News Update-4/25/11


Beijing Authorities Break Up Outdoor Easter Celebration
The showdown between Chinese Christians and authorities in Beijing continued on Easter Sunday, when dozens of would-be worshippers were arrested, according to Reuters.

Members of Shouwang Church have attempted to meet outdoors for the past three weeks after the 1,000-member church was evicted from their meeting place and prevented from obtaining a new one. However, the leaders have no intention of pacifying authorities by ending services, according to WORLD News Service.

Leaders said simply, "Sunday worship is the most basic necessity for Christians in their life of faith." The church has refused to register with the sanctioned church, the Three-Self Patriotic Movement.

Religion Today Summaries

Americans Still Appreciate KJV, New Poll Finds
LifeWay Research reports that, 400 years after it debuted as the first widely distributed Bible for the English-speaking world, the King James Version (KJV) still holds a place of distinction among Americans.

A recent poll by LifeWay found that more than half of all American adults (62 percent) own a KJV Bible. Among those who read the Bible regularly the percentage of KJV owners is even higher. A full 82 percent of Americans who read the Bible at least once a month own a KJV.

More than a quarter of adult Americans (27 percent) indicate they have never read the KJV for themselves. "Christians believe that God's Word is truth and that truth is conveyed through language," said Scott McConnell, director of LifeWay Research. "It is hard to overstate the influence of the KJV."

Religion Today Summaries

Killer of Christian Brothers Gets Death Sentence in Pakistan
Christians in Pakistan hope the capital punishment of a man found guilty of murdering two Christian brothers will be a "turning point" for justice. The Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS) called the verdict a "landmark ruling," according to Christian Today, in which the accused was honestly tried and "punished according to the law."

However, not all blasphemy cases are reviewed "with the same thoroughness and integrity," CLAAS said. The two brothers were tried for blasphemy and acquitted before they were murdered. "We hope and pray that this verdict marks a turning point," said CLAAS UK Coordinator Nasir Saeed and CLAAS director in Pakistan Joseph Francis in a statement. "It will no doubt be an enormous encouragement to all those falsely accused of blasphemy."

Religion Today Summaries

Nigeria: Post-Election Rioting Continues
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reports that post-election violence continues in Nigeria's northern states following the victory of President Goodluck Jonathan. CSW received information of attacks on suburbs in the Gombe State Capital and in the Kafanchan area of Kaduna State, and of continuing tension in Bauchi State.

Nigeria's presidential elections, which took place on Saturday, are being hailed by international observers as the fairest poll in decades.

However, supporters of Jonathan's opponent, Muhammadu Buhari of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), have accused the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) of vote rigging and have taken to streets since Saturday evening in what many on the ground feel are orchestrated protests. At least 60 churches have been burned in the violence.

Religion Today Summaries

Suspected Drug Traffickers Kidnap Pastor in Mexico
Four masked gunmen interrupted a worship service in the Mexican city of Lzaro Crdenas, Michoacan, on April 10 and forced the church's pastor to leave with them.

Compass Direct News reports that the 500 worshippers present at Christian Center El Shaddai had little time to react before the gunmen disappeared. The kidnappers have demanded $1.8 million in ransom, but have not guaranteed the pastor's safety even if the sum is paid.

Arturo Farela, director of the National Fraternity of Evangelical Churches, has asserted that organized crime syndicates and drug cartels have targeted Christians because they view churches as revenue centers and because churches support programs for the rehabilitation of drug addicts and alcoholics. He says 100 Mexican clergymen have been kidnapped in recent years, and 15 of them have been killed.

Religion Today Summaries

Many Christians Hold Universalist Views, Barna Finds
Universalism, the belief that Christ will ultimately allow all people to enter heaven, has returned to the public spotlight following the release of Rob Bell's Love Wins, but many who call themselves Christians held that view prior to the book's release, according to a new survey from the Barna Group.

One in four born-again Christians hold universalist thoughts when it comes to salvation, The Christian Post reports. 40 percent of those who identify as born-again Christians said that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. According to the Barna analysis, 43 percent of Americans in general agreed with the statement, "It doesn't matter what religious faith you follow because they all teach the same lessons," while just 54 percent disagreed.

Religion Today Summaries 

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