Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 8, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 8, 2006

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

  • Remains of the Apostle Paul May Have Been Found
  • Survey: Young Adults Want Genuine Church
  • President-Elect of Christian Coalition Steps Down
  • Christians Sue University for Fraternity Recognition

Remains of the Apostle Paul May Have Been Found

The Associated Press reports that Vatican archaeologists have unearthed a sarcophagus believed to contain the remains of the Apostle Paul that had been buried beneath Rome's second largest basilica. The interior of the sarcophagus has not yet been explored, but project head Giorgio Filippi didn't rule out the possibility in the future. Two ancient churches that once stood at the site of the current basilica were successively built over the spot where tradition said Paul had been buried. The uncovered sarcophagus dates to at least 390 A.D.. The excavation project began in 2002 and was completed last month. The findings will be officially presented during a news conference at the Vatican on Monday.

Survey: Young Adults Want Genuine Church

The Christian Post reports that more studies are taking a closer look at young adults and are finding the church is having a fading influence in their lives. According to a new LifeWay survey, the primary factor is the church's inability to minister to young people during their transition stage. The survey measured people age 18 to 34 and found that this particular group's greatest need is community. But once they end high school, churches send them away to their next life stage without accountability. "After graduation, they (the church) give you a pat on the back and say, 'when you start a family, we'll be here for you,'" said one respondent. The need for community was further confirmed when 71 percent of young adult churchgoers said they want to participate in small-group meetings to discuss life application of Scripture. Social action also proved to be another essential element to this generation with 66 percent of churchgoers and 47 percent of non-churchgoers agreeing.

President-Elect of Christian Coalition Steps Down

The mega-church pastor elected as the next president of the Christian Coalition in July has stepped down after learning the moral advocacy organization is not open to expanding its platform into realms like global warming and poverty. Baptist Press reports that Joel C. Hunter of Northland Church in Longwood, Fla., decided Nov. 21 to part ways with the group after first believing they were interested in such change. He was expected to take over as president in January. “When we really got down to it, they said: ‘This just isn’t for us. It won’t speak to our base, so we just can’t go there,’” Hunter told The New York Times. Televangelist Pat Robertson founded the Christian Coalition in 1989 to represent the religious right in politics, and it has grown to more than 2 million members. Hunter is the author of a book titled “Right Wing, Wrong Bird: Why the Tactics of the Religious Right Won’t Fly With Most Conservative Christians,” in which he argues that a good portion of conservative Christians believe the religious groups that are supposed to represent them focus too much on moral issues and not enough on the environment and economy, The Times said. Roberta Combs, chairwoman of the Christian Coalition’s board, will continue as the organization’s president.

Christians Sue University for Fraternity Recognition

Christian lawyers have filed a federal lawsuit against the University of Georgia (UGA) after school officials refused to officially recognize a Christian fraternity, reports The university permits political party-affiliated groups to have a party membership requirement but won't allow a Christian group to require that its members be Christians. The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia Tuesday, states that members of the Beta Upsilon Chi fraternity "will suffer and continue to suffer irreparable harm to their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights," because the university has refused to recognize the group. The fraternity was recognized by the university during the 2005-2006 academic year, but recognition was revoked in 2006 because of the group's requirement that members profess Christian beliefs."