Religion Today Summaries - Feb. 10, 2011

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Feb. 10, 2011

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

In today's edition:

  • Chinese New Year Offers New Way to Get Bibles into China
  • Catholic Church Sanctions New iPhone App
  • Bankrupt Crystal Cathedral's CFO Retires
  • Study: 61 Percent of Teens Want to be Virgins until Marriage

Chinese New Year Offers New Way to Get Bibles into China

Baptist Press that more than 13,500 Bibles were distributed in seven days as part of Chinese New Year celebrations throughout Asia. "I don't know how to explain it except that God seems to be everywhere," said Sibil Tharp, member of First Baptist Church in Las Cruces, N.M. She noted that three Chinese made decisions to follow Jesus this week. "The Chinese are looking us in the faces, making eye contact and smiling." Volunteers from six different states and two countries partnered in the Southern Cross project, a Chinese Bible distribution ministry based in three countries in Asia that seeks to get as many Bibles as possible into the hands of Chinese tourists. Due to Chinese government regulations, Bibles are difficult to obtain in China. However, the Chinese are allowed to bring a Chinese Bible home with them from a trip abroad.

Catholic Church Sanctions New iPhone App

For Catholics who need a little encouragement and help with confession - there's an app for that. ABC News reports that the Catholic Church has sanctioned a new iPhone app designed assist those who regularly confess as well as those who have fallen out of the habit. A spokesman from the company that designed it said, "Our desire is to invite Catholics to engage in their faith through digital technology." The app leads users through an "Examination of Conscience that even takes age and marital status into account. Father Edward L. Beck, host of The Sunday Mass on the ABC Family Channel, said he hopes the digital assistance encourages people to return. "Some of my most poignant and transformative moments as a priest have occurred in a confessional, on both sides of the screen," he said. "I'm all for whatever makes it easier for others to take that cleansing plunge."

Bankrupt Crystal Cathedral's CFO Retires

The Los Angeles Times reports that the chief financial officer of Crystal Cathedral ministries has retired after 33 years. Seventy-five-year-old Fred Southard's role in the church came under scrutiny after the megachurch filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October. The megachurch provided him with a $132,019 yearly housing allowance for his role, despite also employing a full-time accountant. The U.S. trustee overseeing the bankruptcy case said there was "no justification whatsoever" for the huge allowance. Southard, however, simply said he believed it was time to let someone else have the opportunity to fill his position, although he said the ministry's financial state was a "factor" in his retirement. His total compensation, including the allowance, totaled $144,261. Property records show he owns a home in Newport Beach, Calif., assessed at $2.3 million.

Study: 61 Percent of Teens Want to be Virgins until Marriage

A new study shows that, despite portrayals in pop culture, more than half of U.S. teens say they want to be virgins when they get married. Six in 10 said they want their spouse to be their first sexual partner. Sixty-three percent of respondents said they wish they could regain their virginity if possible. The Christian Post reports that the 91-page study, titled "Spiritual State of Children," from OneHope also touches teens' belief, values and spirituality. The sample size was 5,108 teens between the ages of 13 and 18 in the United States. The students were recruited to take the online survey through a panelist company and through social networking websites, with the actual survey being conducted in late 2010.