Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 22, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 22, 2008

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

  • Episcopal Church Ousts Pittsburgh Bishop
  • Indonesian Pastor Assaulted, Threatened
  • China Releases Underground Church Bishop
  • Pastors Defend Orthodoxy against PC(USA) Actions

Episcopal Church Ousts Pittsburgh Bishop

The Associate Press reports that the national Episcopal Church formally defrocked Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan on Thursday, accusing Duncan of "abandonment of the communion of this church." Duncan has been leader in efforts to bring back the Episcopal Church to more traditional forms of biblical authority and accepted sexuality, and helped set in motion the vote for the Pittsburgh diocese to secede. The diocese said in a statement that that vote will still take place on Oct. 4 despite Duncan's fate. If the diocese chooses to break away, it will join other conservative breakaways by joining the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone in South America. The Southern Cone has already accepted Duncan as a bishop there. The Episcopal Church is the U.S. branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion, a 77-million-member fellowship of churches that trace their roots to the Church of England. The Church has been marked by controversey especially since an openly homosexual priest, Gene Robinson, was ordained in 2003.

Indonesian Pastor Assaulted, Threatened

Compass Direct News reports that a Public Order official’s colleagues kicked Charles Hutahaean, chairman of the Indonesian Christian Students’ Movement (GMKI) in Jakarta, in the stomach last week and threatened to kill other GMKI staff members. The Public Order official, Crisman Siregar, threatened to stab Hutahaean with a bayonet in the confrontation between him and his colleagues and the GMKI leader on Sept. 9. Previously Siregar had warned Hutahaean to “be careful with your life.” Volunteer Public Order officials have also sided with a private company in a land dispute with GMKI. Land granted to the church was sold to a business venture, the Kencana Indotama Persada (KIP) Co., without the consent of GMKI, and construction workers have already partly demolished an old GMKI office building. GMKI now shares a newer office building with its parent ministry, the Alliance of Indonesian Churches. Two violence attacks have sprung from the situation.

China Releases Underground Church Bishop

Chinese officials have released a Roman Catholic bishop arrested on the last day of the Beijing Olympics, the Associated Press reports. Bishop Jia Zhiguo, the bishop of an unregistered church, remained under 24-hour police surveillance at his home at the Christ the King Cathedral in Wuqiu village of Hebei province, the Cardinal Kung Foundation said in a statement. Jia, in his 70s, has been arrested multiple times by public security officials who demand that all Christians worship on in government-sponsored and registered churches. Officials did not provide a reason for Jia's most recent arrest. The AP said that Jia's Zhengding diocese, 150 miles southwest of Beijing, is a traditional stronghold of Catholic sentiment in northern China.

Pastors Defend Orthodoxy against PC(USA) Actions

The Christian Post reports that two pastors have drafted an "open theological declaration" to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) that condemns the denomination for "deviation from orthodox Christian faith." The denomination's governing body, the General Assembly, reportedly made "multiple errors" during its June meeting, according to The Rev. Albert Rhodes Stuart of Highland Presbyterian Church in Slippery Rock, Pa., and Patrick McElroy of Park United Presbyterian Church in Zelienople, Pa. The errors are varied, including the approval of a $2 million legal defense fund for property cases in civil courts, and the failure to allow debate authoritative interpretation concerning the denomination's ordination standards, the declaration states.