Religion Today Summaries - Apr. 25, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Apr. 25, 2007

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

  • Kelley Calls Seminary's Recovery 'A Miracle'
  • Officer Relieved of Duty for not Harassing Ministry Workers
  • Vietnam Violates Due Process in Trial for Christian Attorneys
  • Iraq Refugees Reached by Native Missionaries

Kelley Calls Seminary's Recovery 'A Miracle'

Though many question marks still dot the city of New Orleans and its recovery, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary President Chuck Kelley's State of the Seminary address April 12 pointed confidently to God's provision and providence, which continue now 20 months after Hurricane Katrina. According to Baptist Press, Kelley said there was much information to report about the seminary but that his address was just as much a testimony to God's faithfulness. Kelley first pointed to the ways that all-sufficient grace has brought the seminary to where it now stands. "We are more than 90 percent done with the basic restoration process," he said. "At every possible point, we have attempted to improve as we repair. The campus has never been more beautiful, and it is steadily becoming more functional and complete." While most New Orleans schools are running about 50 to 75 percent of their pre-Katrina numbers, the seminary is at about 1,600 students, causing Kelley to state, "It looks like we will finish the year within 400 of our all-time record enrollment; God is calling out the called to come to New Orleans to prepare for ministry."

Officer Relieved of Duty for not Harassing Ministry Workers reports that a Christian police officer in Pennsylvania has been relieved of his duties because he refused to take part in illegal harassment and detention of a group conducting a ministry on a college campus. Hostilities reigned at Kutztown University last week, when Life & Liberty Ministries attempted to conducting an on-campus outreach. The group had apparently not received permission, though they were within their rights to be on a public campus. Student reactions varied, but some angry students appeared more emboldened when the police - instead of calming the crowd - ordered the ministry workers to leave, arresting one. Life & Liberty president Dennis Green said one of the campus police officers did not agree with that tactic. Green says he has learned that the officer has since been "relieved of his duties."

Vietnam Violates Due Process in Trial for Christian Attorneys

Christian attorneys Nguyen Van Dai and Le thi Cong Nhan are scheduled to be tried on May 11 in a case that appears to have fallen short even of Vietnam’s limited requirements for due process, Compass Direct News reports. As of Friday (April 20), a full six weeks after Dai’s arrest, authorities had not provided his wife, Khanh, with any legal papers. By law she should have received a copy of the arrest order at his March 6 arrest citing the reasons for his “temporary detention.” Calling Khanh in to police quarters on Friday afternoon, authorities told her that the investigation was completed but refused to give her a copy of the investigation report. They again denied her access to her husband, though previously they had told her she could visit him after the investigation was completed. Khanh has written several polite letters to Vietnam’s prime minister and other high officials asking permission to visit her husband and expressing concern that she was denied permission to take to him a Bible and his medication for a liver ailment. She has received no acknowledgements of her pleas.

Iraq Refugees Reached by Native Missionaries

According to a Missions Insider release, every day thousands of Iraqis flee their country due to the continuing sectarian violence, poverty, lack of basic infrastructure, unemployment, and civil unrest. Nearly 20% of Iraqis are living below the poverty line. Most Iraqi refugees take shelter in the Arabic- speaking countries of Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. Many of them have never heard the gospel. One Christian Aid-supported ministry, covertly working in the Middle East, has found that these refugees are often open to the gospel. Christians have a multitude of opportunities to reach out to these refugees, who are left without the aid of the government. Once away from their family, friends and culture, refugees frequently question their native religions. Despite the great challenge, ministries in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon are taking this important opportunity to share the gospel with Iraqis.