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Religion Today Summaries - January 27, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - January 27, 2005

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

  • Evangelist and Actor Equips Christians to Share 'What Christ Has Done' 

  • Colombian Prison Releases Evangelical Seminary Student

  • Christian Organization Changes Name to Better Communicate Their Mission

  • Arsonists Attack Christian School in Guwahati, India

Evangelist and Actor Equips Christians to Share 'What Christ Has Done'
Charisma News Service

Evangelist Ray Comfort and actor Kirk Cameron are on a mission to mobilize pew-warming Christians to share their faith. Way of the Master, a ministry Comfort founded two years ago with Cameron, star of the long-running sitcom Growing Pains, produces a TV series and training course. In its second season of production, the show is anything but typical of Christian TV programming. "We want to equip Christians for personal evangelism," Comfort told Ministries Today magazine. The Way of the Master wraps practical teaching on evangelism in a reality-TV format. The two hosts teach on personal evangelism, incorporating Scripture, church-growth statistics and quotes from Charles Spurgeon and Paul Bunyan. Then, the cameras take viewers to the street, where Comfort, Cameron and others engage unbelievers in conversation -- and, ultimately, the message of the Law, grace and forgiveness. The theology behind the program, though, is anything but user friendly. "Christianity has been tailored to suit the tastes of the modern churchgoer: shorter sermons, cooler music, no confrontation," Cameron said. The results are pews filled with people who rarely muster the courage to witness. And when they do, it's often for the wrong reasons, Cameron noted. "Most people think: 'I should share my faith. It's my right. I should be able to say what I want. Stand up for myself,'" Cameron explained. "Really, motivation for evangelism should be the fate of the lost and gratitude for what Christ has done for us." (http://www.charismanow.com)

Colombian Prison Releases Evangelical Seminary Student
Compass Direct

Luis Alberto Vera was released last month from Bellavista National Jail in Medellín, Colombia. However, the evangelical seminary student faces a complex legal tangle to prove he is innocent of the crime for which he was wrongly imprisoned. Arrested on November 26 when a routine police check matched his I.D. number with an arrest warrant, Vera stands accused of mugging a man in Bucaramanga in 2002. Sloppy police work and an overloaded justice system evidently combined to land Vera in prison. Meanwhile, he has accrued legal bills amounting to five million pesos ($2,110). "I'm not sure I will be able to continue my studies," Vera told Compass by phone from Medellín. A member of a Foursquare Gospel church in Bucaramanga, he left his native city last year with his wife and toddler son to attend the Biblical Seminary of Colombia.

Christian Organization Changes Name to Better Communicate Their Mission

The organization formerly known as Christian Camping International/USA (CCI/USA) has now become Christian Camp and Conference Association (CCCA). The name change reflects the organization's desire to communicate more clearly to the public its dual mission: to equip Christian camp and conference leaders by providing training, encouragement, and timely resources; and to proclaim the power of a Christian camp and conference experience, describing and interpreting its benefits. CCCA president John Ashmen believes many people find the original title of the organization somewhat misleading. "The average churchgoer or person on the street would probably guess that Christian Camping International is a moniker for young people who like to have Bible studies while backpacking and tent camping all over the globe," he says. "This shift will help the association better describe and better position itself with churches, other Christian organizations, the public, and potential members." In line with its expanded mission, CCCA will step up its public relations efforts and publish a new publicly available magazine called CampSight, which will join the association's flagship magazine, InSite, this spring. Among the other major changes in CCCA's offerings this year is a revamped website that will offer the public more resources to help them understand, appreciate, and experience Christian camp and conference ministry.

Arsonists Attack Christian School in Guwahati, India
Compass Direct

An irate mob set fire to a newly-opened Catholic school in the northeast state of Assam, India, on January 19, accusing school staff of attempting to convert Hindus. A news report appearing in the Assam Tribune claimed that local villagers opposed the establishment of the school. However, most parents welcomed the school and had even helped with the construction of the building that would have served as a classroom for their children. The building was destroyed by the arsonists. "The newspaper exaggerated the incident by alleging that a mob of about 10,000 people attacked the school, whereas the mob was only 70 people strong," Vinay Masih of the Evangelical Fellowship of India told Compass. The Vicar General, Father Varghese Kizhakevely, told the Assam Tribune that the allegations of conversion were baseless and called for action against the arsonists and others involved in the attack.