Religion Today Summaries, November 5, 2002

Religion Today Summaries, November 5, 2002

Today is Election Day.  This election is one of the most important in recent American history.  At stake are numerous governorships and the balance of power in the Senate and House, as well as thousands of state and local officials.  No race is unimportant.  The Crosswalk editorial team reminds you to take your stand in the voting booth—and vote your convictions.

In Today's Edition:

  • Voter Turnout Appears to be the Variable
  • 'Religious Left's' Election Effort Blasted
  • Philippines: Evangelistic Progress Amid Bomb Blasts and Terrorist Attacks
  • Healthy Churches are Marked by Great Commitments

Voter Turnout Appears to be the Variable
Christians Being Urged to Defy Statistics Showing Extremely Low Interest in Voting

(AgapePress)  With polls now open, both Republicans and Democrats agree that getting out the vote is now their biggest challenge.  Sources say that in the 2000 election, only one in four Christians voted.  Just days before the election, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle has sent a letter to members of NARAL, one of the leading abortion groups in the country, imploring them to get out and vote. Their track record shows they will.  But will Christians do the same?  One pro-family group says Christians need to show the same kind of enthusiasm about the importance of voting.  "Whichever party is most successful in turning out its vote in this off-year election, whoever can get their people to the polls, whichever party has the more energized voters -- that could well make the difference," Richard Lessner of American Renewal says.  Lessner says pro-family voters will be crucial to the outcome. In recent elections, they have been the demographic showing the greatest deviations in turnout.  Tony Nassif of the Politics and Faith Institute says that, according to scripture, every Christian votes -- even if they stay home. "They will vote by their ballot or by their silence," Nassif says. "If by silence, they withhold their moral values, thus giving greater weight to those which are in opposition."

'Religious Left's' Election Effort Blasted
Eric Tiansay

(Charisma News Service)  On the eve of election day, leaders of conservative Christian organizations have accused a liberal religious group of "hypocrisy" for trying to intimidate pastors, squelch debate and discourage voter participation in the political process.  According to "The Washington Times," the Interfaith Alliance, founded to "counter the religious right," has been targeting "voter education" guides produced by six conservative organizations, including the Christian Coalition, Focus on the Family, American Renewal and the Campaign for Working Families.  American Values president Gary Bauer blasted the alliance's effort, saying the group's "intimidation campaign" this year extends beyond churches. "The letter we received yesterday was sent to a soup kitchen run by a Christian ministry," Bauer said in an e-mail to supporters last Friday.  "What hypocrisy!...While the Interfaith Alliance and other groups...try to appear 'non-partisan,' the pastors who received this letter were asked to reject voter guides only from conservative organizations."  In a similar e-mail to supporters, Family Research Council president Ken Connor added:  "This is not the first time a leftist organization has attempted to mislead or intimidate churches into abandoning efforts to educate their members about where the candidates stand on issues vital to the family. The alliance and other self-appointed watchdogs rarely express concerns about the often blatant political partisanship of some liberal churches."

Philippines: Evangelistic Progress Amid Bomb Blasts and Terrorist Attacks
(Missions Insider)  An indigenous Philippine mission agency is reporting evangelistic progress in the midst of terrorist attacks and other hardships.  The leader of a mission located on Mindanao Island told Christian Aid that its gospel workers reached 1,374 houses resulting in 4,766 persons professing faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. One of the missionaries was appointed community chaplain and regularly conducts Bible classes for government officials and public school teachers. "Many got saved," the mission leader said. Missionaries also are conducting Bible lessons in 81 public school classes.  All this is carried on in the midst of terrorist attacks from Communists and Muslim separatists.  New People's Army communist rebels also clashed with a civilian defense force in a mountainous area where one of the mission's tribal outreaches is located. The husband of one of the women attending the weekly Bible study was killed, and two other attendees are missing.

Healthy Churches are Marked by Great Commitments
Gary D. Myers

(Baptist Press)  “Healthy churches aren't determined by budgets, buildings or even baptisms,” says John Marshall.  "A great church makes a great commitment to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission," said Marshall, pastor of Second Baptist Church in Springfield, Mo. "A healthy church must proclaim first and foremost the fact that every human being is created for the purpose of loving God."  Drawing from Matthew 22:37-39 and Mark 16:15, Marshall proposed three aspects of a healthy church with "heart-healthy" members: Individuals must love God first, neighbor second and be a part of fulfilling the Great Commission.  "The call to be a Christian is the call to give heart, soul and mind to Someone above this world," he stated. "No life is fulfilled until wholly engrossed in this relationship of ultimate value. For believers there is only one first, right thing, one grand purpose in life ... to please and pursue God.  Loving God must be the controlling drive of life, our ultimate quest ... keeping our feet ever on the path called 'straight and narrow," Marshall said. "In a healthy church, everybody knows they are expected to pursue one first, right thing -- intimacy with God."