Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 28, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 28, 2008

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

  • Christian Prisoners Will Get Church at Pakistan Jail
  • U.S. Condemns Beating of China Pastor's Sons
  • New U.K. Leader Commissioned to Lead Anti-Poverty Movement
  • 'Fireproof' Passes $20 Million Mark

Christian Prisoners Will Get Church at Pakistan Jail

ASSIST News Service reports that concerted efforts by the Sharing Life Ministry Pakistan (SLMP) aimed at seeking approval of a church at the premises of Adiala Jail in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi, near the capital of Pakistan, have been rewarded by the jail authorities. "God has granted us place for a Church at district Jail Adiala, Rawalpindi," said Sohail Johnson, the Chief Coordinator of the Sharing Life Ministry Pakistan. The jail's supervisor gave approval in August. Currently, only 2 out of 32 prisons in Punjab province have churches. Johnson said he considers this approval the "greatest success" of the ministry, but they have also won remission for Christian prisoners on the basis of completion of Bible study courses. Pakistan has the second largest Islamic population in the world.

U.S. Condemns Beating of China Pastor's Sons

Baptist Press reports that the brutal beating Oct. 16 of "Pastor Bike" Zhang Mingxuan's two sons by public security officials in China has drawn U.S. attention. State Department spokesman Robert Wood released a statement Oct. 23 that specifically highlighted the "continuing official harassment of Pastor Zhang, ... including his arbitrary detention and the forced relocation of his family." The State Department called on the Chinese government to release Zhang immediately, permit his family members to return home, condemn the violent acts committed against his sons and bring the individuals responsible for the persecution to justice. On Oct. 10, police sealed the door of the house church where Zhang Mingxuan preaches and blocked it with two truckloads of garbage, even though the government just weeks earlier had given the church permission to meet.

New U.K. Leader Commissioned to Lead Anti-Poverty Movement

The Christian Post reports that the World Evangelical Alliance General Assembly is moving forward with the Micah Challenge, commissioning U.K. leader Joel Edwards as the new international director. The Micah Challenge is dedicating to pressuring governments throughout the world toward eliminating extreme global poverty through the Millenium Development Goals. “I feel very privileged to accept this new role,” said Edwards. “As Christians, we have a responsibility to deepen our commitment to the poor, to walk with the poor, to serve the poor. But we also have a responsibility to hold governments to account to the promises they have made,” he added. “Jesus said the poor you will always have with you. The longevity of poverty is always going to confront us. But as Christians we have an amazing responsibility to bring not only optimism but hope into fairly difficult situations,” he said.

Church in Bangalore Creates Needed Defense

Mission News Network reports that churches in India are adjusting to the tense atmosphere with ready defenses, trying to ensure that Sunday worship is uninterrupted by mobs. "Just a few weeks ago," says Tom Dudenhofer of Audio Scripture Ministries, "[a church in Bangalore] told the women and the children that they needed to go and sit near the front of the church. And then all the men were supposed to take up standing positions at all the doorways and all the entrances to the church." According to Dudenhofer, the men were only a warning, and did not take offensive action. Meanwhile, the church continues to seek opportunities to grow the Gospel in India. Encouraging and growth-stimulating radio ministries such as ASM are especially important because of low-literacy among local populations. ASM hopes to build a radio building in Bangalore soon.