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