Religion Today Summaries - March 8, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - March 8, 2007

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

  • 'Jesus Tomb' Panelists Point to Holes in Director's 'Archaeoporn'
  • Church in Benin Destroyed by Muslim Extremists
  • Muslim Students in Nigerian School Set Fire to Chapel
  • National Geographic TV Explores the Dead Sea Scrolls and Cain & Abel

'Jesus Tomb' Panelists Point to Holes in Director's 'Archaeoporn'

The Christian Post reports that a panel discussion moderated by Ted Koppel was held late Sunday night to discuss the implications of the controversial documentary, "The Lost Tomb of Jesus." The debate, which aired directly after the documentary, addressed implications on Christianity and explored weak points in the film's argument. The follow-up dealt first with possible errors in the film, then with the theological ramifications that could come about. Two Christian panelists expressed beliefs that the research was poor, putting archaeology in a bad light. “It’s like a romantic game and treasure hunt,” noted Jonathan Reed, professor of religion at the University of La Verne, who added the conclusions of the film were seemingly drawn in the beginning. “I call it ‘archaeoporn,’” stated archaeologist William Dever. “It’s exciting, but in the end, it’s wrong. It isn’t a long lasting relationship.”

Church in Benin Destroyed by Muslim Extremists

In January 2007, Islamic extremists destroyed a church established by Christ’s Power Ministries, an indigenous ministry in Benin, just three days after it was built. According to Christian Aid, the church was established among the Ayizo tribe by a native missionary working with CPM. Four months earlier, Muslims destroyed CPM’s center of discipleship, which was started in 2000 and trained more than 1,500 disciples and 650 children’s ministry workers. Muslims, who have subjugated North African countries under Islamic law, are rapidly moving southward in their quest to convert the entire African continent. Ministry leader Claude Sossa has experienced the devastating effect of the Islamic infiltration of his country, but he continues his outreach to the very people who intend to harm his ministry.

Muslim Students in Nigerian School Set Fire to Chapel

Muslim students twice have set fire to a high school chapel here since it was rebuilt last August, after Islamists burned it down three years ago. In January, Islamic students at Government Science Secondary School in Kufena, in the Wusasa area of Zaria in the northern state of Kaduna, set fire to the Chapel of Adonai, which was rebuilt last year with services restored in September. The most recent arson attempt, as well as one in December 2006, failed when Christian staff members and students at the high school put out the fires. Pastor Samuel Nuhu, a teacher at the school, told Compass Direct News that in 2004 Muslim students burned down the chapel and attacked Christian students, many of whom had to be hospitalized. Previous to the most recent arson attempt, two letters were dropped into the chapel warning Christian students and staff members of an impending attack unless they left the school. The letter included derogatory comments about Jesus.

National Geographic TV Explores the Dead Sea Scrolls and Cain & Abel

The Dead Sea Scrolls are one of the most important archaeological finds of modern times, the story of Cain and Able, to the major religions of the world, is the story of the first murder and, thus, the first death. On Sunday, March 11, 2007, the National Geographic Channel will premiere back-to-back one-hour specials that delve into these biblical mysteries that resonate today, according to a Religion News Service release. Scientists and theologians close to the projects continue to discuss their meaning in today’s world. “The Dead Sea Scrolls are part of the greatest treasures, not only of the Jewish nation, but actually of mankind.” said Adolpho Roitman, Curator. Comprised of more than 900 manuscripts and tens of thousands of brittle fragments, the Dead Sea Scrolls are the oldest known collection of biblical texts, which contain not only representations of the Jewish and Christian Bibles, but also unknown psalms, random apocalyptic musings and even a treasure map. Meanwhile, the Cain and Abel “story is highly relevant today. It lays down the principles of war and peace, of really two different ways of approaching the world,” said Akbar Ahmed, renowned Islamic scholar. Told in just 16 lines, the brothers' story is an enigmatic tale that has inspired philosophies of peace and nonviolence, as well as justifications for hatred and bigotry in some religions throughout the centuries.