Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 4, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 4, 2008

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

  • Catholics List 21 Missionaries Who Died for Faith
  • Mohler to be Nominated for SBC President
  • Pat Robertson Continues Making Annual Predictions
  • Malaysia Tries to Curb Christian Publications Using ‘Allah’

Catholics List 21 Missionaries Who Died for Faith

In a year-end account of missionary deaths, the Fides news service has named 21 Church workers who died for the faith in 2007. As reported by Catholic World News, the Fides report lists Catholic priests and seminarians who were killed during the year. The number is slightly down from the 24 who died in 2006, and the 25 in 2005. Because the circumstances of their deaths were different, and in several cases unclear, Fides does not refer to the 21 people who died as "martyrs," and neither is the report considered exhaustive. But the report notes that each of them "without a doubt made a radical decision: to be witnesses of God's Love often in situations of violence, degradation, material and spiritual poverty, total disrespect for the dignity and rights of the human person."

Mohler to be Nominated for SBC President

Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. provides "the kind of visionary leader Southern Baptists need to communicate a missional conservatism and biblical clarity to the world," stated Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas, Baptist Press reports. Jeffress was announcing his intention to nominate the 47-year-old Mohler for Southern Baptist Convention president in June. SBC President Frank Page, pastor of First Baptist Church in Taylors, S.C., concludes his second term in June and is ineligible for re-election. Jeffress said his decision is the result of prayer and concern for the future of Southern Baptists' global witness. He said he believes Mohler would "motivate Southern Baptists to unite around cooperation for global missions and evangelism." If elected on June 10 when messengers meet in Indianapolis, Mohler would become the seventh seminary president to serve in the top denominational office. "When Southern Seminary seemed to be lost to liberalism and irrelevancy, Dr. Mohler put his life and ministry on the line for the truth of God's word and the urgency of sharing Christ with a lost world," Jeffress said.

Pat Robertson Continues Making Annual Predictions

As reported in the Virginian Pilot, Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson, who has made predicting the future an annual tradition, predicts a recession and a major stock market upheaval are on their way for the U.S. On Wednesday, Robertson suggested that Americans will be paying much more for gas at the pump, specifically forecasting that oil would reach $150 a barrel, with the dollar continuing to lose value. "I also believe the Lord was saying by 2009, maybe 2010, there's going to be a major stock market crash," said Robertson, who also acknowledged that his prophecy of a nuclear terror attack in 2007 failed to unfold. Responding to why the U.S. was spared "possibly millions" of deaths in a serious terrorist attack last year, Robertson said, "All I can think is that somehow the people of God prayed and God in his mercy spared us."

Malaysia Tries to Curb Christian Publications Using ‘Allah’

A Catholic newspaper and an evangelical church have brought lawsuits against the government after authorities ruled against use of the word “Allah” in Christian publications, Compass Direct News reports. The government had threatened the Herald, a 13-year-old Catholic weekly, with closure. Following protests by the Christian community, the Herald’s printing permit was renewed just two days prior to expiration. At the same time, the Evangelical Church of Borneo (Sidang Injil Borneo, or SIB) has challenged a government decision to prohibit importation of Christian educational materials for children containing the word “Allah.” A court hearing on the case scheduled for December 27 was postponed until January 16 pending efforts by outside parties to resolve the matter. In its lawsuit, SIB argues that Christian use of “Allah” predates Islam, as the word is used for God in the old as well as modern Arabic Bibles.