Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 26, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 26, 2010

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

  • Temporary Delay in Execution of Iranian Pastor
  • Burma's Ethnic Christians Fear Future after Election
  • African-American Churches Challenged Grow in Missions
  • Survey: 6 in 10 Protestant Pastors Disapprove of Obama

Temporary Delay in Execution of Iranian Pastor

ASSIST News Service reports that the scheduled execution Oct.24 of an Iranian pastor accused of 'thought crimes' has been delayed. Nadarkhani is currently under a sentence of death, but authorities are delaying the delivery of the verdict in order to put more pressure on him to turn away from Christ. Once his attorney receives the written verdict, he will have 20 days to appeal. According to Jason Mars of Present Truth Ministries, "Security officials have informed the courts to temporarily delay his execution until further notice. Youcef is being kept in a security prison in Lakan, Iran, which is just south of Rasht, his hometown." Nadarkhani's wife, Fatemeh, was imprisoned for four months on similar charges, but was released October 11.

Burma's Ethnic Christians Fear Future after Election

With Burma's first election in over 20 years just two weeks away, Christians in ethnic minority states fear serious repercussions. Compass Direct News reports many believers think that afterward the military regime will try to "cleanse" the areas of Christianity. For now, the Burmese junta is showing restraint to woo voters in favor of its proxy party. When Burma Army personnel attack, they do not discriminate between insurgents and unarmed residents, said a representative of the pro-democracy Free Burma Rangers relief aid group in Chiang Mai, close to the Thai-Burma border. There is a large Christian population in Burma's Kachin, Karen and Karenni states along the border that falls under the military's target zone.

African-American Churches Challenged Grow in Missions

African-American churches in the U.S. have very little participation in world but these congregations are uniquely positioned to impact global evangelism, one missions expert told the Lausanne Congress in Cape Town. Richard Coleman, director of candidacy and mobilization for The Mission Society, told the closing session that African-Americans typically represent less than 1 percent of all full-time missionaries from the U.S. "Black churches must often help members of their own congregation with food, utility bills and other needs that majority churches don't have to worry about to the same degree," said Coleman, according to ASSIST News Service. "It's not a bad thing that black churches help their own communities." Still, he challenged these churches to share their history. "People around the world have heard that story [of suffering] and have seen the overcoming of struggles. Black churches have a message of encouragement for the world."

Survey: 6 in 10 Protestant Pastors Disapprove of Obama

Six out of every 10 Protestant pastors say they disapprove of President Obama's job performance, a LifeWay Research survey found. According to Religion News Service, researchers said of the 61 percent who disapprove of Obama's work, 47 percent disapprove strongly. The survey, released Thursday, found that 30 percent of pastors approve of the president's performance (including 14 percent who strongly approve). Nine percent were undecided. "If voting intentions and job approval measure similar things, the president hasn't made many friends in the pulpits of America's churches throughout the first year-and-a-half of his presidency," said Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research. The new research was based on interviews with 1,000 Protestant clergy Oct. 7-14 and had an overall margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.