Religion Today Summaries - June 30, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - June 30, 2010

Daily briefs of the top Christian news and persecution stories impacting believers around the world.

In today's edition:

  • Caner Sacked as Seminary Dean after Background Probe
  • Pakistan: Landlords Force Christians to Evict Their Homes
  • Methodist Church to Clarify Position on Abortion Issues
  • Russian Patriarch Concerned With Pro-Gay Protestant Churches

Caner Sacked as Seminary Dean after Background Probe

After a seven-week probe into whether seminary dean Ergun Caner exaggerated his dramatic conversion from militant Islam to evangelical Christianity, Liberty University has concluded its investigation. According to Religion News Service, the school announced Caner will remain on faculty, but no longer as dean of its seminary. The investigation, prompted by a growing coalition of skeptical Muslim and Christian bloggers, concluded Caner, 43, had converted from Islam as a teenager, but had fabricated or embellished "matters such as dates, names and places of residence" in public statements. His critics, bolstered by a May 3 report in Christianity Today, found major contradictions in his claims of growing up in Turkey, rather than Ohio, and involvement in "Islamic youth jihad" to commit terrorism. Since Caner became the first ex-Muslim to lead an evangelical seminary in 2005, enrollment at Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary tripled during his tenure.

Pakistan: Landlords Force Christians to Evict Their Homes

ASSIST News Service reports that Christian residents of a village in Punjab province must evict their homes today by order of Muslim landlords. About 250 Christian families live in the village amidst 6,000 Muslim families. One Christian village, Shehzad Masih, claimed that Muslim elders had ordered some local Muslims to evict the residents because some of the Christian families "had raised their voice against the injustice which was being served to them." Masih that one of the landowners tried to sleep with one of the teenage Christian girls he employed. He became angry when he failed, causing anger and the need for revenge. The order of forcible relocation by Muslim elders was issued after Christian men, women and girls had protested against the "disdainful attitude of Muslim women and men towards Christians at this village."

Methodist Church to Clarify Position on Abortion Issues

The Methodist Church has voted to clarify its 1976 statement on abortion to "place this [issue] in the context of modern law and science," Christian Today reports. The Methodist Church's annual Conference says the church's original statement rejecting abortion on demand and abortion after viability will not change substantially, but explain the position "in modern language." The decision comes one week after the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists published a study claiming that fetuses cannot feel pain before 24 weeks. The Methodist Church's Abortion Statement Working Group stated that there was "no evidence that the Methodist people as a whole wish for a change" and that even those who did feel differently from the 1976 statement felt it should remain as the Church's official position on the issue.

Russian Patriarch Concerned With Pro-Gay Protestant Churches

The Christian Post reports that ecumenical dialogue between the heads of the Orthodox Church and the World Council of Churches turned to the topic of some Protestant churches' acceptance of homosexuality. Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia told WCC General Secretary Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit that he had "serious concerns" about dialogue on several issues, including the liberal stance toward homosexuality adopted by denominations such as the Episcopal Church. The Episcopal Church is a member of the WCC. Tveit said the discussion with the patriarch were "frank." "His Holiness challenged the council to articulate how it can contribute to build bridges in this situation," Tveit said. Still, Kirill maintained a "deep commitment" to the WCC.