Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 20, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 20, 2008

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

  • Iraq: Violence Continues to Force Christian Exodus
  • Parishioner of Beleaguered Pakistani Pastor Arrested
  • Still Reeling, Texas Churches Need Help
  • Legislator's Lawsuit against God Dismissed


Iraq: Violence Continues to Force Christian Exodus

Mission News Network reports that the exodus from the city of Mosul continues after a church was bombed Oct. 14, the latest incident in violent attacks against the city's Christians. Iraqi Christians are sending desperate text messages to SAT-7, a satellite television service for the Christians of the Middle East and North Africa. "The Christians who are there have been fleeing. One person wrote, 'We left with only our souls.' It's really terrible. According to the reports that we've received, what's happened is that some of the extremists that were in other parts of the country have moved north and come to Mosul where there has been a vibrant Christian community," said David Harder of SAT-7. The station then disseminates the messages on screen. Many of the messages ask for prayer for the terrorists, "that they would have a 'Pauline experience'--that instead of being persecutors, they would become lovers of Jesus through what's happened."

Parishioner of Beleaguered Pakistani Pastor Arrested

Compass Direct News reports that police last week arrested and beat a young parishioner who was visiting a Pakistani pastor's home outside Lahore to receive prayer. Police on Oct. 9 arrested Javed Masih, a 22-year-old delivery driver and prominent member of pastor Christopher Manzer’s congregation, as he was leaving Manzer’s house. The pastor had already fled after receiving a telephone call warning him of imminent police arrival. Police attacked Manzer five times this year, and the pastor has recently received death threats. Masih was released five days later on a bribe of 15,000 rupees (US$185). The pastor and staff at Sharing Life Ministry Pakistan believe the man instigating the attacks is Mohammad Nawaz, who opened a court case against Manzer et al, accusing them of kidnapping and abortion-related death of his wife, Sana Bibi. Manzer counseled Bibi after she decided to return to her family and Christianity, but has denied all of the accusations.

Still Reeling, Texas Churches Need Help

Baptist Press reports that dozens of Southern Baptist churches whose buildings were destroyed or damaged by Hurricane Ike in Texas will benefit from the "Adopt-A-Church" and "Church2Church" ministries by Southern Baptist Convention and the Baptist General Convention of Texas to connect Ike-impacted churches with those who want to assist. The BP reports that 20 BGCT member church buildings were destroyed by Hurricane Ike, and more than 100 damaged. Eleven SBC church buildings sustained extreme damage, 12 recorded moderate or light damage, and 33 reported only "minor" damage. Terry Wright, pastor of First Baptist Church of Vidor, Texas, who coordinates the joint response to these churches, said many had no flood insurance and may never open again. "Some churches can't meet so there are no weekly offerings. There's no money for payroll or to pay the mortgages they're carrying," said Wright. "They are in dire straits."

Judge Dismisses Lawsuit against God

Religion News Service reports that a judge has dismissed a Nebraska legislator's lawsuit against God, saying the Almighty could not be served notice of the litigation. "Given that this court finds that there can never be service effectuated on the named defendant, this action will be dismissed with prejudice," wrote Douglas County District Court Judge Marlon Polk of Omaha, Neb., on Tuesday (Oct. 14). State Sen. Ernie Chambers filed suit in 2007 to seek a permanent injunction against God, the Associated Press reported. He accused God of causing "widespread death, destruction and terrorization of millions upon millions of the Earth's inhabitants." The law school graduate who never took the bar exam questioned the judge's ruling, the AP reported. "Since God knows everything, God has notice of this lawsuit," Chambers said. Chambers has 30 days to determine if he will appeal.