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Religion Today Summaries - July 24, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - July 24, 2007

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

  • New Documentary Challenges Idea of Islam as a Peaceful Religion
  • Evangelist Tammy Faye Bakker Messner Dies
  • U.S. Cardinal: Vatican Document on 'The Church' Doesn't Diminish other Faith Communities
  • Baptist Mission Board Appoints 84 New Missionaries

New Documentary Challenges Idea of Islam as a Peaceful Religion

OneNewsNow.com reports that Bryan Daly and Gregory M. Davis, directors of a new documentary on Islam, aim to convince the Western world that Islam is not a peaceful religion hijacked by a few radical fanatics. Islam: What the West Needs to Know features interviews with many experts on Islam. According to Daly, there are obviously peace-loving, non-violent Muslims; however, there is no peaceful Islam. "Islam is primarily not a religion but a political ideology," Daly says. "And this political ideology is not peaceful but explicitly expansionary. Allah demands that the world comes under his law and [that] Muslims must fight to institute that law over the world." Muslims who do not engage in jihad (or expansion of Islam)... "are not following Islam," Daly said.

Evangelist Tammy Faye Bakker Messner Dies

ASSIST News Service reports that Tammy Faye Bakker Messner, 65, the former televangelist and Christian singer, died Friday morning of inoperable cancer. CNN's Larry King was the bearer of the news Saturday night. King said the family had asked him to make the delayed announcement. Messner was a guest on CNN’s "Larry King Live" on Thursday. She told him she couldn't swallow food, and weighed only 65 pounds. King said the family postponed the death announcement for a day so family members could gather. "The family appreciates all of the well wishes of so many people," King said on CNN. "Our family is deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Tammy Faye," her former husband Jim Bakker said in a statement on his web site. "She lived her life like the song she sang, ‘If Life Hands You a Lemon, Make Lemonade.’" After Messner divorced Bakker, to whom she was married for more than 30 years, she married former PTL contractor Roe Messner in 1993. She underwent surgery for colon cancer in 1996. In 2004, she revealed that the disease had spread to her lungs, and in May 2007 announced that her doctors had stopped trying to treat the illness. Asked by King what she would most like to be remembered for, CNN reported Messner replied, "well, my eyelashes." Messner was known for her use of heavy makeup. From 1966 to 1973, the Bakkers co-hosted "The 700 Club." They began The PTL Club in 1974 and later expanded it into a television network.

U.S. Cardinal: Vatican Document on 'The Church' Doesn't Diminish other Faith Communities

Catholic News Service reports that "the recent Vatican document emphasizing that only the Catholic Church possesses the fullness of the means for salvation was created primarily as an instructional tool for Catholics and should not be read as a diminishing of other faith communities, according to the churchman who signed it. On the contrary, said Cardinal William J. Levada, who heads the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which issued the document July 10, the narrative itself points out that 'outside the Catholic Church elements of holiness and truth do exist and that the Holy Spirit is working in those other communities and churches as well.'" The Cardinal said he has been "somewhat surprised" at the amount of "ecumenical commentary" the document has generated. "It is primarily a document addressed to Catholics as believers and teachers and is intended to clarify the teachings of the Second Vatican Council," he said, "especially the teaching on the nature of the church."

Baptist Mission Board Appoints 84 New Missionaries

On July 17 during a service at Grove Avenue Baptist Church in Richmond, before a crowd of approximately 1,100 people, Jerry Rankin, president of the Southern Baptist International Mission Board, reminded 84 newly-commissioned missionaries how God converted and called a Jewish rabbi. That rabbi became the Apostle Paul, who God named to begin the process of taking the Gospel to the world. "It was God's timing for the Gospel to break out of the narrow Jewish context… and spread to the ends of the earth," Rankin said. Paul had a vision to go to far-off regions, and he had a passion for those who had never heard the Gospel. Baptist Press reports that Rankin challenged the 84 new missionaries to learn to speak the language of their people groups and to rely on the Lord as they minister. He encouraged them to trust God for results as they disciple new believers and train leaders. He advised them to implement an exit strategy so new believers would not become dependent on them. And finally, he urged them to return and report to their sending churches.