Religion Today Summaries - June 20, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - June 20, 2007

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

  • Gaza Christians Wary After Hamas Takeover
  • Baptist Megachurch Makes History Electing Woman to Pulpit
  • Texas Baptists Seeing Results with Hispanic Initiative
  • Amnesty Int'l Defends Abortion Stance After Vatican Speaks Out

Gaza Christians Wary After Hamas Takeover

Christians in the Gaza Strip are waiting to see what the Hamas takeover means for them, CNSNews.com reports. Over the weekend, crosses, Bibles and pictures of Jesus were destroyed in an attack on a church and a Christian school in the Gaza Strip. The question now is whether such anti-Christian violence will spread in an area ruled by militants intent on establishing an Islamic state. But Monsignor Manual Musallam, priest of the Latin Church, whose parish has authority over the Rosary Sisters School, said the violence was not an "official persecution" of Christians, but rather the work of troublemakers who want to create tensions between Muslims and Christians. The Muslims and the Christians are all Palestinians, he said.

Baptist Megachurch Makes History Electing Woman to Pulpit

The Christian Post reports that Julie Pennington-Russell was voted on Sunday to become senior pastor of Atlanta-area megachurch, First Baptist Decatur. The historic decision that went without dispute makes the congregation the largest church of Southern Baptist heritage to be led by a woman. "Without a doubt, this is a major development," commented the Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Only five hands of dissent were visible at most during the vote, said First Baptist's interim pastor, Dock Hollingsworth. Pennington-Russell, 46, currently pastors Calvary Baptist Church in Waco, Texas.

Texas Baptists Seeing Results with Hispanic Initiative

According to OneNewsNow.com, an official with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (SBTC), who directs that group's outreach to Hispanics statewide, says many immigrants come to know Christ personally and then return to their native country as missionaries. Michael Gonzales, Spanish Initiative director for the SBTC, says Christians are called to minister to all immigrants. "'We have a lot of immigrants in our churches," Gonzales shares, "and we don't ask them about their papers. We minister to them. And many of them come to know Jesus Christ."

Amnesty Int'l Defends Abortion Stance After Vatican Speaks Out

A leading human rights group is defending its stance after the Vatican urged Catholics to withdraw their support because of a newly declared stance supporting abortion in certain cases, CNSNews.com reports. Amnesty International last week reversed its neutral position on abortion, saying it was developing policies that would support its use in cases of rape, incest or saving a woman's life. In response, Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace at the Vatican, called on Catholics to stop supporting the group.

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