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Religion Today Summaries - Nov. 10, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Nov. 10, 2006

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

  • SBC Prez Prefers Focus on Evangelism, not Disagreements
  • Muslims in Malaysia Protest Rumored Baptisms
  • Army Chaplain Explains Islamic 'Sensitivity Training'
  • Survey: How Americans View Christian Groups, Muslims

SBC Prez Prefers Focus on Evangelism, not Disagreements

AgapePress reports the president of the Southern Baptist Convention says the denomination should not let disagreements and divisions sidetrack it from carrying out the Great Commission. Last year the International Mission Board of the SBC adopted a policy that said new missionaries could not practice a "private prayer language." This summer Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, an SBC school in Ft. Worth, Texas, adopted a statement against contemporary charismatic practices. (See related story) While SBC president Frank Page says debate about such issues is healthy, he believes the issue should not take focus away from evangelism. "Anytime we break into factions that keep us from pulling together in missions and evangelism, we have thwarted the prayer request of Jesus -- and I do not want to be a part of that," says Dr. Page. "I want to be a part of the solution, not the problem." He adds that is why he is praying for what he calls "a Holy Ghost revival -- because that will energize everything that we're doing in our churches."

Muslims in Malaysia Protest Rumored Baptisms

Compass Direct News reports a protest over a text message and e-mail claiming a Catholic church would baptize a group of Malay Muslims reflects how volatile tensions have become over conversion from Islam. Muslims gathered in front of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Ipoh, Perak state, on Sunday (November 5), to protest the claim that “several Malays will be baptized by Datuk Azhar Mansor.” Azhar, a famous Malay mariner who sailed solo around the world, is rumored to have converted from Islam to Christianity. The baptism rumor and subsequent protest have evoked responses from the country’s highest leaders, who identified the conversion of Malay Muslims to Christianity as a threat to peaceful relations among Malaysia’s ethnic groups.

Army Chaplain Explains Islamic 'Sensitivity Training'

An Army chaplain on duty in Iraq says he was one of the men responsible for giving Ramadan "sensitivity training" to American soldiers during the recently concluded Islamic religious period. The evangelical Christian says there is a good reason why he did it, according to AgapePress. Major Derrick Riggs graduated from Liberty University and Dallas Theological Seminary. He is currently assigned to the 3rd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division in Tikrit, Iraq. During the recent Islamic month of Ramadan, Riggs says he joined other chaplains to teach the troops to be sensitive to Islamic customs during the period. "When we're out in the cities, we want to make sure we're being respectful of their culture or being respectful of the teachings of their religion so that, in essence, we don't create an international incident," the Army chaplain explains. Riggs says he knows some people back home do not believe an evangelical Christian should be teaching about Islam. "I understand that some people may think it's contrary to what we should be doing as evangelical Christians," he says, "but my mission out here is not to bring Christ to the Iraqis." Riggs says his mission is to take care of the spiritual needs of his troops, no matter what faith they profess.

Survey: How Americans View Christian Groups, Muslims

The Christian Post reports Americans generally have a positive outlook on some Christian groups, a new survey revealed, while their view on Mormons and Muslims are less favorable. The North American Mission Board's Center for Missional Research polled 1,210 American adults across the country and found the Catholic Church with the highest favorable view among Americans. Behind the Catholic Church were Southern Baptists and United Methodists with around 57 percent of adults favorably viewing the two groups. Around 66 percent held a positive view of Catholics. Favorable views fell well below 50 percent of respondents for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) and Muslims with 32 percent and 27 percent, respectively. Unfavorable views also ranged similarly with 33 percent for Mormons and around 31 percent for Muslims. Unfavorable impressions ranged low for the other three Christian groups.