World renowned evangelical Christian leader John R.W. Stott died July 27 at his home in London. He was 90 years old. “Stott, considered one of the greatest evangelical thinkers of the 20th century, led an evangelical resurgence in England in the 1960s and 1970s,” reported CBN News. “He influenced Christians worldwide through his preaching and writings,” including authoring 50 books on a variety of topics of interest to evangelicals and the church at large.
It’s a few months early, but the ACLU is already beginning its annual attack on America’s beloved Christmas holiday. The Florida Sun Sentinel newspaper reported that the Broward County branch of the ACLU has warned the community of Plantation not to put up its annual display of Christian and Jewish symbols in Liberty Tree Park this holiday season, calling the display “inappropriate.”
As the symbolic World Trade Center Cross (left) was moved to its permanent display site at New York’s 9/11 Memorial Museum on July 23, an atheist group filed a lawsuit to have the inspirational symbol banned from the museum. Discovered by construction worker Frank Silecchia in the rubble of the Trade Center two days after the attack, “the 17-foot-tall cross became an icon of hope and comfort throughout the recovery effort in the wake of the 2001 attacks,” noted a museum press release.
Dolly Parton’s Dollywood theme park has made some unwanted headlines after a lesbian visiting the park with her partner was asked to turn her T-shirt, which included the message “Marriage Is So Gay,” inside out to avoid offending other park patrons.
Willow Creek Community Church, a Chicago-area mega-church that gained fame 20 years ago for its “seeker-sensitive” approach to evangelizing non-Christians, has announced that it will no longer partner with Exodus International, a national ministry that reaches out to individuals wishing to leave the homosexual lifestyle.
One of the nation’s largest denominational social services networks is in danger of a major split over the decision by one of the participants to take a tolerant stance on homosexuality. According to a report by the Associated Press, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (logo, top left), a theologically conservative denomination, has announced “that direct work with its larger and more liberal counterpart, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America [ELCA, logo, bottom left], has become ‘difficult if not impossible,’ because of doctrinal differences,” including the 2009 decision by the ELCA to allow for the ordination of homosexuals as clergy members.
Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC), a mainstay of Christian outreach ministries at universities across the United States for the past 60 years, is changing its iconic name because “the word ‘crusade’ has negative associations with the bloody Christian conquests of the 11th to 13th centuries,” reported the New York Times. In a press release, the organization itself explained that it was changing its name to simply “Cru” in an effort to “overcome existing barriers and perceptions inherent in the original name.”
The atheist group Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFR) has filed a lawsuit against Texas Governor Rick Perry (left) in an attempt to halt the planned day of fasting and prayer he has called for on August 6th at Reliant Stadium in Houston. In a press release, the group said that it was joining five of its members in “asking the federal court to declare unconstitutional Perry’s initiation, organization, promotion, and participation in the Aug. 6 prayer event.” The group said that it planned to file a restraining order to block “Perry’s continuing involvement in the prayer rally….”
A federal judge ruled July 11 that a community in Los Angeles County may include prayer in its city government meetings. U.S. District Judge Dale Fischer issued a decision in favor of the City of Lancaster, which in 2009 had approved a policy allowing prayers of all faiths to be included in the openings of the city meetings. The policy was later approved by voters in a community referendum.
A significant change to the constitution of the liberal Presbyterian Church (USA) — (PCUSA) — took effect July 10 that allows practicing homosexuals to serve as clergy in the storied mainline denomination. Last year delegates to the PCUSA endorsed the change to drop the requirement, written in the church’s constitution, that church ministers live “in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness.” The change required approval by a majority of the church’s 173 regional presbyteries, which occurred in May of this year, with Minnesota’s Twin Cities district casting the deciding vote.