Religion Today Summaries, June 9, 2004

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries, June 9, 2004

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

  • El Salvador Fertile Soil for the Gospel of Christ, Missionary Says 
  • Female Bishop Propses Funerals for Aborted Children 
  • Pro-Family Group Beats Beantown Bureaucracy, Wins Protest Permit 
  • 'Maker's Diet' Takes Entrepreneur From Near Death to Vital Health

El Salvador Fertile Soil for the Gospel of Christ, Missionary Says
Allie Martin, Agape Press

A Mississippi resident who has served as a missionary to El Salvador for nearly 20 years says residents of the Central American nation are hungry for the true gospel. In 1985, Bob Kendrick took a trip to El Salvador, saw a need for evangelism, and responded. Now -- almost 20 years later -- Kendrick Ministries operates a Baptist Bible institute and a radio station, and oversees numerous crusades and outreach efforts in the predominantly Catholic country. Kendrick explains that the environment in El Salvador is ideal for planting seeds of faith. "For the most part, the door is just wide open; the people are very receptive to the gospel," he says. "I've not really faced any opposition or even had anyone speak rudely to me in almost twenty years down there. They're grateful that someone's down there trying to help them."According to Kendrick, often it is easier to preach the gospel in public places in the Central American nation than it is in the United States -- and that despite "cultural differences," the message of the gospel never changes. He explains that he is able to present the gospel in public schools, parks, and other settings without any restrictions. Kendrick, who lives in Laurel, Mississippi, spends eight to nine months of the year in El Salvador.

Female Bishop Proposes Funerals for Aborted Children
Wolfgang Polzer, Agape Press

A German Protestant church leader has called for funerals for stillborn and aborted children. "If we argue in the debate about genetic engineering that an embryo is a rudimentary human being then the weight in ounces cannot determine whether a person may have a burial or not," said Margot Kaessmann, Lutheran Bishop of Hanover, in her report to the synod of her church. Especially women who have undergone an abortion and are mourning their lost child would welcome a place of remembrance. "Where do they find room to express their grief often in the face of condemnation and their own guilty feelings?" asked the 46-year-old Bishop. The mother wants Christians to express more love and less contempt for those women. Bishop Kaessmann, leader of 3.2 million church members, encouraged Christians to talk more openly and clearly about death and the Christian resurrection message. In this way they could oppose tendencies to legalize death on demand. Funerals, she said, are unique evangelistic opportunities. "If we speak authentically and credibly about our resurrection hope than this message can not only provide comfort but also bring forth the power of faith in the lives of the listeners."

Pro-Family Group Beats Beantown Bureaucracy, Wins Protest Permit
Bill Fancher, Agape Press

The Christian Defense Coalition has whipped the City of Boston in a battle over the right to protest during the Democratic National Convention. When coalition director Pat Mahoney tried to get permits to demonstrate during the convention, he found both the application procedure and the opportunity to protest tightly controlled. The group's demonstration plans were dealt a severe blow by the city's restrictive permit process and regulations, which is why Mahoney says the coalition sought a remedy through litigation. "We immediately went into federal court to seek injunctive relief against the city of Boston," Mahoney says, "and to the city's credit, they immediately contacted us and said, 'is it possible for us to settle this?'" The coalition's leader agreed to the negotiation request and the sides sat down. "We began an extensive process and dialogue with the City of Boston," he says. When it was all over, the city had entirely revised the process for getting a permit to demonstrate and had given in to every demand made by the Christian Defense Coalition. Mahoney called the episode a great victory for the First Amendment.

'Maker's Diet' Takes Entrepreneur From Near Death to Vital Health
Charisma News Service

A diet derived from the Bible saved Jordan Rubin's life, but now the alternative-health expert is helping thousands rejuvenate their own health. Released recently, his book, "The Maker's Diet," debuted on the "New York Times" best sellers list. The entrepreneur also serves as personal nutritionist to popular author and pastor Charles Stanley, who said that Rubin "has made a significant difference in my life." "I had been praying for over a year that God would show me a health plan that was based on the Bible and proven by science," Stanley wrote in the forward of Rubin's book. "I have personally been following 'The Maker's Diet' and have noticed an immediate improvement in my own health. I have never felt better in my life." "We believe that God owns our spirits, but yet we can put whatever we want into our bodies," Rubin, 29, said. "We can't continue to break God's principles of diet and think that God is going to miraculously save us from illness," he added. At age 20, doctors diagnosed Rubin with Crohn's disease. After seeking the Bible for nutritional help, Rubin says, "for the first time in my long battle, I saw some improvement in my health." The program that Rubin developed became the foundation for "The Maker's Diet." That Rubin's diet is based largely upon Old Testament dietary principles poses a problem for some Christians, who argue that the program smacks of legalism.