Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
Rev. Wade Burleson believes his fellow trustees on the Southern Baptist Convention's International Mission Board (IMB) have made a mistake in barring future missionaries who use a "private prayer language." Burleson agrees that Baptist missionaries should not publicly speak in tongues, but does not see the need to probe a candidate's private prayer life. He says the board's decision has already kept some qualified candidates off the mission field. Burleson's fellow trustees have recommended his removal from the IMB because of his open dissent, but he says that is a matter for the Southern Baptist Convention to decide at its meeting in June.
Evangelical policy groups are saying they have other issues to focus on besides immigration reform, a Christianity Today story reports. As Congress grapples with legislation regarding an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants, the nation's most powerful conservative Christian organizations have been watching from the sidelines, despite a traditional evangelical initiative to make
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Faith-based workplace programs have been around for decades, but exploded in the 1990s, partly because the pressures of downsizing in a global economy have created fertile ground for spiritual soul searching, the Charlotte Observer reports. "Religion is important to many people's lives and they want to at least be able to talk about that part of their life and not feel like they have to hide around a corner," said Os Hillman, president of the International Coalition of Workplace Ministries. But some scholars claim companies are using spirituality to sell, while others criticize chaplaincy programs as proselytizing. Confidentiality can also become a tricky issue, as can perception of allegiance, such as in 2003, when dozens of workplace ministry groups protested Tyson Food's use of chaplains, calling them "a tool of management.” But that's not the case, said Bob Corscadden, Tyson's chief marketing officer. The company offers the programs because it cares about employees. Tyson created an in-house chaplaincy program five years ago that now includes 128 chaplains. Tyson has not studied the impact of its faith-based programs closely but claims morale and worker retention have improved at participating plants. Other companies from food distributors to banks to car dealerships are also using chaplains for their employees. No one keeps official track of how many companies have faith-based programs, but industry groups estimate there are roughly 4,500 workplace chaplains, while the National Institute of Business & Industrial Chaplains said it’s closer to 25,000. Faith-based workplace programs come in a variety of forms, such as lunchtime Bible study, or closing on Sundays so workers can attend church, but corporate chaplaincy is thought to be one of the fastest-growing faith-based employee programs.