Archives For books

THE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn

In the wake of Saturday’s massive earthquake near Kathmandu, Nepal, Christian workers asked for prayer for the devastated country:

• Pray for basic shelter, water and food. These necessities are a high priority right now since no one is allowed back in their homes.

• Pray for God’s people to deeply know His comfort and peace during this time. Pray they will share Him with people around them.

• Pray for people in Nepal and surrounding areas during the continuing aftershocks and aftermath of this disaster. Southern Baptist assessment teams will began the damage Monday to find the best ways to respond.


Potential presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson will not address the Southern Baptist Pastors’ Conference this summer as scheduled, Baptist Press reports. Several Baptists, including the Baptist 21 group of younger SBC leaders and pastors, had expressed concern about Carson’s membership in a Seventh-day Adventist Church, and that his appearance at the conference could look like a political endorsement.


Three years after the death of Prison Fellowship founder Charles Colson, Russell Moore reflects on media coverage surrounding the Watergate conspirator’s life and eventual conversion to Christianity. For those who were cynical about Colson’s transformation, writes the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, “…we shouldn’t be angered by those who don’t get the full measure of the man. We should instead hear in some of this cynicism the cry of every human heart, a disbelief that there can be any such thing as final and total forgiveness of sin.”


Zondervan announced last week Charles Colson’s last book, “My Final Word: Holding Tight to the Issues that Matter Most,” will be released Aug. 4. Topics in the collection of writings will include “the rise of Islam, same-sex marriage, the persecution of Christians, crime and punishment, and natural law,” The Christian Post reports.


Atlanta-area pastor Andy Stanley says local churches should be the “safest place on the planet for students to talk about anything, including same-sex attraction.”

“We just need to decide, regardless of what you think about this topic–no more students are going to feel like they have to leave the local church because they’re same-sex attracted or because they’re gay,” said Stanley, pastor of North Point Community Church, at the Catalyst West conference April 17. Read the full story at ChristianPost.com.

A controversial Houston ordinance is now in effect, following a judge’s ruling on a petition drive led in part by some pastors in the city. HERO, or Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, made headlines last year when the city subpoenaed the sermons and other communications of five pastors who were against the ordinance. (The subpoenas were later withdrawn.)


Religious leaders are encouraging President Barack Obama to appoint a special envoy to monitor religious freedom in the Middle East and parts of Asia. The special envoy position has been vacant since it was created last year in the Near East and South Central Asia Religious Freedom Act, Baptist Press reports.


Are you one of the many football fans bent out of shape since Tim Tebow’s exit from the NFL? Good news: A Philadelphia pretzel company has created a way to celebrate his return. The “Tebowing” pretzel, shaped like the quarterback kneeling in his famous praying pose, started as a publicity stunt but soon went viral. The New York Daily News reports the Philly Pretzel Factory plans to donate proceeds from the pretzels to a charity involving Tebow, who has signed a one-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles.

 

THE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn

Brighton Presbyterian Church in Rochester, N.Y., is the first church to leave the Presbyterian Church (USA) after a majority of the denomination’s districts voted to change its definition of marriage. The amendment to the group’s constitution, which will become official this summer, alters the marriage definition from “a man and a woman” to “two people, traditionally a man and a woman.”

The_Briefing“Our reason for leaving is centered on the status of biblical interpretation within the PC(USA),” Brighton spokeswoman Kerry Luddy told The Christian Post. “We believe that Scripture’s meaning and intent should not be altered to fit a current culture.”


“Heaven visitation resources” like Don Piper’s book “90 Minutes in Heaven” are no longer available from LifeWay Christian Resources. Spokesman Marty King told Baptist Press LifeWay stopped ordering “experiential testimonies about heaven” last summer, and has pulled the remaining products from stores and its website.

LifeWay’s decision followed the adoption of a resolution on “the sufficiency of Scripture regarding the afterlife” by messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting last summer.


Legislators introduced this month a bill that would allow adoption and foster care agencies to operate within their religious convictions concerning placing children with same-sex couples. “This commonsense bill simply ensures that these child welfare providers can keep doing what they do best and are treated the same as the rest,” said Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), according to a WORLD News Service report.

Illinois is one of four states where agencies have discontinued adoption and foster care services because they would have been required to place children with same-sex couples.


More than 83,000 Bibles were shipped to Cuba this month through a partnership between Southern Baptist agencies, churches and individual donors. The Eastern Cuba Baptist Convention, which will receive 32,000 Bibles, reported more than 29,000 professions of faith last year, said Kurt Urbanek, International Mission Board strategy leader for Cuba. “The growth is so incredible, that’s why Bibles are so important.”


“If it wasn’t for the Baptists, I don’t know what I would do,” said one homeowner whose basement was repaired after severe flood damage wrought by Hurricane Sandy. More than two years after the storm devastated parts of New York and New Jersey, volunteers working through Southern Baptist Disaster Relief are still rebuilding and repairing homes in the region.

 

 

THE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn

Tis the season for best-of lists, and several interesting are already floating around the internet:

Other news:

“I’m proud of you,” Rick Warren told Mars Hill Church Dec. 28. Via video, Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Ca., preached the final message members of the multi-site church will hear before Mars Hill disbands and several of the locations become independent congregations. “You know, anybody can follow Jesus when it’s a party,” Warren said. “The real test of spiritual maturity is how you handle the storms of life, the difficulties, and even the changes that you didn’t ask for.” Mars Hill Pastor Marc Driscoll resigned in October amid charges of unbiblical leadership.

“We can support the police and talk about how to make policing better at the same time,” writes Ed Stetzer. “We can seek to insert grace into these difficult moments.” The missiologist and president of LifeWay Research (and native New Yorker) reflected on his blog in the wake of the murders of two New York City police officers.

If the United States’ unchurched population was its own country, it would be the eighth most populous nation in the world, Barna reports in these “10 Facts About America’s Churchless.”

A positive note to end on: Seven NFL players participated in a holiday Bible giveaway, reports The Christian Post. “God placed us here for a reason. Use the time you have on this platform to spread His Word,” Tampa Bay Buccaneer Alterraun Verner told CP.