Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Opposition to Christian Tithing Grows
- Political Fears Spur Anti-Christian Violence in India
- Vietnamese Christian Dies in Prison Following Alleged Torture
- The Revolve Tour: Where Real Faith Meets Real Life
Opposition to Christian Tithing Grows
According to a Religion News Service release, there is mounting opposition to the doctrine of tithing. The opposition is not against supporting churches, but rather against the teaching that all church members (including the poorest) must begin their giving at 10% of their gross income. Russell Earl Kelly is the author of Should the Church Teach Tithing?, an expansion of his PH. D. thesis. Every day he receives e-mails, letters and calls from around the world thanking him for his free in-depth materials. Even though money was already a necessity, Kelly insists that biblical tithing was always only food from farmers and herdsmen in Israel under the Old Covenant. It was never commanded as an eternal moral principle of the New Covenant to the Church. He says that churches which teach mandatory tithing ignore the context and take money from the disadvantaged which they need for medicine and basic necessities. Salvation is not “By Grace Plus 10%,” he says.
Political Fears Spur Anti-Christian Violence in India
Compass Direct News reports the growth in the incidence of violence against Christians in India this year is rooted largely in the political insecurity of Hindu nationalists, sources say. Increased attacks against Christians this year have grown out of a trend of violence going back to 2001. Each year from 2001 to 2005, about 200 anti-Christian attacks were reported in India. This year nearly 150 such incidents were reported by mid-September, with the annual total expected to exceed 200. Whereas the trend began after the Hindu extremist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came into power in 1998, the recent campaign is rooted in the party’s attempts to recover from political loss and internal division. Christian leaders attribute the heightened incidence of anti-Christian attacks to a crisis in BJP, compelling Hindu extremist organizations to exploit the touchy issue of Christian conversions.
Vietnamese Christian Dies in Prison Following Alleged Torture
A Montagnard man has reportedly died in a Vietnamese prison following severe torture, ASSIST News Service reports. The Montagnards are the indigenous people of Vietnam's Central Highlands. According to a news release from the Montagnard Foundation, Thup died in Trai Ba Sao prison in Ha Nam. Thup was arrested on March 24 2004, the Montagnard Foundation stated, and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment on Feb. 24 2005 for what Vietnamese authorities reportedly called "public order offences." Unnamed Vietnamese officials, the Montagnard Foundation stated, told Thup’s family he died from abuse on Aug. 30 2006. According to the Montagnard Foundation, "It was well known (Thup) was severely tortured in prison. His wife and relatives asked officials if they collect his body for burial but were refused this request. The Montagnard Foundation’s Kok Ksor said, "We as the Degar Montatgnard people would like to appeal to all governments especially the United States who are now dealing with Vietnam in trade and business to please do what they can to prevent our people from dying in prison."
The Revolve Tour: Where Real Faith Meets Real Life
Today’s teens face a number of pressures from peer groups that often result in a separation between faith and daily life. According to Barna Research Group, 89 percent of Christian teens pray weekly, but of that same group 66 percent confessed that they had lied to a parent or teacher, 55 percent had previously had sex, and 22 percent had been drunk or high on illegal substances. Integrating faith into daily life can be difficult for today’s teens, something the organizers of a new nationwide teen girl conference understand very well. "The Revolve Tour," which will be in ten cities in 2006, is a new event for girls aged 12-18 sponsored by Women of Faith, the nation’s largest women’s conference. “The Revolve Tour is a place where real faith will intercept real life for these teen girls,” said Tammy Trent, Revolve speaker. In 2005, The Revolve Tour launched in five cities with over 35,000 teen girls in attendance. “More girls came than I ever expected,” said Natalie Grant, 2006 Dove Award winner for Female vocalist of the year and Revolve Tour speaker. The Revolve Tour’s mission statement is to encourage teen girls to realize their significance through a grace-based message grounded in reality. For more information visit revolvetour.com.