Chad are planning to visit refugee camps soon in the northeastern part of the country, where hundreds of thousands of Sudanese have fled to escape the Darfur genocide. Along with basic necessities such as food, water and blankets, they intend to take Bibles and evangelistic literature to the mostly Muslim refugees. The urgency for this aid is growing almost daily as the situation in Darfur worsens. Government pledges to contain the Janjaweed militia have proven fruitless; this paramilitary group crossed the line between stifling a rebellion and committing genocide long ago, and the Sudanese government has been either unable or unwilling to stop it. Government forces have even reportedly attacked Darfur refugee camps in recent weeks, using tear gas and beatings to force refugees to relocate. Disease and malnutrition take nearly 10,000 lives a month. UN Security Council "warnings" to Sudan amount to little more than idle threats. The Sudanese government seems to have thrown up its hands with regards to the Janjaweed. Native missionaries tell Christian Aid they are preparing to visit some camps soon. Their message of Christian love and healing is desperately needed, as are the supplies they will bring. Many international aid agencies are not entering camps because of conditions dangerous to foreigners.