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Religion Today Summaries - October 01, 2004

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - October 01, 2004

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

  • America for Jesus

  • Another Pakistani Pastor Kidnapped and Beaten

  • Anglican Clergyman Has Central Role in Middle East Peace Process

  • Speaker Challenges Believers to Raise Biblically-Grounded Youth

America for Jesus

The fourth Friday of October -- just ten days before Election Day -- is the target date for a gathering of Christian Americans to pray and fast for their nation.  A Virginia pastor says issues like pornography, homosexuality, abortion, and racism have resulted in a nation that is "out of control" and in a "severe moral decline."  Consequently, Bishop John Gimenez says, "we are simply gathering to ask God to help our country."  The Virginia Beach pastor expects "America for Jesus," an 18-hour event on October 22, to attract "tens of thousands" of Christians to the Mall in Washington, DC, where the focus will be on prayer.  "We're meeting to pray.  We're meeting to intercede.  We're meeting to make a difference in this country," he says.  The prayer event, which will start with a 12-hour prayer rally at 6 a.m., will conclude with a six-hour praise and worship celebration.  A special leadership rally on Thursday evening will precede the prayer event.   "If ever there has been a stench of death and destruction in our land, it is now!" Gimenez says on his group's website.  "If we do not take a stand now, then shame on us -- and pity on the generations that are to follow."

Another Pakistani Pastor Kidnapped and Beaten
Barbara G. Baker, Compass Direct

Yousaf Masih , 33, a Protestant pastor in Pakistan's Sindh province, is recovering slowly after being kidnapped, drugged and beaten severely two weeks ago by bearded assailants. Masih was abducted off a back street near his home on Sunday evening, September 12, while walking home from a worship service. His Muslim captors told Masih that they were taking revenge for the United States ' military presence in the country and ordered him to stop "praying for Muslims" in his Baptist church in Jacobabad . The attackers held him hostage for two days before dumping him along a road nearly 600 miles away. Married with two young children, Masih is undergoing treatment for his injuries. He is the second Protestant pastor subjected to kidnapping and torture at the hands of Islamist extremists in Pakistan within the past four months. Pastor Wilson Fazal of the Pakistan Gospel Assembly in Quetta was abducted, shaved and beaten in May by a group of fanatic Muslims who tried to force him to convert to Islam. He escaped 40 hours later by jumping out of the jeep while being transported in the direction of the Afghan border.

Anglican Clergyman Has Central Role in Middle East Peace Process
Charisma News Service

Canon Andrew White is a quintessential English clergyman who plays a central role in the Middle East peace process. He has negotiated in many areas of conflict among Muslims, Jews and Christians, including the 2002 siege at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. He is now working with other religious leaders to rebuild Iraq since the capture of Saddam Hussein. The Archbishop of Canterbury's Special Representative to the Alexandria Process, the official name for the religious track of the peace process, White assisted in the recent launch of the Iraqi Centre for Reconciliation, Dialogue and Peace in Baghdad. But he is about to set up his own foundation to support his work in the Middle East. Brought up in the Assemblies of God, White became an Anglican while training as an operating department practitioner at St. Thomas' Hospital in London. His pursuit of theology and Jewish and Islamic studies prepared him well for his present role. "In the early days of visiting Iraq I was really frowned upon," he told Charisma magazine. But that changed as war loomed - and governments realized that White had knowledge and experience of the country. (http://www.charismanow.com)

Speaker Challenges Believers to Raise Biblically-Grounded Youth
Allie Martin and Jenni Parker, AgapePress

A well known evangelist says Christian parents and churches must do a better job of teaching and modeling biblical truth to young people. Author and speaker Josh McDowell is about to embark on a year-long schedule of conferences with the purpose of equipping youth and adults to share, defend, and model their Christian beliefs effectively. McDowell says young people who call themselves Christian often have distorted beliefs about God, truth, and the Bible. McDowell says contemporary research shows that accepting Christ and making a profession of faith today makes little or no difference in young people's beliefs, attitudes, or behavior. Studies indicate that 63 percent of Christian youth do not believe Jesus is the Son of the one true God, 58 percent believe all faiths teach equally valuable truths, and 51 percent do not believe Jesus rose from the dead. Meanwhile, 74 percent of Christian kids say they cheat on tests, and 93 percent say they lie to their parents. And although these trends are alarming, McDowell contends they are not surprising or difficult to understand. McDowell believes pluralistic postmodern culture makes it more important than ever that today's youth be equipped with a thorough grounding in the biblical truth. Through this campaign his ministry provides resources to help adults raise and train up "a generation of transformed followers of Christ" who know what they believe and why.