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Religion Today Summaries - July 24, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - July 24, 2006

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

  • GFA: Urgent Prayer Requested for the People of Mumbai
  • Missionary to China Suggests Different Approach with Chinese Govt.
  • What about the Christians in Lebanon?
  • Church Heads Rally for Middle East Peace, Urge Bush to Intervene

GFA: Urgent Prayer Requested for the People of Mumbai

K.P. Yohannan, the founder of Gospel for Asia, has called for urgent prayer for the people of Mumbai and also his homeland of India, after aseries of bomb blasts on seven trains killed nearly 180 people on Tuesday, July 11. According to ASSIST News Service, in a phone interview Yohannan also called for prayer for the terrorists who carried out this vicious attack on innocent people in India’s largest city. “After hearing about this terrible event, my prayer and hope is that we will no longer be listeners and just people who watch these things unfold before our eyes,” he said, “but rather our hearts will be burdened in the light of the fact that God is terribly concerned about this." K.P. added that GFA missionaries are now visiting the victims and their families in the hospitals of Mumbai, sharing God’s love and hope with them on a daily basis.

Missionary to China Suggests Different Approach with Chinese Govt.

An evangelical missionary who spent more than ten years in China says while he can't tell the communist government there everything he is doing, he hasn't had to be completely secretive either, reports AgapePress. Rick Bell and his family are back in the United States on furlough but intend to return to the Hunan province of China in February. Bell says some missionaries get into trouble with the authorities because they are too secretive. "You can't say, 'Hey, I'm a missionary.' You have to be there doing something legitimate in their eyes," he explains. "However, you don't have to be secretive all the time. There are some missionaries who go there, and they won't tell anything to anybody about why they're there, which we believe is not the proper approach." Bell, who is with Global Outreach International, explains the approach he uses. "In our case, we develop relationships with the officials, and through the proper channels, in legitimate ways, we're free to share with them relationally about why we're there," the missionary says. "We're there because we love the Lord, and we want to share God's love with the Chinese -- and they accept that." Bell and his family have served in China since 1995.

What about the Christians in Lebanon?

“Christian” is not just a political party in Lebanon. Many true evangelical believers live in that war-torn nation, and they are not all in “safe” areas. According to ASSIST News Service, many Christians are among the hundreds of thousands of Lebanese already displaced by the escalating conflict. They have taken refuge in open parks and playgrounds. Others have fled into Syria and Jordan. For more than three decades, Jordan-based Manara Ministries has demonstrated the love of Christ to the needy throughout the Middle East through relief aid, Bible and literature distribution and youth camps. Now, Manara is launching relief efforts in the latest war zone. The main target for this project will be to aid ‘those of the household of faith.’” However, the conflict in Lebanon erupted suddenly, and Manara does not have enough resources to meet the rapidly-growing needs.

Church Heads Rally for Middle East Peace, Urge Bush to Intervene

The Christian Post reports top church leaders from some of the largest Christian denominations in the world are pleading for an end to the violence in the Middle East, pressing President Bush to lead the involved parties to peaceful reconciliation. 19 high-level Christian leaders signed a letter to the president calling for a diplomatic solution to the conflicts in Gaza and between Hezbollah and Israel. The letter states: “Mr. President,... we write with growing concern for the situation in Gaza and appeal to you to do everything possible to calm the crisis and restore hope for a diplomatic solution to the conflict... It is urgent that you call on all the parties to restrain from using force and, rather, to trust a diplomatic process.” The letter further called for the “sustained intervention” of the United States. Among those signing the letter: the Rev. Dr. Clifton Kirkpatrick, stated clerk of the General Assembly Presbyterian Church (USA); the Rev. Mark S. Hanson, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; Bishop Janice Riggle Huie, president of United Methodist Council of Bishops; and the Most Rev. Frank T. Griswold, presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in America.