Religion Today Summaries - July 19, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - July 19, 2006

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

  • Ted Stone, 72, Dies in Midst of 4th ‘Walk across America’
  • Evangelical Leader Ted Engstrom Dies at 90
  • Warren Challenges South Korean Churches for a Third Wave of Revival
  • Death Toll from Indonesia Tsunami Surpasses 300

Ted Stone, 72, Dies in Midst of 4th ‘Walk across America’

Evangelist Ted Stone died of undetermined causes July 16 at the end of the fourth week of his fourth “Walk across America” to spread awareness of the hope that substance abusers can find in Christ. He was 72. Baptist Press reports that Stone, from Durham, N.C., spent 29 years proclaiming freedom in Christ through the grace of God after serving four years in prison in the 1970s as the result of drug addictions. The founder of Ted Stone Ministries, he often repeated the mantra, “I used to be a drug addict, but I am no longer a drug addict. I am recovered forever by the grace of God, and that same hope can belong to you or anyone you love.” Though a battle with colon cancer in 2002 took a toll on his body, Stone so fervently believed in the cause of ministering to substance abusers that he pressed on to start a fourth walk across the nation, starting in Chicago June 19 with an expected end in Pensacola, Fla. “Most programs use something to substitute for the abuser’s addiction,” Stone said before the trip. “Some even refer to a higher power. But my message is that by putting your dependence on the Lord Jesus Christ, you can break your dependence on chemical substances.” Stone and his ministry partner, collegian Sean Reece, were driving to speak at the evening service at College Heights Baptist Church in Gallatin, Tenn., just north of Nashville, July 16 when Stone became unconscious and later was pronounced dead.

Evangelical Leader Ted Engstrom Dies at 90

World Vision International reports that its former president, Ted Engstrom, died July 14 at his home in southern California at the age of 90. According to AgapePress, World Vision U.S. president Richard Stearns says, "The evangelical community has lost one of its most influential leaders of the past 50 years." Engstrom also was a past president of Youth for Christ and authored more than 50 books. He was a close friend of Billy Graham and James Dobson and served on the boards of Focus on the Family, the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, and his alma mater, Taylor University. Stearns says Engstrom's "tireless walk" among the world's poorest children during more than 20 years with World Vision will now be an eternal and "effortless stroll alongside his Savior." In eulogizing Engstrom, Dobson refers to the former Focus board member as a friend, mentor, and brother. "This is an enormous loss for the cause of evangelical Christianity and for the thousands of men and women whose lives were made better by Ted's love, compassion, and faith," says Dobson. And in serving the pro-family ministry, Dobson recalls that Engstrom "could always be counted on to offer insight, inspiration, humor, and an understanding of the heart of God whenever we most needed it."

Warren Challenges South Korean Churches for a Third Wave of Revival

Dr. Rick Warren visited South Korea this week and challenged churches of all denominations to work and pray for a third wave of revival across the Korean peninsula. "I love the people of Korea," Dr. Warren said at a packed press conference upon arrival in Seoul, approximately one-third of the way through a 35-day tour of 13 countries in Asia and Africa. "It is my prayer that the events of the next few days will bring revival to this great country." Beyond revival, Dr. Warren emphasized there were four additional reasons for his visit: First, he said he wanted to learn from Korean churches; second, he wanted to encourage Korean churches of all denominations to work together; third, he wanted to encourage business and government leaders to value and cooperate with the church in solving humanitarian issues; finally, he stressed he came to bring the Good News of the Gospel that can bring new life for people of all religions.

Death Toll from Indonesia Tsunami Surpasses 300

In the wake of the second tsunami to hit Indonesia in as many years, well over 300 people were killed and more than 160 others have been declared missing, The Christian Post reports. "I don't mind losing any of my property, but please God return my son," said Basril, a local villager on Java island's southern coast, where the water reached 300 yards inland. The death toll rose to at least 327, and it was expected to go higher. "We are still finding many bodies. Many are stuck in the ruins of the houses," said local police chief Syamsuddin Janieb. At least 23,000 people fled their homes, either because they were destroyed or in fear of another tsunami.