Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 22, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 22, 2009

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.

In today's edition:

  • Eritrea Inflicts another Blow on Christians
  • Pakistani Christian Arrested for Gojra Violence Gets Bail
  • Movie-Theater Church Loses Union Station Spot
  • Young Adults Skeptical of Bible but Open to Learn

Eritrea Inflicts another Blow on Christians

Mission News Network reports that 10 Christians in Eritrea have been arrested while their pastor has been placed under house arrest. Eritrean security forces raided the home of Pastor Tewelde Hailom, founding elder of the Full Gospel Church in Asmara, on Oct. 15 and arrested three members of his congregation. Two days later, they arrested seven more members of the congregation. Hailom is under house arrest, but not imprisoned due to his frail health. So far, persecution watchdog Open Doors has been unable to find out where the other Christians are being held. More than 2,800 Eritrean Christians have been imprisoned for worshipping outside of state-sponsored churches. The country is number 9 on Open Doors' Watch List for religious persecution.  

Pakistani Christian Arrested for Gojra Violence Gets Bail

ASSIST News Service reports that one of the two Christian men arrested for "perpetrating violence" in Gojra has been granted bail by an anti-terrorist court in Faisalabad. Nouman Shahu was released on Tuesday (Oct. 20). Gojra is a small town in Pakistani province of Punjab, which saw the torching of Christians' houses and the deaths of seven Christians after rumors spread that Christians had committed blasphemy. Some 64 Christian families in Gojra were rendered homeless as a result of the August violence. Joseph Francis, National Director of the Centre for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS), said the group had submitted surety bonds worth 50,000 Pakistani rupees (601.355 USD) Shahu's release. Shahu's brother, Naveed, remains in prison. CLAAS hope to petition for his release on bail in about a week. 

Movie-Theater Church Loses Union Station Spot

The Washington Post reports that unique church venues also have some unique challenges. National Community Church in Washington, D.C., is looking for a new home after its current venue, a movie theater in Union Station, closed after 13 years. The church only had six days' notice, according to Pastor Mark Batterson. "A church is not a building; it's not the location where we meet," Batterson said, expressing optimism for the 700-member church's future. "A church is made up of its people." The church is part of growing number of churches that uses one main location as well as several smaller "satellite churches." Including attendees at locations in Georgetown, Kingstowne and Arlington County movie theaters, the metro-area church has about 2,000 congregants.

Young Adults Skeptical of Bible but Open to Learn

The Christian Post reports that younger Americans approach the Bible more skeptically than previous generations, but they may also be more interested in learning about it. The Barna Group found that while 89 percent of 45-63 year olds (Boomers) believe the Bible is a sacred or holy book, only two-thirds of 18-25 year olds (Mosaics) believe that. That 20 percent drop comes as Mosaics increasingly believe that most sacred texts teach the same thing. This group is also less likely to believe that Bible is "totally accurate" in all the principle it teaches, even though they are more open to learning more than other age groups. "This mindset certainly has its challenges but it also raises the possibility of using their skepticism as an entry point to teaching and exploring the content of the Bible in new ways," said David Kinnaman, president of The Barna Group.