Religion Today Summaries - March 2, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - March 2, 2007

Religion Today Summaries – March 2, 2007
Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

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

  • New Online Tool for Church Websites
  • 'Jesus Tomb' Filmmakers 'Should be Ashamed,' Archaeologist Claims
  • India: 'Anti-Conversion' Laws Linked to Higher Persecution
  • Author Philip Yancey Survives Automobile Accident

New Online Tool for Church Websites

A new online self-assessment tool from the Internet Evangelism Day team enables churches to develop and improve their websites. This year's web evangelism focus day is set for April 29. The new resource seeks to answer the question: "Does your church's website communicate to outsiders as well as to the members?" A church site is the congregation's 'shop window' to its community. To fulfill this function well, it must be enticing, people-centered and easily understood by outsiders. Unfortunately, many churches are unsure how to achieve this vital mix. So the Internet Evangelism Day team has produced a series of questions to highlight areas of websites which may need development. "Week in, week out, more visitors turn up at our church on a Sunday because of the website, than anything else," writes one growing church in London. The Internet Evangelism Day ('IE Day') site also explains other types of online evangelism, such as outreach websites, video clips, blogging and podcasts.

'Jesus Tomb' Filmmakers 'Should be Ashamed,' Archaeologist Claims

The makers of a new documentary detailing the supposed discovery of Jesus' tomb should be ashamed of the inconsistencies and unscientific evidence they are reporting in the film, said the archeologist who oversaw the initial dig, reports. Nevertheless, said Amos Kloner, the film should be shown to the public in the interest of freedom of expression. "The Lost Tomb of Jesus" has come under harsh criticism from archeologists, scholars and religious figures for claiming to show the final resting place of Jesus, his 'son,' and Mary Magdalene. The assertions in the documentary fly in the face of Christianity and the Bible. The tomb was first discovered in 1980 when construction workers were digging in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Talpiot to clear the way for new apartments there. Kloner oversaw the excavation of the site in the 1980s as the district archeologist of Jerusalem. He later published his findings in a professional archeological publication. The documentary was made according to the "imagination of people," Kloner said. "I don't accept the claim that this tomb was the burial place for the family of Jesus."

India: 'Anti-Conversion' Laws Linked to Higher Persecution

With the governor of Himachal Pradesh approving an “anti-conversion” bill last week, India now has seven states with legislation banning unregistered or unethical religious conversions – to the glee of Hindu extremists who arbitrarily invoke them to quash Christian growth, reports Compass Direct News. On February 20, Governor Vishnu Sadashiv Kokje gave his assent to the Himachal Pradesh Freedom of Religion Bill 2006. The seven Indian states with anti-conversion legislations are Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Arunachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. Christians and political analysts in India link the enactment of anti-conversion laws to the Hindu nationalistic agenda of the Hindu extremist Bharatiya Janata Party.

Author Philip Yancey Survives Automobile Accident

Author and Christianity Today writer Philip Yancey was injured in an automobile accident Feb. 25, but has written about his experience in order to quell rumors that are circulating about what happened, ASSIST News Service reports. On his website, the prolific writer says: "So many have called to express concern, and a few wild rumors have been floating around... I’m OK! Honest... as best as I can reconstruct what happened, my tire slipped off the edge of the asphalt onto the dirt. That started the Explorer rolling over sideways, at least three times and probably more." Amazingly, Yancey says, the vehicle stopped right side up. "All windows were blown out, and skis, boots, laptop computer, and suitcases were strewn over 100 feet or so in the dirt. I tried my hands and legs and they worked fine. I was able to unbuckle the seat belt and walk away." Mormons on their way to church stopped and called the hospital for Yancey. "I have another chance to climb those last three 14ers, to gaze at the wild flowers along the way, to cherish friends and love my wife and family and thank God for every minute of this precious gift of life," Yancey wrote. "Praise God."