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Religion Today Summaries - May 31, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - May 31, 2005

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

  • Iraq: Report from Christians on the Frontlines 

  • Christian Families Have A New Tool For Family Devotions Young Americans Know Little About Bible

  • Much Needed Wakeup Call To Rouse "A Sleeping America"

  • Eastern Europe: Gospel Workers Reach Gypsy Communities

Iraq: Report from Christians on the Frontlines
Christian Aid Mission

A Christian ministry leader of Muslim background who has traveled in Iraq four times in the last year told Christian Aid, "Despite everything, the churches in Iraq are growing." The news comes as a surprise amid reports of a virtual Christian exodus from the country. Muslim extremists have attacked churches and threatened, kidnapped or murdered Christians, driving thousands of Iraqi believers into neighboring countries for safety. Yet according to this mission leader, Christians who are staying are seeing their churches grow. He believes the sudden influx and subsequent withdrawal of many foreign missionary agencies following the toppling of Saddam Hussein contributed to this growth. Iraqi believers have stepped up efforts to spread the gospel to their countrymen even though some of them are in grave danger from insurgents fighting in the name of Islam. The native mission leader learned of a disturbing tactic being used by insurgents to maintain their ranks: fighters have been going house to house in certain areas, demanding a child from each family. Those who refuse are threatened with death; those who go with the insurgents are "trained" for several months for suicide bombing missions. In this atmosphere, Iraqi believers know that the need for Christ's gospel of peace is stronger than ever, and they are determined to spread it.

Young Americans Know Little About Bible
Baptist Press

"Unless we read the Bible, American history is a closed book," The Weekly Standard's David Gelernter posited in a recent look at Bible literacy in America, with young Americans knowing very little about the Word of God and thus lacking the perspective necessary to understand major themes of history. The Bible Literacy Project, based on a Gallup-conducted survey of young people mostly in the seventh through ninth grades and 41 teachers in both public and private schools, found that the fewer than a quarter of the students were what teachers would call "Bible literate." The report, released in late April, said the teachers were convinced that students ought to know the Bible and don't. Forty of 41 agreed that "Bible knowledge confers a distinct educational advantage," the report said. Seventy-two percent of students in the survey could answer correctly that Moses "led the Israelites out of bondage," and 90 percent realized that Adam and Eve were the first man and woman in Genesis. But 8 percent of teens "believe that Moses is one of the twelve Apostles," Gelernter stated. Aside from such basic questions, the Bible Literacy Project reported that "very few American students" have the level of Bible knowledge that high school English teachers regard as "basic to a good education."

Much Needed Wakeup Call To Rouse "A Sleeping America"
Agape Press

A group that works to combat the homosexual agenda and other anti-Christian influences in culture is urging concerned citizens to contact Southern Baptist leaders and voice support for a proposed resolution regarding homosexuality in U.S. public schools. A statement from Mission America characterizes the proposed resolution is a much needed wakeup call that has the potential to rouse "a sleeping America to the depth of homosexual activism in our schools." Mission America points out the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) will not vote on the resolution unless its Resolutions Committee brings it to the floor, and when a similar resolution was considered by that committee last year, it died there. The Christian activist group's statement observes that third-graders are being taught the "benefits" of cross-dressing, and middle school students, that objecting to homosexuality is hate. Meanwhile, high school students are "reading as 'literature' some of the most pornographic material available, all touting the benefits and rights of homosexuality." Mission America is asking parents, grandparents, supporters, activists and others to write letters to the members of the SBC Resolutions Committee, urging them to send the Shortt-Baucham resolution to the floor for approval at the SBC's annual meeting. The Committee members' contact information is available to concerned pro-family individuals from [email protected].

Eastern Europe: Gospel Workers Reach Gypsy Communities
Christian Aid Mission

Gospel workers in Eastern Europe do not have to travel far to find poor conditions. Gypsies have been among Europe's poorest people since they migrated from Asia hundreds of years ago. They have come to be described by the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe as "the poorest, least healthy, and least educated sector of [our] society." Native missionaries know that they are called to help needy people such as these. They also know that to change the Gypsies' condition, and to change society's negative perception of them as petty criminals, they must first change their hearts. While providing basic necessities like food and clothing, missionaries also meet spiritual needs through evangelistic outreaches. A recent camp organized for Gypsy children in Ukraine drew 76 attendees, all from extremely poor backgrounds. Gospel workers distributed gifts of shoes, school supplies and toys. They shared the gospel through Bible lessons and evening worship times.