Religion Today Summaries - February 7, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - February 7, 2005

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

  • France's Evangelical Churches Face Bureaucratic Hurdles

  • Creationist: Atheist Philosopher Has Taken a Small Step Towards Truth

  • Respected Religious Leader Joins Advisory Board of the Alliance for Marriage 

  • Muslim Militants Target Expelled Christian Students

France's Evangelical Churches Face Bureaucratic Hurdles
Eva Cahen,

Evangelical churches in France, part of a growing Christian movement worldwide, are encountering growing administrative difficulties as the country re-examines its secular principles. The French Protestant Federation said it must frequently intervene to protest official actions that could be considered attacks on religious freedom but were more likely the result of ignorance. Because of France's Catholic traditions, explained federation president Jean-Arnold de Clermont, public officials consider legitimate only those religions which have a recognized head, like a bishop, and a recognized service, like the Mass. Anything that differed from that pattern was regarded as a sect. A French magazine last year declared in a headline article that evangelical churches were sects and criticized what it said was the use of religion as a political tool in the United States. Nonetheless, de Clermont rejected the view that freedom of religion was under attack in France. The French Protestant Federation often is called upon to explain the specifics of the widely diverse Protestant movement to government authorities. At a recent meeting of religious leaders called by the Ministry of the Interior to discuss anti-Semitism, a Reformed Church pastor discovered that he was the sole representative of the Protestant faith, attending along with a Catholic bishop, a Muslim cleric and a Jewish rabbi. He had to inform the officials that they should also have considered inviting Lutheran, evangelicals and other Protestant representatives to participate in the discussions.

Creationist: Atheist Philosopher Has Taken a Small Step Towards Truth
Mary Rettig, AgapePress

A lecturer with Answers in Genesis, a creation apologetics group, says a recent declaration of belief in intelligent design by a former atheist is a move in the right direction. Antony Flew, a British philosopher who was a leading champion for atheism for more than 50 years, said in an article published last month that he has changed his earlier beliefs about the origins of the cosmos. He went on to explain that he now believes the universe was created by some sort of intelligent being. The philosopher concluded that life is simply too complex to have just happened and, therefore, must have had a creator. Dr. Terry Mortenson of Answers in Genesis is pleased that the well-known former atheist now believes in intelligent design. But he says despite the realizations Flew acknowledged in his article, the philosopher cannot be called a creationist just yet. Flew fails to reject Darwinism, but rather states that he still "accepts Darwinian evolution and the origin of all the different species from a common ancestor. What he doesn't accept any longer is that the first living cell came into existence by chance." Mortenson says while Flew may say he believes in God, he obviously does not believe in the true God of the Bible or in the Bible's account of creation, since he labels himself a deist -- someone who believes God is not actively involved with his creation.

Respected Religious Leader Joins Advisory Board of the Alliance for Marriage

Dr. Alberto Mottesi, one of the most prominent and respected religious leaders in the Spanish speaking world, has recently joined the Advisory Board of the Alliance for Marriage (AFM). Mottesi's radio program is transmitted some 1,200 times daily throughout the United States, Spain, and Latin America, and his public rallies are among the largest mass-meeting movements in the history of the Hispanic world. In fact, the Christian leader is widely referred to as "Latin America's Billy Graham" and has also become known in recent years for his ministry to presidents, governors, and politicians in all Latin American countries, where the press often refers to him as "the Pastor of Presidents." AFM is a non-profit research and education organization dedicated to promoting marriage and addressing the epidemic of fatherless families in the United States. The Alliance works to educate the public, the media, elected officials, and civil society leaders on the benefits of traditional marriage for children, adults and society, and to promote reforms designed to strengthen the institution of marriage and restore a culture of married fatherhood in America.

Muslim Militants Target Expelled Christian Students
Obed Minchakpu, Compass Direct

Muslim militants pronounced a death sentence on five Christian students expelled from public schools in November for conducting an evangelistic outreach. The families of two of the students, Miss Hanatu Haruna Alkali and Abraham Adamu Misal, were attacked on January 26 when militants went to their family homes intending to kill them. Alkali and Misal escaped harm but are now in hiding. The location of the other three students is unknown. Muslim leaders in Bauchi claimed the student outreach was "meant to deliberately provoke the Muslims" and declared their support for the activities of the Muslim militants. On January 25, Muslim leaders in Bauchi held a press conference.  Alhaji Muhammad Dan Madami, who led the conference, said the Muslim leaders opposed the reinstatement of the Christian students and supported the activities of the Muslim militants. They called on all Muslims to be prepared to defend their religion "The incidents [Christian evangelism outreach to Muslim students] in both ATBU and Federal Polytechnic Bauchi were meant to deliberately provoke the Muslims," Madami said. Therefore, all Muslims must be prepared to defend their religion "and the person and good name of the prophet of Islam, Mohammed, at all times."