Religion Today Summaries, February 6, 2003

Religion Today Summaries, February 6, 2003

Religion Today Summaries: Daily summaries of the top national and international religious news stories impacting Christians

In Today's Edition:

  • Massive Web-Based Prayer Effort Launched
  • Ivory Coast’s Christian South Feels Betrayed by French Peace Plan
  • Pro-Homosexual Proposals in Nashville Withdrawn Due to Pressure from Churches
  • God Enlarges Faith, Ministry in Bulgaria Despite Time of Adversity

Massive Web-Based Prayer Effort Launched
Andy Butcher

(Charisma News) Four years after it was opened to a fanfare, the World Prayer Center in Colorado Springs has launched a low-key initiative intended to fulfill its vision of mobilizing global prayer for world evangelization.  The complex is home to the new World Prayer Team, a round-the-clock Internet-based effort to link millions of intercessors around the globe.  Members of the team, who can sign up for free, receive weekly e-mail prayer alerts, and can join with others in responding to prayer requests -- including major current events and personal concerns -- streamed live at the movement's Web site.  Visitors there are welcomed by an inflation of Jesus' words: "Where two or three million are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them."  "We will never have another shooter catch us off guard again," said center president and New Life senior pastor Ted Haggard by way of illustration, referring to the Washington, D.C.-area sniper killings.  "We will pray him out of the woods before he gets his second shot fired."  Among the early prayer topics posted at the Web site, formally launched in December, were the need for peace in the Ivory Coast, and a united evangelism effort by Boston-area churches.

Ivory Coast’s Christian South Feels Betrayed by French Peace Plan

(Barnabas Fund) Both Christians and Muslims have been killed in riots that broke out following the announcement of a French brokered peace plan designed to end four months of bitter fighting in the Ivory Coast.  The peace accord, signed in France on January 25, is widely seen by Côte d’Ivoire’s southern, Ivorian, majority-Christian population as a capitulation to the demands of the military rebels whose coup began the fighting last September.  Under the terms of the agreement a government of national unity would be established with the rebels given the key interior and defense posts.  Widespread protests have been taking place in Abidjan and other parts of the Ivory Coast almost daily since the agreement was announced.  On January 28, Muslim mobs began to stone Christian protestors in Abidjan and Agboville leading to fighting between the two groups in which 15 people are reported to have been killed, 40 wounded and several churches and mosques razed to the ground.  On February 2, several people were injured and churches attacked when Muslim mobs turned on local Christians in several suburbs of Abidjan following the murder of a famous Muslim actor and member of the mainly Muslim political party the Rally of the Republicans.

Pro-Homosexual Proposals in Nashville Withdrawn Due to Pressure from Churches
Art Toalston

(Baptist Press) Two proposals to add "sexual orientation" to Nashville's employment and housing protections were withdrawn during Metro Council's Feb. 4 meeting.  The issue is far from settled, however.  The lead sponsor of the proposals, at-large councilman Chris Ferrell, said he will introduce a new proposal later in the month addressing concerns in legal opinions from the council's special counsel, Don Jones, and the city's law director, Karl Dean.  Meanwhile, the issue is stirring an increasing number of churches to action.  Several dozen opponents of Ferrell's proposals attended the Feb. 4 session, many of them wearing stickers with the words, "God Knows Best. Vote no."  Denny Patterson, pastor of Nolensville Road Baptist Church, told The Tennessean daily newspaper, "We want to make sure we keep the pressure on, let them know that anytime they bring this up, we'll be down here to oppose it."  Ferrell, in withdrawing his proposals Feb. 4, said he will work with the city attorneys to draft a new amendment to Nashville's anti-discrimination ordinance providing a clear exemption for religious institutions -- missing in the first of Ferrell's proposals -- and address other legal concerns raised by Jones and Dean.

God Enlarges Faith, Ministry in Bulgaria Despite Time of Adversity

(Mission Insider) A missionary in Bulgaria says God is blessing his ministry in meeting the needs of the people and in encouraging them to reach out to the poor, hungry people in their area.  The leader said that he believes the Lord wants to make his church a missions center.  "There are tens of villages that God is speaking a blessing over," the leader continued, "and we are encouraged to go and reach the un-reached."  His wife quit her job to help him full-time in the ministry.  Yet it is a depressed region.  Over 70% of the people live in extreme poverty.  A month ago in one of the neighboring villages where the missionary has a congregation of minorities, two young children starved to death.  "The families had nothing to feed them," the missionary said.  "When I learned about it, I gathered 200 kg. [90 pounds] of staples and foodstuffs to give them, though that would hardly be enough for the hard winter."  Every Sunday his people give toward helping their neighbors.  "We believe that this is only the beginning of something bigger," he said.