The fledgling Christian Churches Together—a painstakingly crafted amalgam of U.S. mainline Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, racial/ethnic and evangelical/Pentecostal churches—will organize formally behind closed doors early in June and publicly celebrate the milestone in September.
In September of 1987 near the historic San Fernando Mission in Los Angeles, Pope John Paul II held his first face-to-face meeting with the entire U.S. hierarchy. He dealt bluntly with the “selective” dissent of many American Catholics over church teachings on sexual policies, women’s equality and church authority.
When Zondervan published in 2002 an inclusive-language version of the New Testament by the translators of the older, best-selling New International Version (NIV) Bible, vociferous criticism poured in from conservative Protestants.
After nearly four years—some say 15 years—of discussion the largest U.S. Lutheran denomination will soon hear if it has some practical and moral wisdom for dealing with homosexual issues that have divided other mainline church bodies for decades.
It’s commonly observed that converts to a faith are the most ardent defenders of it. That seems to be the case with American converts to Orthodoxy. The large number of converts attending Orthodox seminaries prompted Alexey D. Krindatch, a sociologist of religion, to wonder whether an “Americanization” of Eastern Orthodoxy might lie ahead. His conclusion: “Probably not.”
The United Church of Christ, a budget-struggling mainline denomination often confused with a similarly named church, felt that only a bold regional and national TV ad campaign costing $1.7 million might rescue it from public anonymity.
After escaping an ouster a year ago by the Evangelical Theological Society, a leading proponent of “open theism” theology is being shown the door by trustees at Huntington (Indiana) College for his “notoriety” among evangelical pastors.
A new analysis of how strongly Americans believe in God finds no upward trends in atheism, agnosticism and doubt. However, surveys also show that various levels of belief and skepticism are masked by a common claim that 95 percent of U.S. adults believe in God.
The United Methodist Church has warned its Denver seminary that nearly $1 million in support will be cut off if the school does not resolve internal racial and cultural issues that prompted its Latino president to resign suddenly last May.
Despite the attention given to religious issues in this year’s presidential race, three public opinion experts have stated that the political force of faith and ethics questions has been overblown. Their assessment was not as blunt as the 1992 dictum “It’s the economy, stupid!,” but they came close.
A Finnish theologian, forced by U.S. immigration officials to leave the country despite holding a tenured professorship at Fuller Theological Seminary, is back at the California campus after only six weeks’ absence. Whether the scholar can become a permanent resident, however, is uncertain, said a lawyer who called the dispute with government officials “a sad political fight.”
Mainline Protestant denominations have steadily declined in membership for four decades in the U.S., so it was not surprising to learn recently that Protestants overall are losing, or have lost, their status as the nation’s religious majority.
Clifton Kirkpatrick, reelected recently as the top executive in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), was also the unanimous choice to be president of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches for the next seven years.
Seminarians preparing to serve as pastors are increasingly taking out low-interest government loans to pay educational costs, but researchers say that trend is dangerously compounding the struggles of fledgling ministers and small churches.
An international expert in ecumenical and Pentecostal studies is being forced to leave the United States at the end of July because he does not fit post-9/11 visa definitions for continuing as a tenured professor at Fuller Theological Seminary, whose status as a legitimate religious institution was questioned.
“But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first” (Mark 10:31). “So the last will be first, and the first will be last” (Matt. 20:16).“Indeed, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last” (Luke 13:30).
As presidential campaigns swung into their final five months, President Bush worked at cementing his strong support from evangelicals and shoring up ties to Catholics by visiting and honoring Pope John Paul II at the Vatican.