Religion Today Summaries, June 25, 2004

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries, June 25, 2004

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

  • Conway's Christians Plan Prayer During 'Gay Pride' Parade 
  • Over One Hundred Killed in Iraq as Christians Bury Their Dead
  • Liberals Made Baptist Breakaway Group Necessary, Says Conservative Leader
  • T.D. Jakes' Massive 'Mega Fest' Convention to Engulf Atlanta

Conway's Christians Plan Prayer During 'Gay Pride' Parade
Allie Martin, Agape Press

Officials in one Arkansas city are coming under fire from area Christians who are upset that city councilmen took no action on a proposed resolution to deal with a homosexual pride parade. Although the resolution authored by Alderman Sandy Brewer had no legal impact, it could have had the effect of disassociating the city of Conway, Arkansas, from the homosexual pride event scheduled to be held there this weekend. Brewer's resolution described the parade as a potentially divisive and disruptive activity. The motion to adopt it died. Troy George, pastor at Second Baptist Church in Conway, says many of its citizens -- particularly Christians in the community -- were surprised when plans for the parade were announced. "It was something that caused a great amount of stir amongst the people," George says. According to the Baptist pastor, area church leaders got together to discuss the situation and come up with a unified response. "The Ministerial Alliance group decided that the best response that we could have as churches and ministers in this community would be to just pray for our community and pray that God will work a great work in the midst of things going on in our city," he says. The group decided that the best way to do that would be to organize a time of prayer during the event. George says a prayer vigil will be held this Sunday afternoon while the homosexual pride parade is under way.

Over One Hundred Killed in Iraq as Christians Bury Their Dead
ASSIST News Service

Over 60 people were killed and hundreds wounded as car bombs detonated near a police academy, a hospital and several police stations in the northern city of Mosul Thursday, June 24, just as Christians there prepared to burry two young Assyrian sisters who were shot and killed earlier in Thursday's violence, the most bloodiest in months, also spread to other area's and rose the total death toll to over one hundred, news reports and Iraqi officials claimed. The latest violence linked Islamic extremists, also underscored fear among Iraq's Christian minority, less than a week before the American-led coalition officially ends its "occupation" and hands over power to transitional government.

Liberals Made Baptist Breakaway Group Necessary, Says Conservative Leader
Allie Martin, Agape Press

According to the retired judge who helped orchestrate a conservative resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention 25 years ago, more and more churches in Texas today are opting to join a conservative movement among Baptists. In 1998 there were 120 churches that left the Baptist General Convention of Texas and formed the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.  The SBTC was formed by churches that were alarmed at the liberal leadership in the Baptist General Convention of Texas. Now the SBTC has more than 1,500 churches as members. Paul Pressler, a retired judge from Houston, says the formation of the breakaway group was a necessary move. "What happened was the Baylor Alumni Association was activated with Baylor money to take over the Baptist General Convention of Texas for the liberal forces," he says. However, conservative Texas Baptists have rallied and become a force in their own right. As an architect of the conservative movement within the Southern Baptist Convention, Pressler admires the organization's methodology as one of its greatest strengths. "We are a voluntary group of over 43,000 churches -- no central organization can control the local church," he says, "and so we cooperate on those things that are beneficial." As an example, the conservative Baptist leader points to the wide-scale success of the denomination's worldwide missions outreach."

T.D. Jakes' Massive 'Mega Fest' Convention to Engulf Atlanta
Charisma News Service

Featuring secular celebrities and high-profile charismatic ministers, a massive Christian convention of preaching, prayer, praise and worship, and family fun is expected to draw more than 100,000 people to Atlanta this week. Bishop T.D. Jakes' first-ever Mega Fest, which began yesterday and runs through Saturday, is expected to draw more people to the downtown Georgia metropolis than the 2000 Super Bowl, which brought an estimated 100,000. Jakes, the pastor of Potter's House in Dallas, combined his popular Woman, Thou Art Loosed! and ManPower conferences, along with festive events for children and youth from ages 5 to 21. City officials and business leaders say Mega Fest is expected to pump $100 million into the local economy. Held in four venues over four days, including the Georgia Dome, Georgia World Congress Center, Philips Arena and International Plaza, the event features Joyce Meyer, Juanita Bynum, Creflo Dollar, Bishop Eddie Long, Paula White, Mary Mary, Kirk Franklin, Magic Johnson, Deion Sanders and Michael Irvin. Mainstream entertainers, including comedian Steve Harvey and singer India Arie, are also scheduled to appear at Mega Fest, which has raised some concerns from Christians concerning their secular influence.