Religion Today Summaries - March 15, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - March 15, 2007

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

  • Former Professor Files Suit against Southwestern Seminary
  • Belarus Charismatic Church Continues in Legal Limbo
  • Christians Debate Video Violence
  • Pope Reflects on Eucharist, Makes Concrete Suggestions for Mass

Former Prof. Files Suit against Southwestern Seminary

According to a report in Baptist Press, a former professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has filed a federal lawsuit against the seminary and its president, Paige Patterson. Sheri Klouda alleges she was dismissed from her tenure-track position because she is a woman, and so accuses SWBTS and Patterson of breach of contract, fraud and defamation. She is seeking unspecified damages and has requested a trial by jury. Officials at Southwestern declined to comment on the suit. Klouda received her Ph.D. at seminary in 2002 and was unanimously elected by trustees to a tenure-track assistant professor position to teach Hebrew in the school of theology. Klouda was let go in 2006 - 3 years after Patterson assumed SWBTS's presidency - because she was, she alleges she was told, “a mistake that the trustees needed to fix,” which references a Baptist belief that pastoring, as well as teaching of theology, is restricted to men scripturally. Klouda is currently a professor at Taylor University in Indiana.

Belarus Charismatic Church Continues in Legal Limbo

New Life charismatic church in Belarus is still a long way off from obtaining its own worship facilities for worship, ASSIST News Service reports. Forum 18 News Service blamed the delay on what it called "Belarusian state procrastination." It continues after the church ended a hunger strike in Oct. 2006 when a senior state official strongly indicated that a resolution could be reached through the courts. "The judge had all the necessary information to make a decision two months ago," the church’s lawyer Sergei Lukanin said. "There are no objective reasons for this delay." The Higher Economic Court has postponed its ruling five times since Dec. 22 2006. The next hearing is slated for March 19.

Christians Debate Video Violence

According to a story, a Christian video game developer says an accusation against the violence in the "Left Behind" video game released last year is not entirely accurate, but does bring up an important difference that he thinks games produced by Christians for the marketplace should have. Ralph Bagley, spokesman for Christian Game Developers Foundation, has played the Left Behind game, and finds the accusations overly general and subjective. "I think maybe you could interpret it as such if you have an agenda," he says. Troy Lyndon, CEO of Left Behind Games, has been quoted as saying that the Bible has "some of the most violent and exciting epics ever written." Meanwhile, the CAP website accuses the "Religious Right" of using the "language of Christianity to promote an extreme and divisive political agenda" that has helped to polarize America. Bagley concludes: "I would much rather see some high-quality, biblically-themed video games" -- but with only very limited violence.

Pope Reflects on Eucharist

Catholics must believe in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and live in a way that demonstrates their faith, Pope Benedict XVI said, as reported by Catholic News Service. "The celebration and worship of the Eucharist enable us to draw near to God's love and to persevere in that love," the pope wrote in a 131-page document. According to the Pope, at the Last Supper, Jesus did not simply thank God for the ways he had acted throughout history to save people. Instead, Christ revealed that he himself was the sacrifice that would bring salvation to fulfillment. Therefore, "The institution of the Eucharist demonstrates how Jesus' death... became in him a supreme act of love and mankind's definitive deliverance from evil." That in turn allows the Church, through the Eucharist, "to celebrate and adore the mystery of Christ" who is present in the bread and wine through the power of the Holy Spirit.