Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 10, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 10, 2006

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

  • Africans Look to Revive Christianity in the West

  • Iran ‘Officially’ Charges Ex-Muslim with Drug Trafficking

  • Conflict Displaces Christians in Middle East

  • French Pastors See Hope for Reaching Arab-speaking People

Africans Look to Revive Christianity in the West

While Christianity blossomed in Africa in the 1800s through Western missionaries, Africans are now bringing a revival of mission back after being powerfully transformed, The Christian Post reports. According to African missionaries, Western churches are too timid when it comes to religion. "The church in the UK has become shy about faith," said Kenyan minister Patrick Mukholi of the Anglican Church Mission Society. "Maybe as African missionaries we can encourage them to be more exuberant about knowing God." African churchmen first started moving to Europe and the United States in the 1970s to minister to immigrants mostly from their own countries. But in the 1980s, African evangelicals – including some Anglicans, Baptists, Lutherans and Methodists – decided to take a more systematic approach toward reaching what they saw as an increasingly Godless West. One of Europe's biggest Evangelical churches, in eastern France, was started by Africans and draws thousands every week.

Iran ‘Officially’ Charges Ex-Muslim with Drug Trafficking

Seven years after Issa Motamedi Mojdehi converted from Islam to Christianity, Iranian secret police have jailed him for abandoning Islam but officially charged him with illegal drug trafficking. Compass Direct News reports that authorities formally charged the 31-year-old Christian with drug trafficking when he was arrested two weeks ago. But secret police officials have told Motamedi Mojdehi that his real offense, said to be recorded in his confidential legal file, is abandoning Islam. Unless he renounces his Christian faith and returns to Islam, officials told him, he will remain in jail and possibly face execution. An officer identified only as Mr. Baghani warned the arrested Christian that it might take “several executions” before Iranians understand the consequences of apostasy under Islamic law.

Conflict Displaces Christians in Middle East

The current conflict in Lebanon has caused almost a quarter of the Lebanese population to relocate, some within their own country, others to Syria and Jordan, ASSIST News Service reports. The Lebanese refugees are in addition to hundreds of thousands of other displaced people who have already fled other war torn areas in the Middle East. According to a news release from the Barnabas Fund, Christians displaced in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and the West Bank are estimated to number between 550,000 and 750,000. Many of the refugees are in need of shelter, food and clothing, the Barnabas Fund stated. Some also have specific medical needs. Some also need trauma counseling, especially children who have seen the bombing in Lebanon and are now unable to sleep. Other needs of the refugees vary from one location to another, and are becoming more acute as time passes, the Barnabas Fund stated. Most of the Lebanese Christians displaced within Lebanon are currently staying with other Christian families in their homes, but this situation will not be viable if the war continues on for a long time.

French Pastors See Hope for Reaching Arab-speaking People

For two pastors from France, the recent California Southern Baptist Convention/Middle-Eastern Baptist Conference was an inspiration and a revelation about the possibilities of what could happen among Arab-speaking Christians in their own country, Baptist Press reports. Ali Arhab and Mekki Drihem, ministers with a Baptist congregation in Mons en Baroeul, France, and both of Algerian descent, said they weren't sure what to expect from such a conference. But they attended "with an open mind and asking the Lord to make us available to do whatever He asked," said Arhab, who added that this type of conference "has the potential to stir up a movement to reach Arab-speaking people from all over the world. We truly believe that there is the possibility of a revival in northern Africa and the Middle East and that it would spill over to Europe and spark a revival in Western Europe." Drihem said the conference was enriching for him because he had "the opportunity to meet with other pastors with Arab backgrounds" and network with them. He was surprised by the "huge number of Christians from Arab countries" who gathered in one place for discipleship and to worship the Lord.