Religion Today Summaries, November 7, 2003

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries, November 7, 2003

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

  • India’s Missions Not Intimidated by Hindu Radicals
  • Conservative Priest Who Left ECUSA Expects to Go It Alone
  • Methodist Bishops to Tackle ‘Security’ Concerns
  • Bright Named Honorary Co-Chair of the Mission America Coalition

India's Missions Not Intimidated by Hindu Radicals
John Lindner, Christian Aid Report

On a recent visit to the USA, Christian Aid's missions surveyor in India said mission organizations in India are not letting attacks from radical militant Hindu groups keep them from fulfilling their God-given assignment to bring the gospel to every creature. In an interview following Christian Aid's Gateways Conference on Indigenous Missions he said, "Christian preachers are accustomed to suffering from an anti-Christian government. They are…deliberately proceeding into communities where the gospel has not been preached." He said mission groups in his country continue to boldly preach Christ not to confront the anti-Christian government. They are just exercising their rights. He proposed that militant Hindus compose less than one percent of the population. “That one percent shakes the whole country." When asked about the anti-conversion laws, he replied, "As far as I know there has not been one example of conversion by coercion, inducement or force." He considered the anti-conversion laws as harassment and nuisance factors that are designed to keep the Dalits (untouchables) from changing their religion. He said the message of evangelicals in India focuses on the person and work of Jesus Christ. "Trouble comes when Christians belittle the Hindu gods," he said. "Some suffering is a result of foolishness."

Conservative Priest Who Left ECUSA Expects to Go It Alone
Jim Brown, Agape Press

The first Episcopal priest in the nation to resign over his denomination's approval of an openly homosexual bishop doubts other conservative rectors will follow his lead in the coming months. Upon leaving St. Timothy's Episcopal Church in September, Maryland pastor Steven Randall started Emmaus Anglican Church, a congregation that is now attracting Episcopalians from as far as 35 miles away.  Randall says he was surprised that more priests did not leave the Episcopal Church when he did, but believes many who have chosen to remain are doing so for financial -- not scriptural -- reasons. Randall's parish has joined a conservative network of Anglicans under the leadership of an African bishop.  "So I wouldn't be surprised if there wasn't a tremendous movement, in terms of whole congregations," the pastor says.  "We've got people from ... maybe seven, perhaps eight, different Episcopal churches now coming to ours.  If we could do a few more things, we might even be able to double the size of that in just the next few weeks. Randall predicts leaders from the "Global South" -- a theologically conservative element of the worldwide Anglican Communion -- will soon take a cue from the Archbishop of Nigeria and disavow the Episcopal Church USA.

Methodist Bishops to Tackle `Security' Concerns
Kevin Eckstrom, Religion News Service

The bishops of the United Methodist Church hope to launch a global discussion on security in the wake of terrorist attacks and the U.S.-led campaign to rid the world of weapons of mass destruction. The bishops, gathered for their semiannual meeting, represent the country's second-largest Protestant denomination. They strongly opposed the war in Iraq and were denied a meeting with President Bush, who is a Methodist, to voice their objections. Bishop Timothy Whitaker said it would be "morally irresponsible" for the church to remain silent when efforts to ensure security -- such as pre-emptive strikes -- violate church positions on war and peace. The bishops voted Tuesday (Nov. 4) to formally take up the topic at their next regularly scheduled meeting next spring. Bishop Walter Klaiber of Germany will write a paper, "In Search of Security: An Invitation to a Conversation."  Plans for the discussion include debates on "the validity of phrases such as `war on terrorism,'" civil liberties concerns and the United States' role in confronting terrorism. The plan does not call for formal action by the bishops for at least another year. 

Bright Named Honorary Co-Chair of the Mission America Coalition
Agape Press

Vonette Bright, co-founder of Campus Crusade for Christ International (CCCI), has been named Honorary Co-chair of the Mission America Coalition (MAC). This announcement was made at the Coalition’s recent annual meeting in New York City. "Sharing Christ in Word and Deed - A National Leadership Forum" (NLF) was the focus of the meeting that drew some 1,000 Christian leaders from around the nation to focus on city and urban evangelism. Bright joins fellow honorary co-chairs Rev. Billy Graham (Billy Graham Evangelistic Association) and Dr. John Perkins (Christian Community Development Association). Vonette Bright's husband, the late Dr. Bill Bright, served as MAC Honorary Co-Chair until his death in July 2003. In making the announcement, Dr. Paul Cedar, chair of MAC, said he was "delighted" that Mrs. Bright had accepted the invitation to serve, and that she has been "strategically involved in the Coalition since the beginning, and her involvement through this position will be significant." Bright remarked that she was pleased to step into the role because "the Mission America Coalition is an awesome demonstration of God’s power and His desire that we all work together under His leadership to advance His Kingdom."