In Today's Edition:
- Pope Summons American Cardinals to Rome
- Dobson Responds to IBS in TNIV Controversy
- Hong Kong Bible Smuggler Media Reports Dubbed Inaccurate
- NYC Seminary Fights Fiscal Woes by Going More Liberal
- Other Headlines at a Glance
Pope Summons American Cardinals -- There's no getting away from it. The Catholic Church's pedophile scandal still dominates the headlines. On April 15, AP and other news organizations reported that Pope John Paul II has summoned American cardinals back to the Vatican "for an extraordinary meeting" to discuss sex scandals in the U.S. church. A source close to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops told AP that the meeting, scheduled for April 23-24, will include only the eight American cardinals in charge of an archdiocese. The summons was issued shortly after the top U.S. bishops returned from Rome for their semiannual meeting with the Pope.
Dobson Responds to IBS Accusations in TNIV Controversy -- In response to an exchange of letters between a WORLD magazine reader and the International Bible Society (IBS), James Dobson, head of Focus on the Family, has reentered the TNIV debate. Saying he was "deeply concerned about the misrepresentation that continues to mark discussion pertaining to the TNIV," Dobson "fired off" a reply to IBS president Peter Bradley and to Zondervan, publisher of the TNIV.
According to WORLD, most of Dobson's letter focused on a 1997 agreement that committed IBS and Zondervan "to abide by a set of standards for translation of gender-related words." The IBS violated those standards, known as the Colorado Springs Guidelines, this year with the release of the TNIV, which is often labeled "gender accurate."
Dobson wrote, "An element of duplicity has been guiding this process. ... Regardless of what anyone thinks about the TNIV itself, there doesn't seem any other way to account for the contradictory claims coming from so many sources." WORLD includes further excerpts from Dr. Dobson's letter in its April 20 issue.
Hong Kong Bible Smuggler: The Controversy Continues -- A Hong Kong based scholar, Dr. Chan Kim-Kwong, has accused the media of incorrectly reporting the case of Bible smuggler Li Guangqiang, according to Compass Direct. In a late March interview with Compass, the scholar said media "stirred controversy" by labeling the case as religious persecution, as opposed to "illegal commercial activity."
Li Guangqiang had arranged for 33,000 copies of Witness Li's Recovery Bible to be delivered to a house church group inside China. This group, called the "Local Church," is considered a cult by Chinese authorities. Li was arrested in 2001, given a two-year prison sentence, then released on Feb. 19 after diplomatic intervention and political pressure. Most news organizations reported that Li was facing the death penalty.
Another expert on matters in China told Compass, "Although it is interesting to raise this issue of what constitutes persecution, it is no argument to say that just because a person does something illegal under Chinese business law, it isn't automatically a case of religious persecution. In Li's case, the version of the Bible was banned and could not be delivered if declared -- which is the reason Christians have to resort to smuggling Bibles in the first place."
NYC Seminary Fights Fiscal Woes by Going Even More Liberal -- A New York City theological seminary, already known as the liberal flagship for mainline Protestantism, hopes to "transform itself" before a mounting financial crisis threatens its existence, according to The Washington Times. Union Theological Seminary, located on Manhattan's Upper West Side, is appealing to alumni as one measure to reverse an annual $2.75 million deficit, caused by the recent stock market roller coaster and the ripple effect of Sept. 11.
Another measure involves enhancing the seminary's program. The school plans to focus on training clergy with a "new Christian theology of religion" that appreciates other faiths, works to combat poverty and relates "spirituality to responsibility for the Earth," or environmentalism. Union will not, however, "experiment" with conservative evangelical approaches, the Rev. Joseph Hough, Union's president, told The Washington Times. "For better or worse, Union has been the beacon of progressive Christianity. There are plenty of conservative schools already."
Other Headlines at a Glance:
More from this week's World Magazine: Camping Out ... A radio evangelist tells Christians to stay away from churches.
Nando Times: Mayor's Proclamation Banning Satan Stirs Florida Town ... The devil's not welcome in Mayor Carolyn Risher's part of the Sunshine State.
Salon: The Father, the Son and the Holy JumboTron ... In the new Media Reformation, churches employ high-tech gizmos and hip spin to boost their diminishing flocks.
LA Times: Scholar and Minister, Father and Son ... The two widely admired figures are much alike and their Sunday school classes are always full, yet both agree it's a challenging relationship.
Mission Network News: New Law May Impact Missions in India ... India's parliament has passed a new controversial anti-terrorism bill that may have an impact on Christian work in India.