Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today’s edition:
- Rapid Increase in Alternative Forms of Church Are Changing the Religious Landscape
- Pope Says Catholics, Lutherans Must Keep Dialogue Focused on Christ
- Wisconsin University Bans Bible Study
- Saudi Arabia Still Persecuting People for Their Faith
Rapid Increase in Alternative Forms of Church Are Changing the Religious Landscape
The Barna Group
A growing number of Americans no longer view a local church as their primary religious meeting place. A study by The Barna Group shows that new forms of religious experience and expression - such as house churches, marketplace ministries, and cyberchurches - are becoming the norm for millions of people. The
Pope Says Catholics, Lutherans Must Keep Dialogue Focused on Christ
Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service
The Catholic Church and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) must remain committed to patient dialogue and keep their work focused on Christ, Pope Benedict XVI said. "We should intensify our efforts to understand more deeply what we have in common and what divides us, as well as the gifts we have to offer each other," the pope told Bishop Mark S. Hanson, LWF president. Bishop Hanson thanked the pope for making clear that Christian unity would be a priority in his pontificate. In 1999, Catholics and Lutherans compiled a "Joint Declaration on Justification" which said the two groups agree that justification and salvation are free gifts of God and cannot be earned by performing good works, but rather are reflected in good works. "We are comforted by the fact that our search for unity is guided by the presence of the risen Lord and by the inexhaustible power of His spirit,” the pope said, adding that Catholics and Lutherans must build on the agreement, tackling related questions and remaining disagreements, including "the ways in which God's grace is communicated in and through the church."
Steve Jordahl, Family News in Focus
Lance Steiger, a Resident Assistant at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, wanted to hold a Bible Study. But when school officials found out about the gathering, they threatened disciplinary action, ranging from letter of reprimand to dismissal or loss of scholarhip. “They’re prohibited from leading or organizing those events in their rooms or in their residency halls where they have supervisory authority over other students,” university spokesman Mike Rindo said. “Does he have to give up his religious rights in order to be an RA?” asked Jeremy Tedesco of the Alliance Defense Fund. “He can’t ever hold a Bible study in his own dorm room, he can’t potentially pray with another student in his dorm room. I don’t know where this ends.” Campus ministries are watching the situation with interest and trusting God to use it for his purposes. Wisconsin Congressman and Eau-Claire alum Mark Green stated, “If we don’t get satisfactory answers soon, I think we’ll have no choice to at least have hearings to take a look at what the rights of students are.” Already the ACLU and Americans United have lined up behind the university.
Saudi Arabia Still Persecuting People for Their Faith
Patrick Goodenough, CNSNews
Just days before Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is due to visit