12 Days of Giveaways - Spin & Win! Sign up before Dec. 25th to win daily prizes and a $250 Amazon.com Gift Card. Find out details.

Religion Today Summaries - November 2, 2004

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - November 2, 2004

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

  • PCUSA Delegates Condemned for Recent Anti-Israel Acts 

  • Nepal: Kidnapped Missionaries Lead Captors to Christ

  • Ruling Allowing Public School Teacher's Bible Club Activities Hailed

  • Thriving Los Angeles Church 'Tries to Turn Christianity Upside Down'

PCUSA Delegates Condemned for Recent Anti-Israel Acts
Jim Brown, AgapePress

A longtime member of the Presbyterian Church (USA) is sharply criticizing a delegation of the denomination for meeting in Lebanon with leaders of the terrorist group Hezbollah, and for other moves the church has been making that could be construed as anti-Israel actions. This past summer the PCUSA voted overwhelmingly to divest from companies that do business with Israel. The 24-member delegation also met in Syria not long ago, and there it called on Israel to end its so-called "occupation" of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Dave Kuner is a spokesman for the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. He calls the delegation's meeting with Hezbollah a "colossal blunder" and says, "The timing of this was just absolutely abysmal, coming so soon after the decision at the General Assembly to consider divestment -- and at a time when Jewish-Presbyterian relations are really, genuinely in peril." Kuner also takes issue with the delegation's condemnation of Israel's actions in its own defense against Palestine. The IFCJ spokesman says he is glad many Evangelicals are standing up for Israel, because mainline Protestant churches seem to be doing just the opposite.

Nepal: Kidnapped Missionaries Lead Captors to Christ

A month ago, Missions Insider published the story of a team of native missionaries in Nepal who were abducted by Maoist insurgents. Christian Aid recently received a personal account of the kidnapping from the leader of the missionary team. His own words best describe the unstoppable saving power of our Lord Jesus Christ, even in the most fearful circumstances: "Thank you for your prayers and support for me and our team. We praise God for you and rejoice with you for the miracle of our release! Let me tell you briefly my experience. We set out to conduct an evangelism program in a mountain village. We left this village and the whole time we were traveling, we were not aware that a group of insurgents was following us. The insurgents approached us and the Maoist leader took me a distance and began to question me. All the team members and I were captured and taken to an unknown place. We prayed constantly for God's grace and protection. Praise God, they never harmed us. God had a greater plan. We shared the good news of salvation with them, and several received the Lord! God worked in our captors' hearts, and they decided to release us. Please continue to pray for the insurgents who heard the gospel, that they would hold fast to the word of God."

Ruling Allowing Public School Teacher's Bible Club Activities Hailed
Jim Brown, AgapePress

The head of a Christian educators group is hailing a court decision that allows a public school teacher in South Dakota to lead an after-school Bible club. Recently the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declared the Sioux Falls School District could no longer bar a third-grade teacher from taking part in a Good News Club held within the district. The Good News Clubs are youth Bible study clubs formed under the aegis of an international Christian mission agency called Child Evangelism Fellowship. The court ruled that by forbidding the teacher to participate in the local Good News Club, the school was violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Christian Educators Association International (CEAI) executive director calls that ruling "a liberating judgment" for Christian teachers. The CEAI spokesman says it is important to remember that U.S. courts have already held that teachers are not forbidden from sharing their faith in the classroom during the work day. He feels this latest affirmation of that freedom by the federal appellate court communicates some important truths about the constitutional rights of people of faith who work for the state. He is touting the Eighth Circuit Court's decision as a significant victory for Christian educators nationwide.

Thriving Los Angeles Church 'Tries to Turn Christianity Upside Down'
Charisma News Service

A flourishing multicultural, multiethnic, multi-location church that formerly met in a downtown Los Angeles nightclub is getting the attention of Christian leaders for the way the congregation is reaching people in their 20s. Mosaic, which has services that include a creative mix of spirituality, the visual and performing arts and borrowings from non-Western cultures, has also caught the attention of The Los Angeles Times, which recently spotlighted the church. Emphasizing relationships and serving other people, Mosaic has grown in less than six years from fewer than 100 members to nearly 2,000, with sister "communities" in San Francisco, Seattle, Manhattan, Atlanta and Nashville, and more underway in Germany, Spain and Scotland. The congregation's membership represents 57 nationalities, almost half of them Asian and the rest a mixture of Latinos, whites, blacks and others. About 80 percent are single; the average age is 24.
"Mosaic is the talk of many Christian leaders who want to reach out to the younger generation," the newspaper observed. Its unusual name is meant to reflect the diversity of its members and "a broken and fragmented humanity, which can become a work of beauty under the artful hands of God," said Erwin Raphael McManus, Mosaic's senior pastor. Mosaic is affiliated with the SBC, but it does not subscribe to many stances of the nation's largest Protestant denomination. (http://www.charismanow.com)