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Religion Today Summaries - June 27, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - June 27, 2007

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

  • New Orleans Seminary Back on Track, Thanks to Prayers, Volunteers
  • Focus on the Family, Dobson Disagree over Evan Almighty
  • Another “Darfur” in Northern Sudan?
  • Egyptian Copts Appeal Religious Identity Ruling

New Orleans Seminary Back on Track

OneNewsNow.com reports that life is returning to normal at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Ken Gabrielse, chairman of the seminary's church music division says the school is faring better than many parts of the city. NOBTS was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. Virtually every building flooded. But volunteers and crews have helped rebuild and refurbish the seminary. Students are in residence and classes resumed last year. Gabrielse says work throughout the city is slow, however: "The number of people back, the number of contractors back, the number of workers back -- there's just not enough to go around. And then, you talk about the city government, there's still a lot of problems there, there's no doubt about it."

Focus on the Family, Dobson Disagree over Evan Almighty

Plugged In Online, the movie review site of Focus on the Family, has given the new film Evan Almighty a positive review. However, ministry leader Dr. James Dobson follows Plugged In's review with one of his own, which states: “I almost always agree with the opinions and recommendations the Plugged In team offers, because we draw our views from the same Judeo-Christian system of values. Occasionally, however, good men and women see things differently." The varying opinions even within the same ministry merely echo the at-large response of Christians to the movie. On one side are those who appreciate Evan Almighty's positivity and relative cleanness, while also wanting to encourage studios to make more films with faith-based themes. On the flip side are those in Dobson's camp, discouraged over issues with the film's theology and human-esque God character: “'God,' played charmingly by Morgan Freeman, told the new Noah character that the first flood occurred because the people hadn’t done enough 'acts of random kindness' (as in A.R.K. Get it?). God destroyed the world and its inhabitants, the contemporary god said, not to punish a wicked and perverse generation as we read in Genesis 6, but as a benign object lesson to encourage people to be nicer to each other. It was bad theology and a radical distortion of Scripture."

Another “Darfur” in Northern Sudan?

Northern Sudan may see similar violence as the Western Province Darfur, where mounted Arabic militia harass local communities, ASSIST News Service reports. The German mission agency Evangeliumsgemeinschaft Mittlerer Osten (Gospel Community Middle East) is concerned that a similar fate to Darfur's slaughter may be in store for two million Nubians who live mainly in Southern Egypt and Northern Sudan. The Nubians are worried that a new reservoir near Dongola will deprive them of even more of their land. They already lost a lot of their subsistence to the Egyptian High Dam near Aswan, which forms the biggest reservoir reaching more than 300 miles into Sudan.

Egyptian Copts Appeal Religious Identity Ruling

Egypt’s Supreme Administrative Court heard a final appeal last week for 45 Coptic Christian citizens who were denied their attempt to legally reclaim their Christian identities after officially converting to Islam, Compass Direct News reports. All 45 plaintiffs have declared they want to return to their Christian faith. Coptic lawyer Naguib Gabriel told the court last week that a lower administrative court’s April ruling against his 45 clients’ joint-action suit had “embarrassed the Egyptian government at an international level.” The state refusal “says that the government is forcing people to embrace beliefs against their free will,” Gabriel said. “It is forcing them according to their official papers to belong to a religion they don’t believe in.”