Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world. In today's edition:
Youth Prayer Effort Seeks to 'Reverse the Decree of Roe vs. Wade'
Charisma News Service
Young intercessors are staging silent protests on behalf of the unborn in the nation's capital. Teens and young adults are praying for an end to abortion in what prayer leader Lou Engle says is a continuation of the movement that began in 2000 when The Call D.C. drew 400,000 youth to Washington, D.C., for a day of prayer and fasting. "The call to fast, pray and change the history of a nation is as strong as it was five years ago," Engle, founder of The Call prayer events told Charisma magazine. Currently 66 interns, or "prayer activists" as they prefer to be called, are affiliated with the Justice House of Prayer (JHOP) www.justicehouseofprayer.com. Determined to "reverse the decree of Roe vs. Wade" through prayer, JHOP interns arrived in Washington, D.C., in October with a plan. Each member covered his mouth with a piece of duct tape that had the word "life" written on it and began a "silent siege" in front of the Supreme Court building. For five hours each day they stood silently, identifying with the silent screams of the unborn and repenting for the silence of the church. One intern suggested to Engle that they take the "life tape" and turn it into wrist bands and start a justice movement like that of Martin Luther King Jr. Today more than 30,000 of the free bands have been distributed through www.bound4life.com. In conjunction with its efforts to end abortion, JHOP is raising funds to help women and children in need. (www.charismanews.com)
ELCA Leader Hopes Denomination Remains United, Despite Homosexuality Disagreements
The head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America says he hopes the denomination will remain united, despite disagreements over homosexuality. The ELCA General Assembly is scheduled to vote next month on whether homosexuals in committed relationships should be ordained -- and their same-sex unions blessed -- by the church. In a conference call with reporters, Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson said tensions over the issue show that the "church is struggling with what it means to be centered in Christ." Hanson would not say how he plans to vote. Hanson is also president of the Lutheran World Federation, which represents 138 churches in 77 countries.
Canadian Seminary, Via Internet, To Reach Across Canada & Beyond
Doy Cave, Baptist Press
It's one of the first of its kind in North America and is poised to bring education to those in ministry across the continent and beyond. The Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary has worked with Association of Theological Schools to launch a new delivery system, seminarylink.com, that will allow the seminary to work with students across Canada and the world. Steve Booth, CSBS academic dean, said the program differs from most other seminary online programs in its structure. "Seminary Link is not just a bunch of online courses delivered together," Booth said. "It is the delivery of an entire degree program. And students won't be out there doing this on their own out in cyberspace; we're going to walk with these students wherever they are." Under this new delivery system, the class schedule would allow a student to take nine credit hours online per year and six credit hours in on-campus intensives, which equates to two visits to Cochrane, Alberta, Canada, per year. Booth emphasized that the Canadian seminary is dedicated to making sure the online students get much of the mentoring and spiritual formation that on-campus students receive. Counseling, chapel, journey groups and the like will be replicated in innovative ways over the Internet.
Charisma News Service
The health of a Christian recently charged with blasphemy appears to be deteriorating. According to the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA), police arrested Yousaf Masih, 60, on June 28 near Peshawar, Assist News Service (ANS) reported. He was charged with blasphemy and desecration of the Quran. Masih reiterated that he did not desecrate the Quran, noting that he is "falsely blamed." Masih told APMA officials that he had received "ruthless treatment" following his arrest, ANS reported. When Masih was told by APMA officials that people worldwide were praying for him, he was "spiritually and psychologically strengthened" and said, "I am innocent, please save me and my family." The jail superintendent told APMA that Masih's life is in danger. Elsewhere, a believer identified only as Pastor R was attacked in his home on June 9 by Muslim extremists, Christian Aid Mission said. They reportedly brutally beat him and his family, locking them in a room and ransacking their house. After about three hours, the group left with all the Christian literature and Bibles they could find, threatening to return. (www.charismanews.com)