Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 16, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 16, 2008

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

  • Oldest U.S. Cardinal Dies at 90
  • Regulations Hobble Turkey’s Protestant Churches
  • Church Shelters Northeast Ice Storm Victims
  • Schuller's Son Resigns as Crystal Cathedral Pastor


Oldest U.S. Cardinal Dies at 90

Religion News Service reports that Cardinal Avery Dulles, who left a prominent Protestant pedigree to become one of the nation's most distinguished theologians and a prince of the Catholic Church, died Friday (Dec. 12) at the age of 90. When he was named a cardinal at age 82, he was the oldest of the 44 clerics elevated to the College of Cardinals. He was also the first U.S. Jesuit -- and the first American theologian who was not already a bishop -- to be honored with a cardinal's red hat. With Dulles' death, the U.S. church now has 16 American cardinals. "He was absolutely beloved by his brother Jesuits; admired by scholars, students and readers; and esteemed by the Vatican," said the Rev. James Martin, associate editor of the Jesuit magazine America. "His piercing intellect, lucid style and deep faith made him a reader's writer and a believer's theologian."

Regulations Hobble Turkey’s Protestant Churches

Compass Direct News reports that in the city of Samsun on the north coast of Turkey, the beleaguered congregation of the Agape Church Association have endured false allegations and verbal abuse from Muslim and nationalist locals. Their pastor has received death threats, and their building has been vandalized, all in an attempt to stop the 30 or so Christians from meeting. Local authorities have also had their part in opposition to the church, threatening it with legal action based on spurious charges. The church was threatened with a lawsuit because members had hung verses of Scripture and a cross on the walls. The Provincial Directorate of Associations inspected the building and told them to remove the offending articles because their rented rooms looked too much like a church.

Church Shelters Northeast Ice Storm Victims

The Christian Post reports that churches have stepped up to aid those stuck in the ice-ravaged Northeast, providing food and shelter for those without power. More than 400,000 people in five states were still without power on Monday afternoon. In Jaffrey, N.H., Jaffrey Bible Church set up cots and mattresses in offices and hallways as temperatures dipped into the teens early Sunday, when temperatures were in the teens. "Your fellow Jaffrey residents have stepped up and made this a more bearable situation," Walt Pryor, recreation department director for the town of 5,700, told the congregation Sunday morning. Although temperatures rose Monday, officials warned that the power outages could spike again as "drooping branches shed ice and snap back to their original positions, potentially taking out more power lines."

Schuller's Son Resigns as Crystal Cathedral Pastor

The Los Angeles Times reports that the Rev. Robert A. Schuller and his father, the Rev. Robert H. Schuller, will permanently part ways in ministry. The younger Schuller has officially resigned as senior pastor of the Crystal Cathedral and its "Hour of Power" television program, ending speculation about his future with the church. Schuller plans to begin his own ministry. Crystal Cathedral spokesman Michael Nason said the younger Schuller remained in good standing with his denomination. Schuller and his father differed in their visions for the church, Nason said. The elder Schuller wanting to bring guest pastors into the program, a move his son, who was the sole senior pastor at Crystal Cathedral, opposed.