Religion Today Summaries - Apr. 23, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Apr. 23, 2009

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
 
In today's edition:

  • Worldwide Church of God Changes Name to Signal Inner Change
  • Presbyterians in Washington, D.C. OK Gay Clergy
  • Gospel Coalition Guides Thousands toward Faithful Preaching
  • Pakistan: Young Rape Victim Struggles to Get Justice

Worldwide Church of God Changes Name to Signal Inner Change

Religion News Service reports that the Worldwide Church of God, which re-examined and later rebuked the teachings of founder Herbert W. Armstrong after his death in 1986, has changed its name to Grace Communion International. "We are a church that God radically transformed," said church president Joseph W. Tkach, who is a board member of the National Association of Evangelicals. "Our new name is consistent with the transformation and aptly describes what God has made of our fellowship." Armstrong denied the Christian belief in the Trinity and took Old Testament law to heart and encouraged works of righteousness to earn salvation. The church lost half its members, 95 percent of its 1,000-person staff, millions of magazine readers and its college in Pasadena, Calif., when it officially repudiated Armstrong's teachings and "prophetic speculation" in the mid 1990s.

Presbyterians in Washington, D.C. OK Gay Clergy

Washington Times reports that local Presbyterians voted 222-102 to amend the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) constitution with a measure that would allow the ordination of practicing homosexuals. The Tuesday evening vote represents congregations in D.C., Northern Virginia and five Maryland counties. "This presbytery has consistently voted along these lines," said the Rev. Tim Cargal, moderator for National Capital. The amendment would replace traditional marriage and chastity vows in the Book of Order with the stipulation that clergy "declare their fidelity to the standards of the church." So far, 67 of the denominations 173 presbyteries have approved the amendment, with 85 presbyteries voting it down. The amendment will carry only if 87 presbyteries ratify it.

Gospel Coalition Guides Thousands toward Faithful Preaching

The Christian Post reports The Gospel Coalition's second national event pulled more than 3,300 pastors and students of pastoral ministry to Chicago, and more watched the live webcast. The Gospel Coalition formed in 2007 to encourage pastors to "renew faithful preaching," the Post reports. Speakers include Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, John Piper, K. Edward Copeland, and others from various denominations and ethnic lines. Each speaker works around the conferences theme, "Entrusted with the Gospel: Living the Vision of Second Timothy." The conference ends today with keynote speakers Ajith Fernando, Ligon Duncan, and D.A. Carson.

Pakistan: Young Rape Victim Struggles to Get Justice

ASSIST News Service reports that a Pakistani Christian girl who was allegedly abducted, drugged, raped and forced to convert to Islam in December is still struggling to get justice. Police have only arrested two suspects named in the Police First Investigation Report (FIR), and medical examination has not been performed yet. Shah Taj was abducted from Lahore on Dec. 5, 2008, while she was waiting for a rickshaw. Three men kidnapped her and took her to a hotel, where she was later drugged and raped by her captors. She managed to escape from the custody of her captors by giving her home number to a child waiter who brought her food. Justice is often subject to bribes and personal views in Pakistan, but minorities face even tougher hurdles.

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