Religion Today Summaries - August 8, 2011

Religion Today

Religion Today Summaries - August 8, 2011

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

Michelle Bachmann Changes Churches
Lawn Cross Becomes First Amendment Flash Point
Two Azeri-speaking Christians Beaten and Arrested Iranian Authorities
New Common English Bible Translation in Its 3rd Printing


Michelle Bachmann Changes Churches

A Lutheran church body that regards the office of the Roman Catholic papacy as the Antichrist found itself thrust into a national spotlight after the departure of Republican presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann from one of its churches. CNN reported that Bachmann officially terminated her membership at Salem Lutheran Church in Stillwater, Minn., on June 21, six days before she declared her intention to run for president. Her former church is part of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), the third largest Lutheran denomination and, according to some, the most theologically conservative. Baptist Press reports that apprently at issue was the synod's belief that the Roman Catholic papacy fits the biblical description of the Antichrist. Mark G. Schroeder, synod president, wrote in a statement on the synod's website that the Lutheran Confessions -- which the synod holds as an accurate reflection of biblical truth -- identify why the papacy is the Antichrist: It claims to speak with authority and even infallibility; it claims salvation only comes through the Roman Catholic Church; and it emphasizes that faith and works are both necessary for salvation.


Lawn Cross Becomes First Amendment Flash Point

(RNS) It started as a simple gesture. But it could have implications far beyond the quiet New Jersey street where Patrick Racaniello affixed a wooden cross on a tree in his front yard. Livingston Township officials say Racaniello's display, which he intended as a celebration of Lent, violated an ordinance that generally prohibits postings on a structure, including a tree, "calculated to attract the attention of the public." Advised of the ordinance, Racaniello removed the cross. But he then built a second, much larger cross that he planted on his property just within the township's 10-foot right of way. Racaniello, again facing fines, took down that cross, too. He also contacted the Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund, a coalition of conservative Christian lawyers. The alliance told the township it may take the matter to court if officials don't allow Racaniello to put the cross wherever he wants on his property. "We believe this is private property, and therefore he has a right to engage in this expression," Jonathan Scruggs, a lawyer for the alliance, said in an interview. "We believe that either cross is protected by the First Amendment." The judicial outcome of this conflict between an Essex County town and an Arizona legal group, scholars say, could go a long way to determine the reach of a 2000 federal land-use law intended to protect religious expression.


Two Azeri-speaking Christians Beaten and Arrested Iranian Authorities

(ANS) -- Following the increase in pressure on the Iranian Christian community inside Iran, Iranian security forces have arrested and beaten two Azeri-speaking converts to Christianity. According to reports received by the Iranian Christian News Agency Mohabat News (www.mohabatnews.com ) , two Azeri-speaking Christians, Vahid Rofegar and Reza Kahnamoei, who reside in the city of Tabriz (in the eastern Azerbaijan province northwest of Iran) were arrested by the security forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran at 3 p.m. on July 24. Their condition is unknown since their arrest. Mohabat News says that although officials have made promises regarding their release, these two men still remain in prison. The latest update on their case is that security officials have transferred them into the prison of the city of Abhar, and kept them separate from each other.


New Common English Bible Translation in Its 3rd Printing

The new Bible translation known for being “built on common ground” is receiving a popular reception among consumers and is exceeding the publisher’s first print-run expectations by 50 percent. The complete Common English Bible debuted online and on 20 digital platforms in June, and in paperback format in mid-July. It’s already gone back to press once. With this, its third printing, the Common English Bible now totals 500,000 copies in print, including the New Testament-only editions released a year ago. Originally expected this fall, the entire Bible paperback edition already in stores is selling quickly. Six other editions, including one with the Apocrypha, are releasing in August.
 

 

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