Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 4, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 4, 2007

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

  • Swedish Artist's Mohammed Sketch Prompts Another Muslim Uproar
  • SWBTS President Says SBC Still Strong in Evangelism, Missions
  • Pope: Save the Planet Before It's Too Late
  • Eritrean Police Arrest More Christians

Swedish Artist's Mohammed Sketch Prompts Another Muslim Uproar reports that the government of Pakistan has joined Iran in protesting the publication in a Swedish newspaper of a sketch featuring the head of Mohammed on the body of a dog. "Pakistan condemns, in the strongest terms, the publication of an offensive and blasphemous sketch of the Holy Prophet in the Swedish newspaper," the foreign ministry in Islamabad said in a statement Thursday. A Swedish diplomat was summoned to the ministry and "was told that the publication of the sketch had caused grave affront to the religious sentiments of Muslims," it said. "Regrettably, the tendency among some Europeans to mix the freedom of expression with an outright and deliberate insult to 1.3 billion Muslims in the world is on the rise," the statement said. A Swedish foreign ministry spokeswoman told Sweden's English-language The Local that the diplomat had apologized for any hurt feelings the publication may have caused.

SWBTS President Says SBC Still Strong in Evangelism, Missions reports that former Southern Baptist Convention president Dr. Paige Patterson says while the denomination has its problems, it has proven to be resilient. Patterson served as SBC president from 1998 to 2000 before taking his current position as president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Patterson says although many individuals with special interests are competing for the SBC's endorsement, the denomination's leaders are theologically conservative. According to Patterson, that helped the denomination when it was faced with a power struggle between conservatives and liberals in the 1970s. "When it turns over, it has a tendency to turn over again and right itself, which is exactly what happened from the end of World War II until 1980 [when] we were in a decidedly liberal plunge," says Dr. Patterson, who added that although it will not always be popular to take a strong stand for God's Word, it is more important for a Christian to worry about being obedient to God than being accepted by the culture.

Pope: Save the Planet Before It's Too Late

The Christian Post reports that "Pope Benedict XVI led the Catholic Church's first 'eco-friendly' youth rally over the weekend, telling half a million people that world leaders must make courageous decisions to save the planet 'before it is too late.' 'A decisive "yes" is needed in decisions to safeguard creation as well as a strong commitment to reverse tendencies that risk leading to irreversible situations of degradation,' Benedict said Sunday, addressing a huge crowd of mostly young people over a hillside near the city of Loreto. The speech was part of the Catholic Church's annual 'Save Creation Day.' More than 300,000 people slept on blankets and in tents or prayed during the night, reports Reuters."

Eritrean Police Arrest More Christians

According to Mission Network News, ten more Christians have been arrested in Eritrea's capital, and a pastor has been missing since August 12. Todd Nettleton of Voice of the Martyrs said it's just the latest crackdown in a country where 2000 Christians are imprisoned, and often tortured. "None of these people has had a trial of any kind. None of them have been allowed legal representation, and none of them has actually had written charges filed against them. They've simply been picked up and put into the prison system there in Eritrea," Nettleton said. Eritrea, however, continues to deny the abuse of human rights, saying the repression of Christians falls under keeping the law of the land.