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Religion Today Summaries - April 15, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - April 15, 2005

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

  • President Bush Tells Reporters About His 'Walk With Christ'

  • Baptist Official: Pope's Passing May Open Doors for Discussing Faith

  • Catholic Priest Stabbed in East

  • Jordan

President Bush Tells Reporters About His 'Walk With Christ'
Charisma News Service

President Bush talked to the seven reporters traveling with him on Air Force One about Jesus after attending the pope's funeral in Rome last week. For 47 minutes, Bush and the journalists had an intimate, friendly chat largely about the pope, his legacy and Bush's own "walk with Christ," The Washington Post reported this week in an article with the headline, "Preacher Bush." "There is no doubt in my mind there is a living God. And no doubt in my mind that Lord, Christ, was sent by the Almighty. No doubt in my mind about that," he said. Bush said attending Pope John Paul II's emotional funeral last Friday strengthened his faith, his belief in a living God and in how religious faith is a lifelong journey, "not a respite." "I think a walk in faith constantly confronts doubt, as faith becomes more mature," Bush said. "And you constantly confront, you know, questions. My faith is strong. The Bible [says] ... you've got to constantly stay in touch with the Word of God in order to help you on the walk." Bush noted that "you can find ways to strengthen your faith." "It's necessary to do so, in my judgment," he told the pool of reporters who travel with the president when there's not enough room for everyone. "It's called a 'walk.' It's not called a moment or a respite. It's a 'walk.'" (www.charismanews.com)

Baptist Official: Pope's Passing May Open Doors for Discussing Faith
Allie Martin, Agape Press

An official with the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism (ABWE) says the recent death of Pope John Paul II is providing Evangelicals with many opportunities to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jack Shiflet, administrator for Western Europe with ABWE, was a recent guest on a Mission Network News program, where he observed that many people in Europe appreciated the pope in the same way that many Americans appreciated former President Ronald Reagan. Shiftlet observes that John Paul was beloved for his ideals and accomplishments and revered by many as a great leader. As such, the Roman Catholic pontiff's passing would naturally be notable to vast numbers of people who might share some of his convictions without necessarily sharing their spiritual foundation. And, when it comes to the "culturally religious" masses in Europe or anywhere else, the Baptist official points out that many people claim to be Christians based on a so-called birthright or tradition. And, he adds, the recent death of Pope John Paul II has provided some segues for Christians to engage people in discussions about eternity. "I think any time you have a prominent event like this in public," Shiflet comments, "it's easy to bridge to ... what the issues are [and so on]. So, yes, I think [the Pope's passing] is going to afford opportunities for the gospel."

Catholic Priest Stabbed in East India
Compass Direct

A priest in the lawless east-Indian state of Bihar was brutally stabbed in the neck and chest on April 11 when he refused to pay extortion money to an ex-prisoner he had been counseling. The incident occurred in the Mokama subdivision of Patna district on Monday evening. Fr. Mathew Uzhuthal, vicar-general and parish priest of Mokama, was attacked by Gyan Das, from the parish station of Sheikpura in Munger district. "Gyan Das demanded 100,000 rupees ($2,325) from Fr. Mathew, who refused to give the amount. There was a scuffle in which the father was stabbed four times in the neck and the chest," Allen R. Johannes, press secretary for the Archdiocese of Patna, told Compass. Fr. Devasia Chirayl, secretary to the Bishop of Patna, told Compass that Das was a known criminal. Mathew had counseled Das several times since his release from prison, "trying to settle him in a normal life through advice," Father Chirayl explained. "Ruffians demand money as ransom from people, and if they don't give, they are killed." He also said the state government had taken prompt action in this case, asking district officers to find Das and arrest him. Bihar is notorious for lawlessness, as organized gangs often resort to kidnapping, extortion and murder. The state is one of the poorest in India.

Charisma News Service

A court of Islamic law in Amman ruled in favor of Christian widow Siham Qandah this week, revoking the legal guardianship of her children's Muslim uncle. On Tuesday, the court removed Abdullah al-Muhtadi from his court-designated guardianship, Compass Direct reported. Al-Muhtadi has been fighting a seven-year legal battle to wrest custody of his minor niece and nephew from Qandah. The case started when Qandah's husband died 11 years ago as a soldier in the U.N. peacekeeping forces in Kosovo. When Qandah claimed her children's army orphan benefits, a local court produced an unsigned "conversion" certificate, claiming that her Christian husband had secretly converted to Islam three years before his death. In 1998, Muhtadi filed suit to take custody of the children away from Qandah in order to raise them as Muslims. After a four-year court battle, Jordan's Supreme Islamic Court ruled in his favor, ordering Qandah to give her children over to al-Muhtadi's custody. Qandah's dilemma attracted international press coverage. King Abdullah II and other members of the Jordanian royal family began to monitor judicial handling of the case, pledging that the children would not be taken away from their mother. (www.charismanews.com)