Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world. In today's edition:
- Teens & Creation/Evolution: Most See God's Handiwork
- "Live Your Purpose, Change Your World"
- Chinese Christians React to New Religious Regulations
- 'Extreme' Venues Offer Evangelist Prime Witnessing Opportunities
Teens & Creation/Evolution: Most See God's Handiwork
Michael Foust, Baptist Press
America's public schools may be teaching evolution, but a significant number of teenagers aren't buying it, and an overwhelming majority of them believe that God one way or another was involved in the creation of humanity, according to a new Gallup poll. The poll of 1,028 teenagers ages 13-17 found that 38 percent don't believe in evolution, believing instead that "God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so." Another 43 percent believe that humans "developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided" the process. All total, 81 percent believe that God was somehow involved. Only 18 percent believe that evolution took place without God playing a role. The Gallup poll of teenagers, released March 8, was based on telephone interviews and was conducted Jan. 17 to Feb. 6. In a Gallup poll of adults last November, 45 percent said they believed in creationism while 38 percent believed that God guided the process of evolution. Only 13 percent of adults said they believed that evolution occurred without God's guidance. The Gallup poll of adults was based on telephone interviews with 1,016 adults Nov. 7-10.
"Live Your Purpose, Change Your World"
A coalition of ministries is joining forces to encourage believers in America to plant new churches. The Massive Surge Network, an organization that helps in the planting of new churches in America and around the world, has produced green wristbands with the message "Live Your Purpose, Change Your World." Chris Browne with the Massive Surge Network says organizers were looking for a way to encourage others to fulfill the Great Commission and plant New Testament churches and came up with the idea of the bracelets. "We were sitting around talking about what color should they be a few months ago," he recalls. "We were actually sitting in a car after our meeting, and the stoplight changed, and the guy in the back seat said, 'Hey -- green means go.' And we thought, 'You know what? That really sums up the idea of what we want to communicate' -- is that, as Christians, as believers, we are all commanded to go. Our mission field is right where we are, wherever we work or live, our family, our circle of influence, but it also is around the world." The Massive Surge Network is partnering with the JESUS Film project and Dynamic Church Planters International.
Chinese Christians React to New Religious Regulations
On March 1, China adopted the new Regulations on Religious Affairs, first announced by the government in December 2004. The government claims the new regulations are a step towards religious freedom. However, registration has long been a source of tension and debate in China. Unregistered churches oppose registration mainly on two grounds. First, they believe Christ rather than any political body is the head of the Christian church. Second, registered churches are subject to much tighter control over administration, church activities, and the ordination and training of leaders. Protestant house church members also object to the political theology of the government-controlled Three Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM), which oversees the activities of registered Protestant churches. Finally, the suffering experienced by the church during the Cultural Revolution has left many Christians with a lingering distrust of the government. The new regulations have already sparked vigorous debate among house church leaders. Some younger house church leaders are optimistic and say they will register, while an older generation of leaders -- those who survived the Cultural Revolution -- maintain suspicion of the government and are less likely to register. However, legal scholars say the law is vague, reinforces government control of religion and increases penalties for unregistered churches.
'Extreme' Venues Offer Evangelist Prime Witnessing Opportunities
Allie Martin, Agape Press
A new resource is available for Christians who want to be bolder in their witnessing efforts. Last summer, Mark Cahill headed to the annual "Gay Pride" festival in Atlanta and spoke to hundreds of people about their beliefs regarding heaven and hell, God, and the afterlife. Cahill released the DVD of his conversations titled "Pride Goes Before Destruction: Witnessing on the Streets of Atlanta." The former Auburn University basketball player says regardless of a person's sexual orientation, he uses the same strategy when witnessing. "Just because someone's sin might be different than our sin or something like that, you do get to the main point -- and the main point is we're sinners," Cahill says. "One of the things we try to do is kind of go to an extreme place, so to speak, so [others] can watch and then ask: 'If those guys can go to a gay and lesbian festival in Atlanta, who can't I share my faith with?' "So we try to do this so people can be encouraged and know that if they'll talk with us there, who won't really challenge us in a crazy world with tsunami waves and Johnny Carson dying and an Iraq war." Cahill says it is "an interesting world for lost people" because they are really looking for a lot of hope. "We have that blessed hope in Jesus Christ," he says.