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Religion Today Summaries, October 30, 2003

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries, October 30, 2003

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

  • Egypt Cracks Down Against Converts to Christianity
  • 'Pensacola Revival' Leader John Kilpatrick Steps Down
  • Eritrean Government Confiscates Full Gospel Church 
  • Bishop Calls Legal Action Against Conservative Episcopal Diocese 'Premature'

Egypt Cracks Down Against Converts to Christianity
Barbara Baker, Compass Direct

In a harsh crackdown over the past 10 days, Egypt’s state security police have arrested and tortured a Christian couple from Muslim background, along with 11 other Egyptian citizens accused of forging Christian identity papers for former Muslims. At least 10 more Christians have since been detained and subjected to torture in the sweep, said to be headed by two security police officers known for illegal and cruel tactics against Christian converts. The convert couple, Mohammed Ahmed Imam Kordy and his wife Sahar El-Sayed Abdel Ghany, was arrested in Alexandria on October 18. The police action apparently came after the wife was implicated in a complaint extorted under police torture that she had helped another Egyptian woman secure false identity papers.

'Pensacola Revival' Leader John Kilpatrick Steps Down
Charisma News Service

The leader of a revival movement that defined Pentecostalism during the 1990s announced last week that he is leaving the pastorate. John Kilpatrick, 53, who for 21 years has pastored Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensacola, Fla., says he plans to focus his ministry now on mentoring other pastors. "The Lord told me that He has called me to be a father," Kilpatrick said. Brownsville Assembly became a flashpoint for revivalism in June 1995, when a visit from evangelist Steve Hill triggered an unusual outburst of Pentecostal fervor. Christians and non-Christians alike attended protracted meetings at the church, prompting observers to call it "the Pensacola revival." At the height of the revival in 1996 and 1997, when meetings were held almost every night of the week, visitors from around the world stood in long lines outside the church to get seats. Today, the lines are shorter and revival services are held on Friday nights only. The church's board is expected to recommend a replacement pastor shortly. Randy Feldschau, an associate pastor at the church, is the favored choice. "[Kilpatrick's] heart has been torn between pastoring this local church and addressing the national arena," Feldschau said. "It's obvious that his mantle has changed. He ministers to ministers."

Eritrean Government Confiscates Full Gospel Church
Compass Direct

Government authorities in the Eritrean capital of Asmara confiscated and sealed the complex of the Full Gospel Church during the past two weeks, ordering the church staff and members to evacuate the building permanently on October 15. Located in the Gaza Banda district of Asmara, the large complex had served as the Full Gospel Church’s main headquarters and meeting place for the past 11 years. Meanwhile, Compass has confirmed that of the 62 young people arrested and locked into metal containers last August for having Bibles in their possession at the Sawa summer military camp, all but six have now been released. Another 12 young evangelicals from Asmara’s Dubre Bethel Church arrested during a house prayer meeting on September 7 are still refusing to sign a denial of their faith to gain their release. Following other arrests in recent months in Massawa, Adi-Abytoo, Keren, Mendefera, Adi-kualla, Nakfa and Adi-Kihe, a current total of 230 evangelical Christians are known to be jailed for their faith in Eritrea .

Bishop Calls Legal Action Against Conservative Episcopal Diocese 'Premature'
Jim Brown, Agape Press

A revisionist priest in the Episcopal Church USA has filed a lawsuit against a Pennsylvania diocese that has strongly denounced the denomination's election of an openly homosexual bishop. The lawsuit filed by Harold Lewis of Calvary Episcopal Church against the Diocese of Pittsburgh is an effort to prevent conservative parishes from taking church property with them if they break away from the denomination. But according to the diocese's Assistant Bishop Henry Scriven, nothing has happened in the diocese to merit such a lawsuit. Scriven says the suit is basically premature because "no action has actually been taken by the diocese…we haven't left the Episcopal Church yet.” Although the Diocese of Pittsburgh has voiced strong opposition to the ECUSA's planned consecration of the homosexual V. Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire this Sunday, Scriven says he is surprised by Lewis's legal action. The conservative bishop feels his diocese has "bent over backwards" to be kind and generous to those who disagree with its position. And he says to claim that the diocese is taking property away from the Episcopal Church is "hard to understand." Scriven recently commented that, although an enormous breadth of opinion has always existed in the Episcopal denomination, "the problem we face now is that the majority has voted to move the church away from the orthodoxy of traditional Anglican teachings."