Religion Today Summaries - Nov. 7, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Nov. 7, 2007

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

  • Billy Graham's 89th Birthday Caps Year of Transition
  • Senate Panel Probes Six Big Name Televangelists
  • Vatican Says 'Forced Conversion' an Impossibility
  • New Poll Targets Variety of U.S. Christians

Billy Graham's 89th Birthday Caps Year of Transition

As evangelist Billy Graham marks another birthday, turning 89 on Wednesday, he expressed gratitude for his health, his family and the ongoing hope of being reunited with his wife Ruth in Heaven. According to a release by the BGEA, since the passing of his marriage and ministry partner of nearly 64 years on June 14 this year, Mr. Graham has been surprised at the depth of his grief, but simultaneously encouraged by the commensurate magnitude of God’s grace. “At times, I feel as if part of me has been ripped out, and in a sense that’s what has happened, because Ruth was such an important part of my life,” he said. “But my faith gives me great comfort, and I can’t imagine going through something like this without strength that only the Lord can provide. Thousands of visitors have toured the new Billy Graham Library since it opened May 31. Graham remains involved in active ministry as his health allows, working on several writing projects and maintaining interest in the BGEA.

Senate Panel Probes Six Big Name Televangelists

CBS News has learned Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, is investigating six prominent televangelist ministries - among them those led by Paula White, Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar, Eddie Long, Kenneth Copeland and Benny Hinn - for possible financial misconduct. Letters were sent Monday to the ministries demanding that financial statements and records be turned over to the committee by December 6th. According to Grassley's office, the Iowa Republican is trying to determine whether or not these ministries are improperly using their tax-exempt status as churches to shield lavish lifestyles.

Vatican Says 'Forced Conversion' an Impossibility

The Christian Post reports that Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, who heads the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, affirmed Monday that it is impossible to forcibly convert anyone to another religion. The statement comes in the wake of growing concern around the globe over evangelism and its methods. "There can be no coercion in religion. No one can be forced to believe. Neither can anyone who wishes to believe be prevented from doing so," Cardinal Tauran said in a message to Hindus. The appeal from the Vatican is believed to have come as a response to vehement attacks by Hindu radicals against Christian missionaries and institutions in India, as anti-conversion laws have been introduced in many Indian states.

New Poll Targets Variety of U.S. Christians

A leading Christian publisher is launching a new polling initiative to gauge the opinion of a broad range of Christians on theology, politics, and cultural issues in the United States, according to a Religion News Service release. It is called, and polling participants are being recruited now. The project follows national research commissioned by Christianity Today International and Zondervan Publishers that shows diverse approaches to faith among American adults who identify themselves as Christian. The research indicates that traditional nomenclature — including “evangelical” and “mainline” — is less accurate today as Christians take an eclectic approach to theology, politics, and culture. Up to 80 percent of Americans call themselves Christian, but their definition of the term varies widely.