Bush's Fourth, Wayne Pederson, Christian Media & Ethiopia

Bush's Fourth, Wayne Pederson, Christian Media & Ethiopia

In Today's Edition:
  • Bush Blends Patriotism, Religion on Fourth
  • Wayne Pederson to Join Mission America Coalition
  • Persecution Strikes Close to Home in Ethiopia
  • Christian Mass Media Reaches Adults in Surprising Numbers
  • Sudan's Civil War Reaching Critical Point

Bush Blends Patriotism, Religion on Fourth

According to a report in The Los Angeles Times, President Bush "imbued the Fourth of July with the aura of a religious holiday." Speaking to a crowd gathered in front of a county courthouse in West Virginia, the president "delivered a message of American unity in the face of attack, vowed the use of massive military might around the world and steeped it all in the cadences of a country preacher," the Times noted. "We're thankful for our freedom, the freedom declared by our Founding Fathers, defended by many generations and granted to each one of us by Almighty God," Bush said.

Ripley, W.V., provided Bush with an audience that was very receptive to a religious message, according to The LA Times. Mayor Roy Guthrie told the crowd, "God gave us the greatest country in the world." And when Bush and those in attendance recited the Pledge of Allegiance, the words 'under God' "boomed out from hundreds and hundreds of throats, in spontaneous rebuke to the U.S. appellate court ruling last week that those two words make the pledge unconstitutional because it melds the roles of church and state," said the Times. Bush concluded that "no authority of government can ever prevent an American from pledging allegiance to this one nation under God."

Wayne Pederson To Join Mission America Coalition

Calling it a "perfect fit" of passion and ministry, Dr. Paul Cedar, chairman of the Mission America Coalition announced this week that Rev. Wayne Pederson will join Mission America part-time beginning Aug. 1 as Chief Operating Officer, moving to full-time January 1, 2003. In his new position, Pederson will be responsible for strategic planning, leadership of the ministry team, networking and operations matters.

Pederson says since leaving NRB in February, he and his wife Norma "have sought God's direction for the next dimension of ministry He has for us." He believes that beginning this new opportunity with Mission America allows him "to focus on my primary calling to evangelism, discipleship and renewal, using partnering relationships to more effectively reach this generation and the next with the Good News. My experience in the use of media (ministry and mainstream) will be an important tool to help accomplish the Mission America vision."

Pederson is the recent past president and COO of National Religious Broadcasters. He has also served as Chairman/CEO of the National Religious Broadcasters and Executive Vice President for Radio at Northwestern College. Most recently, he has worked as lead consultant for The Gospel Music Association/National Christian Radio Alliance and a consultant to media ministries and college-owned radio stations on programming, fundraising, strategic planning.

Mission America is a coalition of some 450 national Christian leaders who have come together to mobilize the Church for prayer and evangelism. Honorary co-chairs of the Coalition are Dr. Bill Bright (Campus Crusade for Christ), Dr. Billy Graham (Billy Graham Evangelistic Association) and Dr. John Perkins (Christian Community Development Association).

Persecution Strikes Close to Home in Ethiopia

On June 20, Mehret, a 28-year-old believer in Ethiopia, was severely beaten with sticks and an axe and left for dead by his brothers and relatives because of his faith. According to a source for The Voice of the Martyrs, even his own mother joined in the attack, which took place in Gimjabet Mariam. After beating him unconscious, they left him for dead and then completely destroyed his house and stole his belongings. After lying on the road for an hour, Mehret was taken to the hospital by local Christians. He is still under medical care and his wife and two children are being sheltered by a Christian family.

Those who assaulted Mehret are members of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, which has frequently been unsympathetic toward those who convert to evangelical Christianity.

The Voice of the Martyrs recently released a video titled "Gathering the Scattered" that documents the persecution facing evangelicals in Ethiopia. To order this free video online, go to the "Free Materials" section of the VOM online catalogue at www.persecution.net/catalog.htm or you can email your request (with mailing address) to [email protected]

Christian Mass Media Reaches Adults in Surprising Numbers

(Baptist Press) -- More adults experience the Christian faith through Christian media, such as radio, television or books, than by attending Christian churches, according to a new study by the Barna Research Group. The survey found that 63 percent of American adults attended a church service during the previous month, while 67 percent of Americans tuned in to Christian radio or television or read a Christian book other than the Bible.

Christian radio is the fastest-growing medium for spreading the faith, with slightly more than half the nation's adults saying they had tuned in to a Christian radio program of some type during the previous month. Also, the number of radio stations utilizing a Christian music format has made the Christian music genre one of the fastest-growing categories in the music industry during the past two years, according to researchers. Christian television draws a significant number of American adults as well, with 43 percent claiming to have watched some Christian programming on TV during the previous month.

Thirty-three percent of adults said they read a Christian book other than the Bible during the previous month. Several Christian titles, such as the "Left Behind" series by Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye, the Jabez series by Bruce Wilkerson, and business books by John Maxwell, are among the country's top-selling books.

Researchers were surprised to learn that 44 percent of Americans who are associated with a non-Christian faith were reached by Christian media in the prior month. One-third of those who described themselves as either "atheist" or "agnostic" admitted to listening, watching or reading something related to the Christian faith. Researcher George Barna observed that large numbers of the atheists, agnostics and adults aligned with non-Christian faiths intentionally absorb information from the Christian media in an effort to learn more about the faith. More information may be obtained at www.barna.org.

Sudan's Civil War Reaching Critical Point

From Mission Network News ... There are fears that Sudan's civil war has recently reached its deadliest phase. Civilian targets were hit this week by the Khartoum government, resulting in more casualties. The conditions have deteriorated to where security is despaired of by human rights groups. Voice of the Martyrs' Todd Nettleton said: "We're very concerned about the situation in south Sudan, particularly for the Christians there and for our workers, and other aid workers who are there. The situation right now is extremely unstable, and, in spite of all the good talk that we've heard from the government in northern Sudan, good action has not followed."

Nettleton said that despite the danger, they have not abandoned their project. "I think we definitely still choose to stand with the Christians in south Sudan who are being persecuted for their faith. Some of the changes we've made will enable us to stay focused on the Christians who are persecuted. Some of the things that we were formerly doing, we have turned over to the Sudanese people," he added.