Religion Today Summaries - March 23, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - March 23, 2006

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

  • Evangelicals Debate Global Warming
  • Pastor Thrown Out from Village
  • European Evangelistic Outreach Kicks Off from Munich
  • Presbyterians Consider Triune 'Mother, Child, and Womb'

Evangelicals Debate Global Warming

According to an article in Science & Theology News, the atmosphere within the evangelical community has been heating up since the Evangelical Climate Initiative (ECI) was introduced in early February. Endorsed by more than 80 prominent evangelical leaders, the ECI asserts that climate change is an urgent problem and that the Christian faith mandates a strong response to global warming. Many other evangelicals have been reluctant to embrace environmental activism because of its connections with liberal agendas, the story reports. Also, many evangelicals prioritize spiritual rather than social and physical concerns. Even so, the ECI "is a very appropriate move in terms of a biblical basis and, in fact, long overdue,” said Fred Van Dyke, who teaches environmental ethics at Wheaton College. “The evangelical community has long associated the environmental agenda with a liberal agenda, but they are getting over it.” Mark Cane, professor of earth and climate science at Columbia University, said: “Right now we have a government that has done nothing effective about global warming and doesn’t listen to people like me — scientists. They do listen to evangelicals, however, so [the ECI] plays an important saving role.” Meanwhile, prominent evangelical figures such as Focus on the Family's James Dobson, and Prison Fellowship's Chuck Colson have said they are concerned about the ECI's stance on environmental policy. The media, in particular, has misrepresented the effort as the majority opinion among evangelicals, said Cal Beisner, an associate professor of historical theology and social ethics at Knox Theological Seminary.

Pastor Thrown Out from Village

Gospel for Asia Pastor Haresh serves the Lord in the thick jungles of Chhattisgarh, India. Since his arrival in 2003, Haresh has been laboring to change the area's isolation from the Gospel, and now a church of nearly 30 people meets regularly in one village. The new believers take their faith in Christ seriously, eagerly learning from the pastor and helping him in outreach. By regularly reaching out to surrounding communities with the love of Christ, Pastor Haresh has penetrated more than a dozen other villages with the Gospel message as well. His wife is active in ministry, too, sharing Christ with other women. But now this dedicated young pastor has encountered opposition. Some young men recently harassed Haresh because of his stand for the truth, forcing him out of the village where he planted his church. Now Pastor Haresh is no longer allowed to return to share God's Word there or disciple new believers. And some in the village have even threatened to tell local authorities that he was forcibly converting people, prohibited under Chhattisgarh's current anti-conversion law.

European Evangelistic Outreach Kicks Off from Munich

One of the biggest evangelistic outreach programs on the European continent has kicked off from Munich, Germany, reports ASSIST News. ProChrist meetings are aired daily via satellite to 1,250 venues in 21 European countries, March 19 through 26. According to the organizers more than 160,000 participants watched the program during the first night on Sunday. Attendance figures dropped slightly on Monday to 147,000. 4,500 guests flocked to the Olympic hall in Munich. The figures lag behind the last ProChrist campaign in 2003, when 200,000 met in 1,304 venues on the opening night. The main speaker at ProChrist 2006 is Rev. Ulrich Parzany, former general secretary of the German YMCA. In his first sermon Parzany challenged the notion that religious tolerance means that all religions are equal.

Presbyterians Consider Triune 'Mother, Child, and Womb'

Presbyterians this June will be asked to ratify a new report on Trinitarian theology that describes the cornerstone doctrine in various metaphorical terms, including a controversial description of the triune God as “Mother, Child and Womb.” “[The report] aims to assist the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in reclaiming the doctrine of Trinity in theology, worship and life,” the introduction to the 40-page report, “God’s Love Overflowing,” states. According to The Christian Post the report, which has been underway since 2000, includes theological and liturgical sessions that are meant for use in study sessions on the doctrine. “The doctrine is widely neglected or poorly understood in many of our congregations,” the statement reads. “The members of our work group are convinced that the doctrine of trinity is crucial to our faith, worship, and service.” Describing the Trinity has often proved contentious in mainline denominations, with some adhering to the classical Biblical description of the Triune Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and others adopting more liberal terms such as the Triune “Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier.”