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Religion Today Summaries - April 11, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - April 11, 2005

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

  • Ministries Addressing Physical, Spiritual Hunger in South Asia 

  • Eritrean Government Recognises Adventist Church But Denies Religious Persecution

  • Promise Keepers President Pushes Marketplace Agenda

  • Bible Answer Man Responds To NBC's 'Revelations' End Times TV Series

Ministries Addressing Physical, Spiritual Hunger in South Asia
Allie Martin, Agape Press

Two international ministries are serving in Christ's name in Asia -- one is helping pastors and their families in India and Sri Lanka who were hit hard by December's Asian tsunami, while the other continues to send forth missionaries. Although stories about the devastating tsunami have all but disappeared from secular news organizations, there remain many residents in countries such as India and Sri Lanka who still need basic necessities such as food, water, clothing, and shelter.  Dr. Ramesh Richard, founder of REACH International, says much of his group's relief efforts will target pastors and their families. Richard says his ministry has identified more than 100 pastors and churches that will act as agents for long-term rehabilitation in their communities. According to the REACH International spokesman, an entire community in Sri Lanka can be rebuilt for $2,250, and one in India for approximately $9,800. At the same time REACH International is focusing on physical needs in that area of the world, Gospel for Asia (GFA) is concentrating on spiritual needs in Asia by sending hundreds of native missionaries into the field. GFA, which operates 54 Bible colleges in five Asian nations, recently graduated more than 2,500 Asian students. More than 14,000 native missionaries trained by GFA are serving and planting more than 12 churches a day in ten Asian nations. GFA says it expects more than 10,000 students for the new semester at its Bible colleges. 

Eritrean Government Recognises Adventist Church But Denies Religious Persecution
Christian Solidarity Worldwide

The Head of the Eritrean government delegation at the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva announced on April 5 that Eritrea had granted official recognition to the Seventh Day Adventist Church. According to the human rights NGO Release Eritrea, Dr Amare Tekel, the head of the Ertirean delegation, stated that the registration process had been completed and that the church would be operational once bureaucratic processes have been finalised. The announcement followed strong lobbying by the United Nations Liaison Director of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, Dr Jonathan Gallagher. The move ends the church’s three year wait for registration and makes it the fourth Christian denomination to receive official sanction in Eritrea. The activities of the Adventist church have been suspended since 2002, when the Eritrean government ordered the closure of all churches not belonging to the Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Evangelical Lutheran denominations. Although the government has said that churches can apply for official recognition, the requirements for registration are both stringent and intrusive, and the majority of churches that have been able to meet them are still awaiting accreditation. Since 2002, members of unofficial churches have faced harassment, mistreatment and indefinite detention at the hands of the Eritrean government. At least 240 Christians have been arrested for their faith since the beginning of this year. Most remain in custody.

Promise Keepers President Pushes Marketplace Agenda
Promise Keepers

This year, Promise Keepers (PK) celebrates 15 years of conference ministry and will travel to 20 American cities and The Bahamas. The international ministry to men based in Denver, Colorado, and has directly reached more than five and a half million men since its founding in 1990. “PK will help men navigate through the difficult moral concerns of the 21 st century, including justice and righteousness issues like immigration, prison reform, unemployment and homelessness, racism, euthanasia, the definition of marriage, abortion, stem-cell research and others,” says Promise Keepers president, Tom Fortson. Promise Keepers’ mission is to ignite and unite men to become passionate followers of Jesus Christ through the effective communication of seven promises to God, his fellow men, family, church and the world. Promise Keepers’ 2005 conference season, Awakening: An Unpredictable Adventure, is an unpredictable adventure which speaks of the life of faith that we’re challenged to live,” said Harold Velasquez, vice-president of Creative Services.  “This year, we’re calling men to wake up. We’re showcasing the epic struggle between light and darkness and will help men find their true purpose. Promise Keepers’ vision is simply put in three words: “Men Transformed Worldwide.” (www.promisekeepers.org

Bible Answer Man Responds To NBC's 'Revelations' End Times TV Series
Michael Ireland, ASSIST News Service

While the NBC television network continues to garner widespread media attention for its upcoming six-episode series entitled, 'Revelations,' an end-times thriller purportedly based on the New Testament book of Revelation, one Bible commentator expresses doubts about its theology. The premiere, scheduled for April 13, follows the efforts of  a globe-trotting nun, and a Harvard astrophysicist, to determine whether the end of the world is indeed near. Hank Hanegraaff, known as "The Bible Answer Man," is concerned about the faulty theology the show presents. Hanegraaff's recent novel "The Last Disciple," co-authored with Sigmund Brouwer, expresses a much different interpretation of end-times theology, including the belief that all of the New Testament was written to a First Century audience and many (but not all) of the prophecies of the Revelation have been fulfilled. "Among the many specific biblical and theological errors conveyed in the miniseries is a diminished view of the authority and power of Jesus Christ, who is thought to need protection by a renegade Catholic organization from the stalking Antichrist, though the Bible teaches that through his resurrection from the dead the Lord Jesus has all authority in heaven and earth (Matthew 28:18)," said Hanegraaff.  " 'Revelations' must rely on biblical illiteracy for its success and cruelly takes advantage of the fear mongering that permeates our society, " Hanegraaff continued.