Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today’s edition:
International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church November 13
Open Doors USA, a ministry that raises awareness and encourages advocacy for persecuted Christians around the globe, is urging believers worldwide to join in observing the International Day of Prayer (IDOP) for the Persecuted Church this Sunday (November 13). Open Doors, which is celebrating 50 years of service to the persecuted church this year, is asking believers in the U.S. and elsewhere to pray for the more than 200 million individuals worldwide who are suffering for their Christian belief and practices. The ministry is committed teaching Christians in the free world how to help and pray for members of the Church in parts of China, the Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia, Latin America -- wherever believers are being arrested, detained without trial, threatened, beaten, interrogated under torture, terrorized, imprisoned or otherwise persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ. The theme of the 2005 IDOP is "Storming the Stronghold," a fitting slogan since Open Doors president Dr. Carl Moeller says prayer is "the most powerful way to help" persecuted believers. Moeller reminds the international Christian community that God is active and hears their prayers, and that their suffering brothers and sisters in Christ are counting on them.
ReligiousLiberties Dying in Sulawesi
David Aikman, Beyond the News
It's often hard to keep track of seemingly small events in distant countries when so many dramatic headlines continue to dominate the international scene. But Americans ought to be paying close attention to Indonesia, with 212 million people the world's largest Muslim country, but where Christians are under serious attack. For the past five years, persistent violence has plagued the island of Sulawesi. Last week, three Christian schoolgirls were attacked by machete-wielding bandits and beheaded, with one girl's head left near a local church. In the past, such attacks have almost all been initiated by Islamic radicals. Unfortunately, violence throughout Sulawesi seems to have increased since Saudi Arabian money started funding Muslim radical groups. Religious liberties throughout the world are under increasing threat, but Indonesian Christians are paying an especially devastating price for their faith, and need America's support.
EritreaDoubles Number of Christian Prisoners
The number of Eritrean Christians confirmed to be jailed for their religious beliefs has shot up to a total of 1,778, nearly double the documented count six months ago. Although most of the prisoners are members of the independent Protestant churches banned since May 2002, an increasing number of key leaders within the officially registered churches are also being arrested. At least 26 full-time Protestant pastors and Orthodox clergy are in jail, their personal bank accounts frozen by government order. As a result, one source said, “Their family members are suffering [to] a great degree.” Held in prisons, military camps and police stations, Eritrea’s Christian prisoners are located in at least 12 different locations across the country. A total of 175 women are among them. According to the latest breakdown, 561 Christians are jailed at Wi’a, 333 at Mai Serwa, 238 at Gelalo, 175 at Adi-Abyto, 100 at the Massawa police station, 95 at Track C Military Camp, 72 in Asmara police stations, 69 at Sawa, 46 at Assab, 35 in the Mendefera police station, 27 in the Keren police station and 27 in Asmara’s Wongel Mermera investigation center. “Many believe that the number could be far more,” one source said.
NewBaylor President has been a Presbyterian Elder
University’s board of regents has selected alumnus John Lilley, president of the University of Nevada, Reno, as Baylor’s next president. Lilley, 66, a past recipient of Baylor’s distinguished alumnus award who has been a Presbyterian Church member since the 1980s, received a unanimous vote Nov. 4 from Baylor’s regents, acting upon a unanimous recommendation of an 11-member search committee. The committee was formed 10 months earlier, after the resignation of Robert B. Sloan Jr., who had led the 14,000-student Baptist-affiliated university since 1995 and now holds the title of chancellor. Lilley, who will take office on Jan. 2 at Baylor’s 13th president, has led the 16,000-student University of Nevada, Reno, since 2001. The previous 21 years, he was president of Penn State Erie, a four-year campus of the Pennsylvania State University system. The library there has been named in his honor. A Baylor news release described Lilley as the son of a Louisiana Baptist pastor and a licensed Baptist minister who served as minister of music at two Baptist churches while he was a student at Baylor. The news release did not list a current church membership for Lilley. The Dallas Morning News described Lilley as “a ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church.” Lilley’s biographical sheet posted at the University of Nevada, Reno, website states that, in Erie, Pa., he had been a ruling elder of First Presbyterian Church of the Covenant. Lilley acknowledged his current Presbyterian ties in a news conference after his election, but added, “I was raised a Baptist and have always been a Baptist, and Gerri [his wife] and I will be joining First Baptist Church this Sunday here in Waco. That was my student church when I was here.”