Religion Today Summaries - April 20, 2011

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - April 20, 2011

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.

In today's edition:

  • Senate Confirms Religious Freedom Ambassador
  • Nigeria: Violence after Election of Christian President
  • Many Christians Hold Universalist Views, Barna Finds
  • Rob Bell: No Regrets over 'Love Wins'


Senate Confirms Religious Freedom Ambassador

Religion News Service reports that a New York minister will soon fill the Obama administration's long-vacant position to oversee international religious freedom. The Senate voted Thursday to confirm the Rev. Suzan Johnson Cook for the post after a lengthy and controversial nomination process. "I am ... persuaded in my mind, heart, and soul that religious freedom is the birthright of all people everywhere; a foundation of civil society, a key to international security, and it must always be a pillar of U.S. foreign policy," she said in a statement. Cook declined further comment until after she is sworn in. Cook was nominated last June but her nomination stalled in the Senate and expired in December. Despite concerns she might not have enough diplomatic experience, Cook was renominated in February and appeared at a second nomination hearing in late March.

Nigeria: Violence after Election of Christian President

Following the election of a Christian President in Nigeria this weekend, opposition supporters have taken to the streets with accusations of vote rigging. Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports that at least 100 Christians have been killed and 40 churches burned. There has been fighting, burning and rioting in several states, including Gombe, Kaduna and Bauchi. Yesterday, rioters torched churches, homes and businesses, while security forces struggled to maintain order. At the forefront of the violence were the Almajeris, Islamic students who study at mosques and who are under-age, which deterred the authorities from taking more robust action against the mobs. A local clergyman described the violence as “very well planned,” adding, “It’s breaking out in different parts of the city at the same time."

Many Christians Hold Universalist Views, Barna Finds

Universalism has returned to the public spotlight following the release of Rob Bell's "Love Wins" but many Christians held that view prior to the book's release, according to a new survey from the Barna Group. One in four born-again Christians hold universalist thoughts when it comes to salvation, The Christian Post reports. Forty percent of those who identify as born-again Christians said that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. According to the Barna analysis, 43 percent of Americans in general agreed with the statement “It doesn’t matter what religious faith you follow because they all teach the same lessons,” while 54 percent disagreed.

Rob Bell: No Regrets over 'Love Wins'

Rob Bell's controversial book, "Love Wins," garnered condemnation from many evangelical leaders, but the author and pastor says he has no regrets. The bestseller reached the number two spot on the New York Time list. Critics, however, said the book was just a modern rehashing of the universalist heresy, downplaying God's judgment as a contradiction to his love. This week Bell told journalists that he was misunderstood and the book was misread. “Some of the things people say and the way that they act, this can’t be the way of Jesus. There’s got to be a little higher standard of civil discourse," he said, according to Christian Today. “My first thought is that [people] should read the book first. That was a phenomenon that I didn’t expect, that there would be that sort of level of discussion surrounding a book that nobody had read."