TWR on TNIV, PCA Meeting, Abortion Protest & Nepal

TWR on TNIV, PCA Meeting, Abortion Protest & Nepal

In Today's Edition:
  • Trans World Radio Clarifies Stance on TNIV
  • Minister Risks Jail to Read Bible Near Abortion Clinic
  • Presbyterian Church In America Elects Joseph Ryan Moderator
  • Nepal: Believers from Kirat People Group Threatened

Trans World Radio Clarifies Stance on TNIV ... In response to the June 11 statement concerning the Forum of Bible Agencies, which was released by the International Bible Society and Zondervan Publishing as a defense of its Today's New International Version and the translation process that went into its creation: As a stated policy, Trans World Radio historically does not endorse any one translation of the Word of God as its "official version." Nor does TWR defame or promote any particular version or translation. In the IBS statement and news release, TWR is cited as one of the members of FBA that have issued the statement supporting TNIV's adherence to "established translation standards."

Trans World Radio does attend the FBA's annual meeting as an invited guest to serve in our role as representative/liaison for the international missionary broadcasting organizations who partner together in the "World By Radio" initiative. But TWR is not a member of the Forum. We are not involved in any way in discussions regarding the translation standards. Therefore, to say that TWR had a part in issuing statements defending any version/translation is inaccurate.

It is true that TWR has worked cooperatively and positively for years with a number of the FBA member organizations in our mutual commitment to distribute the Word of God through radio. Our calling is to make the Word of God available in each of the world's mega-languages spoken by more than one million people. Today, TWR airs programming in over 180 languages and dialects to listeners in more than 160 countries. But our commitment is not to any single translation, but to the best translation available in a given language, which allows us to most effectively minister in the heart language of the given people group.

Another organization listed on the IBS release is New Tribes Mission. A Religion Today reader who wrote to NTM regarding their stance received the following message: "Thank you for writing. No, New Tribes Mission does not belong to the FBA nor have we endorsed the TNIV translation. How our name gets put on lists we don't know but we are not involved with this organization. Thank you for asking."

Minister Risks Jail to Read Bible Near Abortion Clinic ... CNS News -- A Washington D.C. Presbyterian minister and director of the pro-life Christian Defense Coalition, said he is willing to risk a six month jail sentence in order to read biblical scripture in front of a Washington abortion clinic. Rev. Patrick Mahoney said he plans to violate a 1998 federal court injunction that requires abortion protesters to stay at least 20 feet away from the entrances to abortion clinics. The injunction was originally issued by Judge Gladys Kessler of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. But Mahoney blames U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft for asking that the order be upheld. Mahoney said he plans to challenge Ashcroft and the law today at the site of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Washington.

"I'm going to pray and read scripture 25 feet [away] on the public sidewalk. I am then going to move within 10 feet, which would be in the 20 foot zone and do the exact same thing," Mahoney said. "We feel that the only way to deal with this is to peacefully go out and exercise our First Amendment rights, even though we know we may be facing six months in jail." Mahoney said Ashcroft's decision to try to keep abortion protesters outside a certain buffer zone stunned Kessler, because the judge, according to Mahoney, had earlier accused the attorney general of trying to placate the "pro-choice movement. There's no other explanation. We were hoping that this Department of Justice would not politicize abortion. We hoped that this Department of Justice would protect the First Amendment and protect the free speech rights of American citizens. We were absolutely stunned that Attorney General Ashcroft submitted this," said Mahoney.

Presbyterian Church In America Elects Joseph Ryan Moderator ... The Presbyterian Church in America's 30th General Assembly elected the Rev. Joseph "Skip" Ryan moderator at its opening convocation on Tuesday evening. Ryan, pastor of Park Cities Presbyterian Church in Dallas, Texas, was elected moderator of the 300,000-member denomination on the first ballot. Over 1,600 delegates are attending the PCA General Assembly, which is meeting at the 3,500-member Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Alabama.

Ryan has been pastor of the 5,000-member Park Cities Presbyterian Church since 1992. Previous to that he was the pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville, Va. In accepting the position of moderator, Ryan said, "The world is watching our common union-a family in the Lord Jesus. Let me urge us to express this common union by the way we talk to one another, and in this way to express that we are brothers."

Steve Fox, the retiring moderator, said at the opening session: "The PCA was built on the Word of God and we need to renew ourselves to this commitment...God called us to be a church of the Word." He also exhorted the Assembly: "The only solution and the only answer to the sin of the world is the plan God gave us in Jesus. No other plan will do. The temptation to present another message is great, but we have only one message. It is all about Jesus alone."

Nepal: Believers from Kirat People Group Threatened ... Believers among the Kirat people group in Eastern Nepal are being threatened by radical, non-believing members of their own community, according to the "Mission Insider" report from Christian Aid. Through the efforts of native Nepali missionaries in the early 1990s, a church was planted among the Kirat people in the Himalayas of Eastern Nepal. A church building was constructed with Christian Aid's help in 1995.

According to Sarla Mahara, Christian Aid's Nepal Director, the Kirat are neither Hindu nor Buddhist. "They don't come under any of the four major castes of Hinduism," she said, "neither are they classed as 'untouchables.' They bury the dead like Muslims, but they are primarily shamanists. They used to observe Hindu festivals, but a recent movement among them called the Khambuwan is seeking to discourage identification with Hinduism and to develop their own identity."

Church members from that remote area now have sent word that the Khambuwan has sided with the Maoists, who have been seeking to disrupt the country in order to gain control. Members of the church say that the Khambuwan have threatened to demolish the new church building and kill the believers if they continue to practice their faith. "This could easily happen," Sarla said, "since there is no easy access to the area and postal mail and telephone are not available there, either. Prayer is our best defense." (