Religion Today Summaries - March 9, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - March 9, 2007

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

  • What Makes a True Pentecostal Church?
  • Pastor Says NYC Residents Hungry for the Truth
  • Open Doors Making Great Gains in Spreading the Word in China
  • In Seattle, don’t Presume People Have Seen or Read the Bible

What Makes a True Pentecostal Church?

As the nation's largest Pentecostal group convened this week, The Christian Post reported that one noted pastor believes there is a divine power that many of America's churches are leaving out. According to Jim Cymbala, senior pastor of Brooklyn Tabernacle, "In a number of our churches around America, we're preaching an oxymoron:... Old Testament Christianity... We're preaching Jesus and we're preaching laws, but we're missing the dynamic element of the one who is able to make you... what God wants you to be." Cymbala opened the Assemblies of God Prayer Summit Monday night telling fellow believers that they are hopeless without the Holy Spirit. In place of the third sement of the Godhead, Cymbala noted that many church leaders have become formulaic. The power of the Holy Spirit is not "user-friendly and seeker-sensitive," he said.

Pastor Says NYC Residents Hungry for the Truth

According to, the pastor of a nondenominational church in New York City says although there are many challenges when it comes to ministering there, people in NYC are indeed searching for the gospel truth. A few months after 09/11, Nelson Searcy planted a church in New York City. That congregation has now grown to thousands of members who meet in three metro locations. Searcy comments: "I think un-churched people are looking for truth. And while they may bristle at the truth or they may at first glance have to contemplate that truth, they have an astute radar if there's someone who they feel like is watering it down or who's tricking them." He adds that his experiences indicate that because people are looking for the truth, it is not necessary to water down the gospel in order to attract them. The pastor has released a new book titled Launch: Starting a New Church from Scratch.

Open Doors Making Great Gains in Spreading the Word in China

Believers in China crave to share the Good News, but often there are many barriers to overcome, Mission Network News reports. Atheism, government policies, and language combine to make providing Bibles, literature, and training difficult but important. Open Doors USA delivered more than five million pieces of literature, and trained more than 20,000 pastors and Christian leaders in 2006, marking a 40 percent increase in literature and double the training from 2005.

In Seattle, don’t Presume People Have Seen or Read the Bible

Seattle can seem like one big paradox, according to a Baptist Press article. On one hand, it is the largest city in the Pacific Northwest, with nearly 574,000 people in Seattle proper and about 4 million in the metro area. Seattle has been called the most literate city in the United States, with the highest percentage of college graduates of any major U.S. city. It's also been ranked the most physically-fit city in the country. And yet, biblical literacy and spiritual fitness are lacking in the Emerald City. More than 80 percent of the residents say they believe in something beyond the physical realm, but only 4 percent of the area's Seattle’s people are evangelical Christians. “Seattle has never been a Christian city,” noted Gary Irby, church planting missionary for NAMB. “It’s not [even] post-Christian -– it’s never had a predominant Christian influence.” To that end, Irby's sole mission is to plant new churches to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the Puget Sound area. “One of the important things we’ve discovered is that you cannot presume that people in Seattle have a basic understanding of the Gospel,” Irby said. “You can’t assume they’ve ever been in church, that they’ve ever even seen or read the Bible. Many people around the country don’t understand that there’s a part of the United States like that.”