Religion Today Summaries - May 1, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - May 1, 2007

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

  • Four Street Evangelists Jailed in Turkey
  • Southern Baptist Baptisms Drop for 2nd Straight Year
  • Hindus Make False 'Reconversion' Claims
  • Inquiring minds Lead to Saved Souls at Creation Museum

Four Street Evangelists Jailed in Turkey

Police jailed four Christian street evangelists in Istanbul for “missionary activity” this week, even as government officials openly defended the right of all religious groups to carry out evangelistic work in Turkey, Compass Direct News reports. Officials released U.S. citizen David Byle this evening, more than 48 hours after he was arrested along with a Korean and two Turkish Christians, his wife said. Christian sources maintained that Turkey plans to deport the Korean believer, though further details remain unknown. The four men were detained Wednesday afternoon (April 25) while sharing their faith with passersby at a park in Istanbul’s Taksim district. The arrests occurred in the midst of tense national debate over the legitimacy of Christian missionary activity, sparked by the gruesome killing of three Christian men in southeastern Turkey last week. “Missionaries are more dangerous than terror organizations,” Niyazi Guney, Ministry of Justice director general of laws, reportedly commented only a day after the murders.

Southern Baptist Baptisms Drop for 2nd Straight Year reports that the number of baptisms in Southern Baptist churches has fallen for the second consecutive year despite a push by top leaders to evangelize. At the same time, national membership increased by less than 1 percent, but more churches were built, according to the 2006 profile of the Southern Baptist Convention. The Southern Baptist Convention is the nation's largest Protestant denomination.

Hindus Make False 'Reconversion' Claims

A Christian organization’s documentary film shows evidence that Hindu extremists made false claims about bringing Christian converts back to the Hindu fold, Compass Direct News reports. Four Dalit Christian families in Balmiki Basti of Nahan town in Himachal Pradesh state had reportedly “reconverted” to Hinduism, but the documentary by the All India Christian Council reveals that none of these family members had converted to Christianity and that they were tricked into signing forms saying they wished to reconvert to Hinduism. The reconversion claims were reportedly made by Tarsem Bharti, president of the Himachal Pradesh unit of the All India Scheduled Caste (Dalit) and Scheduled Tribe (aboriginal) Federation. The film show a joint statement by the four Dalit families declaring, “We never converted to Christianity any time and nor did anyone come to convert us to Christianity. No allurement was offered to us either.”

Inquiring minds Lead to Saved Souls at Creation Museum

According to a story, a 28-year-old construction worker accepted Christ after working at the new Creation Museum site for a few months. Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis, the Christian apologetics group that is opening the museum, says so far ten contractors have been saved while working on the site. Many of the workers hear the gospel as they inquire about the museum. Ham says: "You also hire people from temp agencies and also have outside contractors that come in, and they start asking about the museum." And for many of these outside workers, he explains, "we find that they have no background understanding of the Bible at all, and they say things like, 'Oh, I didn't know the Bible taught about that.'"