Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 16, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 16, 2007

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

  • Germans Lackadaisical About Church; No Wonder, Says Lutheran Pastor
  • Nigerian State’s Policies Said to Strangle Christianity
  • Preacher to Hang for 'Sin Burnings'
  • Some Evangelical Leaders Join Scientists to Fight Global Warming

Germans Lackadaisical About Church; No Wonder, Says Lutheran Pastor

A German-born evangelical pastor says whenever he returns to his native country, he is frustrated by the hostility he often encounters while trying to share the gospel. Harry Fritz of Raleigh's Free Christian Congregation says a survey of Lutheran pastors in his native country gave him a clue as to why Christianity is not thriving in Europe, AgapePress reports. "Fifty-two percent of the Lutheran ministers [surveyed] believe that humanity needs salvation from sin. That's pretty nice," he observes; "but when you look and see that [only] 17 percent of Lutheran ministers believe that after death there's a heaven, you start having to be concerned." The pastor was also shocked that "Twenty-one percent of Lutheran ministers [surveyed] see Jesus Christ as an important role model for their life." Fritz says it is no wonder fewer and fewer Germans bother to attend church anymore.

Nigerian State’s Policies Said to Strangle Christianity

Compass Direct News reports that as soon as Christians in the capital city of Nasarawa state tried to rebuild a Reformed Church building that Muslims burned down two years ago, more than 200 Islamists attacked the workers. The rebuilding came to a halt, and the Nasarawa state government banned reconstruction of the facility. “I personally witnessed the attack on the workers at the reconstruction site of the church,” said the Rev. Jerry Modibo, chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Nasarawa state chapter. “The Muslims were chanting, ‘Death to Christians, death to infidels. This town is for Muslims, we don’t want Christians here.’” Banning church-building, he said, is just one way Nasarawa is stifling Christianity in the central Nigerian state.

Preacher to Hang for 'Sin Burnings'

A Nigerian high court has sentenced a Lagos preacher to death by hanging for setting fire to members of his congregation, killing one woman, ASSIST News Service reports. Emeka Ezeuko, better known as Reverend King, was found guilty on one count of murder and five of attempted murder. “In July last year, he accused six members of his Christian Praying Assembly church of sinning by having extra-marital sex,” said a BBC story. “He poured [gasoline] over them before setting them alight. “Ann Uzor died in hospital from her burns. Rev. King allegedly told members of his congregation that he was Jesus Christ, a claim that gave him the powers to punish sin.” Rev. King reportedly began to shiver when the sentence was passed and then started to shout angry protestations.

Some Evangelical Leaders Join Scientists to Fight Global Warming

The Boston Globe reports that leading scientists and evangelical Christians have put aside differences over the origin of life to work together on curbing global warming. Details of a recent meeting between the groups in Georgia will be unveiled in Washington on Wednesday. In February 2006, 86 evangelical leaders signed a statement to fight global warming, saying human-induced climate change is real and Christian moral convictions demand an urgent response. The National Association of Evangelicals did not sign that statement. Now, however, Rich Cizik, VP of government relations for the NAE says, "Whether God created the Earth in a millisecond or whether it evolved over billions of years, the issue we agree on is that it needs to be cared for today." Eric Chivian, director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School, agreed: "scientists and evangelicals have discovered that we share a deeply felt common concern and sense of urgency about threats to life on Earth, and that we must speak with one voice to protect it."