Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 2, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 2, 2006

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

  • India's Worst Flood in 200 Years Sees Int'l Relief
  • Iranian Police Arrest Martyred Christian’s Daughter
  • Christians Attacked, Charged With Attempted Murder in India
  • Church Doctrine vs. Government Intervention

India's Worst Flood in 200 Years Sees Int'l Relief

India has recently suffered from the country’s worst flooding in 200 years, according to a mission group. The Christian Post reports Christian relief groups are responding in a wide range of ways from distributing groceries to assisting farmers with seeds and fertilizers. Recent floods have devastated the people, livestock, and the landscape throughout India. In Orissa state, over 15,000 villages and millions of people were affected said Hope Builders International. Some 1,000 people have died and a significant number of cattle have also been lost due to the flood. HBI will work in three phases involving food, medicine, and agricultural assistance. Catholic Relief Services, Action by Church Together, and Lutheran World Relief are also involved in the relief effort.

Iranian Police Arrest Martyred Christian’s Daughter

Compass Direct News reports Iranian secret police arrested a Christian couple in the northeastern city of Mashhad three days ago, forcing them to leave behind their 6-year-old daughter and holding them incommunicado ever since. Plainclothes policemen who declined to identify themselves demanded entrance into the apartment home of Reza Montazami, 35, and his wife Fereshteh Dibaj, 28, at 7 a.m. on September 26. After a day-long search, authorities at a local intelligence branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps admitted they were holding the couple there for questioning. Montazami’s relatives have since tried in vain to find out why the couple has been detained. >From a well-known Mashhad family, Montazami converted to Christianity in his 20s. His wife Fereshteh is the youngest daughter of the Rev. Mehdi Dibaj, an Assemblies of God minister who was martyred for his faith 12 years ago. The couple lead an independent house church in Mashhad, where the government executed a convert Christian pastor in 1990.

Christians Attacked, Charged With Attempted Murder in India

Eight Christians working with the Indian Missionary Society (IMS) in India’s Gujarat state are facing charges of attempted murder and misuse of firearms after Hindu extremists waylaid and assaulted them last week, according to Compass Direct News. Pastor Dasrath Nanji Dilwad and his wife Manjula Bhen, along with another married couple and four male companions, were beaten severely, robbed and warned of dire consequences if they continued to share the gospel in the area. When they went to report the incident on September 21, the police arrested the six men on charges filed by one of their attackers, Kanji Nayak. The two women were arrested on September 25. Nayak claimed the eight had tried to forcefully convert him -- and that when he refused, Pastor Dasrath fired two rounds of ammunition at him, attempting to kill him. The Rev. D. Vethanbu, IMS general secretary, stated it was clear the extremists had attacked the Christians, not the other way around. “These accusations are the work of extremists who will go to any lengths to prevent the spread of the gospel,” Vethanbu said.

Church Doctrine vs. Government Intervention

Does a church have the right to publicly condemn one of its members over an alleged extra-marital affair? That question, now being considered by the Texas Supreme Court, will have national implications, AgapePress reports. The pastor of Crossland Community Bible Church in Fort Worth sent a letter to the congregation after one of its members decided to terminate her marriage and was having what the pastor described as an "inappropriate relationship" with another man, in violation of church doctrine. The woman sued over what she said was an invasion of her privacy. Hiram Sasser of the Liberty Legal Institute is representing the church. He argues it is essential that churches be able to govern themselves according to scripture without government interference.