University Relents on Evangelism
In August, the University of New Orleans relented and said it will allow distribution of an evangelistic tract on campus by a messianic Jewish missionary. The American Center for Law and Justice has agreed to drop a lawsuit filed in summer 2003 against the school on behalf of Michelle Beadle, a worker with CJF Ministries. The university had objected to a pamphlet that said, "Jews should believe in Jesus."
Passion Sales Boom
DVD and video sales of Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ topped 9 million copies in the first three weeks, including 4.1 million copies the first day, September 1—still trailing the one-day sales record of Finding Nemo (8 million copies). Industry analysts predict sales will reach 15 million to 18 million copies, generating more than $400 million in revenue—putting it in the neighborhood of blockbusters such as The Lord of the Rings and Spider-Man. The film has earned $610 million in theaters worldwide since its spring release.
Ark Expedition Sunk
Citing security concerns, Turkey's government denied a request by Honolulu multimillionaire and explorer Daniel McGivern to seek Noah's Ark on Mount Ararat. The sensitive area borders Iran. McGivern claims that satellite images show man-made structures that he believes are the remains of the biblical vessel.
Churches Under Fire
Police in Iran detained 80 members of the Assemblies of God church in Karaj on September 9—including 10 pastors. Within days, all but 1 pastor—Hamid Pourmand, 47—were released.
• Five Afghan men who had converted to Christianity from Islam have been killed since late June in eastern Afghanistan, according to Compass Direct.
• For the second time in four months, police in Pakistan have tortured and killed a Christian, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide. Arrested on false charges of theft on August 16, Nasir Masih died three days later after sustaining 20 injuries while in custody.
• Masked gunmen stormed a Christian and Missionary Alliance church during a prayer service on September 4 in Obrero, Colombia, killing 3 people and seriously injuring 14, according to Compass Direct. No one has been arrested.
Copyright © 2004 Christianity Today. Click for reprint information.
Weblog covered the end of the Noah's Ark Expedition.
Box Office Mojo has the sales totals on The Passion of the Christ.
Assist News Service has more information about the arrested pastors in Iran.
Compass Direct also has more information about the storming of a Colombian church by masked gunmen.
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