Religion Today Summaries, October 18, 2002

Religion Today Summaries, October 18, 2002

In Today's Edition:

  • Western Money Used to Target Christians in India
  • Mob Destroys Indonesian Church in South Sulawesi
  • Ministry Delivers Tons of Aid to Needy Russians
  • Brazil May Have Huge Impact on Evangelizing the Muslim World

Western Money Used to Target Christians in India

( — Money raised by Hindu organizations in Western countries is being used to fund aggression against Christians and other minorities in India. Non-profit organizations associated with Hindu extremist organizations collected nearly one million pounds in the past year from subsidiaries in the United Kingdom. In 1999, the India Income Tax Department revealed that funding from the United States reached $62.5 million dollars. A 1998 letter written by Sitaram Agarwal, secretary of the World Hindu Council (VHP), states that his organization “needs money and lots of it to carry out shuddhi (cleansing) and seva (service) and dharam prasar (proselytizing)” among lower caste Indians. The Congress Party has alleged that the VHP is guilty of misuse of funds it receives in the name of charity and has demanded an inquiry. “If international pressure is brought to bear by Western governments, much could be achieved,” said missions professor Dr. W. Jacob. “Otherwise it may be too late.”

Mob Destroys Indonesian Church in South Sulawesi

(Barnabas Fund)  A mob has destroyed a church in the predominantly Muslim city of Makassar in South Sulawesi, Indonesia.  The mob took the law into its own hands after it was reported that the church had been built without the necessary permits.  The building of churches requires a permit from the city authorities who consult the local population.  Churches cannot be built in predominantly Muslim areas.  Some participants in the destruction claimed that the church had been warned to vacate or demolish the premises but had failed to do so.  Although the local police chief has criticized people for taking the law into their own hands, no action was taken by the authorities to prevent the destruction while official investigations into the existence of a building permit were still ongoing.

Ministry Delivers Tons of Aid to Needy Russians
Allie Martin

(Agape Press)  A Pennsylvania-based ministry is meeting the physical and spiritual needs of thousands of people in Russia and surrounding republics.  Operation Carelift, a division of Josh McDowell Ministries, is providing emergency food, medicine, and other supplies to needy children and families in Russia. Operation Carelift spokesman Duane Zook says the yearlong project is another way to help fulfill the Great Commission.  "As the walls came down, initially there was a great curiosity for the gospel -- and we'd take in Bibles and books," Zook says. But he says it was not long until the economy turned downward and, despite enjoying reading the Word of God and hearing about Him, people began to ask for more.  "Sometimes it is hard for people to understand the love of God when [they] don't have shoes on their feet or [they] don't have vitamins or medicine or clothing and things like that," he says.  Zook says the project is made possible through countless volunteers. 

Brazil May Have Huge Impact on Evangelizing the Muslim World

(Mission Network News)  Doctor David Shibley with Global Advance sees Brazil as a potential key to evangelizing the Muslim world after attending the latest Frontline Shepherds' Conference in Manaus, Brazil, which was attended by more than one-thousand people. "What was particularly thrilling to me was to see the literal hundreds upon hundreds of pastors who committed to plant at least one new church within the next 12 months, and also the hundreds of young Brazilian pastors and church leaders who committed themselves as cross cultural missionaries." Because of cultural similarities, Shibley says Brazilians could be the key to reaching the Arab world.  I believe there are some natural parallels that the Brazilian church has that makes them prime candidates to be missionaries to the Islamic world."