Religion Today Summaries - May 19, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - May 19, 2008

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

  • Environmental Campaign Launches with Goal to be Biblical, Factual
  • Vietnam Officials Confiscate Home of Evangelist
  • Nationwide Prayer Campaign for Foster Care Starts Today
  • Churched High Schoolers Finding it Harder to Maintain Faith in College

Environmental Campaign Launches with Goal to be Biblical, Factual

Through a new "We Get It!" campaign, the Southern Baptist Convention's ethics entity is partnering with other organizations to demonstrate that evangelical Christians support what they describe as a more biblical, fact-based approach to global warming, Baptist Press reports. The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) was among the supporting organizations introduced at a May 15 news conference in Washington to unveil the campaign -- an effort to gain the endorsement of a million evangelicals to a brief document that espouses biblical responsibility for the environment and the poor. The effort, spearheaded by the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, serves as a further response to the efforts of the Evangelical Climate Initiative. ECI contends that human beings are the primary cause of global warming, which it says will have the greatest impact on those in poverty. The declaration may be found online at

Vietnam Officials Confiscate Home of Evangelist

Local officials in Lao Cai province have confiscated the land and home of a former opium addict because of his phenomenal success as an evangelist, local Christian sources said. Sua Yinh Siong of Lau Chai village had long been a desperate opium addict, leading to destitution for him and his family. In 2004, after becoming a Christian, Siong broke from his addiction and his animistic past, taking down paraphernalia for ancestor worship and other spirit-related articles and burning them. His joy over his liberation soon spread to others, and eventually more than 200 families also decided to follow Christ, Compass Direct News reports. Earlier this month, Siong told other Christian leaders that government harassment had reached a crisis point – in April local and provincial officials had confiscated his land, citing “illegal religious activities.” In the first few days of this month, Siong said, officials evicted him from his home and threatened to destroy it.

Nationwide Prayer Campaign for Foster Care Starts Today

The National Foster Care Prayer Vigil kicks off today, Monday, May 19, and continues through Sunday, May 25. There are vigils scheduled in at least 90 cities throughout the U.S. During the weeklong event, Christians will gather in cities across the nation to pray for the children and adults involved in the U.S. foster care system. Children come into the foster care system for various reasons, including neglect, abuse, abandonment and substance abuse by their primary caretakers. The ministries and churches involved recognize that not only do the children themselves need prayer, but so do the adults in their lives - their birth families, their foster families, their social workers and other child welfare professionals involved in the system. "Knowing that churches are praying for our workers, children and families gives me HOPE!" says Sharen Ford, Manager of the Permanency Unit for the Colorado Department of Human Services. "Every day workers make life and death decisions that impact the lives of children and their families. Our workers want to make the right decision at the right 'moment.'"

Churched High Schoolers Finding it Harder to Maintain Faith in College

ASSIST News Service reports that the faith disconnect that occurs when Christian high school students make the transition to college or career (Lifeway Research’s survey from August 2007 shows the dropout rate at 70 percent) is not necessarily something that students plan. The problem is usually that students do not have a mature faith that they will continue to nurture when they are away from the influence of their parents. "There is a lot of relational decision making among that age group," says Jim Lundgren, InterVarsity's senior vice president and director of Collegiate Ministries. So that means the activities of peers, friends, and dorm-mates are usually the kinds of activities incoming freshmen end up getting involved with. "Researchers have found that there's not a whole lot of difference between lifestyles of Christians and non-Christians in that age group or in their actual operating beliefs," he added. The faith dropout rate is a challenge to InterVarsity and other campus ministries. But it's also a challenge to the church and its youth ministries, and every parent with teenagers. Responding directly to the challenge is a new coalition called the Youth Transition Network (YTN), which includes InterVarsity, plus many other Christian organizations and denominations. The goal of YTN is to help students make the transition to adulthood with the students' faith in God intact.