Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- North Korean Witness Draws Attention at Lausanne
- Megachurch Crystal Cathedral Seeks Bankruptcy Protection
- Muslims Patrol in Pakistan Slum Attempts to Kill Christian Men
- Some Religious Charities Receive More despite Overall Drop
North Korean Witness Draws Attention at Lausanne
North Korean Christians are largely absent the Cape Town 2010 Lausanne Congress because of their country's reclusive policies, but one defector represented the plight of thousands on Monday. Sung Kyung Ju, an 18-year-old whose family fled North Korea when she was six, told the assembly that her father was forcibly repatriated in 2001 and thrown into prison for three years before being allowed to return to his family in China. Shortly after, her father returned to North Korea voluntarily as a missionary, witnessing to the Gospel until he was caught in 2006. According to Christianity Today's Liveblog, Sung Kyung Ju said she believes he was executed. Now, she says, "I want to bring the love of God to North Korea." Some have voiced concern the Lausanne movement will focus on social justice issues at the expense of evangelism efforts. Sung Kyung Ju received a standing ovation, perhaps indicating the congress has not forgotten its historical mission.
Megachurch Crystal Cathedral Seeks Bankruptcy Protection
CNN reports that megachurch Cyrstal Cathedral Ministries will enter bankruptcy to appease creditors while dealing with drastically diminished giving. Church officials on Monday said that an unspecified small number of creditors have sued the church and obtained writs of attachment. The ministry in Garden Grove, California, is seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. Sunday services will continue, along with its televised "Hour of Power" and other services. "Challenging situations are nothing new to our 55-year ministry," said Dr. Sheila Schuller Coleman, senior pastor at the church. "Our announcement today to file for the protection of Chapter 11 is just one more chapter in the book that he is continuing to write -- and we know that God's plans are good -- we have no doubt his chapter will be good!"
Muslims Patrol in Pakistan Slum Attempts to Kill Christian Men
ASSIST News Service reports that Muslims have been patrolling the streets of the Kalupura Christian slum in Gujarat, Pakistan, to find and kill six Christian residents. The Rev. Dr. Suleman Nasri Khan said Christians have been attacked by around 40 armed Muslim men several times since September 8. The group allegedly has six Christian men, who have gone into hiding, on a hit list and have cordoned off areas of the slum to find them. All six men and their family's remain hidden with Khan's help, who says the financial burden to care for the families and his own children has forced him to sell anything of significant value in his home. Khan said the Christians are "fed up" because no one, including Christian legislators and Christian ministers in minority affairs, has helped them morally, financially or legally.
Some Religious Charities Receive More despite Overall Drop
Several of the nation's largest religious charities reported increases in private support as nonprofits overall saw decreases in donations last year, The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported. Feed the Children, which ranked fifth in the annual Philanthropy 400, had a 1.2 percent increase in private support, which totaled $1.19 billion. World Vision saw a 4.5 percent increase in its private support, while Catholic Charities USA saw its support rise 66 percent increase from the previous year. "There's a question about the accuracy of the percentage of increase, and we're talking with The Chronicle of Philanthropy about it," said Roger Conner, spokesman for Catholic Charities USA, according to Religion News Service. Overall, donations to the country's largest charities dropped by 11 percent last year.