Religion Today Summaries - June 4, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - June 4, 2007

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

  • Christian-Muslim Summit a 'Step Forward' Despite Lack of Resolution
  • LifeWay Research Studies 'Private Prayer Language'
  • Malaysian Court Halts Woman's Effort to Legally Convert
  • Evangelicals Debate How to Approach Global Warming

Christian-Muslim Summit a 'Step Forward' Despite Lack of Resolution

A Christian-Muslim summit in Germany has not been able to resolve controversies over Islam, ASSIST News Service reports. But the participants are determined to continue their dialog. The third top level meeting between Muslims and Protestants in two years saw representatives of the mainline Protestant Churches in Germany and the new Coordinating Council of Muslims in Germany meet at a mosque in Mannheim, May 30. One of the controversial topics on the agenda was religious liberty. The Protestant leader, Bishop Wolfgang Huber, told journalists after the two-hour meeting that the maintenance of religious freedom - including unhindered change of religion - should be a mutual concern for Muslims and Christians. Huber regards the mere fact that a discussion of this issue was possible as a step forward.

LifeWay Research Studies 'Private Prayer Language'

A new study by LifeWay Research on the use of private prayer language indicates that half of Southern Baptist pastors believe the Holy Spirit gives some people a special language to pray to God, Baptist Press reports. The study also indicates the majority of Protestant senior pastors (63 percent) and laity (51 percent) believe in the gift of a private prayer language. Some people refer to "Private Prayer Language" as the use of tongues. Non-SBC pastors are more likely to believe that the Holy Spirit gives some people a private prayer language than Southern Baptist pastors.

Malaysian Court Halts Woman’s Effort to Legally Convert

Malaysia’s highest court on May 30 handed down a decision that prevents Lina Joy, a Muslim convert to Christianity, from having her conversion legally recognized, Compass Direct News reports. In a 2-1 majority decision, the Federal Court ruled that the National Registration Department was right in requiring Joy to produce a declaration from the sharia (Islamic law) court stating that she is no longer a Muslim before it would remove the word “Islam” from her identity card. The ruling comes after a seven-year legal battle to have Joy’s conversion officially recognized. The Rev. Dr. Herman Shastri, general-secretary of the Council of Churches of Malaysia, reportedly said today, “We believe that the constitutional provision in Article 11 of the Federal Constitution, which guarantees freedom of religion in our country, has been severely violated.”

Evangelicals Debate How to Approach Global Warming reports that the Family Research Council hosted a debate on Thursday that highlighted the divide in the evangelical community over the issue of global warming. The debate featured a panel of evangelical leaders discussing the proper Christian response to problems facing the environment. Dr. Jim Ball, president of the Evangelical Environmental Network, called global warming "the major relief and development problem of the 21st century," urging immediate action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In opposition to Ball, Dr. Cal Beisner of the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation argued that capping carbon dioxide emissions would be "economically devastating" to the world's poor since "energy is an essential component in economic production." In the end, however, the panelists agreed that Christians have a duty to be good stewards of God’s creation.