Religion Today Summaries - March 6, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - March 6, 2007

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

  • Calvin Miller Volume Named Book of Year by Preaching Magazine
  • Barna Explores "The God Gap" between Republicans and Democrats
  • Navy Chaplain Ordered Dismissed Immediately
  • Uzbek Police Seek Missing Pastors of ‘Unregistered’ Churches

Calvin Miller Volume Named Book of Year by Preaching Magazine

The new book Preaching: The Art of Narrative Exposition -- written by Calvin Miller and published by Baker Books -- has been named 2007 Book of the Year by Preaching magazine in their March-April edition. According to Preaching editor Michael Duduit, Miller’s Preaching is “an important contribution that will help any preacher explore new approaches to proclaiming biblical truth.” Duduit writes, “Throughout this excellent book, Miller offers valuable and practical counsel that will be useful to novice and veteran alike. The first section of the book deals with 'The Exegesis of All Things,' in which he talks about the preacher’s task of analyzing himself, the audience, the sermon, and the call of the sermon." Miller then proceeds to offer guidance in the task of writing the sermon — from exegeting the text to developing the art of writing the story. Miller is Professor of Divinity at Beeson Divinity School of Samford University. Preaching is published by Salem Communications Corporation. In addition to the Book of the Year, the March-April issue of Preaching also contains the publication’s list of the Top Ten Books Every Preacher Should Read This Year.

Barna Explores "The God Gap" between Republicans and Democrats

The Barna Group's latest study seeks to answer the question: "Whose side will 'God' be on in the 2008 presidential election?" The study explores the "God gap" between Republicans and Democrats by examining 32 measures of religious commitment, belief and activity. Among the findings: Republicans hold advantage in attracting Christian voters, but Democrats are not as far behind as might be assumed. In most areas of faith, the gap between the two parties is not large. The most significant differences were seen in beliefs and commitment, rather than behavior. Republicans were more likely than Democrats t strongly assert that the Bible is accurate (57% versus 40%); believe Satan is real (33% versus 17%); reject good works leading to salvation (35% versus 23%); and describe themselves as absolutely committed to Christ (61% versus 48%). Study director David Kinnaman described the continued importance of reaching Christian voters. "Born again Christians should not be underestimated: they represent half of Republican voters, two-fifths of registered Democrats, and one-third of independent voters."

Navy Chaplain Ordered Dismissed Immediately

According to The Church Report, a navy chaplain who was court martialed for praying “in Jesus’ name” has had his 16 year military career ended. Chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt, after months of fighting that included a hunger strike, commented, “It’s now official and final. Yesterday I was booted from the Navy. As of midnight last night, I became a civilian. Yesterday, I received orders to separate by 1 Mar 07, so I signed the DD 214 ending my 16 year military career.” However, his battle was not entirely a losing one: “My sacrifice purchased their freedom. My conscience is clear, the fight was worth it, and I'd do it all again,” Klingenschmitt said, referring to the fact that Congress has allowed for other chaplains to have the freedom that Klingenschmitt sought.

Uzbek Police Seek Missing Pastors of ‘Unregistered’ Churches

Two pastors in Uzbekistan face imprisonment for missing their first hearing this week. Salavat Serikbayev, 32, and Makset Djabbarbergenov, 26, did not make their court date on February 26 to face charges of leading an unregistered religious meeting. The pastors declined to make public the reason for their absence. Both pastors face imprisonment for the duration of their trial because they failed to attend the first hearing, said Serikbayev, pastor of Bethel Church in the village of Muinak. He and Djabbarbergenov were among 18 pastors detained during a January raid in the village of Kaskol-2. Protestant denominations, along with all other non-Muslim and non-Orthodox religious groups, have been denied registration in Karakalpakstan, essentially outlawing their existence, according to Compass Direct News.