Religion Today Summaries - July 12, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - July 12, 2006

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

  • PC(USA) Assembly Blasted for Trashing the Trinity, Other 'Crazy' Decisions
  • Survey: Jesus Is Cool But His Church Is Not
  • Nigeria: Islamic Violence Paralyzes Teenager, Churches
  • New Survey Studies Clergy and Laity's Christian Media Use

PC(USA) Assembly Blasted for Trashing the Trinity, Other 'Crazy' Decisions

A conservative minister says the Presbyterian Church (USA) did more than alter a major doctrine of the Christian faith at its recent convention, AgapePress reports. According to one Presbyterian Lay Committee member, a number of "crazy" actions took place at the denomination's meeting last month in Birmingham, Alabama. At the recent 217th General Assembly meeting, PC(USA) commissioners voted to allow the denomination's churches to use the phrase "compassionate mother, beloved child, and life-giving womb" instead of "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" when referring to the Trinity. This was just one of the 12 phrases approved by the Assembly as permissible substitutions for the traditional names of the Godhead, another being "rock, cornerstone, and temple." When one California pastor was asked how he felt about the new terminology for the Trinity, he told the Los Angeles Times newspaper, "You might as well put in Huey, Dewey, and Louie." That minister is not alone in his sentiments -- another conservative Presbyterian theologian and pastor is similarly expressing disgust at what he describes as the denomination's move to "alter a major doctrine of the Christian faith." Pastor Parker T. Williamson, CEO of the Presbyterian Lay Committee, says the PC(USA) is showing contempt for historic church teaching with these substitutions.

Survey: Jesus Is Cool But His Church Is Not

ASSIST News Service is reporting that Jesus is cool but his Church is not - in the minds of Dunedin, New Zealand people who don’t normally step foot in the door. This was one of the findings of a research project carried out by Dunedin City Baptist, which conducted three focus groups to discover the perceptions and experiences of the general population. Staff worker Mike Simpson says the project based the research on a similar survey carried out by the Bible Society of New South Wales, which was subsequently used as a basis for the “Jesus. All about Life” campaign, which is running across Australia. The Australian focus groups found that the Church is associated with intolerance, hypocrisy and a lack of acceptance. But Jesus "was to a large degree separated from all of these things... many people indicated that they believed Jesus himself would reject the rule-bound, prescriptive, rigid and doctrinaire behaviors and attitudes that they themselves had rejected in their separation from involvement in formalized religion."

Nigeria: Islamic Violence Paralyzes Teenager, Churches

For two years Francis Yohanna Anche, 15, has been suffering from a brain injury he sustained when Muslim students in his high school in Zaria city attacked Christian students. His right hand and leg are still paralyzed from a machete cut to his head. Muslim students at the Government Science Secondary School-Kufena, Anche told Compass Direct, had written a letter on June 24, 2004 warning Christian students that they should stop worshipping in the school’s chapel or else face their wrath. Seven other Christian students also sustained injuries in this attack. Christian leaders in Kaduna describe the state as the nerve-center of Islamic extremism, where many religious conflicts in northern Nigeria originate and spread to other parts of Nigeria.

New Survey Studies Clergy and Laity's Christian Media Use

A new study cited by AgapePress shows that while Christian media is being used quite often, there is plenty of room for growth in terms of churches making full use of the media resources available to them. A survey conducted by Phoenix-based Ellison Research showed that most people attending Protestant churches use Christian media. The study found that among Protestant laypeople, 78 percent listen to Christian music, 64 percent watch Christian television, 64 percent listen to Christian radio, and 55 percent watch Christian movies. Ron Seller, president of Ellison Research, says the study demonstrates the wide reach of Christian media and proves that the Christian media niche is "definitely big business" in general. "There are huge corporate conglomerates that are publishing Christian books, releasing Christian albums, et cetera," he observes. The study revealed that clergy use Christian media even more than laypeople. For instance, among pastors and ministers, he says, 94 percent listen to Christian music, 92 percent read Christian nonfiction books, and 84 percent listen to Christian radio.