Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 27, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 27, 2006

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

  • 'Lost Jewish Tribe' in India Soon To Move To Israel
  • Court is Told that Christian Cost-Sharing Program isn't Insurance
  • Canadian Southern Baptists Consider Name Change
  • Overflowing Crowds of More Than 50,000 Hear Franklin Graham in Canada

'Lost Jewish Tribe' in India Soon To Move To Israel

More than 200 members of a "lost" Jewish tribe are set to immigrate to Israel next month from northeastern India in what some here say is nothing less than a miracle of biblical proportions, reports. "This is a project of national and historical and even theological significance," said Michael Freund, chairman and founder of Shavei Israel, an organization that helps communities around the world return to their Jewish roots and to Israel. The Bnei Menashe (children of Manasseh) were descendants of one of the 10 "lost tribes" of Israel. "Their ancestors were exiled from the land 27 centuries ago, and despite wandering for so long and so far, they managed to preserve their sense of Jewish identity and now, just as the prophets foretold, we are witnessing their return. It is a miracle." Nearly 1,000 Bnei Menashe have immigrated to Israel in a mere trickle through various conversion/immigration plans worked out over the last 15 years or so. Another 218 are scheduled to arrive in November. But there are 7,000 more still waiting to come to Israel.

Court is Told that Christian Cost-Sharing Program isn't Insurance

AgapePress reports the head of the American Evangelical Association has told a Kentucky judge that a Christian cost-sharing ministry set up to help cover medical costs for churchgoers is not an insurance program and doesn't claim to be. E. John Reinhold testified that his association's Medi-Share program is careful not to use terms associated with the insurance industry in its publications so that people will not be confused. Franklin County Judge Thomas Wingate is expected to rule in December on whether Medi-Share should be permitted to continue operations in Kentucky. State regulators have had a long-standing legal dispute with the Medi-Share program, which helps Christians pay for medical care. The program, which is supported by contributions from churchgoers, is based on the Biblical belief that Christians should take care of one another's needs.

Canadian Southern Baptists Consider Name Change

Gerry Taillon, the Canadian Convention of Southern Baptists’ national ministry leader, underscored his optimism for the future of the convention at its annual meeting in Ottawa, Ontario, Baptist Press reports. “I am absolutely convinced that God has another level for the CCSB,” Taillon said. “And what He’s calling on us to do is give ourselves away for the Kingdom of God.” Addressing what he believes are God’s new directions for the CCSB, Taillon laid out his dream of a convention that embraces interdependence, “where churches help churches, where pastors help pastors, where no one is left behind. “And I believe God can do that,” he added. As the CCSB seeks new directions, the convention also is considering a name change. Messengers were nearly unanimous in mandating that the CCSB national leadership board to recommend a new name to be voted on at next year’s annual meeting. Rob Blackaby, president of the convention and pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Calgary, Alberta, assured messengers that there will be ample opportunity for dialogue over whatever name is proposed. “If it passes, then it would still need a second reading in 2008 before it actually comes into being,” Blackaby said.

Overflowing Crowds of More Than 50,000 Hear Franklin Graham in Canada

An early cold snap pushed temperatures below freezing and dusted the streets with snow, but that did nothing to chill the community's enthusiasm for the Central Canada Franklin Graham Festival. ASSIST News Service reports overflow crowds of more than 50,000 people gathered at the MTS Center in Winnipeg for weekend services featuring Franklin Graham. "All of the mistakes, the bad choices, the regrets - God will forgive you for all of it and take away that regret," said Franklin Graham, president of both the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) and the international relief organization Samaritan's Purse, speaking in a news release. He added, "I'm here to tell you that God loves you, will forgive you, and will cleanse you of your sin. Tonight you have an escape route. By putting your faith in Jesus Christ - you have an opportunity to be in heaven for eternity." The Festival in Winnipeg, Oct. 20-22, had overflow crowds every evening and a total attendance of 50,645 people. During the three-day event, Graham’s ministry stated that 2,115 people responded to Graham's invitation to make a commitment to Jesus Christ.