Religion Today Summaries - February 2, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - February 2, 2005

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

  • New England Chaplain Steady Amid Football & Baseball Title Runs

  • Class on Islam Moved After Christian's Offer to Debate the Subject

  • Conservative Anglicans Steadily Leaving Dioceses Over 'Gay Agenda'

  • Evangelist Brings Ministry to Media Circus at MJ's Trial

New England Chaplain Steady Amid Football & Baseball Title Runs
Art Stricklin, Baptist Press

Walt Day has been on a sports ministry roller coaster this year like few chaplains ever before. He is in Jacksonville, Fla., for his fourth Super Bowl as the New England Patriots team chaplain and was on hand last fall when the Boston Red Sox broke their 86-year World Series jinx in his role as the ball team's chaplain. But despite the manmade sport success, Day said he is working every day to turn the players he ministers to toward Jesus Christ. The Patriots have been the center of attention in Jacksonville as they seek their third Super Bowl title in fourth years, but Day said the spiritual members of the team have another focus. "They are a very level-headed group. I think God really wants to work though the media. You have the whole world watching this week and you have a tremendous opportunity to bring glory to God in this setting." Patriots Linebacker Don Davis said Day has had a big impact on his life spiritually and is now considering going to seminary after he retires to be able to help others. "We're growing spiritually as a team," Day said. "That's what you're always looking for," Day said, speaking as a man who is a Boston off-the-field champion for any sport.

Class on Islam Moved After Christian's Offer to Debate the Subject
Jim Brown, AgapePress

Tennessee State University in Nashville has denied Muslims access to a room in which they hoped to hold a free course on Islam. The move came not long after the dean of a Bible college in nearby Cookeville questioned the taxpayer-funded course. Officials at TSU have told the Islamic Center of Nashville they will not be able to use the room on campus, but have not explained why. A week earlier, Kerry Duke, the dean of Tennessee Bible College, sent a letter to TSU president James Hefner proposing that the two schools co-host an open discussion between Duke and a representative from the Muslim community. But Duke says he never heard a response. "There is a lot of misinformation today about the true nature of Islam -- and that misinformation has to do with the lack of knowledge about the teaching of the Koran on [the subject of] violence." In his letter to Hefner, the Bible college dean essentially asked permission to come to TSU to lecture on the Bible and Christianity.  The school's lack of a response, he says, confirms his argument in the letter -- that there is an obvious bias against such matters of faith in higher education today. Duke says the Islamic Center of Nashville has so far ignored his invitation to a debate and public discussion on the issue of Islam versus the Bible.

Conservative Anglicans Steadily Leaving Dioceses Over 'Gay Agenda'
Charisma News Service

The top leaders in the worldwide Anglican Communion are to meet this month in Ireland, where conservative leaders within the church hope strong disciplinary action will be taken against the Canadian and U.S. churches for their support of homosexuality. Congregations in North America have been steadily leaving the 70 million-member communion since 2003, when the diocese of New Westminster in Vancouver, B.C., sanctioned the blessing of same-sex unions and the head of the Episcopal Church USA consecrated V. Gene Robinson, an openly gay man, as bishop of New Hampshire. John Guernsey, dean of the mid-Atlantic conference of the Anglican Communion Network, a fellowship of conservative churches that have stayed in the Episcopal Church, said he hopes the primates, as the top leaders are known, will draw a clear line in the sand during their meeting Feb. 20-26. "If strong and decisive action were to take place, it might open the door for biblically faithful Episcopalians to be acknowledged and given some structural way to remain," Guernsey told Charisma magazine in the February issue. As they await the primates' meeting next month, Anglicans in the United States and Canada are unsure whether church unity can be salvaged.

Evangelist Brings Ministry to Media Circus at MJ's Trial
Allie Martin and Jenni Parker, AgapePress

Members of the press covering the Michael Jackson trial are getting an opportunity to encounter the gospel, as presented by California author-evangelist Ray Comfort. The minister plans to be in the midst of the media feeding frenzy, serving up spiritual food for thought throughout. Hundreds of  international media representatives converged in Santa Maria (Calif.) Monday on the Santa Barbara County Courthouse as jury selection began in the trial of pop music recording artist Michael Jackson on child molestation charges. Ray Comfort of Living Waters Ministries was also on hand along with volunteers to give out to the media copies of his book, "What Hollywood Believes: an Intimate Look at the Faith of the Famous". Comfort says interest in spiritual matters is at an all time high right now. The Christian author says the Southeast Asian tsunami, like the war on terror and other natural and man-made disasters in recent years, has contributed to "a real climate for spirituality in the air." He contends this climate presents believers with a God-given opportunity to share the gospel of Jesus Christ, "and we need to take advantage of it." His book features the spiritual beliefs of more than 100 celebrities and describes the biblical plan of salvation through Christ alone. Comfort hopes to capture some of that media attention and refocus it on matters of eternal significance.