Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 18, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 18, 2007

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

  • VP of News Services for SBC Critiques 'New' Baptist Group
  • Police Raid Nest of Islamic Terrorists in Poso, Indonesia
  • Dallas Morning News Closes its Award-Winning Religion Section
  • Study: Most 'Evangelicals' Do Not Meet Criteria

VP of News Services for SBC Critiques 'New' Baptist Group

AgapePress reports former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton appeared together recently at the Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia, joining with some 40 Baptist groups' leaders to announce a meeting geared toward moderate Baptists, set for early next year. The meeting will focus on an emerging Baptist movement that will primarily address social issues such as poverty, pollution, lack of health care, and global religious and racial conflict. But Will Hall, vice president of news services for the Southern Baptist Convention, thinks the new coalition of moderate Baptists lines up rather neatly with talking points from the Democratic National Committee. He feels the timing of the two ex-presidents' announcement is suspect, and disputes the liberal leaders' claims that the Baptist denomination is negatively perceived.

Police Raid Nest of Islamic Terrorists in Poso, Indonesia

Compass Direct News reports that police in Central Sulawesi last Thursday (January 11) raided the home of one of 29 Islamic terrorists suspected of carrying out violent attacks on Christians. A suspect was killed in the raid – as was an Islamic teacher who was not a suspect. Four suspects were arrested, and a policeman was killed after the raid. “I heard several gun shots at around 5 a.m.,” Pastor Hanny Ticoalu of the local Pentecostal Church in Indonesia (GPdI) Parakletos congregation reported. “The raid took place only two kilometers from my home. But I did not go out to investigate; this kind of thing doesn’t surprise us anymore.”

Dallas Morning News Closes its Award-Winning Religion Section

According to Christianity Today, the Dallas Morning News' famed Religion coverage "will move to the Metro section." The move is seen as a cutback in religion coverage, though staff cutbacks happened quite some time ago. The section won the top prize for best section from the Religion Newswriters Association five out of six years running. Despite the change, news editor Bob Mong says the specialized reporting won't go away. "Our emphasis on religion's going to be strong. It'll be different, but it'll be good. We just didn't get any advertising support for it. The core writers we have for it will continue to be there, and the amount of space we devote will be adequate for what we need." Religion Newswriters Association executive director Debra Mason said in an organizational newsletter, "the Dallas news is ho-hum" because hundreds of daily newspapers do not and never have had religion sections.

Study: Most 'Evangelicals' Do Not Meet Criteria

The Christian Post reports that a relatively substantial number of people label themselves as evangelicals. But new research by The Barna Group found a much smaller number of people actually fit the criteria. The Barna Group charts criteria for what it calls "9-point evangelicals." But while 38 percent of the population accepts the label of evangelical, only eight percent of the population fits the 9-point criteria. Those questions are derived from the belief statement of the National Association of Evangelicals. The Barna study called the disparate results "staggering," as the implication is that self-proclaimed evangelicals would number 84 million versus 18 million 9-point evangelicals.