12 Days of Giveaways - Spin & Win! Sign up before Dec. 25th to win daily prizes and a $250 Amazon.com Gift Card. Find out details.

Religion Today Summaries - April 28, 2011

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - April 28, 2011

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

In today's edition:

  • Evangelist Beaten to Death in Ethiopia
  • China: 10 Church Leaders Jailed after Lausanne Congress
  • Most People Believe in God, International Poll Finds
  • Vietnamese Bishop Charged with 'Baptizing People'


Evangelist Beaten to Death in Ethiopia

Four Muslims allegedly beat an evangelist to death and assaulted his pregnant wife in Worabe, Ethiopia, on April 21, according to International Christian Concern. The attack took place in an area that is 97 percent Muslim. The Muslims lured evangelist Abraham Abera from Kale Hiwot Church, his home and place of ministry, at night, telling him his friend was sick. After he left with the men, they began to beat him with rods. The evangelist's wife, Birtukan, tried to intervene but was also beaten. Abraham died on the spot and his wife, who sustained a severe head injury, was left unconscious in the street. She was found and taken to a hospital in Butajira, where she regained consciousness the next day and detailed the attack. Birtukan said that she knew two of the attackers. She said that as the Muslims were beating her and her husband, they told them, “You (Christians) are growing in number in our area. You are spreading your message (the gospel). We will destroy you.”

China: 10 Church Leaders Jailed after Lausanne Congress

Christian Newswire reports that at least 10 house church pastors who were involved in the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelism have been criminally detained in China. On April 16, ten house church pastors from Hohhot, Inner Mongolia were criminally detained by the Hohhot Public Security Bureau's Domestic Security Department and the Criminal Police Brigade on "suspicion of fraud" for their involvement in the October 2010 Lausanne Congress, according to ChinaAid sources. Criminal detention is the first step of the legal process that leads to a trial, conviction and sentencing to a jail term. House church leaders in another Inner Mongolian city, Ordos, have also been criminally detained in relation to the Lausanne congress. Hohhot police noted a "suspicion of fraud" charge, saying it stemmed from "persons not recognized by the government as clergy engaged in fund-raising activities." In fact, the pastors applied for a travel stipend from Congress organizers and participated in fund-raising efforts for pastors in other countries as well.

Most People Believe in God, International Poll Finds

A new survey shows that 51 percent of people in the world believe in God. Only 18 percent do not, and 17 percent are undecided. Christian Today reports that more than 18,000 people from 23 countries took part in the survey, conducted by Ipsos Social Research Institute. Bobby Duffy, managing director of Ipsos, told Reuters, "It may seem to many that we live in a secular world but this survey shows just how important spiritual life is to so many global citizens with half saying they believe in a spiritual being and the same proportion in an afterlife of some sort or other." He continued, "The other really interesting thing is that such a large proportion of the remaining people are just not sure there is a spiritual explanation either for how they got here or what happens after they die." Fifty-one percent said they believe in an afterlife of some kind.

Vietnamese Bishop Charged with 'Baptizing People'

Asia News reports that a Catholic bishop in Vietnam was detained after Easter mass on charges that he had baptized people. Bishop Michael Hoang Duc Oanh was able to celebrate the Mass in the Montagnard village of Lang Son, where authorities had previously refused permission to celebrate, but he arrived to a hostile crowd. Policemen and Communist League members outnumbered churchgoers and mocked them. Many people, however, lined up for confession and celebrated the sacrament of reconciliation. Afterwards, the bishop and priest were detained and taken to the police station on charges that they had "baptized persons" and "deliberately exceed[ed] what was allowed." The bishop denied the charges, explaining the washing was like washing one's hands before eating. The diocese has grown tremendously in the last two years, drawing the attention of Communist officials.