Religion Today Summaries - Nov. 2, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Nov. 2, 2009

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

  • Evangelical Leader Dobson Leaving Radio Show
  • Converts More Religiously Active than Non-Converts
  • Lutherans Ask Forgiveness for 16th-Century Persecutions
  • Nationalists Bomb Church in Ukraine

Evangelical Leader Dobson Leaving Radio Show

The Associated Press reports that Focus on the Family's Dr. James Dobson will officially leave Focus on the Family in February. Dobson, who founded the conservative Christian organization more than 30 years ago, will also pass off the group's radio broadcast. The decision to part ways was amicable and long anticipated, said Gary Schneeberger, spokesman for the Colorado Springs-based group. Dobson resigned as the board's chairman in February, saying he didn't want to "hold to the reigns of leadership too long, thereby preventing the next generation from being prepared for executive authority." "The Bible tells us that to everything there is a season — and Dr. Dobson's season at Focus on the Family has been remarkable," Jim Daly, Dobson's successor as president, said in a statement. He continued, "Dr. Dobson is a wordsmith, but one word I don't suspect we'll hear him using is 'retirement.'"

Converts More Religiously Active than Non-Converts

The Christian Post reports that people who convert to a faith have more active religious lives than non-converts, according to a study by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life. But the statistics did not differ as much as might be expected. For instance, only 69 percent of converts say religion is very important to them, compared to 62 percent of non-converts. Seventy percent of converts say they pray daily, compared to 62 percent of non-converts. Only half of converts attend religious services weekly, compared to 44 percent of non-converts. According to 2007 data by the Pew Study, about half of Americans have left the faith they were raised in for another faith or abandoned faith, or adopted a faith if they were not raised with one.

Lutherans Ask Forgiveness for 16th-Century Persecutions

Religion News Service reports that the Lutheran World Federation leaders plan to apologize for their predecessors' 16th-century persecution of Anabaptists, religious reformers whose successors include Mennonites and the Amish. "We ask for forgiveness -- from God and from our Mennonite sisters and brothers -- for the harm that our forebears in the sixteenth century committed to Anabaptists," says a statement adopted unanimously on Monday (Oct. 26) by the LWF's council. The apology is now recommended for formal adoption by the highest LWF governing body, its assembly, meeting in Stuttgart, Germany, in July 2010. Anabaptists, whose originally pejorative name means "re-baptizers", stressed the need to baptize Christian believers, including those who had been baptized as infants. They were persecuted as heretics by both Protestants and Catholics, and many of them fled to America.

Nationalists Bomb Church in Ukraine

Voice of the Martyrs reports that on Oct. 14 a homemade bomb was thrown into the Calvary Chapel church building in Kaharlyk, Ukraine. The building is also the residence of Pastor Wayne Zschech and his family. At 7 a.m., Pastor Zschech's wife awoke to the smell of smoke. Fire officials put out the blaze which caused minor damage to the building. The six people asleep in the church at the time of the attack escaped without injury. The assailants spray painted "Out with Sects" and "OYH," an abbreviated name for a Ukrainian Nationalist movement, on the church wall. Pastor Zschech later said, "We pray that the Lord would call people to salvation and that he would build up his body. We rejoice in being chosen worthy to suffer for the sake of our Lord and his Gospel. We do also pray for safety but hold this prayer out with open hands."