Religion Today Summaries - May 27, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - May 27, 2005

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

  • ABC Explores The Resurrection

  • Washington State Woman Allowed to Keep Bible-Referencing License Plate

  • Nepal: Christian Couple Arrested And Charged With Forcibly Converting Minors

  • Malawi: Impending Famine Threatens Country

ABC Explores The Resurrection
Baptist Press

During the May 20 installment of ABC's "20/20," anchor Elizabeth Vargas explored the historical evidence of the resurrection of Jesus Christ by consulting historians and biblical scholars of various persuasions. Vargas' report was neither comprehensive nor conclusive, according to television reviewer Glenn Garvin of The Miami Herald, but she managed to weave "a fascinating narrative from the most mundane details of the crucifixion." Some commentators were convinced the resurrection did not happen, or if it did, it was only spiritual and not physical. One said Jesus was never really buried in the tomb where he supposedly rose, and another said the body was surely stolen. But some stood firm in their conclusion that Jesus conquered death, as the Bible says, despite a reluctance of the human mind to grasp such a concept. Even John Shelby Spong, the controversial Episcopal Bishop Emeritus of Newark, N.J., nudged toward the resurrection. "I don't think that most of the Resurrection narratives in the New Testament are historical at all," he said. "But I don't think there would have been a New Testament or a Jesus movement had there not been some astonishing experience of power that caused these people to see Jesus in a way they had never seen Him before."

Washington State Woman Allowed to Keep Bible-Referencing License Plate
Agape Press

Washington State officials have told a Christian woman she will be able to keep her Bible-referencing automobile license plate, despite a complaint filed against her by another Washington resident. Back in 1984, Jane Milhans placed a vanity plate on her car that read "John 3 16." She has had the plate on all three vehicles she has owned since and has never known of anyone having a problem with it. Recently, she was informed by the Department of Licensing that someone had complained and that the department would be reviewing the plate. The incident became well publicized, however; and after a public outcry, the officials dismissed the complaint. Milhans feels this was the right outcome. "I believe that the separation of church and state does not mean the removal of God from our life," she says, "and I have my right to freedom of speech and religion." The owner of the "John 3 16" vanity plate says she often feels people are intolerant of Christian expressions and "sometimes things get carried a little bit too far."

Nepal: Christian Couple Arrested And Charged With Forcibly Converting Minors
Charisma News Service

Police recently arrested a Christian couple who manage an orphanage, charging them with forcibly converting minors. Babu and Sabitri Varghese were detained on April 27 after a disgruntled former employee stole a photo of an adult baptism and told the police that the couple was baptizing Hindu children, Compass Direct reported. According to Janis Viren, president of EquipNepal, an American charity that provides financial support to the orphanage, the former employee had tried to extort money from the Vargheses. When that failed, he gave the photo to police and made accusations that were printed in a local newspaper. The editors of the newspaper reportedly printed an initial photo and then demanded the equivalent of $2,300 from the Vargheses. When the couple refused to pay, the newspaper printed another photo, along with calls for Babu and his wife to be jailed for six years for forced conversions, Compass reported. The couple were released on May 11 when their case was dismissed because "there was no proof" that they had forcibly converted any of the children, the Voice of the Martyrs reported. The Vargheses established the Blessed Children's Home for orphans in the southern city of Birganj in 1995. Nearly 80 orphans now live at the home. (

Malawi: Impending Famine Threatens Country
Christian Aid Mission

In a crisis reminiscent of the country's devastating 2002 famine, poor rains, fertilizer shortages and rising grain prices are causing severe food deprivation in parts of Malawi. Malawi's agricultural production has been drastically decreased by a poor rainy season and a lack of fertilizer needed to produce enough grain, according to reports from USAid's Famine Early Warning network. Thousands are already facing hunger, and the situation could worsen as rising grain prices make it more difficult for already poor families to purchase food. Through an established network of native missionaries, indigenous ministries want to help suffering communities. They especially want to provide aid since in the past, foreign Muslim groups have used food distribution to draw starving Malawians to mosques and convert them to Islam. The population is still reeling from the devastating food shortage of 2002, referred to by some Malawians as chinkukuzi, or "the year nobody will survive." With financial help sent by Christian Aid, many Malawi Christians have been able to help their starving countrymen in past droughts.