Religion Today Summaries - Feb. 28, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Feb. 28, 2007

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

  • Muslims Enthusiastic, Christians Apathetic about End Times
  • 'Lost Tomb of Jesus' Tries to Turn 'Fiction into Believability,' Minister Warns
  • One in Two EU Citizens Find Religion Important
  • Young Pastor Found Dead in India

Muslims Enthusiastic, Christians Apathetic about End Times

Pro-Israel ministry leader Jan Markell says she is frustrated that many Christians are apathetic about the idea of the glorious return of Jesus Christ while Muslims, for the most part, demonstrate intense passion and fervor about their belief in the imminent return of their Islamic "messiah." She believes "seeker-sensitive" churches are partly to blame, AgapePress reports. Markell, founder and director of Olive Tree Ministries, says Muslims around the world, particularly in Iran and Iraq, are causing death, violence, and destruction in attempts to hasten the return of the one they regard as the ultimate savior of mankind, their so-called twelfth Imam or Mahdi. "When I look at the enthusiasm and, if I can use the word, barbarism that some of the Islamic people are perpetrating for this Islamic Mahdi to return, they are absolutely adamant that there's a great day coming," the ministry spokeswoman says, "and that the Islamic messiah ... is going to transform the Earth." Unfortunately, she notes, she does not see the same kind of enthusiasm among Christians for the prophesied return of the biblical Messiah.

'Lost Tomb of Jesus' Tries to Turn 'Fiction into Believability,' Minister Warns

A Christian clergy leader and activist is blasting an upcoming television special that claims archaeologists have uncovered a coffin that once contained the remains of Jesus Christ, AgapePress reports. According to National Clergy Council president Rob Schenck, a Hollywood director is among the people least qualified to render any determination of Biblical truth. [James] Cameron is a man "whose job is to turn fiction into believability," Schenck points out. Meanwhile, he notes, "The man [the well-known moviemaker] has partnered with -- Simcha Jacobovici -- has been completely discredited by the scholarly community as nothing more than a modern-day, self-proclaimed Indiana Jones." Furthermore, The Lost Tomb of Jesus is full of inaccuracies, Schenk asserts. The documentary claims to present scientific analysis of limestone ossuaries and physical evidence found in a 2,000-year-old tomb in Talpiot, Jerusalem, that some "experts" claim may have once held the remains of Jesus of Nazareth and his family; but Schenck insists there is "nothing here of any substance." Nor is there anything remarkable about finding bone boxes inscribed with the names of Yeshua, Miriam or Mary, the Christian clergy leader asserts.

One in Two EU Citizens Find Religion Important

According to ASSIST News Service, religion is important to more than one in two EU citizens. In a recent survey conducted by the statistical agency of the European Union, Eurostat (Luxembourg), 53 percent regarded religion as a significant element of their lives. Approximately 46 percent of the 27,000 interviewees in the 27 EU member countries attach no importance to religion. But as about three quarters of the 453.6 million EU citizens claim affiliation with a religious community this means that at least one in four are only nominal members. About 49.5 percent of all EU citizens are Catholics, 12.7 percent Protestants, 8.6 percent Orthodox, 15.7 percent Muslims, 0.4 percent Jews and 25.4 percent non-religious.

Young Pastor Found Dead in India

The body of a 29-year-old pastor was found with stab wounds on February 20 in a canal in Krishna district of the southern state of Andhra Pradesh. Pastor Goda Israel was found dead last Tuesday in a canal near his house in Pedapallparru village in the Gudivada area of the district. The slain pastor, who is survived by his wife and small children, was overseeing 15 churches that he established in the region. “Pastor Israel had earlier been threatened by Hindu extremists due to his involvement in the preaching of the gospel in the area, and he had no enmity with anyone,” a leader with Emmanuel Mission International who requested anonymity told Compass Direct News.