Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 23, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 23, 2006

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

  • ICC Calls on Belarus Officials to Stop Threatening Church
  • Controversial New Bible Published in Holland Cuts out Difficult Gospel Passages
  • Muslim Communities Accused of Failing to Address Terrorism in their Ranks
  • Muslims Attack Christians in Ethiopia

ICC Calls on Belarus Officials to Stop Threatening Church

According to Christian Newswire, human rights group International Christian Concern (ICC) has just learned that New Life Church in Minsk, Belarus, is in the midst of a fierce legal battle with city authorities to keep their property, and has started a growing hunger-strike to protest the government’s arbitrary decision to repossess their building. New Life Church has been fighting for a place to meet since September 2004. Because they were prohibited from renting a public venue for meetings, the church moved to a disused cowshed on the outskirts of the city. In response, the government has issued New Life several large fines for using the building in a manner not consistent with its purpose. Today’s news that a senior state official has told New Life Church to re-submit their appeal is a renewed call to action. There is hope that the Belarusian government could reverse course and allow New Life to keep the building.

Controversial New Bible Published in Holland Cuts out Difficult Gospel Passages

A new Bible translation produced in Holland that aims to be more attractive and market-oriented is causing controversy after it cut out difficult parts surrounding economic justice, possessions and money, ASSIST News Service reports. The new bible version, released by the Western Bible Foundation in the Netherlands, has created a storm by trying to make the Christian gospel more palatable. A media release obtained by ANS says that according to Chairman Mr. De Rijke the foundation has reacted to a growing wish of many churches to be market-oriented and more attractive. "Jesus was very inspiring for our inner health, but we don't need to take his naïve remarks about money seriously. He didn't study economics, obviously," he said. De Rijke says no serious Christian takes these texts literally. "What if all Christians stopped being anxious, for example, and started expecting everything from God? Or gave their possessions to the poor, for that matter. Our economy would be lost. The truth is quite the contrary: a strong economy and a healthy work ethic is a gift from God."

Muslim Communities Accused of Failing to Address Terrorism in their Ranks

An Islamic terrorism expert is giving Muslim communities in the United Kingdom and the United States an "F" when it comes to efforts to root out terrorists in their midst, AgapePress reports. Reports confirm that British university professors are being asked by the government to keep a close eye on their students because of fears that terrorist networks are being established in the schools. Robert Spencer, director of Jihad Watch, says the "politically correct" faith and trust that have been placed in the Islamic community in England to rid itself of terrorists has been misplaced and has failed miserably. "It is also true," he notes, "that the Muslim community in America has made no serious effort and established no organized program to eradicate jihadist sympathies from their ranks or to expose and expel jihadist sympathizers." According to Spencer, this is just one indication of the "wholesale failure" of the Muslim community to establish effective means of addressing jihadists and jihadist sympathizers within their ranks.

Muslims Attack Christians in Ethiopia

DC based human rights group International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on July 20, 7 Muslim leaders (clerics) brutally attacked 50 or more Christians in Henno, Ethiopia. According to ASSIST News Service, ICC says in a news release: “This latest attack is just one example of the increasing violence against Christians in Ethiopia. In fact, Islamic leaders are urging Muslims in the area to kill full-time Christian evangelists. The situation has reached such intensity that Christian leaders are in fear and moving in pairs to ward off attacks. Local Muslim authorities failed to take action against the Muslim attackers.” In the weeks following an attack of two converts to Christianity in 2005, many Muslims denounced the actions taken against the Christians. To express their disgust, Muslims refused to go to Mosques. In fact, forty-seven key leaders became Christians and renounced Islam stating, ‘If Islam means killing innocent brothers and sisters – we do not want to follow it!’