Religion Today Summaries, April 22, 2004

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries, April 22, 2004

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

  • OU Christians Rejoice in Salvation of Former Campus Atheist
  • African Churches 'Reshape Worship' in New York City 
  • Second-Grader's Dad Peeved Over Controversial Children's Book in Public Library
  • Anglican Church Appoints Another Openly Homosexual Priest

OU Christians Rejoice in Salvation of Former Campus Atheist
Jim Brown, Agape Press

"Jesus Week" on the University of Oklahoma campus saw many students changed by Christ -- but one example seemed to stand out. Last week, hundreds of students gathered to renew their commitment to praying for and reaching the lost with the gospel of Christ.  Evangelist Ray Comfort and Christian actor Kirk Cameron were invited on campus to preach and share their testimonies. As student body president Mary Millben points out, Cameron drew quite a crowd -- and was even confronted by an atheist and his two like-minded friends.  She describes what happened. "Kirk spent 45 minutes to an hour…talking with the young man about Jesus Christ," the student leader shares.  "And of course they were going back and forth, and Kirk was continuing just to share Jesus Christ and the truth." Evidently, Cameron's willingness to share his faith made an impression.  "Lo and behold, we found out that a group of those young men attended the service when Kirk spoke -- and one of them gave [his] heart to the Lord," Millben says. The incident, Millben says, reminded her that no one is too coldhearted to share the gospel with, considering Christ had time and compassion for the worst of sinners.  She says she believes God is moving in a unique way on the OU campus, as evidenced by the growing number of students who are dedicating their lives to the Lord.

African Churches 'Reshape Worship' in New York City
Charisma News Service

More than 100 African churches, many of them Pentecostal, have spread across New York City, where pastors preach the gospel in languages such as Ibo, Twi and Ga. According to a report last weekend by "The New York Times," "an explosion of African immigrant churches in the past 15 years has helped reshape religious worship in the city." "The surge is creating oases of Christian faith for newcomers from Nigeria, Ghana, Congo, Ethiopia and other countries and fueling an evangelical movement long the province of Latinos and African-Americans," the newspaper observed. Tony Carnes, a sociologist of religion, said: "They're having an impact beyond the African church. The African churches are bringing new vitality and new ways of doing things to other churches." Denominations have been multiplying. The most rapid expansion has come from Pentecostal and evangelical Christianity, which has surged in Africa. For example, the Redeemed Christian Church of God, a global Pentecostal movement based in Nigeria, came to New York City in 1995 and now has 14 branches. The African churches, though, are trying to reach beyond ethnic borders. "We also need to attract much more of the Americans," said Albert Amoah, an apostle and leader of the Church of the Pentecost in the United States. "The church is universal. The kingdom is transcultural, transethnic."

Second-Grader's Dad Peeved Over Controversial Children's Book in Public Library
Jim Brown, Agape Press

A Christian dad in Indiana wants a controversial book promoting homosexual "marriage" removed from the children's section of his local library. "Yuck!"  That's how Dustin McCollough's eight-year-old son responded after stumbling across a scene that depicted two princes kissing in the book King & King (Tricycle Press, 2003) at the Shelby County Library.  His father immediately complained to the librarian about the book's content and the fact that it was located in the book section for young children.  "I said, ‘I didn't even have a clue that such a book would be in our library. It's not what we believe in. It's not what we want our children exposed to.'" McCollough says he continued to inform why he felt so strongly why the book needed to be removed. "I said, 'As a taxpayer, I don't believe this book should be in here. This book is not morally right.'" The library has moved the book from the young children's section to a section for kids 8-12.  However, McCollough and his wife want it completely off limits to children, so they are starting a petition that they will present to the library board next month. King & King has been at the center of a controversy in a school library in Wilmington, North Carolina.  In that situation, angry parents were successful in getting the book restricted so only adults can check it out.

Anglican Church Appoints another Openly Homosexual Priest
Agape Press

The worldwide Anglican Communion is being rocked by another openly homosexual priest.  Openly homosexual Jeffrey John is the new dean of St Albans Cathedral in England -- with the Queen's approval.  Just last year, John was forced to step down as "Suffragan Bishop of Reading" after provoking a storm in the Anglican Church.  And the canon, who says he is now in a celibate relationship with another priest, has further angered conservative Anglicans by advocating the blessing of same-sex unions.  But fellow British priest David Holloway told BBC Radio 4's The World at One that "the Church of England is by its constitution grounded in holy scripture.  And the Bible is crystal clear -- sex is for heterosexual, monogamous marriage."  He went further to say "the church is seen with this appointment to be institutionalizing…decadence."  Holloway also denounced Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams last year as a "modern-day Jezebel."