Archives For Mormon church

THE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn

The North American Mission Board has coordinated a clean-up effort in the Northeast for almost one full year, since the super storm swept through New Jersey and New York. Watch the video below for how Southern Baptist volunteers have helped in the region, and click here for more information about how to help, including Christmas and Spring Break opportunities for college students.

Mohler bridges divide at BYU
Christians and Mormons “inhabit separate and irreconcilable theological worlds,” Al Mohler told an audience at Brigham Young University. But the Southern Seminary president added the two groups should work together to address threats to religious liberty, Baptist Press reports.

“I do not mean to exaggerate, but we are living in the shadow of a great moral revolution that we commonly believe will have grave and devastating human consequences,” Mohler said in his lecture, part of the Mormon university’s “Faith, Family and Society” series. Christians and Mormons must together “push back against this age as hard as it is pressing against us,” Mohler said. “We had better press hard, for this age is pressing ever harder against us.” Read the full story at BPNews.net.

Life is complicated, most say
Two-thirds of all adults say life is getting more complicated, and 71% of evangelicals agree. The findings by Barna may indicate evangelicals and Catholics – 71% of whom also agreed – are recognizing “a growing disparity between the rhythms and values of their faith and the demands of a rapidly changing culture,” the researchers analyzed. Read more about Barna’s “three trends redefining the information age” here.

Conference examines C.S. Lewis’ popularity in America
Author C.S. Lewis was more celebrated here than in his own country, say the organizers of a one-day conference at Wheaton College. To mark the 50th anniversary of Lewis’ death, the college is hosting “C.S. Lewis and American Culture,” a one-day seminar featuring speakers on a variety of Lewis-related topics. For more information about the conference, click here. And ChristianityToday.com recently published a really interesting profile of Lewis’ wife marriage to Joy Davidman. Read it here.

marriage_buttonsTHE BRIEFING | Lisa Sergent and Meredith Flynn

Vote possible during fall veto session

Same-sex marriage could be on the legislative agenda this week as the Illinois General Assembly returns to Springfield for their fall veto session. Meanwhile, people on both sides of the issue plan to make their voices heard at the Capitol.

At issue is SB10, or the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, which was passed in the Senate last spring but stalled when it wasn’t called for a vote in the House. Supporters of the bill are calling on the House to vote on it during the fall veto session or in January 2014 when the regular session begins. Due to legislative rules, if passed this fall, same-sex marriages could begin in June 2014. However, if voted on and passed in January, such marriages could begin in February 2014.

In preparation for a possible vote, groups supporting same-sex marriage will rally at the Capitol October 22 for the “March on Springfield for Marriage Equality.” The next day, the Illinois Family Institute (IFI) will host a “Defend Marriage Lobby Day” for supporters of traditional marriage. On the schedule are prayer gatherings in front of the Lincoln statue and inside the Rotunda, and an opportunity to lobby legislators on behalf of traditional marriage.

A major concern of pro-traditional marriage groups is the religious liberty of those who oppose same-sex marriage, should the bill pass in Illinois.

Earlier this month, the Chicago Tribune hosted a marriage equality debate where State Rep. Greg Harris (Chicago), sponsor of SB10, told those gathered he believed the bill protected the rights of religious institutions opposed to same-sex marriage.  But some doubt whether individuals are similarly protected.

Peter Breen, senior counsel with the Thomas More Society, countered Harris by sharing the story of Jim Walder, a bed and breakfast owner in Paxton, Ill., who is being sued for refusing to rent out his facility for a same-sex civil union ceremony. The argument against Walder is that Illinois businesses are governed by the Human Rights Act, passed in 1979, which forbids discrimination based on many factors, including sexual orientation.

The Illinois Family Institute and others argue that the Human Rights Act and SB10 protects individuals from discrimination in regard to sexual preference, but not religious conviction.

Same-sex marriage is legal in 14 U.S states and the District of Columbia. Last month, New Jersey became the latest state to allow same-sex marriage after a state judge ruled that because it already allows civil unions for same-sex couples, the state is illegally preventing them from receiving federal benefits. Same-sex marriage ceremonies officially began in New Jersey October 21.

Other news:

Illinois volunteers join flood relief efforts in Colorado

IBSA Disaster Relief teams have joined with teams from 22 other Baptist state conventions to help Colorado residents clean up their homes after they were damaged by recent flooding.

Veteran disaster relief volunteer Butch Porter called it “the worst devastation” he’s ever seen. “It seemed like a tsunami of mud came down from the mountains and destroyed everything in its path,” he said. Butch and his wife, Debbie, are members of a team from First Baptist Church, Galatia, that served for five days in Lyons, Colorado.

Debbie shared the story of one young man, Brian, who needed help removing the waist-deep mud that had settled in his garage. He and his aunt had had worked for two days shoveling out the mud, but only had a small corner cleared.

“When we pulled up and started getting out of the van he looked deflated,” the retiree laughed. “You could tell he thought, ‘All these old people, they can’t do anything.’”

The team spent two days working at his home, and removed all the mud from his garage. His aunt, a Christian, had been witnessing to him and team members continued along the same track. While he had not accepted Christ by the time they left to return home, Debbie believes he is very close.

“I told him, “Your aunt is right, she’s trying to tell you that you need to get closer to God. You need to accept Him.’ I have a feeling we made a big difference and that his aunt will finish the work.”

Read the full story in the October 21 edition of the Illinois Baptist, online here.

Bad choices dog many of us
Nearly half of Americans feel weighed down by a bad decision they made at some point, according to a new study by LifeWay Research. The survey found 47% of respondents are still dealing with the consequences of a bad decision, including 51% of self-identified born-again, evangelical or fundamentalist Christians. The better news: 84% of those surveyed believe God gives second chances. Read more at LifeWayResearch.com.

Mormon missionaries top 80,000
Relaxed age restrictions on Mormon missionaries have resulted in a drastic increase in the number of people serving around the world, according to a report on The Washington Post’s On Faith blog. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced earlier this month that 80,000 missionaries are now on the field, 22,000 more than the previous year. The number of women serving has more than doubled since the age requirement was dropped from 21 to 19 last year. Read more at the On Faith blog.

Moody drops faculty alcohol ban
Moody Bible Institute in Chicago this summer lifted a ban on alcohol and tobacco use by its 600 faculty members and employees. Marketing vice president Christine Gorz told The Christian Post, “Employees of Moody are expected to adhere to all biblical absolutes, but for behaviors that Scripture does not expressly prohibit, Moody leaves these matters to the employee’s biblically-informed conscience.” Students at the 127-year-old school are still required to abstain. Read more at ChristianPost.com.

 

THE BRIEFING | One of the most revered evangelists in history faced criticism from many fellow leaders last week.

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) removed Mormonism from the list of cults on its website – billygraham,org – just days after Romney visited with Graham at the 94-year-old’s North Carolina home. The site also posted an ad featuring Graham and a message urging voters to “cast our ballots for candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles and support the nation of Israel.

“I urge you to vote for those who protect the sanctity of life and support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman,” the ad reads. “Vote for biblical values this November 6, and pray with me that America will remain one nation under God.” The ads later appeared in newspapers including the Wall Street Journal and USA Today.

Iowa pastor and blogger Dave Miller maintained Graham’s right to endorse Romney, but took issue with BGEA’s decision to remove Mormonism from its list of cults, asking if the organization’s action sacrificed essential truths of the Christian faith. “What can we believe but that Billy Graham, the greatest proclaimer of the gospel in the last century, has compromised biblical truth – no, GOSPEL truth – for political reasons.

“To help elect Mitt Romney, they softened their stance against the false religion he professes.”

In a Washington Post article, BGEA spokesman Ken Barun explained the thinking behind the move. “Our primary focus at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has always been promoting the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” Barun said in a statement. “We removed the information from the website because we do not wish to participate in a theological debate about something that has become politicized during this campaign.”

But Miller said he doesn’t buy it. “This waddles like a duck and quacks like a duck. Don’t tell me it is an eagle. To claim that removing the statement identifying Mormonism as a cult was done to prevent politicizing the issue defies logic and insults our intelligence.

“Mormonism is a false cult that damns souls to hell for eternity. I pray that Mitt Romney will see the truth before his life ends. But for Billy Graham to walk back his clear statement that this religion is false is sad and indefensible.”

Other news:

Mormon church shifts missionary age requirements
A new policy announced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints may enlarge the Mormon missionary force, according to CNN. The church said earlier this month it would lower the minimum age requirement for individuals who want to embark on a Mormon mission, generally a two-year assignment. Males can now serve at 18 (down from 19), and females are eligible to serve at age 19. The previous age requirement for girls was 21, making it difficult for many to consider serving when they were already entrenched in their education or family concerns.

“The narrative of young women has been that marriage trumps everything else as your most important spiritual pursuit,” Mormon author and scholar Joanna Brooks told CNN. The decision “signals a reorganizing of expectations for women’s lives. … It changes the storyline.” Read more on CNN’s Belief Blog.

Nearly 50% affirm creationism
A recent Gallup poll found 46 percent of adults say they believe God created human beings within the past 10,000 years – the highest percentage for that answer since 2006 and the second highest since the question was first asked in 1982. Another 32 percent of Americans ‘ believe in theistic evolution, agreeing that “human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided the process.” Fifteen percent of those surveyed said they believe in evolution and that God played no role. Read more at BPNews.net.

Ann Romney shares pro-life ‘view’ on TV
The wife of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney jumped into one of television’s toughest debates when she appeared on ABC’s “The View,” a daytime women’s talk show that presents a variety of views, but has, in the past, tended to skew away from the Romneys conservative views. Ann Romney told the ladies of the view she is pro-life, and that her husband was a pro-choice gubernatorial candidate in Massachusetts, but changed his view when faced with legislation that would have allowed embryonic stem cell research. “…I am pro-life. I’m happy to say that,” Romney said on “The View.” She added, “”I think we have to understand that this is an issue that is so tender, and there are people on both sides of the issue that have, with very good conscience, with different opinions.” Read the full story at ChristianPost.com.