Religion Today Summaries - January 25, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - January 25, 2006

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.


In today's edition:

White House to Push Pentagon on Jesus Prayer


A story reports a the White House promised Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., that President Bush will pressure Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on explicit prayer in the name of Jesus in the military. Rev. Billy Baugham of the International Conference of Evangelical Chaplain Endorsers spread the news to the Washington Times. Jones’ office confirmed that the congressman would be satisfied with less than an executive order if the president promised to push the issue. Jones gathered 74 signatures from his fellow congressmen in opposition to an Air Force regulation urging "non-sectarian” prayer, a move Jones called "a euphemism declaring that prayer will be acceptable so long as they censor Christian beliefs.” “You need,” said Army Chaplain Capt. Johnathan Stertzbach, "to allow people to pray according to their faith group. Many faith groups do not pray in general and generic terms…For Christian groups, the name of Jesus is from where all the power comes.”


Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary Names Dr. James Emery White as President


Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary announced the appointment of Dr. James Emery White as president - as well as professor of Theology and Culture - effective July 1, according to a Religion News Service release. Dr. White succeeds Dr. Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., who will retire on June 30. Dr. White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, founder of Serious Times, and an adjunct professor of Christian theology, culture and apologetics at the Gordon-Conwell Charlotte campus. Dr. White also served in pastoral capacities at churches in North Carolina and Indiana, and was Pastoral Leadership Consultant for Preaching and Worship with the Southern Baptist Convention. He holds Master of Divinity and Ph.D. degrees from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Commenting on his appointment, Richard A. Armstrong, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, notes, “We are thrilled and grateful to God for raising up a leader of Dr. White’s caliber to be the fourth president of Gordon-Conwell.” Dr. White comments: “I am delighted at being selected president. Gordon-Conwell is one of the leading evangelical seminaries in the world, with a rich history and… I look forward to building on this foundation of academic excellence as we prepare men and women for the new challenges of ministry to the local church in the twenty-first century.” Dr. White currently resides in Charlotte with his wife and their four children. Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary is a multi-denominational, evangelical Protestant graduate school serving more than 2,000 students on campuses in South Hamilton and Boston, Massachusetts; Charlotte, North Carolina; and an extension site in Jacksonville, Florida.


Movement Hopes to Bridge the Gap between Evolution and Creationism


A story in the Quincy Herald-Whig reports that more than 10,000 pastors nationwide have signed "The Clergy Letter" of support for Evolution Sunday (Feb. 12), a day designed to bring attention to a movement that believes there is a way to bridge the gap between the theory of evolution and creation theology. "Evolution can only go so far, and that is where faith comes in," said Rev. Wally Carlson, a United Methodist. "No one really knows what is in that gray area in between the two… There are people on both sides of this who are so narrow-minded in their vision they can't see any truth from another direction."   The Rev. Bob Morwell of Union United Methodist Church said, "(This movement) is an effort to enlist the help of clergy who do not find belief in evolution incompatible with the Christian faith." 10,183 pastors had signed the Clergy Letter as of Wednesday, and 303 congregations from 47 states have signed up to take part in some sort of Evolution Sunday dialogue. "Whenever we think we know all of the answers, we're wrong," Carlson said. "Because we don't."


Group to Examine Religion’s Role in Domestic Violence


Leaders of Longmont, Colorado’s faith community have paired up with the Longmont Ending Violence Initiative in hopes of putting a stop to domestic violence, reports the Daily Times-Call. A summit planned for February will deal with the topic of religion and how it relates to domestic violence. The Rev. Rick Ebbers, who leads The Journey church in Longmont, said he wants to do whatever he can to end domestic abuse. Ebbers began to better understand the gravity of domestic violence when several abuse victims were referred to him after being given advice from their church leaders that Ebbers felt was “inappropriate from a biblical perspective. Their church leaders would say, ‘Pray about it, and God will intervene,’ or worse yet, that the Bible calls them to submit to their husbands as they would submit to Christ.” Ebbers said such advice is based on Bible verses taken out of context. “Christ calls us to submit from strength, not weakness,” he said, adding that he’s learned abusers often align themselves with church leaders, thus leading their victims to think, “No one is going to believe me.”