Wednesday, May 30, 2007

May 30, 2007

[ ] Mission Church Finds Meeting Place
[ ] Japan's First ARP Church
[ ] Murder In Moscow
[ ] Church Officials Told To Delay Action


Rev. Mr. Bob Illman reports that Connections Presbyterian Church (a new work of Tennessee-Alabama Presbytery) is planning to start worship services for the core group on June 3. The mission developer said, "We have located a meeting place, Liberty Middle School, located behind Bruster's Ice Cream on County Line Road in Madison.

+ Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, One Cleveland Street, Greenville, SC 29601


Northeast Presbytery of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church is in the process of receiving five Korean congregations into its membership, one of which is reportedly the first ARP church in Japan.

The pastors and congregations include Hyo Shin Bible Presbyterian Church and Yae Dam Presbyterian Church, Flushing, New York; The Joyful Church of New York, Fresh Meadow; Ommuri Community Church, Sugar Hill, Georgia; and Church of the Lord, Osaka, Japan. Rev. Young Hwa Chung, pastor of Church of the Lord, was a former member of Pacific Presbytery and pastor of Antioch World Mission Church in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The Georgia congregation will be received into Second Presbytery.

A fellowship for Korean pastors and congregations and others interested in working with them in Northeast Presbytery was established at a called meeting of the Hyo Shin Presbyterian Church in April. Although not an instrumentality of ARP polity, the fellowship will provide activity reports at all stated meetings of the presbytery.

A Transition Committee was also appointed to assist the Korean Fellowship to become fully integrated into the presbytery.

+ Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, One Cleveland Street, Greenville, SC 29601


In the wake of the tragic murders in Church of Moscow, Idaho, Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly Stated Clerk Clifton Kirkpatrick urged Presbyterians to lift up the congregation and community in prayer.

Jason Hamilton first killed his wife at home on 19 May, then killed Moscow police officer Lee Newbill, and wounded two others at the city courthouse the morning of 20 May before retreating to First Presbyterian Church. There the killer abducted the church sexton, Paul Bauer, whom he killed before turning the gun on himself.

A private funeral was planned for 30-year-old Crystal Hamiltonwho police say was shot before her husband headed to the courthouse to continue his killing spree. A memorial service is scheduled in June for Paul Bauer, 62.

Norman Fowler, pastor of First Presbyterian Church, with 18 members of the congregation had planned to leave on Monday morning to help with Hurricane Katrina relief in Mississippi, but instead led the community in a prayer service for Bauer and the other shooting victims, including the gunman.

+ Rev. Norman Fowler, First Presbyterian Church, 405 S. Van Buren, Moscow, Idaho, 83843

+ Presbyterian Church (USA), 100 Witherspoon Street, Louisville, Kentucky 40202


A Washington County, Pennsylvania, judge has told Washington Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church (USA) to wait until next week to make a case for its right to oversee a disgruntled congregation. Common Pleas Judge Paul Pozonsky denied a motion to remove a temporary restraining order that prevented the presbytery from installing an administrative commission for the 646-member Peters Creek Presbyterian Church. A hearing on the matter, previously scheduled for 30 May 30, will proceed.

On 6 May the session, which is part of the theologically conservative New Wineskins movement in the Presbyterian Church (USA), called a 10 June congregational meeting to vote on leaving the denomination. However, due to presbytery action, that vote has been delayed until the civil courts can take action.

Washington Presbytery is establishing a procedure to guide churches leaving with their property, but it would require four months of discussion, and will not come before the full presbytery for a vote until July.

+ Peters Creek Presbyterian Church, 250 Brookwood Rd., Venetia, PA 15367 (724) 941-6210

+ New Wineskins Initiative, 7435 E. Oxford Court, Wichita, KS 67226 (888) 754-9693

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

May 22, 2007

[ ] PRO-Life Groups Ask For Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Enforcement
[ ] Baghdad Christians Flee Forced Conversion In Iraq
[ ] New Mission Partnership Funding System


Without follow-up, they contend the gruesome procedure will continue. Life advocates went to Capitol Hill on Wednesday to make it clear that the U.S. Supreme Court decision last month to uphold the federal law banning partial-birth abortion will mean nothing if it isn't enforced. In a letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Paul Schenk, director of the National Pro-Life Action Center, along with other advocates for the preborn, warned that "without aggressive federal enforcement, partial-birth abortions will continue.""While, today, partial-birth abortions are illegal in the United States, they continue in places like New Jersey and Kansas," Schenck told Family News in Focus. "The question is, 'How will the law be enforced and when will the penalties apply?"

Pat Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition, said the Justice Dpartment needs to enforce the ban, because lives hang in the balance."It could be months, maybe over a year," he said, "if there is not an aggressive move by the people of faith, the American public, to see that this ban is actually enforced."

+ Christian Defense Coalition, 4019 Duke of Gloucester St., Fredericksburg,Virginia 22407


Iraqi Christians fled their homes over the weekend after armed Sunni extremists threatened to kill them if they did not convert to Islam within 24 hours, Christian sources said. Six Christian families from the Mualimien neighborhood of Baghdad's Dora district have relocated to a church elsewhere in the city, said a Baghdad source who requested that the families' location and identity remain anonymous. Armed Sunnis told the families on Saturday (April 14) that an amir (independent Muslim prince or ruler) had issued afatwa against Dora's Christians, the source said. "They called the Christians infidels and told them, 'If you don't convert to Islam or leave your homes in 24 hours, we will kill you,'" the source told Compass after speaking with a member of the church helping the displaced Christians.

+ Compass Direct News, PO Box 27250, Santa Ana CA 92799-7250


Change is imminent for the system that allocates funds to Presbyterian Church (USA) synods from unrestricted revenue of the General Assembly. It won't happen overnight. But the process - outlined in a proposal presented during the recent Synod/General Assembly Council National Mission Partnership Funds Consultation - is under way, pending approval from the General Assembly Council. "The whole group made it (the proposal) its own document, its own direction," said the Rev. Jan DeVries, synod executive and stated clerk of the Synod of the Southwest. "It made it clear that change had to occur, but that change needed to happen in a strategic and planned way in which we understood the context in which all the synods work." "Until we understood that, we really couldn't be engaged as partners," she said.

Synod and GAC representatives met for the consultation April 18-20 in Kansas City, MO, to carry out their regular process for distributing mission partnership funds. The group approved 2008 allocations for the nine synods that receive funds -Alaska-Northwest, Lakes and Prairies, Living Waters, Pacific, Puerto Rico, Rocky Mountains, South Atlantic, Southern California and Hawaii, and Southwest - based on a formula of 10.447 percent of 2006 unrestricted General Assembly receipts, which were US$29,032,881 (excluding a special gift of US$9.54 million). The other seven synods opt not to receive the funds.

The total amount for distribution is US$3,033,065, which includes US$303,307 set aside for four synods that receive Mission Funds Development (MFD) project grants. The group agreed to end development grants in 2008. The largest distribution amount goes to the Synod of the Southwest, which will receive a total of US$702,582; followed by the Synod of Alaska-Northwest, which will receive US$507,181. Both also receive MFD grants.

+ Presbyterian Church (USA), 100 Witherspoon Street, Louisville, KY 40202

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

May 15, 2007

[ ] Jerry Falwell 1933 – 2007
[ ] New Believer Jailed in Mexico for Receiving Christ
[ ] Sandy Johnson To Direct CRC-DDM
[ ] Chinese Associate Reformed Install First Pastor
[ ] PJC Says Ordination Standards Include Ministerial Candidates
[ ] Kiss To Head Agnes Scott
[ ] Kennedy Ministries Resurface in Washington
[ ] First The United And Now The Free Talk to C of S
[ ] The Pelosi Problem

JERRY FALWELL 1933 – 2007

Jerry Falwell, founder of the Moral Majority and Liberty University died at work in his office 15 May. Commonly identified as one of America ’s outstanding Fundamentalists, Falwell began his work at Lynchburg , Virginia , in 1956, transforming an abandoned bottling plant into what today is the 22,000-member Thomas Road Baptist Church . During the same period his “Old Time Gospel Hour” expanded to appear on national television. Some 7,700 students attend Liberty University which he opened in 1971 as Liberty Baptist College .

A network of Christian elementary schools, homes for unwed mothers, and a treatment center for alcoholics all owe their origin to Falwell.

Originally intending to become a mechanical engineer, Falwell entered Lynchburg College in 1950 but transferred to Baptist Bible College in Springfield , Missouri , after answering a call to the ministry. During the same time Falwell turned down an offer from the St. Louis Cardinals to play major-league baseball so that he might prepare for the ministry

During the 1970s, Falwell became part of the flood of conservative Christians who entered the political arena. In 1979, the Moral Majority emerged under his leadership. Knowledgeable observers suggest that some six million activists followed him into the movement and that his willingness to participate in the public square recruited many people into Ronald Reagan’s Republican Party.

Feared on the Left, Falwell served as a conciliator in Christian and patriotic circles. Following the Jim Bakker scandal, Falwell stepped in to resolve disputes and restore public confidence in television evangelism. Similarly, Falwell became a unifying figure in both the Southern Baptist and Bible Baptist communities.

After spending most of his life in the Independent and Bible Baptist camps, Falwell came to his first SBC annual meeting as a messenger in 1998 in Salt Lake City . One year later, Liberty University and Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia reached an agreement of various forms of partnership.

"His ministry must be seen from the perspective of being a pastor," Southern Baptist Convention President Frank Page, who serves as pastor of First Baptist Church in Taylors , South Carolina , told Baptist Press. "Dr. Falwell never aspired to be anything other than a pastor who spoke prophetically the Word of God. Not everyone agreed with his stances, but all should admire his passion and commitment to the cause of Christ to the end. He desperately wanted our culture to understand God and to understand where obedience and disobedience lead."

+ Thomas Road Baptist Church , 1 Mountain View Road , Lynchburg , VA 24502
(434) 239-9281


Juan Mendez Mendez became a Christian in a village near San Cristobal De Las Casas in the Mexican state of Chiapas on 7 April. Two days later local authorities put him in jail – for leaving their religious blend of Roman Catholicism and native custom. A catechist in a “traditionalist Catholic” church in the village of Pasté , the 25-year-old Mendez was released on 10 April 10 after spending the night in jail.

The previous Easter Sunday, political bosses in the Tzotzil Maya village noticed him missing from a church festival involving what Mendez considered to be idolatrous rites; they summoned him that evening. “They said, ‘What do you mean that you’ve accepted Christ – you mean you don’t believe in our gods [Catholic saints]?’” Mendez told Compass. “And I said, ‘Well, those were just apostles, and now I belong to Christ.’” Town leaders threatened to beat him. Mendez said he replied, “If you’re going to beat me, then here I am.”

+ Compass Direct News, PO Box 27250 , Santa Ana CA 92799-7250 (949) 862-0304


The Board of Trustees of the Christian Reformed Church has appointed Sandy Johnson to be the Director of Denominational Ministries (DDM). Johnson, 41, comes to the position after 13 years working in the banking industry followed by several years as a self-employed consultant in strategic ministry planning and organizational behavior. “I have often said over the last five years that I’ve discovered my gifts are in business but my heart is about ministry,” Johnson said.

As DDM, Johnson will be responsible for advancing the unified ministry of the Christian Reformed Church through strategic planning and coordination of goals of the seven denominational agencies and institutions. Johnson earned a bachelor’s degree from Dordt College in Sioux Center , Iowa , and is working toward completion of a Master’s of Business Administration degree from Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids , Michigan .

+ Christian Reformed Church in North America , 2850 Kalamazoo Ave., SE Grand Rapids , MI 49560 (616) 241-1691


The Chinese Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Tampa , Florida , installed its first pastor on 12 May Junjian 'Jeff' Liu has been serving the church for the past two years while attending college and serving a pastoral internship. The mission church meets at Trinity ARP Church . A Florida Presbytery commission conducted the service for Liu, who previously was a pastor in the underground church in China .

+ Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, One Cleveland Street , Greenville , SC 29601


The highest court of the Presbyterian Church (USA) has affirmed that the standards for ordaining non-celibate gays and lesbians extend to those seeking to become candidates for the ministry.

The statement came in a ruling issued in May by the PC(USA)'s General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission (PJC) in the case of George R. Stewart vs. Mission Presbytery.

The case involved a woman who in October 2005 was accepted as a candidate for ministry by Mission Presbytery, which is based in San Antonio , TX . The presbytery voted to approve her candidacy even though its moderator informed members that the candidate "is a lesbian and lives in a committed (same-sex) relationship."

Presbyterian church law allows for the ordination of only those who are in a faithful, heterosexual marriage or who are single and living in chastity. However, the moderator told the presbytery that under church case law, the requirement did not apply to those seeking to enter the candidacy process.

"Although our Book of Order (G-14.0305a-i) requires those coming to be ordained to observe fidelity in marriage and chasteness in singleness, the Book of Order does not place this standard on those in the candidacy process," the moderator said during the meeting, according to the PCJ's history of the case.

Mission Presbytery accepted the woman's candidacy for the ministry 169-111 with none abstaining. Stewart, who is a retired Presbyterian minister, challenged the decision by initiating a remedial complaint against the presbytery in January 2006.

+ Presbyterian Church ( USA ), 100 Witherspoon Street , Louisville , KY 40202 (888) 728-7228


Elizabeth Kiss, the founding director of the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University , was installed as the eighth president of Agnes Scott College on 20 April, succeeding Mary Brown Bullock, the first alumna president, who served the private liberal arts women's college for 11 years. Kiss (pronounced "quiche") was also an associate professor of the practice of political science and philosophy at Duke.

About 2,000 people gathered at Agnes Scott to celebrate Kiss's presidency with a day of events dedicated to the theme "Stand Up, Speak Up: an Agenda for 21st Century Women." The ceremony started with a procession of dignitaries including 173 delegates from other colleges and universities, the mayors of Atlanta and Decatur, active and retired faculty, and members of the Agnes Scott board of trustees.

A 1983 graduate of Presbyterian- related Davidson College , Kiss earned a doctorate in philosophy from Oxford University in England in 1990.

+ Agnes Scott College , 141 E. College Ave. , Decatur , GA 30030 (404) 471-6285


The D. James Kennedy Center for Christian Statesmanship reopened in Washington two weeks after it was closed and its nine staff members laid off. The Capitol Hill chaplaincy, an outpost of the Fort Lauderdale-based Coral Ridge Ministries, closed 26 April amid several organizational shifts. CRM transferred it to Evangelism Explosion International.

The Center for Christian Statesmanship holds Bible studies for government staffers and luncheons at which Congress members tell their Christian stories. The center also trains Christians in the government to share their faith in Christ.

As the sole employee of the reborn chaplaincy, however, Roller must now raise funding, missionary-style. He plans to call on established donors, with a goal of a new office and a staff of three in a couple of months.

+ Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, 5555 North Federal Highway , Fort Lauderdale , FL 33308


The Church of Scotland and the Free Church of Scotland are talking some 164 years after they split from each other. In what is being billed as "A small step for a Christian, but a giant step for the Church," the General Assemblies of both churches will be asked to agree a joint statement which recognizes “the scandal of the divisions in our Presbyterian church family" and pledges to work towards greater recognition and co-operation.

Rev. Iver Martin of Stornoway Free Church of Scotland is quoted in the Scottish press as saying "My understanding is that when the Disruption took place, there was the hope that one day there would be unity again and there always is that hope."

+ Church of Scotland, 121 George St. , Edinburgh EH2 4YN Scotland


Faith and Action President Rob Schenck today reported on his weekly Internet broadcast that House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the National Day of Prayer 3 May 2007 scheduled a vote on HR 1592, the Hate Crime Prevention Act, to coincide with a nearby National Day of Prayer meeting normally attended by several House members and thus keeping them from being able to attend this celebration. Schenck remarked upon the cynical nature of scheduling the vote for a bill that will effectively criminalize the preaching and teaching of Biblical prohibitions of homosexuality and other sexual sins because of its purportedly inciting violence against those who practice these behaviors.

+ Faith and Action in the Nations Capital

Thursday, May 10, 2007

May 9, 2007

[ ] History of the English Bible
[ ] Tonie Martin Lewis
[ ] Eritrea Arrests 80 Presbyterians
[ ] Covenant College's Report On Soulforce
[ ] Wallace to Leave Johnson C. Smith
[ ] Russian Patriarch Is Alive
[ ] German Churches to Sign Agreement On Baptism
[ ] Polish Reformed Urge Action on Darfur
[ ] School District Ordered to Pay Damages

American Vision is offering a free copy of the CD-ROM on the History of the English Bible. The 25-volume series called The History of the English Bible was produced by the late Lewis Lupton who for many years was the Scripture Union illustrator. All 25 volumes are contained on a fully-searchable and printable CD-ROM. This rare set of hardbacks is valued at $1,000 and is virtually impossible to by as a complete set! Click here <to">>to download and view Volume 5. This CD-ROM is our FREE gift to you--no purchase necessary. Actual shipping applies to non-US residents requesting the CD. The original series is one of my most prized possessions. I am pleased that the Christian Observer had a part in promoting the current edition of the authentic Geneva Bible and few things could make me happier than to see my friend's work of art distributed widely. The sample volume is in standard print. Most of the original volumes were hand done and magnificently illustrated by one of the great 20th Century English artists.

The entire offer is connected to the Geneva Bible and can be found at:

+ Dr. Edwin P. Elliott, President, Christian Observer Foundation, 9400
Fairview Avenue, Manassas, Virginia 20110


Tonie Martin Lewis, 28, daughter of Sherrie Martin and wife of Trey Lewis, died 1 May when her car rolled over her in the driveway of her Greenwood home. Mrs, Martin is director of Academic Services and registrar at Erskine Theological Seminary.

+ Erskine Seminary, Bowie Divinity Hall, 210 West Main St., PO Box 668,
+ Due West, SC 29639


A police raid in the Eritrean capital arrested 80 members of the Mehrete Yesus Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Asmara at the close of a 29 April worship service. A US couple as well as several teachers from India working in Eritrea was among those reportedly detained. According to a spokesperson for Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), Pastor Zecharias Abraham, had been serving as head of the Eritrean Evangelical Alliance, since the arrest of the previous leader, Haile Naizgi, in May 2004.

Local sources confirmed that after four days of incarceration, the two US citizens were released and allowed to return to their home in Asmara. Church leaders identified as still under custody included the Abraham and an elder named Mikias Mekonnen. The latest raid against Eritrea's Protestant community came only five days after the civil government announced that the Eritrean Orthodox Church had elected a new patriarch, Bishop Dioskoros of Mendefera.

+ Compass News Direct, PO Box 27250, Santa Ana, CA 92799-7250
(949) 862-0304

+ Christian Solidarity Worldwide, PO Box 99, New Malden Surrey K3 3YF
+ United Kingdom <>


A report on Soulforce's Equality Ride to the outskirts of the Covenant College campus on 2 April 2007, appears at <> Soulforce <> is an organization with the stated purpose to "promote freedom for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people from religious and political oppression through the practice of relentless nonviolent resistance." The Equality Ride < (> is a bus tour which is scheduled to visit over 30 college campuses during 2007 to promote Soulforce's cause and beliefs.

Now in its second year, the Equality Ride is sponsored by Soulforce, and claims to follow in the tradition of the freedom rides of the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s. Most of the targeted campuses in the campaign are members of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.

Equality Ride's stated mission denounces Presbyterian beliefs as unbiblical and instead teaches that the Bible condones homosexual behavior. Though the Riders claimed dialogue as their goal, they previously rejected Covenant's offer of structured opportunities for dialogue with students, faculty, and administrators, as well as an invitation to attend chapel service. Instead, the Equality Riders chose to make an unauthorized visit to Covenant. After several hours of peaceful dialogue between the Equality Riders and the students who chose to go talk to them, the Riders made a statement in support of their mission to challenge Covenant's biblically-based beliefs, and then four Riders made the deliberate decision to trespass on Covenant's property, resulting in their arrests.

+ Soulforce, Inc., PO Box 3195, Lynchburg, VA 24503

+ Covenant College 14049 Scenic Highway Lookout Mountain, GA 30750-9901 (706) 820.1560


The Rev. David Wallace, dean of Atlanta's Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary, has submitted his resignation, effective 31 Dec. 2007. Wallace has directed the affairs of the seminary since 1993. "David Wallace has been a faithful and passionate spokesman for Johnson C. Smith. His contributions culminated in the initiation of a major gifts campaign that includes the commitment of John Wieland to build a new facility for the seminary on the Interdenominational Theological Center campus," said the Rev. Eugene Turner, president of the seminary's board of trustees. The board will soon appoint a search committee to begin looking for Wallace's successor.

+ Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary, 700 Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dr., SW Atlanta, GA 30314 (404) 527-7781


Patriarch Alexei II of the Russian Orthodox Church has made his first public appearance in Moscow following a swirl of recent rumors that he had died or fallen gravely ill while receiving medical treatment in Switzerland. He said the rumors may have been part of an effort to scuttle the scheduled Ascension Day reunion of the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia on 17 May. [ENI]

+ Ecumenical News International, PO Box 2100, CH - 1211 Geneva 2

+ Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. 75 East 93rd Street, New York NY 10128 (212) 534-1601


Eleven German denominations -- including Protestant, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Anglican churches -- are to recognize formally each other's baptism, at an ecumenical ceremony in the eastern German city of Magdeburg. "As a sign of the unity of all Christians, baptism is a bond with Jesus Christ, the foundation of this unity," states a common declaration to be signed at the service on 29 April. "This mutual recognition of baptism is an expression of the bond of unity founded in Jesus Christ." [ENI]

+ Ecumenical News International, PO Box 2100, CH - 1211 Geneva 2


Reformed Christians in Poland have urged their government to do more to halt mass killings in Sudan's Darfur region by playing a stronger role in humanitarian affairs. "As citizens of a country on whose territory a terrible genocide was perpetrated by invaders more than half a century ago, we feel an even greater responsibility to do everything in our power to prevent a similar nightmare in other parts of the world," the Evangelical Reformed Church in Poland said. The pastoral situation of the Reformed Church has greatly improved in the last few years. With ten widely-scattered parishes and seven preaching stations, known as the "Diaspora," the church had in the former Communist years an aging clergy, empty pulpits, and difficulty encouraging a sufficient number of young men to answer the call to ministry and fill all its charges. It currently has eight pastors and five seminarians.

One of the major pastoral difficulties, however, is the geographical dispersion of the church. Of the ten parishes one is in Warsaw, six are at a distance of less than 90 miles west and southwest of Warsaw, and three are spread out over Silesia-- from 180 to 300 miles southwest of Warsaw. Yet most of the preaching stations are scattered throughout northwestern Poland. The pastor of the small parish in Zychlin, about 70 miles west of Warsaw, has a circuit of preaching stations which include Poznan, Szczecin, and Gdansk--a round trip of roughly 750 miles.

+ Evangelical Reformed Church in Poland, Bełchatów Reformed Church, ul.
Okrzei 1, 97- 400 Bełchatów, Poland


The Anderson School District in Greenville, South Carolina, has been ordered by a federal appeals court to pay us$99,776.74 in attorney's fees and costs for censoring Child Evangelism Fellowship. The court ruled in a unanimous 3-0 opinion, in Child Evangelism Fellowship v. Anderson School District Five, that the South Carolina school district violated CEF's constitutional rights by charging the group a fee while allowing other groups to use district facilities at no cost. Liberty Counsel represents CEF of South Carolina, which sponsors after-school "Good News Clubs" in elementary schools. CEF was charged a fee to use school facilities, although the district waived fees whenever deemed "in the best interest of the district." Fees were waived for the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, YMCA, Students Against Destructive Decisions, the local Democratic Party, and a host of other groups, but no waiver was extended to the Good News Clubs. After filing suit, the district changed its policy and sought to "grandfather" free use to the previously authorized groups.

This case represents a significant legal precedent, because it requires speech-restrictive policies to contain clear standards to prevent government officials from engaging in viewpoint discrimination, much like the case law that has developed to govern prior restraints on speech.

+ Liberty Counsel, PO Box 540774, Orlando, FL 32854 (800) 671-1776

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

May 3, 2007

[ ] Egbert Gritters 1933-2007
[ ] Center for Reclaiming America Closes
[ ] Consultation on the Calvin Jubilee 2009
[ ] Church of Scotland and Free Church Issue Joint Statement of Support
[ ] Church to Extend Protection for Its Members
[ ] Hate Campaign Adds Fuel to Persecution in India
[ ] PCA Report on Ad Interim Study Committee
[ ] CRC Myanmar Holds General Assembly
[ ] Reformed Ecumenical Council Changes
[ ] ARP Magazine Delivery Delayed


Egbert Gritters, age 73, of Hull, died 3 April at the Sioux Center Community Hospital. The Rev. Steven Key officiated. Interment followed at the Hope Cemetery in Hull.

Egbert Matthew was born on 4 Aug. 1933, in Hull, the son of Egbert O. and Wilma (Mulder) Gritters. Raised on a farm near Ireton, Gritters graduated from their high school in 1950, obtained an associate degree from Northwestern College in Orange City, and attended Iowa State University in Ames.

+ Hull Protestant Reformed Church, 1006 Hayes Ave., Hull, Iowa 51239


The Center for Reclaiming America has closed, halting its conservative activism and throwing the future of its signature annual conference in doubt according to published reports.

An undisclosed number of employees was laid off on 26 April at the center's headquarters in Fort Lauderdale and its congressional chaplaincy office in Washington, DC, in what its parent organization, Coral Ridge Ministries, called a "streamlining."

Every aspect of the Coral Ridge institutional community has been touched by the protracted illness of founder Dr. D. James Kennedy.

The future of the annual Reclaiming America for Christ conferences, which began in 1994, has not been announced.

+ Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, 5555 N Federal Hwy, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308 (954) 771-3187


In 2009 Jean Calvin will be 500. An international conference held from 15-19 April 2007 marked a starting point for the preparations for the Calvin Jubilee that year. Invitations were issued by the John Knox International Reformed Center, the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches, The World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) and the Faculty of Theology of the University of Geneva. More than 50 representatives of Reformed churches from 17 countries met in Geneva.

Jean Calvin, who was born in 1509, is regarded as one of the most important church reformers. Reformed churches from all over the world are celebrating the Calvin Jubilee in 2009 to commemorate his quincentenary.

+ World Alliance of Reformed Churches, 150 route de Ferney, PO Box 2100, 1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland [41](22) 791 6240

+ Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches, Head of the Office Sulgenauweg 26 Postfach 3000 Bern 23 +41 (0)31 370 25 72


In its report to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Committee on Ecumenical Relations will present the findings of the recent Local Ecumenical Audit which was jointly commissioned by both the Committee and Action of Churches Together in Scotland. The Audit was carried out with respondents from three areas of Scotland - Paisley, Inverness, and St Andrews.

Following a successful placement of a newly ordained minister in Dundee, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Bavaria has suggested the possibility of a partnership at institutional level. In September 2006 a unique and historic covenant was signed between the Church and the United Free Church of Scotland. Talks continue with the Free Church of Scotland which has resulted in a joint statement of mutual recognition and understanding and a mutual commitment to cooperate in the advancement of the kingdom of God.

+ Rev Bill Brown, Convener of the Ecumenical Relations Committee, Church of Scotland, 121 George St., Edinburgh EH2 4YN Scotland

+ A copy of the full report is available from Gussy Alamein


The Ministries Council and The Legal Questions Committee of the Church of Scotland will present their joint report to the 2007 General Assembly, detailing the findings of The Working Group of the Ministries Council and Legal Questions Committee. Since being established last year, The Working Group has been examining the equivalence of protection offered by the Church to its ministers and others, in comparison with the rights of employees and others in civil law.

The Working Group notes that it has always lain within the common law powers of the Courts of the Church to take action in circumstances in which any minister, employee, office-bearer, or member of the Church is subjected to bullying or discrimination.

The Ministries Council and Legal Questions Committee will ask the General Assembly to pass two Acts relating to bullying and discrimination.

The first of the two Acts proposes to tackle bullying and will provide a means by which the Courts of the Church can take up an allegation against a court, committee, or individual, investigate it and resolve it. The second Act seeks to combat discrimination where it is perpetrated by or in the name of any agencies of the Church.

The proposed legislation does not remove Presbyteries' powers and intends to add to their powers in just one respect, in that they may impose financial sanctions upon courts and committees (such as Kirk Sessions) where discrimination has taken place. This extension of power is being presented as an Overture under the Barrier Act and the Assembly will be asked to transmit this to Presbyteries with returns to be received by 31 December 2007. Nor do the acts seek to replicate civil law remedies. The legislation sets out to emphasize the powers that are already in place.

+ Gussy Alamein, The Church Of Scotland, 121 George Street, Edinburgh EH2 4YN Scotland


The Supreme Court of India has admitted a petition seeking action against the distribution of compact discs (CDs) by Hindu extremists that allegedly suggested in 2006 that Christians in Gujarat state should be beheaded.

Admitting the petition filed by non-profit organization Anhad, the high court on 5 April gave four weeks to the federal government to reply concerning the circulation of the CD as preparation for the Shabri Kumbh, a "reawakening" event organized by Hindu extremists in Dangs district, Gujarat from 11 to 13 February 2006, according to The Hindu, a national daily. In the petition, Anhad sought an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation, as the Gujarat government has not taken any action against the makers and distributors of the CD.

The CD, made by the Shabri Kumbh Samorah Aayojan Samiti (Organizing Committee) and titled "Shri Shabri Kumbh 2006: Spirituality along with the Wave of Patriotism," "incites Hindus against the Christian community and suggests that Christians be attacked and beheaded," said the petitioner, alleging that the CDs were widely circulated, distributed and openly sold in the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra and in the north-eastern states.

"In the CD, the narrator, while talking about Hindu tradition and culture, makes constant references to the evil forces and foreign powers that are out to destroy the Hindu religion whilst simultaneously flashing pictures of churches and Cross on the screen as if to insinuate that the Christian community is the evil force and the foreign power that the Hindu community has to reckon with," the daily quoted the petitioner as saying.

+ Compass Direct News, PO Box 27250, Santa Ana CA 92799-7250 (949) 862-0304


The Presbyterian Church in America appointed a committee to study the soteriology of the "New Perspective" and the "Federal Vision." The "New Perspective on Paul" (NPP) is an academic movement associated since the 1960s with scholars such as Krister Stendahl, E.P. Sanders, James D.G. Dunn, and N. T. Wright.

The committee recognized that there were a variety of viewpoints associated with the NPP; therefore, it sought to be cautious in analysis of the movement as a whole. Because N.T. Wright had a significant influence in recent years on the broader evangelical and Reformed communities; the PCA study concentrates on his writings.

The committee acknowledged that a major concern of the General Assembly has been called Federal Vision (FV) or Auburn Avenue Theology (AAT). These are one and the same, different names designating the same theological movement.

The name "Auburn Avenue Theology" comes from its association with the Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church in Monroe, Louisiana, which has hosted conferences where their ideas have been promoted. In addition, a symposium book was entitled "The Auburn Avenue Theology, Pros & Cons: Debating the Federal Vision."

The name "Federal Vision" appears to be the name preferred by proponents, who together authored a book entitled "The Federal Vision." Since both names refer to the same theological movement, and since proponents prefer the label "Federal Vision," the committee chose to use the name Federal Vision (FV) when referring to the movement.

The membership of the committee reflected intellectual and cultural influences in the PCA, representing a majority of the denomination: Paul Fowler (Chairman) Grover Gunn (Secretary) Dr. Ligon Duncan, Sean Lucas, Robert Mattes, William Mueller, and John White.

The full report is available on the Internet.

+ Dr. Dominic Aquila, Presbyterian Church in America, ByFaith Magazine, 1700 North Brown Road, Suite 105, Lawrenceville, GA 30043


The Myanmar government first denied a request for a General Assembly meeting of the Christian Reformed Church of Myanmar, but later relented when the church officers supplied a 1996 government letter recognizing the CRCM as an official church. So, the church held a General Assembly 7-11 March, and was able to hear reports and make management decisions about theological education, health care, and several other ministries. The assembly also ordained ten new pastors. The church's leadership group thus expands, even though the government forbids new church construction. The CRCM currently has 50 congregations and 5,000 members.

Most of the membership of the CRCM is in Matupi, an area within Chin state on the western border of Myanmar. The government stations soldiers there, and the people living there are pressed into forced labor to equip and house the soldiers. The soldiers also take local food production for their own use.

The military government has also been building Buddhist monasteries in the villages, even where there are no Buddhist believers. The construction is part of a plan to make the population Buddhist. Teachers must bring school children to these monasteries where they are taught Buddhism. In spite of this strategy, the church members are keeping their Bibles and remaining faithful.

The CRCM was also able to begin construction on an orphanage. The government refused permission at first, but the church argued that the purpose was not for preaching or worship, and the government eventually allowed construction to begin. The CRCM currently operates the orphanage in a smaller building where they care for 50 children.

+ Christian Reformed Church in North America, 2850 Kalamazoo Ave., SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49560 (616) 241-1691


The REC Web site,, has a newer look as of April. The revision is not complete revision but it does provide a source of up-to-date information. The site has a new underlying URL, and old links to our site may not work.

For the first time since 2003, the REC has published an updated Handbook, containing contact information for the REC and its member churches. Copies have been mailed to officers of the REC, and the church offices of each of members denomination. Additional copies may be requested from the REC office, for a nominal fee of US$5 for shipping and handling.

+ Reformed Ecumenical Council (REC, 2050 Breton Rd., SE, Suite 102, Grand Rapids, MI 49546


A large number of subscribers to the ARP Magazine in the Greater Charlotte, North Carolina, area report that April magazines have not been delivered. The issues were mailed 20 March from Greenville, South Carolina. A complaint has been entered with the Greenville and Charlotte post offices. There is a "periodical watch" in affect and both locations are investigating this situation.

+ Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, One Cleveland Street, Greenville, SC 29601