Religion Today Summaries - May 6, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - May 6, 2010

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.

In today's edition:

  • London: Street Preacher Charged for Saying Homosexuality a Sin

  • Muslims Burn Christian Center under Construction in Indonesia

  • Lutheran Church Reinstates Two Gay Ministers

  • Southern Baptists Make Plans to Tackle Declining Baptisms

London: Street Preacher Charged for Saying Homosexuality a Sin

Religion News Service reports that a Christian street preacher in Britain will stand trial for telling a passerby -- in earshot of a policewoman -- that God views homosexuality as a sin. Police arrested Dale McAlpine, a 42-year-old Baptist, under Britain's Public Order Act 1986, which forbids "using threatening, abusive or insulting words ... tending to and causing harassment, alarm or distress." McAlpine told The Daily Telegraph newspaper that he was arrested after a part-time police officer said she heard him reciting a list of "sins" against God, including blasphemy, drunkenness and same-sex relationships. The preacher denied mentioning homosexuality, but he did concede he had told a passing shopper that it was a sin in the eyes of God. "My freedom was taken away on the hearsay evidence of someone who disliked what I said, and I was charged under a law that doesn't apply," he said.

Muslims Burn Christian Center under Construction in Indonesia

Compass Direct News reports that hundreds of people calling themselves the Muslim Community of the Puncak Route last week burned buildings under construction for a Christian group. The Penabur Christian Education Foundation's unfinished guest house in West Java Province was set on fire on April 27 because the mob reportedly believed it was a school or church building. They also burned a watchman's hut and at least two cars belonging to foundation directors. A leader of the mob who identified himself only as Tabroni told Compass that local residents did not want a Christian worship center or Christian school in the predominantly Muslim area of Cibeureum known as Kongsi. "We found that there is an effort to Christianize through the construction of a school and a Christian place of worship," Tabroni said.

Lutheran Church Reinstates Two Gay Ministers

The Associated Press reports that a two Lutheran ministers in Atlanta have been reinstated among the denomination's clergy, church officials said Tuesday. The Rev. Bradley Schmeling and his partner, the Rev. Darin Easler, were removed from Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) pulpits in 2007 for their relationship. They have been reinstated following the ELCA church council's decision to officially allow gays and lesbians in committed relationships to serve as clergy. "I'm grateful that this journey has come full circle and that the church has changed its policy," Schmeling said Tuesday. "I think the church saw the gifts and the abilities of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and saw that the spirit was calling them into ministry and wanted to create a way for people to serve," he said.

Southern Baptists Make Plans to Tackle Declining Baptisms

Religion News Service reports that Southern Baptist leaders, grappling with several years of declining baptisms, unveiled a proposal Monday challenging members and mission leaders to commit to new approaches to evangelism. The report calls for individuals to increase financial support beyond the current average of 2.5 percent of annual income. They also called for the International Mission Board to evangelize foreign populations within U.S. borders. "When the Southern Baptist Convention was founded, the world was rather easily divided into 'home' and 'foreign' missions," states the report from the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force. "Now, with revolutions in transportation and the movement of peoples, the world has come to North America."

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