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Lutheran Body Nixes Discipline Of Homosexual Clergy

The largest denomination of Lutherans in the United States has decided that it will no longer discipline or enforce a ban against sexually active homosexual clergy. Delegates at the national assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) in Chicago passed a resolution August 10 by a vote of 538-431 urging bishops to "refrain from or demonstrate restraint" in disciplining homosexual clergy in "faithful committed same-gender relationships."

The ELCA, which boasts 4.8 million members, had previously compromised on the homosexual issue by allowing homosexuals to serve as pastors with the proviso that they abstain from homosexual activity.

"I don't know as a Christian, as a pastor, and as a parent, what really would be worse-a church with no biblical standards to govern our ministry or standards we don't intend to enforce," said Jaynan Clark Egland, president of Word Alone Network. "To refrain from discipline in the home is bad parenting, but we're about to do so in Christ's church."

LifeSiteNews.com

Spiritual Growth Has Low Priority for Christians in U.S.

A national survey of American Christian parents commissioned by Good News Holdings and conducted by the Barna Group found that four out of every 10 Christian parents of children between the ages of 3 and 18 said they do not face any spiritual challenges in their life. Among those who identified the presence of any spiritual challenges, one out of every seven parents (14%) said raising moral children or youngsters with a strong faith was their biggest challenge. Only one other response-the need to personally invest more time in religious activities such as reading the Bible or praying-was mentioned by at least 10% of parents.

George Barna, who directed the survey, said the findings indicate that personal spiritual development is a secondary consideration for millions of Americans. "Many of the same people who claim that their faith is very important to them and that they are absolutely committed to Christianity also say that they face no spiritual challenges in life. Many other adults are only vaguely aware of such challenges, and do not put much energy into addressing them," he explained. "The dominant spiritual change that we have seen-Americans becoming less engaged in matters of faith-helps to explain the surging secularization of our culture."

The Barna Group via MissionNet

Abortionists Find Way Around Ban

The abortion industry has found a way around the Supreme Court's support for a federal ban on a gruesome technique-shoot the unborn baby up with deadly drugs before delivering the child almost totally to complete the procedure.

The Boston Globe reported Aug. 10 many abortion doctors in Boston and other parts of the United States are using the new method to protect themselves from partially delivering a live baby and violating the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. The partial delivery of a dead child instead of a live one may violate the spirit of the 2003 law, but it apparently does not transgress the letter of that ban.

"This shows the length to which physicians who have left their Hippocratic Oath in the dust and have become frontline soldiers in the culture of death are willing to go to perpetuate the killing of often-viable unborn babies," said Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. "Our nation's legislators need to address this situation urgently and pass measures to protect the most defenseless among us, our unborn citizens."

Baptist Press

Postscript: Pastor James Sanders, of the First Baptist Church, Decaturville, Tenn., points out that when this "new" method of killing babies in their mothers' wombs is used, doctors are employing the same means used to take the life of condemned criminals-except that a less "humane" procedure is used. Sanders says most states executing criminals use two preliminary injections, which render the subject unconscious and then paralyze him, before a heart-stopping drug such as potassium chloride is injected. Babies get only the final, fatal dose, which Sanders said takes 8 to 10 minutes to achieve its grisly goal.

Top Court Control On Abortion Likely Key to 08 Election

With the Supreme Court perhaps just one vote away from having a majority of justices willing to reverse the Roe v. Wade decision, the 2008 elections could be the deciding factor in determining if legalized abortion will be stopped or continue for decades. Both sides of the abortion debate are already preparing for battle. Although the high court upheld a ban on partial-birth abortions this April, most observers believe the court is, at best, split along a 5-4 line in favor of upholding Roe. President Bush has appointed two judges in Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito whom pro-life advocates believe would join Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas in reversing the landmark decision. However, it appears the president will not likely get another chance to appoint a Supreme Court justice unless someone passes away. As a result, the next president will likely shape the future of the court on abortion.

LifeNews.com

Hmong Christians Are Killed in Crackdown

Soldiers, police and others have killed at least 13 Christians in Laos in recent weeks, in a swarming crackdown on Hmong villagers falsely accused of stirring rebel dissent, local sources said. In the sweep, encouraged by communist village leaders and others who have falsely accused the Christians of joining the separatist forces of Gen. Vang Pao, authorities have arrested and imprisoned about 200 members of a 1,900-strong church in Ban Sai Jarern, a village in northwestern Laos' Bokeo Province. Among those killed was Neng Mua, a Christian who slipped back to his native village of Fay after hiding in the mountains from the police round-up. On July 7, he went to a local villager's house to beg for food, but his one-time friend instead shot him dead as a suspected member of the "liberation army," a Christian source said. Police have searched intensively for Christians in rice fields and mountains and are shooting them on sight, said the source, who requested anonymity. "Many Christians were killed and badly injured," he added. "Women and children were arrested and sent to prison."

Compass Direct News via MissionNet

Search for "Gay Gene" Is "Bad Science"

Genes, environment, and self-agency determine human behavior says an expert on behavioral genetics, who also says that homosexual politics and not good science is behind the search for the "gay" gene. Douglas A. Abbott, PhD, a professor of Child, Youth, and Family Studies at the University of Nebraska, calls the "hypothetical evidence" for genetic determinism of homosexuality" both "overstated" and "overrated."

"Except for the rare physical abnormalities (such as Huntington's Disease) at the present time, there is no evidence of a direct causative link between a single gene and complex psycho-social behavior such as sexual preference," wrote Abbott in his July article for the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH). Abbott explains that much of the public perception is misguided about the relationship between genes and behavior. Media reporting aids this confusion with headlines He said media headlines such as "Gene X Found to Cause Behavior Y" give a "simplistic" view of the science of behavioral genetics.

"It is obvious to me, and to many others, that environmental factors play the major role in same-sex behavior, if this were not so how does one explain the thousands of men and women who have left homosexuality," Abbott said.

LifeSiteNews.com

Number of Christians In China Estimated Now at 39 Million

For years many have been trying to estimate the number of Christians living in China. Some thought there were up to 120 million. Others thought it was closer to 20 million. However, no claim was backed up with research. So recently China Partner asked a select group of people to travel into China's 31 municipalities, provinces and autonomous regions. "We did research in all provinces, except Tibet," explained Werner Burklin, founder of China Partners. "We polled 5,340 people, and we came up with a number-39 million." In a country where Christians have been treated badly, one would expect believers to keep their faith quiet. "But we found out that it's very, very easy to talk about religion," Burklin said. "The minute we found persons who were Christian, smiles came across their faces, and they rejoiced in the fact that they could tell us they were Christians." "There are so many that have come to know Christ, mostly in the last 20 or 25 years," he said. "In 1950 there were just 750,000. There are now thousands of churches that have reopened in China. There are now close to 50,000 [churches] that we know of that actually have been opened in China."

Mission Network News

Pro-Family Group Sues State Over Sex Instruction

A public school district's program promoting anal sex, homosexuality, bisexuality, and transvestitism as normal sexual variations was recently approved by the Maryland State Board of Education despite strenuous opposition from several pro-family groups. Montgomery County Public School's controversial sexuality curriculum for eighth and tenth grade students is the result of pressure by homosexual advocacy groups.

In response, the Thomas More Law Center, of Ann Arbor, Michigan, has announced that it will assist the pro-family groups in their appeal of the education board's decision to the Montgomery County Circuit Court. The pro-family groups oppose the sex program on several grounds: 1) it teaches students that homosexuality is "innate," which is an unproven theory; 2) it teaches students that anal sex is just another sexual option without warning students of the increased HIV/AIDS risk of anal sex; 3) it labels as "homophobic" children who hold traditional religious or moral beliefs about homosexuality; and 4) it teaches students that transgenderism is just another "sexual orientation," even though transgenderism has been classified as a mental disorder.

LifeSiteNews.com

Membership Grows in Christian Alternative To Girl Scouts

While membership rolls for the Girl Scouts have declined by more than 100,000 in the past five years, an organization known as American Heritage Girls (AHG) has made strides in membership and popularity. AHG was founded in 1993 by Patti Garibay and others when the Girl Scouts decided to remove all references to God. Garibay is quoted as saying God's blessing on the newer organization has been evident. "We just thought it would be a little club for our own daughters," she shares. But,"[He] also opened our eyes more and more about the agenda of the Girl Scouts and the need for an alternative for parents who would like to instill Christian values in their daughters through the character-development program of a scouting organization." The report states that the organization currently has chapters in 33 states and is designed for girls ages 5-18. Those wishing to join American Heritage Girls do not have to be Christian, but leaders must sign a statement of faith.

Breaking Christian News, OneNewsNow.com via MissionNet

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