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Religion Today Summaries - June 9, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - June 9, 2008

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

  • Gospel for Asia Touches Burma
  • Turkey: Alleged Murders Implicated
  • Flooding in Sri Lanka Changes Attitudes
  • SBC Examines Church Membership Issues

Gospel for Asia Touches Burma

Even as U.S. Navy ships were forced to leave without delivering tons of aid, Gospel for Asia is succeeding in bringing relief - and hope - to cyclone survivors in Myanmar, according to the Christian Post. Up to 2.4 million people are still struggling to rebuild their lives without homes or an adequate supply of basics, including food, water and medicine. GFA said that aid workers in its Compassion Services have found "incredible openness" to the Gospel in the largely Buddhist country. One aid worker quoted a survivor as saying, "Buddha might be sleeping, for he is doing nothing for us, but Christians are everywhere, sharing from whatever they have.” The worker continued, “Our providing food and supplying drinking water to different affected areas was a tremendous testimony among both Christians and unbelievers."

Turkey: Alleged Murders Implicated

Compass Direct News reports that testimony taken by Malatya prosecutors last week corroborates a letter e-mailed to Turkish Protestant church leaders a year ago naming alleged perpetrators behind the savage murder of three Christians in April 2007. University researcher Ruhi Abat confirmed to prosecutors that he was in direct contact with three military officers named in the informant’s June 2007 e-mail and that gendarme officials were tracking Christian missionary activities in Malatya. Turkish Christians Necati Aydin and Ugur Yuksel and German Christian Tilmann Geske were tied up, beaten, tortured with knives and left with their throats slashed by five young men on April 18, 2007. “Abat’s statement raised questions about what kind of investigations the security and gendarme were carrying on regarding missionary activities, which are not a crime,” a Milliyet article observed.

Flooding in Sri Lanka Changes Attitudes

The Mission News Network reports that monsoon rains have driven thousands from their homes in Sri Lanka. Founder and President of Gospel for Asia KP Yohannan says, "The number of people [who] have died officially is about 20 people, but our people are saying the numbers are way more than that. Our people began helping [with] food and clothes. Some 83,000 families in seven districts were displaced." The severe flooding adds to the current crisis of long-term civil war, but persecution of Christians seems to be declining. "In the midst of suffering and huge problems, people seem to listen," Yohannan said. "And they ask us to pray for them and tell them about Jesus and hope. Obviously that's happening. They're humbled and seek help."

SBC Examines Church Membership Issues

According to Baptist Press, three resolutions have been proposed for the upcoming Southern Baptist Convention that call for churches to address the sometimes-great disparity between the number of members they claim and how many members are actually born-again disciples of Jesus Christ. The debate sometimes focuses on a "total membership" number that has a legitimate statistical value, while the real issue has more to do with who should be accepted into church membership, what expectations should be held up for members and what to do about members who aren't engaged in Jesus' mission in the world, said David Dockery, president of Union University. "If a person does not attend a church over a certain period of time, then the church has the responsibility to find ways to make contact with that person to ascertain the reasons for the prolonged absence," Dockery said.