Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 26, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 26, 2007

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

Huckabee Defends Jesus as Point of Christmas
Greensburg Churches Rebuilding after Tornado Destroyed Town
Archeological Proof of Jesus' Life Abounds

Huckabee Defends Jesus as Point of Christmas

Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said Jesus Christ is the point of Christmas during a sermon in reference to his Christmas ad, which has come under fire for its frank religious tone says the Christian Post. “Sometimes in the middle of Christmas, Jesus is the one person who’s tough to find. You can find Santa at every mall. You can find discount in every store,” Huckabee said at the 25,000-stong Cornerstone Church in San Antonio on Sunday, according to Fox News. “But if you mention the name of Jesus, as I found out recently, it upsets the whole world. Forgive me, but I thought that was the point of the whole day.” The former Arkansas governor began running a new ad last week in several of the primary states in which he wishes American voters of all faiths a “Merry Christmas.” In the ad, he references the birth of Christ as the Christmas carol “Silent Night” plays in the background and a cross-like image glows behind him, which he explains is just bookshelves. “I got in a little trouble this last week because I actually had the audacity to say ‘Merry Christmas.’ Isn’t that an odd thing to say at this time of year,” Huckabee said during his 30-minute sermon to a nearly full 5,500-seat auditorium. The former Arkansas governor was said to receive a 30 second standing ovation and copious applause for his refusal to apologize for referencing Jesus Christ in his Christmas ad, according to Fox News.

Greensburg Churches Rebuilding after Tornado Destroyed Town

If you saw the photos of Greensburg shortly after the tornado virtually wiped the community from the map, you might have asked yourself, “Where was God?” The answer: He was there... and He’s still there...helping to rebuild the community. While all of the churches were destroyed, not a single church is without a place to worship, reports ASSIST News Service. Not only that, there’s a new spirit of love and cooperation between the churches of Greensburg and Kiowa County. Marvin George, pastor of the First Baptist Church and president of the Kiowa Ministerial Alliance recently invited me to attend a meeting of the alliance. I’ve never seen a group of men and women who seem to be tightly bonded with love for each other. Pastor George said, “We feel that we’ve been empowered to rebuild.” They also know where their priorities are, and praising and worshiping our Lord and God is top priority. Only nine days after the tornado, they held a city-wide tent service, and they’ve planned an end-of-year community wide worship service for December 30 at 10:30 a.m. They invite everyone to join them for worship in the Greensburg High School gymnasium.

Archeological Proof of Jesus' Life Abounds

While archeological proof of Jesus' birth may be scarce, there's no shortage of evidence supporting the reality of His life on earth, a seminary professor told Baptist Press. L. Scott Kellum, assistant professor of New Testament and Greek at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., gave examples including the identification of Peter's house at Capernaum and the limestone coffin -- called an ossuary -- of Caiaphas, the high-priest who interrogated Jesus. Kellum also noted that archeologists have found a Christian burial site dated to A.D. 50 at Bethany; Jacob's well mentioned in John 4 in the story of the woman at the well; the synagogue at Capernaum where Jesus taught; the pool of Siloam; a fishing boat big enough to carry 13 men; the possible tomb of Lazarus; and other sites and finds that, to varying degrees, validate the Gospels and Jesus. "Even though rare, some sites regarding the nativity bear the stamp of probability," Kellum said. "Under the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth, there is a cave which probably was a first-century storeroom. Given the family of Mary is known to have lived in Nazareth well into the third century, the veneration of this site may mark the actual place where Gabriel spoke to the mother of Jesus."

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