Evangelical aid groups have come under some criticism for preaching the gospel alongside providing aid to the survivors of the Indian Ocean tsunami. "Some evangelical groups are mixing Christian missionary work with humanitarian aid in countries ravaged by the tsunamis and earthquake, a provocative approach shunned by the majority of faith-based relief organizations," writes The Baltimore Sun. "Spreading faith this way can antagonize the people they're trying to help, and there's evidence of concern among Muslims, Hindus, and others."

The Sun relies on anonymous e-mails and Web postings as "evidence of concern." It even says e-mails and postings "exaggerate or sensationalize" the truth. Most religious aid groups defer to the local culture, writes The Sun, but some missionary groups are not culturally sensitive, upsetting locals.

Apparently, Christians can be motivated by Jesus to provide relief but shouldn't share that motivation with those receiving aid.

Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan's Purse, is cited as one of those spreading the gospel behind relief dollars. He told The Sun aid should "share the love of Christ. … I would hope that they would come to know the God I know."

Other groups, like World Relief, refrain from sharing the gospel at first, writes The Sun. But once they have established a relationship with a group, they return to the scene years later and begin planting churches. World Relief however disputes The Sun's portrayal of them as developing relationships after a disaster only to exploit those relationships in order to plant churches. According to the aid organization, "It is not the duty of World Relief to move beyond its mandate of enabling local churches to respond to suffering - World Relief ...

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Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
Ted Olsen
Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's editorial director. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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