Religion Today Summaries - December 26, 2011

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - December 26, 2011

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

In today's edition:

  • Newspaper Evangelism Makes Inroads for Hope in Nepal
  • Britain is a Christian Country, Prime Minister Says
  • Pro-Life Pastor Wins Fight Against Oakland for Free Speech
  • Indonesian Mayor Refuses to Reinstate Church License


Newspaper Evangelism Makes Inroads for Hope in Nepal

In Nepal, Christians are only 4 percent of the population, and recent unrest in the country has been disruptive for ministires, but one organization has found one way to spread the gospel: Newspaper evangelism. Mission Network News reports that AMG International is placing gospel messages as paid advertisements in local newspapers around the world -- a method that is especially effective in Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist countries since newspapers enter many homes where Christians might never be allowed. To those who respond to the ads, AMG sends a Bible and Bible correspondence courses and encourages respondents to begin attending church and studying the Bible. In Nepal, AMG's ad appeared in a magazine with a circulation of 45,000. There were 775 responses over the next seven months, and through the follow-up, 233 people accepted Jesus Christ. More than half are now in further Bible study.

Britain is a Christian Country, Prime Minister Says

British Prime Minister David Cameron marked the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible with a speech in which he said Britain was a Christian country and "we should not be afraid to say so," Christian Today reports. Cameron said Christianity had made Britain a more tolerant country and provided a moral framework, and praised the King James Bible as one of Britain's greatest achievements. Cameron described himself as a committed but "vaguely practicing" Christian who had doubts, but said he would stand up for the Christian faith. "Let me me clear: I am not in any way saying that to have another faith -- or no faith -- is somehow wrong," he said. "But what I am saying is that the Bible has helped to give Britain a set of values and morals which make Britain what it is today, values and morals we should actively stand up and defend."

Pro-Life Pastor Wins Fight Against Oakland for Free Speech

A pro-life Oakland, Calif., pastor won a case in which he sought an injunction against the city for inconsistently enforcing the "bubble zone" outside abortion clinics, TC Public Relations reports. The city had been allowing pro-abortion "escorts" to enter the zone, but had been prosecuting pro-life advocates who approached women seeking abortions. Pastor Walter Hoye was arrested and imprisoned but vindicated when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in July that the city was infringing on his free speech; the city of Oakland, however, did not comply with the court's decision. The Life Legal Defense Fund argued that the city was violating the free speech of Hoye and others by not making the ordinance impartial. "The city's ... attempt to give favored status to pro-abortion speakers failed," said Dana Cody of LLDF. "LLDF will continue to ... do everything in its power to see that pro-life speakers are not shut out of Oakland's public forums."

Indonesian Mayor Refuses to Reinstate Church License

The refusal of the mayor of Bogor, Indonesia, to obey a Supreme Court order to restore a church's permit casts doubt on the ability of the Indonesian government to enforce the rule of law, according to Compass Direct News. Muslim demonstrators and area police have continually obstructed the services of the Indonesian Christian Church congregation in Bogor, which has been holding services on roadsides or in members' homes since the local government sealed its building last year. Despite a Dec. 2010 Supreme Court ruling in favor of the congregation and a July 2011 recommendation by the National Ombudsman Institute to reinstate the church's license, Bogor mayor Diani Budiarto still refuses, and local police are even reporting that the church building is going to be torn down. Civil rights groups say Budiarto's approach sets a precedent that court decisions can be ignored, and plan to file suit against Bogor over his defiance.

Publication date: December 26, 2011