12 Days of Giveaways - Spin & Win! Sign up before Dec. 25th to win daily prizes and a $250 Amazon.com Gift Card. Find out details.

Religion Today Summaries - Mar. 4, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Mar. 4, 2008

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

  • New Stats on Unorthodox Churchgoers in America
  • Hindu Extremists Assault New Christian Leader in India
  • Dozens of Believers Kidnapped in India
  • Kidnappers Demand Huge Ransom for Iraqi Bishop

New Stats on Unorthodox Churchgoers in America

The Christian Post reports that a new survey has broken down America’s church attendance to reflect the growing number of “church” options that have redefined how Christians worship on Sunday. American Christians are increasingly adopting house churches, marketplace ministries and cyberchurches as places of worship and ministry. The new Barna survey, released Monday, contends that popular measures about who is “unchurched” are out of date. “The fact that millions of people are now involved in multiple faith communities – for instance, attending a conventional church one week, a house church the next, and interacting with an online faith community in-between – has rendered the standard measures of “churched” and “unchurched” much less precise,” The Barna Group noted.

Hindu Extremists Assault New Christian Leader in India

Following a Hindu extremist attack on five Christians meeting in a home on February 22, the Madhya Pradesh town of Balaghat witnessed another assault last Wednesday February 27 when the newly elected president of the Balaghat Christian Association was beaten for providing legal help to the previous victims. Members of the Hindu extremist Bajrang Dal allegedly targeted Dr. Robin Singh, a medical doctor and Christian leader, because he had provided legal and administrative help to Tom George, Sunil Lal and others who had been dragged from a Lent meeting and beaten. The attack on Dr. Singh appeared to be calculated to give him nonvisible internal injuries so that a stronger police case may not be formed against them. “They did not use any weapons this time for if injuries were visible, an attempt to murder case could have been registered against them,” Dr. Singh told Compass Direct News.

Dozens of Believers Kidnapped in India

According to Mission Network News, the amount of persecution against Christians in India continues to increase, and there's no sign of things improving. A Gospel for Asia story states that nearly 40 Christians were kidnapped February 27 by anti-Christian radicals in Himachal Pradesh. The extremists reportedly took the Christians to a religious temple and are trying to force them to renounce Christ and return to the country's dominant faith. Gospel for Asia's Daniel Yohannan says, "They do this to try to scare people from following Christ. It's kind of like, 'If you follow Christ, this is what's going to happen to you.' But it always seems to backfire because more people get saved after the persecution."

Kidnappers Demand Huge Ransom for Iraqi Bishop

Kidnappers are demanding a huge ransom for a Chaldean Archbishop abducted last week in northern Iraq, sending fear through the country’s Christian community, a local priest said. Since the February 29 kidnapping in Mosul, Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho’s captors have refused to decrease the amount of money they are demanding for his release, according to Father Najeeb Mikhail. “They want money, but in addition they want to break all the Christians in Mosul,” the priest said in a telephone conversation from Erbil. Unknown armed men stopped Rahho, 65, at about 5:30 p.m. as he was leaving his parish in Mosul. Christians in Iraq told Compass Direct News that the entire Christian community felt targeted by the kidnapping.