News

Report Disappoints Anglican Conservatives

A much-anticipated report studying the rift over homosexuality within the Anglican Church calls for a moratorium on openly-homosexual bishops and same-sex ceremonies but stops short of calling for the removal of Gene Robinson as an Episcopal Church bishop. (It also failed to discuss gay priests and deacons—ed.)

The Anglican Church's Windsor Report was released Oct. 18. Among its  recommendations:

‑that the Episcopal Church "express its regret" that it harmed the worldwide body.

‑that those who took part in the consecration of Robinson "consider... whether they should withdraw themselves from representative functions in the Anglican Communion."

‑that a moratorium be placed on bishops "living in a same-gender union until some new consensus in the Anglican Communion emerges."

‑that a moratorium be placed on same-sex union blessings

‑that American and Canadian bishops who authorized the blessings of same-sex unions "express regret" that they harmed the worldwide body.

"We have strong concerns...about the fact that they call only for the Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA) to express regret' and fail to recommend direct discipline of ECUSA," noted a joint statement from the American Communion Network and the American Anglican Council. Both are working for reform within the Episcopal Church. Unity must not trump biblical truth, conservatives said, responding to the report's calls for unity.

Baptist Press

School-Government Separation Conference

With the theme, "Get the Kids Out of Harmful Schools and Into Honest Education,'" the Alliance for the Separation of School & State will hold its fifth annual conference Nov. 20-22 in Washington, D.C.

SepCon2004 takes its impetus from James Dobson's speech March 28, 2002, in which he implored parents to "get the kids out" of public schools that encourage harmful experimentation. His call for an exodus was echoed days later by Dr. Laura Schlesinger and the late Marlin Maddoux. The budding movement also gained strength from the abortive—but highly publicized—attempt to pass a resolution at the June, 2004, annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention to urge Baptist parents to remove their children from harm's way.

The goal of SepCon2004, as published on the Alliance's Website, www.sepcon.org, is to reach beyond Christian families to eventually embrace every family and all students. "It is our fundamental long-term strategy to eventually end America's dependency on school-by-government," the statement says.

Joel Belz, publisher of World magazine, commented (in the Oct. 9 issue): "If it's wrong—and it is—for the government to intrude into the churches of our nation, to reshape and affect their basic doctrine and teaching, then it is just as wrong for that same government to be the sponsor of the worldview and values of 90 percent of all our nation's children."

From The Alliance Website and World magazine

Thousands Rally for Traditional Marriage

Pro-family leaders told tens of thousands of people on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Oct. 15 that the reason for the Mayday for Marriage rally was not to express animosity to homosexuals but to defend the union of a man and a woman as an institution. Estimates of the crowd size ranged from 60,000 to a high of 210,000 by a Mayday for Marriage spokesman.

The throng included busloads from as far as New York, Seattle, and San Francisco. Asians, African-Americans, and Latinos attended the rally in force to support a national amendment to the U.S. Constitution protecting marriage, said Raymond Kwong, chairman of San Francisco Bay Area Christians for Traditional Marriage.

The rally in Washington was the largest gathering yet in the movement. It came less than three weeks after the House of Representatives failed to achieve the two-thirds majority necessary for approval of an amendment, less than three weeks before the election. The amendment met defeat in the Senate in July.­

Baptist Press and report from Raymond Kwong

96 Viet Christian Families Forced
Out of Village

Vietnamese officials have forced 96 Christian families (about 600) people to leave their village in Vietnam's Lao Cai Province and resettle 800 miles to the south in Binh Thuan Province. The families had to leave all of their belongings behind, except their clothing, and were forced to walk through the jungle for a day until they could arrange to rent buses for the remainder of the journey. Once they reached Binh Thuan, they found there was insufficient land to settle and grow food on, so only 22 of the families stayed; the others were still seeking another place to live in peace. The 22 families that settled in Binh Thuan have no wells and must drink tainted water from the streams, resulting in physical problems. Others are suffering from malaria as they had to leave their mosquito netting behind.

International Christian Concern via MissionNet

Evangelical Movement Said Losing Momentum

The evangelical movement is losing momentum, says Scottish theologian Stuart McAllister, who lives and teaches in the U.S. He added that the term "evangelical" is no longer synonymous with "evangelistic." Only a few Christians are capable and willing to proclaim the gospel in a meaningful way for everyday life. Most Christians are dealing with theological questions, which have no relevance for non-Christians, he says. McAllister, the former general secretary of the European Evangelical Alliance, was speaking at a faith conference celebrating the centennial of the Evangelical Alliance in Nuremberg, Germany, Oct. 10.

He said that many local churches have retreated into a "pious corner." Christians should, however, be representatives of the Kingdom of God. Cooperation between Christians is often superficial, McAllister said. Real unity could only be found if Christians from different theological backgrounds were united in prayer and in the implementation of the Great Commission.

Assist News Service via MissionNet

Bombs Explode at 5 More Baghdad Churches

Blasts rocked five Christian churches in four Baghdad neighborhoods Oct. 15, as a string of violent incidents marred the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Homemade bombs detonated at the churches in a series of explosions from 4:20 a.m. to 6 a.m. local time, causing damage but no casualties. A CNN crew saw extensive damage at the scene of one of the bombings—the Roman Catholic St. George's Church. Soldiers believe 60 pounds of explosives were used in that attack. St. Jacob's Church, St. Joseph Church, St. Thomas Church, and the Church of Rome were also struck. Although most Iraqis in the country of 26 million are Muslims, Christians number about 700,000. Muslims sometimes link Iraqi Christians to the U.S.-led coalition because some work in Iraqi government ministries or for groups set up by coalition authorities.

Kidnappings, written threats, bombings, and murders by Muslim terrorists are driving thousands of Iraqi Christians out of their homeland.

Carl Moeller, president of Open Doors USA, says the upcoming elections set for January will be pivotal in determining the future—not only of Iraq as a nation, but also of churches in that country. So far 110 Christians have been killed in Iraq. The violence has prompted about 45,000 of Iraq's Christians to flee the country.

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