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