Religion Today Summaries - April 12, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - April 12, 2005

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

  • NBC's 'Revelations' Skewed, 'Left Behind' Authors Warn
  • Falwell Released From Hospital, Says He's 'Thankful To Be Alive'
  • Nepal: Native Nepalese Find Christ in Malaysia
  • Pastor and Driver Murdered in Pakistan 

NBC's 'Revelations' Skewed, 'Left Behind' Authors Warn
Baptist Press

Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye, whose "Left Behind" series made end-times theology a nationwide topic of discussion, have expressed wariness of NBC's apocalyptic mini-series "Revelations," which premieres April 13. "Acknowledging that not everyone agrees with my particular take on end-time prophecies, at least they are based on some commonly accepted study," Jenkins said. "Revelations seems to draw from everywhere and nowhere." LaHaye, the creator of Left Behind series and a prophecy scholar, described the show as "unbiblical" and "weird." "This story is based on some writer's imagination about the Book of Revelation," LaHaye said. "However, the writer clearly has not studied the book or maybe even read it." The producers of NBC's Revelations have been quoted as saying they hope to appeal to the same audiences that made "The Passion of The Christ" and the Left Behind series crossover hits. LaHaye said he feels Revelations will fall short, noting, "This is a good example of someone who doesn't know the message [of The Passion or Left Behind] and doesn't know that he doesn't know." But Jenkins said the series is not all bad news. "I believe in end-times events, and I want to see the subject of the return of Christ remain on the table of public discourse for as long as possible," he said. Christians who watch Revelations may be able to discuss its inaccuracies with friends and family, Jenkins added.

Falwell Released From Hospital, Says He's 'Thankful To Be Alive'
Baptist Press

Jerry Falwell was released from the hospital April 6, nine days after being admitted for having trouble breathing. He was taken to Lynchburg General Hospital in Virginia March 28 and placed on a ventilator in critical condition. Doctors still have not determined what caused his problem, he says. "There are a lot of theories," he told the Lynchburg News & Advance. "A lot of work and time is going into it, but nobody is willing to spout off and say, 'This is what caused it, and we can prevent it from being caused again.'" The 71-year-old Falwell serves as chancellor of Liberty University and as pastor of Thomas Road Baptist, a Southern Baptist church in Lynchburg. It was the second time this year that Falwell had been hospitalized. He was in the hospital for nearly two weeks in late February and early March, battling pneumonia. His wife took him to the hospital March 28, and he had to be resuscitated in the parking lot."…The Lord took care of me. It's a miracle, and I'm very thankful to be alive," Falwell told the newspaper. He said he's going to rest more than he did last time. "This time, I'm taking it a lot more seriously, because I've had two altercations, and even a dumb guy will learn something after a while," he said.

Nepal: Native Nepalese Find Christ in Malaysia
Christian Aid Mission

The story is all too familiar for many Christian Nepalese: after confessing Jesus as Lord, they are expelled from their Hindu families, cut off from support and considered unclean. In fact, when a believer visits the house of a strict Hindu, the home must be ritually purified after he or she leaves. In villages, Christians are many times forbidden from using public wells and must walk miles to find other water sources. The physical and psychological toll this rejection takes on new believers is great. Many Nepalese, seeing this harsh treatment of Christians in their homeland, are afraid to follow Christ even if they are convinced He is the truth. However, a growing number of Hindu Nepalese are finding Christ while working abroad, particularly in Malaysia, where they are able to hear the gospel with more objective, open minds. Though more than half of its population is Muslim, Malaysia has a substantial Christian presence. While the country has severe restrictions on evangelizing the ethnic Malay Muslim majority, other ethnicities are free to pursue the Christian faith. Realizing this, several indigenous ministries in Nepal have sent missionaries to work among Nepalese in Malaysia. They have been able to lead many to Christ, some of whom become His witnesses among their families and neighbors when they return to Nepal. Yet in many cases, they also become ostracized.

Pastor and Driver Murdered in Pakistan
Barbara G. Baker, Compass Direct

Unknown killers kidnapped and brutally killed Protestant pastor Babar Samsoun and his driver and fellow evangelist, Daniel Emmanuel, on April 7. One of Samsoun's colleagues reported that the slain pastor was "accused of trying to convert Muslims to Christianity." The two men had been receiving telephoned threats demanding that they stop their Christian activities. Police authorities blamed the killings on an alleged family dispute. "Protest marches are still continuing for the arrest of the culprits," a local church leader confirmed today, noting that the Christian community was "fearful and demoralized, as they feel nothing is being done by the authorities to safeguard them from such barbarous attacks." Samsoun, 37, pastored the congregation of the Jesus Pan Gospel Church in Yousafabad. He leaves behind a wife and three children. Emmanuel, also in his mid 30s, was unmarried.