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Religion Today Summaries - Apr. 6, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Apr. 6, 2007

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

  • Virginia UMC Pastor Accepts Practicing Homosexual as Member
  • Justice in Indonesia’s Religious Conflicts Appears Uneven
  • Study Examines Why Adults Switch Churches
  • The Untold Story of the First English Settlers' Landing 400 Years Ago

Virginia UMC Pastor Accepts Practicing Homosexual as Member

An official with the Institute on Religion and Democracy believes the recent approval of an active homosexual for membership at a Virginia United Methodist church will force the denomination to take a closer look at its guidelines for church membership, OneNewsNow.com reports. Two years ago, minister Ed Johnson of South Hill United Methodist Church granted immediate church membership to a man who revealed he was living a homosexual relationship. The presiding bishop removed Johnson from his pulpit and moved him to another congregation. But now, the new pastor at South Hill has accepted the same homosexual man for membership. Mark Tooley of the IRD feels this case will challeng the church, calling it a chance "for us to confront what the liberal side of the church has been advocating, which is that church membership is a right to which everyone is entitled, because they believe in a gospel of what they call inclusiveness rather than in the gospel of what, I think, the orthodox would call divine calling."

Justice in Indonesia’s Religious Conflicts Appears Uneven

Justice dispensed in Indonesia’s religious conflicts seems to favor Muslims over Christians following relatively light sentences given to three Muslim extremists who beheaded three Christian teenagers in Poso, Compass Direct News reports. On March 21, Judge Udar Siregar sentenced Hasanuddin (who goes by a single name) to 20 years, and Irwanto Irano and Lilik Purnomo to 14 years each, for the murders. The men could have received the death sentence, but Siregar said he treated the defendants leniently because they confessed to the crime and expressed remorse. On Monday (April 2), less than two weeks after the verdict was handed down, 12 Christians went on trial for the murder of two Muslims. These murders took place during violent protests that followed the September 22, 2006 execution of Fabianus Tibo, Marinus Riwu and Dominggus da Silva – three Catholics whose roles in a 2000 Muslim massacre were far less clear than that of the extremists responsible for the beheadings. Authorities continue to debate the root cause of ongoing conflict in Central Sulawesi and the possible solutions.

Study Examines Why Adults Switch Churches

Generally, adults who change churches for reasons other than moving are more likely fleeing their previous church rather than being drawn to another, Baptist Press reports, citing a recent study listing the top 10 reasons for switching churches. 58 percent of respondents to the LifeWay Research survey said the greatest impact on their decision to switch churches was "my need/desire to leave my previous church." The other 42 percent left because of a desire to join their current church, the study reported. The study builds on LifeWay Research's 2006 study of the formerly churched, which explored the reasons adults stop going to church.

The Untold Story of the First English Settlers' Landing 400 Years Ago

This April marks the 400th anniversary of the founding of America. On April 29, 1607, English settlers made their first successful landing in North America. After a four-month voyage, a young Anglican chaplain, Robert Hunt, led a group ashore on what is now known as Cape Henry, Virginia, seeking God's blessing on the new land. Three days earlier, their landing party was attacked by Chesapeake Indians and suffered injuries. Upon returning to the ship, Chaplain Hunt suggested that the company regroup to pray for three days. Only after purifying their hearts and spirits did they make a second attempt. Upon reaching the beachhead, the settlers held a prayer service, planting a cross on the dunes, dedicating the new land to God's purposes and declaring that the Gospel would be carried to the entire world from those shores. Exactly 400 years later, top Christian leaders from across the country are gathering in Virginia Beach for a special conference leading up to the actual anniversary, April 29. On that date, prayer will be made for America... recommitting the nation to God's purposes.