Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 7, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 7, 2007

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

  • Vatican Rep Tones Down 'One True Church' Statement
  • Latest Billy Graham Special Features Classic Sermon, Powerful Testimonies
  • Malaysian Prime Minister Calls Country ‘Islamic State’
  • Taliban Kidnapper ‘Dies in Clash’

Vatican Rep Tones Down 'One True Church' Statement

The Christian Post reports that the head of the Vatican's office for Christian unity has responded to concerns among Europe’s Protestant church leaders over the Vatican’s recent statement asserting that the Catholic Church is the only true church of Jesus Christ. Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, told reporters that by claiming other communities “were not churches in the proper sense, we did not mean that these others were somehow false churches.” “We meant that the EKD (Evangelical Church in Germany) or the Church of England, for example, have a different understanding of what the church is.”

Latest Billy Graham Special Features Classic Sermon, Powerful Testimonies

A release from the BGEA describes the latest Billy Graham television special, set to air in the U.S. from Sept. 8-16: In October 1979, Billy Graham preached to more than 50,000 people during a five-day Crusade in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Mr. Graham’s message focused on the biblical story of Zacchaeus and what stands in our way of having a relationship with Jesus Christ. “Zacchaeus had obstacles to getting to Jesus,” Graham shared from the pulpit at the Halifax Metro Centre. “Many of you would like to know Jesus, but you too face many obstacles. Come to the cross and bring those secrets of your heart and lay them before Him and say, Lord, here they are. I surrender.” Still relevant to today’s culture, Graham’s message to Halifax will reach thousands more this month as part of The Billy Graham Television Special. The program includes the powerful testimonies of international Christian music artist, Michael O’Brien, and his wife, Heidi. It also features testimonies from former NFL star Derwin Gray, as well as Karen Reagle, a mother who was able to break free from the addictions that were holding her from experiencing the life and love God had for her.

Malaysian Prime Minister Calls Country ‘Islamic State’

Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi last week declared that Malaysia is an Islamic state, apparently contradicting his August 5 statement that Malaysia is neither a secular nor a theocratic state. His August 27 declaration came in reply to a question in Parliament from opposition leader Lim Kit Siang, who asked if the Cabinet would reaffirm Malaysia as a secular state with Islam as the official religion as per the social contract signed at the formation of the country. There is a possibility that Abdullah could have meant “Islamic country,” as the Malay “Negara Islam” could mean either “Islamic state,” implying the imposition of Islamic law on all citizens, or “Islamic country,” merely describing a Muslim-majority population. His statement and other comments by key statesmen have alarmed non-Muslims, who make up 40 percent of the country’s population, Compass Direct News reports.

Taliban Kidnapper ‘Dies in Clash’

ASSIST News Service reports that one of the Taliban fighters who masterminded the kidnapping of the 23 South Korean Christians in July has been killed, Afghan officials say. Mullah Mateen was one of a number of Taliban killed in fighting against Afghan and foreign troops. However, the Taliban say that the dead men were all “civilians”. Twenty-one of the Koreans, who were Christian aid workers, were recently released and two were killed by the Taliban. “There has been no independent confirmation of the death of Mr. Mateen,” said the BBC story. “Elsewhere in the country police said three of their number were killed by two suicide bombs. “Two of the victims in the relatively peaceful northern province of Kunduz, and one in the volatile south-eastern province of Paktika.” Those who died in Kunduz included a district police chief. The Taliban say that as many as six policemen were killed in Paktika.