Religion Today Summaries - June 6, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - June 6, 2006

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

  • University Profs in New Report Agree: An Educated Person Needs to Know about the Bible
  • Episcopalians Consider Giving Reparations to Black Members
  • Going to Church by Staying at Home: Living Room Services Seen as a Growing Trend
  • New Film to Prove Accuracy of Bible?

University Profs in New Report Agree: An Educated Person Needs to Know about the Bible

A new national report, funded by the John Templeton Foundation, entitled Bible Literacy Report II: What University Professors Say Incoming Students Need to Know, revealed that English professors surveyed at leading universities -- including Yale, Harvard, Princeton and Stanford -- agreed that “regardless of a person’s faith, an educated person needs to know about the Bible.” Released June 1st by the Bible Literacy Project at an academic symposium on the Bible at Baylor University, the report surveyed 39 English professors at 34 top U.S. colleges and universities, who said that knowledge of the Bible is a deeply important part of a good education. “The virtual unanimity and depth of their responses on this question were striking,” said Dr. Marie Wachlin, researcher and author of the Bible Literacy Report II. “The Bible is not only a sacred scripture to millions of Americans,” Wachlin explained, “it is also arguably, as one professor put it, the most influential text in all of Western culture.”

Episcopalians Consider Giving Reparations to Black Members

At its national convention beginning June 13, the Episcopal Church is expected to approve a resolution expressing regret for supporting slavery and segregation, according to an AP report. However, when a second resolution calling for a study of possible reparations for black Episcopalians comes up, the debate could become heated. The church, already divided on the issue of homosexuality, is struggling over whether reparations would be a meaningful gesture 141 years after the Civil War ended. The Rev. Harold T. Lewis, a black priest and rector of Calvary Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh, called the idea of reparations outrageous and impractical. "The better thing to do is to talk about how we can work to eradicate racism and how we can fight to eliminate economic disparities regardless of racism," said Lewis, the denomination's former longtime staff officer for black ministries.

Going to Church by Staying at Home: Living Room Services Seen as a Growing Trend

An article in the Washington Post indicates a growing number of Christians across the country are moving to home churches -- both as a way to create personal connections in the age of the megachurch and as a return to the blueprint of the Christian church spelled out in the New Testament. Estimates vary widely for a movement that is by design informal and decentralized, but the consensus among home-churchers is that they are part of a growing trend. The Barna Group estimates that since 2000, more than 20 million Americans have begun exploring alternative forms of worship, including home churches, workplace ministries and online faith communities. Members might meet several times during the week, and church can continue over coffee at Starbucks or during a biblical discussion at a family barbecue.

New Film to Prove Accuracy of Bible?

As recent films The Passion of the Christ and The Da Vinci Code have reignited the public's interest in matters of faith, a newly completed movie could go far beyond the impact of both blockbusters, WorldNetDaily reports. The two-hour feature documentary Exodus has been in the making for five years, and is expected to be released in the spring of 2007, potentially verifying the historical accuracy of much of the Bible. It will attempt to uncover Joseph's predicted seven years of famine in Egypt; the accounts of Moses, including the plagues on Egypt and the parting of the Red Sea (could those be photos of chariot wheels on the sea floor?); and the giving of the Ten Commandments, which the filmmakers believe did not happen at Mt. Sinai, but at a mountain in Saudi Arabia that today is heavily guarded. "We have been at places no one else has ever been. We have found things no one else has ever found," said Dr. Lennart Moller, a Swedish DNA researcher at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.