Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 1, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 1, 2006

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

  • Luis Palau Sees Hope for an Open-Air Evangelistic Festival in China
  • Jordanian-Based Ministry Helping Crisis in South Lebanon
  • Survey: Evangelicals, Other Christians Split on Evolution Debate
  • Anglican Priest Says Legal Battle Against Liberal Conn. Bishop Will Continue

Luis Palau Sees Hope for an Open-Air Evangelistic Festival in China

The few but effective visits made by Luis Palau to China have gradually led to more opportunities for the influential American evangelist to preach openly in the religiously restricted country, The Christian Post reports. Since 2000, Palau has been allowed to speak at various events in China. His highly publicized recent two-day trip to Shanghai had also drawn much controversy. According to a statement released Wednesday by the Luis Palau Association, Palau spoke of the benefits of the somewhat "aggressive" meetings he has had. "On each visit to China I have made new friends at all levels of society and influence,” the evangelist said. “I have witnessed continued change. I continue to pray these friendships and changes will lead to greater religious freedom." Palau said he believes each trip to China is getting him closer to his life-long dream of one day holding an open-air festival in Mainland China with the government’s approval. According to Palau, "Exciting changes are coming to China as millions of Chinese come to faith in Jesus Christ."

Jordanian-Based Ministry Helping Crisis in South Lebanon

The current situation in south Lebanon is horrifying. ASSIST News Service reports that's the latest word from the Jordanian-based Christian relief agency Manara Ministries. An e-mail communique from Manara stated that “many Christian villages look like ghost towns at best. Many villages were places of refuge during the war, therefore were exhausted by (thousands of) additional inhabitants, and their resources depleted by neighboring villagers.” Manara stated that farm lands have been totally devastated and the sea polluted. However, the e-mail continued, even worse than the physical destruction is the loss of hope in a peaceful and stable Lebanon, (especially for new Christians). However, Manara and its ministry partners have so far been able, the ministry stated, to provide medical assistance for several people in the south, assisted in purchasing new water canisters for homes, and helped facilitate a shipment of medical supplies from the U.K. that was flown in by the Jordanian Air Force from Amman to Beirut.

Survey: Evangelicals, Other Christians Split on Evolution Debate

On the issue of evolution, evangelical Protestants differ significantly from other Christian groups, according to a recent survey. The Christian Post reports that only 28 percent of white evangelical Protestants believe in evolution compared to majority of seculars and most other Christian groups, such as Catholics and mainline Protestants. The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life reported the findings last week. Mainline Protestants and Catholics who believe in evolution do differ among themselves on the question if evolution occurred by natural selection or through the guidance of a supreme being. Thirty-one percent of mainline Protestants believe in natural selection, while 26 percent believe in a supreme being overseeing the process. Thirty-one percent of Catholics believe in evolution through control of a higher power while 25 percent support natural selection.

Anglican Priest Says Legal Battle Against Liberal Conn. Bishop Will Continue

AgapePress reports an orthodox Anglican priest says six Connecticut parishes that oppose the ordination of homosexuals are not giving up their legal fight against a liberal Episcopal bishop they have accused of abusing the power of his office. Last week, a federal judge ruled that a civil rights lawsuit filed by the conservative priests known to many as "the Connecticut Six" against Bishop Andrew Smith lacked federal jurisdiction. Smith is being sued for seizing the property of four parishes, suspending an orthodox priest, and threatening to defrock five others. One of the priests, Chris Leighton of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Darien, Connecticut, says Smith has been "taking over churches" and must be confronted. The orthodox minister says he and the other five priests bringing the suit believe that this case involves "a titanic struggle between those who uphold the authority of scripture and those who do not."