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Religion Today Summaries - October 22, 2004

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - October 22, 2004

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

  • Project Thessalonica: 5 Steps To Reaching A City For Christ 

  • Kerry Wins Trust and Support of One Religious Group - Muslims

  • Five Die in Indonesia as Sulawesi Turns Violent

  • Measuring Your Worldview

Project Thessalonica: 5 Steps To Reaching A City For Christ
By Shawn Hendricks, Baptist Press

Find out how your congregation can become a "strategy coordinator" church through Project Thessalonica. This effort recruits Southern Baptist churches to develop a plan to reach entire cities in India for Christ. Here's how to get involved. 1. Decide if your church is ready. Your church must have a heart for missions, said pastor Phil Jones of First Baptist Church in Powell, Tenn. 2. Enlist a leadership team. Pastors must find a core group who will help mobilize volunteers and coordinate the effort. The project involves multiple trips and teams who will go into heavily populated cities, map out a strategy and develop contacts with people in the area. 3. Recruit prayer warriors. Prayer is crucial. First Baptist, Powell, assembled more than 300 of its members to provide prayer support for the project. Each one agreed to pray regularly and specifically for the city and the mission teams. Jones expects the number to increase to more than 500 people. 4. Prepare the budget. Traveling overseas isn't cheap. First Baptist Church, Powell, uses its mission budget to help volunteers cut costs. Team members pay a predetermined amount for each trip while the mission budget picks up the rest. 5. Partner with another congregation. Churches need to work together. Jones encourages pastors of larger congregations to seek other congregations in the area who are willing to work together on the project.

Kerry Wins Trust and Support of One Religious Group -- Muslims

According to Gary Bauer of Campaign for Working Families, Senator and Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry has managed to win the trust and support of one religious group -- Muslims. According to Bauer, virtually every major national Islamic group in the United States has endorsed the Kerry ticket, and now even Muslim leaders abroad are joining the Kerry "bandwagon." He says the prime minister of Malaysia even sent an open letter to American Muslims urging them to vote for John Kerry and asserting that President Bush "is the cause of the tragedies in Afghanistan, Palestine, and Iraq," while voting for Kerry would be an "ibadah" -- an act of religious devotion and worship. But Bauer says Dr. Mohamad is "a notorious anti-Semite and all around thug" who "thinks Afghanistan was a good place when the Taliban were in control." Also, the U.S. conservative pundit says, Mohamad preferred Iraq under Saddam Hussein's rule and sees Yassir Arafat as "the hope of the Palestinians." Bauer feels it is significant that the Malaysian leader has chosen Kerry as "his man and suggests it might be worth asking, "why a notorious 'hate America' demagogue like Mohamad thinks it is a religious duty for Muslims to vote for Kerry."

Five Die in Indonesia as Sulawesi Turns Violent
Sarah Page, Compass Direct

Gunmen killed a 25-year-old Hindu woman and injured two Christian men in an attack in Central Sulawesi on October 13. Police said they believed the attack in Poso Pesisir district was committed by the same group who shot Christian lawyer Ferry Silalahi in May and Rev. Susianty Tinulele in July. A second attack in the predominantly Christian village of Jono Oge on October 13 resulted in the deaths of Sakeas Tesa, 54, and Yahya Yuta Jama, 45. Both were Christians. More violence erupted in South Sulawesi two days later, as Muslim villagers protested a law that placed their village under the Christian regency of Mamasa. Approximately 1,000 residents fled North Aralle village to escape sectarian clashes.

Measuring Your Worldview
Brannon Howse, AgapePress

According to the Barna Research Group, 91 percent of teens in our "evangelical" church youth groups do not believe in absolute moral truth. They may believe in truth, but not absolute moral truth. A recent study by the Southern Baptist Convention found that 88 percent of their students were denying the Christian faith by the time they graduate from college. Worldview Weekend desires to raise a generation of students who love God with their heart, soul, strength and mind. To accomplish this goal requires parents and adults who are prepared to give a defense and a definition of truth.  We need to teach more about truth, not more about the lie. Secular humanists deny absolute truth by proclaiming that all truth is relative and situational, thus man must decide what is right or wrong based on each situation he encounters. On the other hand, the Christian believes that God created truth for man to discover and that God's truth is for all times, all places and all people, and man will be held accountable by God at the end of his life for what he did with truth. The source of all truth is God. The Bible is a reflection of God's character and nature, and that is why the Bible is truth.