Religion Today Summaries - April 12, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - April 12, 2006

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

  • ‘Missing Link’ Claim for Fossils Debunked by Creationist Group
  • Taking Scripture to the Illiterate
  • New Orleans Church Reopens after Dispute is Resolved
  • Billy Graham: God's Ambassador - The Authorized Video Biography

‘Missing Link’ Claim for Fossils Debunked by Creationist Group

A leading creation science organization responded quickly to the latest well-publicized “missing link” claim by evolutionary researchers, Baptist Press reports. While major media outlets trumpeted the discovery of fossils near the North Pole said to belong to a 375-million-year-old fish, Answers in Genesis called attention to the “cautionary words being used about this creature.” The fish, known as Tiktaalik, “is a long-sought missing link in the evolution of some fishes from water to a life walking on four limbs on land,” as described by The New York Times. Researchers claim that Tiktaalik’s fins contain evidence of evolving limbs, digits, elbows and shoulders. David Menton, an Answers in Genesis lecturer, helped craft the creationist rebuttal: “[Tiktaalik] is not an amphibian or a reptile. It belongs to a group of fish called lobe-fin fish” who have bones similar to other vertebrates. Other lobe-fish, such as coelacanth, also have them. Coelacanth supposedly vanished 135 million years ago before its hyped 1938 discovery in waters near Madagascar. “It was known in the fossil record a long time before we found a living one,” Menton said. “They are a fish; they do not walk on the land; they use these fins to swim.”

Taking Scripture to the Illiterate

Wycliffe Bible Translators has taken Scripture to a largely illiterate nation of over 820 indigenous languages, The Christian Post reports. Over the last 50 years, Wycliffe has worked on nearly 400 of the languages in Papua New Guinea, completing New Testament translations in 159 of those languages. 200 more are on the way. More recently, Wycliffe has also been working alongside church groups to offer literacy classes and produce materials that help those who can read a vernacular indigenous language transfer those skills to a language of wider communication, including English. Literacy classes often take place before a translation is completed, and may continue even after the distribution of Scripture.

New Orleans Church Reopens after Dispute is Resolved

New Orleans Archbishop Alfred C. Hughes re-consecrated a historic New Orleans black church he had ordered closed "for the foreseeable future" after a protest disrupted Mass there two weeks earlier. Catholic News Service reports that Archbishop Hughes announced on April 8 that the archdiocese and parishioners who want their parish to remain open had settled their dispute. He re-established St. Augustine Parish for the next 18 months, and would extend that if the parish met agreed-upon guidelines for viability and vibrancy. The archbishop said he hoped the resolution of the dispute would become a symbol of reconciliation for the entire city. "I hope that what we have been through, with all the anger and suffering and difficulties, can now lead to our having realized a good model of how... to work out a dispute in the spirit of and fidelity to the Gospel," Archbishop Hughes said.

Billy Graham: God's Ambassador - The Authorized Video Biography

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has opened its archives to allow Gaither Film Productions to document the life and ministry of Billy Graham. Slated for an Easter 2006 release, the one-hour special, “Billy Graham: God’s Ambassador,” features rare archival footage of Graham’s early life, ministry, and worldwide evangelistic efforts. Sir David Frost hosts and narrates the documentary. “This documentary reminds us of the difference that can be made when we surrender our life to Jesus Christ and allow Him to use us for His glory,” said Franklin Graham. A two-hour version of the documentary is available now on DVD and VHS. The DVD features a third hour of bonus material, including Mr. Graham’s Portland, Oregon, Crusade sermon; a message from Franklin Graham; and a musical segment hosted by Bill Gaither. Check TV Listings for “Billy Graham: God’s Ambassador” between April 15-22.