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Religion Today Summaries - February 11, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - February 11, 2005

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

  • G-Men Question Man of God About Sermon on Abortion 

  • California Baptist Evangelism Students Lead 32 People To Christ

  • Texas Minister Takes On Homosexual Hostility, Spiritual Confusion

  • High Court Of Gujarat To Hear Appeal Of Christians Sentenced To Life In Prison

G-Men Question Man of God About Sermon on Abortion
Fred Jackson and Jenni Parker, AgapePress

A pastor of a small southern Illinois church has been subjected to a Federal Bureau of Investigation probe after delivering a pro-life Memorial Day sermon comparing aborted babies to casualties of war. Randy Steele, pastor of Southwest Christian Church in Mount Vernon, Illinois, says he was interviewed by Federal agents after a parishioner accused him of advocating violence during a sermon six months earlier. In the sermon in question, Steel drew a comparison between the number of American soldiers who have died in battle with the number of abortions performed since the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the United States. After comparing the number of people who have died in wars with the vast multitudes that have died through "legal" abortions since 1973, Steele had stated that pro-life America is now engaged in "a different type of war that is being fought under the presupposition of freedom." According to a Baptist Press (BP) report, the Illinois minister believes someone in the church the day of that sermon may have misunderstood his "different type of war" remark, misconstruing it to mean that he was actually calling his congregation to physical war against abortion clinics. However, Steele says when the federal agents looked at his sermon notes, they saw that no threats had been issued.

California Baptist Evangelism Students Lead 32 People To Christ
Baptist Press

Students in an evangelism class at California Baptist University shared the Gospel with 186 people during the final two months of the fall semester, resulting in 32 professions of faith in Christ. As recounted by Chris Morgan, associate dean of CBU's school of Christian ministries, the 18 students in his class "learned a variety of ways to share how all people need forgiveness from God because of our sin, how Christ has provided forgiveness for our sin by His substitutionary death and resurrection and how we all must receive God's gift of forgiveness by turning from our sins and trusting in Christ." "Every student formulated his or her own personal approach and even equipped two other Christians from outside the class to share the Gospel," Morgan said. Students kept journals of their witnessing experiences and began conversations with friends, parents, grandparents and even strangers about the possibilities for salvation and a personal relationship with God. "I used to think that there was no greater privilege than to watch God use you to draw people to Himself," Morgan said. "Now I believe that there is no greater thrill than to see God use those that you've equipped to draw people to Himself. What a joy it is to see students burdened for and actively sharing the Gospel with their friends, family and co-workers who do not know Christ."

Texas Minister Takes On Homosexual Hostility, Spiritual Confusion
Allie Martin, AgapePress

A Dallas-area church called New Wine Fellowship focuses much of its outreach effort on a predominantly homosexual area of town. Every weekend, members of the congregation hit the streets in a ministry known as "Soul Patrol." These proactive urban missionaries visit different areas of the city, taking part in street witnessing. Often, they end up concentrating their efforts in areas with large homosexual populations where, according to New Wine associate pastor Jacob Watson notes, they sometimes receive a less-than-warm welcome from the residents. New Wine's associate pastor says Christians should hate sin and the lies it causes, but should never hate sinners. But he feels many people, both in the Church and without, are confused because they harbor misconceptions about what it means to have a true relationship with Christ. "You can't really tell if a person's born again, except if you look at the effects that the wind of God's Spirit has produced in their lives through changing them," Watson says. New Wine Fellowship opened three years ago, after being planted in the Dallas suburb of Richardson, Texas. Its founders' vision was for a missions-oriented church that would be multi-cultural, multi-denominational, and multi-generational and would establish spiritually mature individuals and families.

High Court Of Gujarat To Hear Appeal Of Christians Sentenced To Life In Prison
Charisma News Service

The High Court of Gujarat will hear the appeal of five tribal Christians who were sentenced to life imprisonment last year for killing a Hindu fundamentalist, Compass Direct reported. The case stems from a 2001 clash between Hindu and Christian villagers in the Valsad district. During the melee, a Bajrang Dal activist was struck on the head and died of his injuries three days later. Local Christians claim that repeated attacks by Hindu fundamentalists against tribal believers triggered the clash. The Rev. Johnson Barnabas of the Friends Missionary Prayer Band told Compass that the five Christians are facing an uphill battle to prove their innocence. "The family members are still living in a fear of further persecution, as tension can erupt again if the Hindu villagers come to know that Christians have appealed the conviction," he said.(www.charismanow.com)