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A Mormon for President?

With Mormon candidates such as former congressman John Huntsman and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney considering 2012 runs for president, evangelicals are beginning to discuss the implications of a Mormon president. In a controversial column at the Patheos website, author Warren Cole Smith argued that "a vote for Romney is a vote for the LDS Church."

Smith admitted that evangelicals will be attracted to a Mormon candidate's shared views on social and moral issues, but argued that they shouldn't overlook the fact that Mormons have a different religous worldview than evangelicals, and that worldview shapes their behavior. He pointed to Mormons' various positions, from polygamy to racial discrimination, that have been reversed in light of "continuing revelation" that comes through the church's prophets. read more

British Doc in Trouble for Mentioning Jesus

A British doctor with 28 years of experience has been censured by the government’s medical licensing board—and may have his medical license revoked—for discussing Christianity with one of his patients.

Last year, Dr. Richard Scott, a general practitioner at the Bethesda Medical Center in Margate, England, saw a 24-year-old male patient, and the doctor discussed his faith at the end of a medical consultation after obtaining the patient’s permission. read more

Mockery or Ministry?

In the wake of Family Radio founder Harold Camping's failed rapture predictions, unbelievers are mocking and evangelicals are distancing themselves from the sect whose followers traveled around the world renting billboards and motor homes with signs proclaiming the end of the world on May 21. One billboard playfully reproving Camping—a photo of which quickly went viral—was unveiled on May 22, reading, “That was awkward. ‘No one knows the day or the hour …’ .”

But one church, Calvary Bible Church of Milpitas, Calif., was among the first to extend his hand of support and offer counseling to Camping’s followers. Jacob Denys, Calvary's pastor, led a group to Family Radio headquarter in Oakland, Calif., on May 21 at around 4 p.m., "to reach out to those people who might have bought the lie.” Members held up signs reading "Don't despair," "Calvary Bible Church wants to help you" and "Come see us May 22, Sunday, 10 a.m." read more

Muslims in the Pulpit

A new initiative to bring Muslims and Christians together in more than 50 churches in 26 states is bound to raise a few eyebrows, and it's debatable whether it will have the desired effect.

Co-sponsored by the Interfaith Alliance and Human Rights First, "Faith Shared: Uniting in Prayer and Understanding" challenges U.S. churches to invite Jewish and Muslim clergy to their sanctuaries during the month of June to read from their respective sacred texts. The initiative is intended to demonstrate respect for Islam in the wake of recent Quran burnings, draw attention to religious freedom and counter negative stereotypes of Christian leaders making anti-Muslim statements. read more

The Religion of Apple

This is your brain on religion. This is your brain on Apple products. Don't be surprised if your brain looks the same under the influence of either one.

A team of British neuroscientists conducted a study in which they scanned the brain of an Apple user and discovered that Apple products stimulate the same part of the brain as religious imagery does in people of faith. The study was sponsored by a BBC documentary, "Secrets of the Superbrands," that examined the relationship between consumers and brands. read more

Lies in the Pulpit?

Hoping to capitalize on the attention given the Navy SEALs who raided Osama bin Laden's compound, many men have come out of the woodwork claiming to be ex-SEALs—not all of them legitimate. The most recent is Jim Moats, a Pennsylvania pastor who for five years told his Newville congregation that he was an ex-SEAL who fought during the Vietnam War.

Moats' story was exposed when he was mentioned in an article in an Harrisburg Patriot-News profiling residents who had served as SEALs.  A real ex-SEAL read the story and questioned Moats' story. Although he served in the U.S. Navy, Moats never saw combat, nor was he a Navy SEAL. Admitting to to his church, Christian Bible Fellowship Church, that he had lied about his career, Moats said his father was wounded while serving in the Navy during World War II, that his sons served in Iraq and that being a SEAL was a "dream." read more

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Networking Meeting

I'll be hosting an important networking meeting in four weeks that I personally wanted you to know about. I believe you'll enjoy it, and I'm hoping you'll consider attending. This year I'm inviting you to join my CEO group to hear guest speaker and Global Day of Prayer founder Graham Power on June 16-17. Don't miss these 30 hours of connections, fellow­ship, learning and mentoring as we explore:

» How to lead a successful, profitable business/ministry by being "unashamedly ethical"

» Living out your calling as a Christian in the marketplace

» Overcoming challenges and obstacles to achieve the plan God has for your life

» Principles for transforming your family, business, community and nation

Click here to find out more about this meeting and to register today. read more

Learn From Reinhard Bonnke

Don't miss an opportunity to learn from Evangelists Reinhard Bonnke and Daniel Kolenda on an exclusive conference call, May 24 at 4:00 p.m. Guest editors of the May/June issue of Ministry Today, these world-class soul winners challenged readers with their insights and practical wisdom on evangelism. In this conference call, they will share their hearts and answer your questions about what God is doing around the world through the ministry of Christ for all Nations. Click here to find out more and to register. If you don't subscribe to Ministry Today, click here to subscribe and get a free year. read more

Tithing Declines With Economy

A new Barna Group study reveals how the economic duress of recent years as affected Americans' charitable giving.

In the study, released May 10, 77 percent attested to being personally touched by the nation’s financial difficulties. About one-quarter (28 percent) indicated they have been affected in a “major way.”

Following the economic crisis of late 2008, 20 percent of Americans reduced their giving to churches and religious organizations, and 31 percent downsized giving to other nonprofits. Fourteen months later saw a slight improvement in giving trends, but the latest research from Barna, conducted in April 2011, indicates that the numbers of reticent church givers are still hovering at 30 percent. While for the last decade, between 5 and 7 percent of Americans tithed, this number has dropped to 4 percent of the adult population in 2011—significantly lower than last year’s rate  of 7 percent. read more

Thousands Saved in Philippines During Will Graham Event

Nearly 21,000 people responded to the call of salvation during an event held by Evangelist Will Graham in the Philippines.  Graham spoke to audiences totaling more than 97,000 during the four-day “Celebration of Hope” in the Bicol region.  The event wrapped up Sunday, May 1. 

“We have seen God move in amazing ways here in the Bicol region,” Will Graham said in a press release.  “The enthusiasm of the audience was so encouraging, and the sheer number of people who came – some from very long distances away – was humbling to me.  I’m just thankful that I have had the opportunity to be a part of what God is doing in the Philippines.” 

While in the Philippines, Graham had the opportunity to meet with several religious and political leaders, including President Benigno Aquino III. read more

Gay Activists Target Christian Colleges

A group of alumni from Wheaton College have formed OneWheaton, an organization to provide support for the gay community on the conservative Christian campus and to promote the view that homosexual practice is compatible with the Christian faith.

"If you are a student and this is part of your story, your sexual identity is not a tragic sign of the sinful nature of the world," a letter to Wheaton students posted on the group's website reads. "You are not tragic. Your desire for companionship, intimacy and love is not shameful. It is to be affirmed and celebrated just as you are to be affirmed and celebrated."

The letter, worded as a response to "a recent chapel message on Sexuality and Wholeness," is followed with a list of several hundred alumni signatories—all of whom are either homosexual or support the campaign—with their graduation years and cities. The group's organizers also reached out to students by distributing informational fliers outside a chapel service, prompting an internal email from college president Leland Ryken, affirming "the full humanity and dignity of every human being, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity" but restating the school's biblical position on homosexual practice. read more

Bankrupt Churches

Cornerstone World Outreach Center, a Sioux City, Iowa, church, has filed for bankruptcy, three years after completing a new $8 million building program. An Ohio contracting company won a lawsuit against the church in an attempt to recover $3.6 million the church had failed to repay after the building was completed.

In a statement announcing the bankruptcy, Cornerstone's pastor, Cary Gordon, cited "complications arising from an inability to achieve funding during the economic climate" and a breakdown of negotiations between the church and the contractor.

Cornerstone's plight is only the most recent of financial woes for churches attempting to weather the economic recession. read more

Assessing New Church Planters

Church planting can be an attractive opportunity for entrepreneurial leaders and those wishing to start churches without the baggage and limitations of beginning ministry on staff at an existing church. But many find themselves encountering the commonly-repeated statistic that 80 percent of church plants fail in the first year.

In response to the growing interest in new church planting, LifeWay Research unveiled an online Church Planter Candidate Assessment (CPCA) during the Expontential Conference in Orlando. Fla. LifeWay worked with 11 denominations and church-planting networks to develop the tool to aid them—and other organizations—in evaluating strengths and weaknesses of candidates who desire to establish new churches. read more

Remembering David Wilkerson

In the wake of David Wilkerson's April 27 death, bloggers, reporters, friends, family and ministry partners are joining in the outpouring of recollections and reflections on his impact on the church during his 50-plus years of ministry. The following is a collection of media items that paint a picture of Wilkerson's remarkable life: read more

Tornado-Stricken Churches Worship Outdoors

Congregations in Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Georgia gathered in tents, borrowed space or in buildings with the sunlight streaming through the damaged—or nonexistent—roofs. Last week's storm, which has claimed 340-plus lives so far, was the most devastating natural disaster since Hurricane Katrina destroyed New Orleans in 2005.

In the town of Phil Campbell, Ala., a tornado killed 20 people and destroyed 40 percent of the homes. At the Phil Campbell Church of God, congregants gathered on a bare concrete slab. Pastor Chris Burns—who lost his own home in the tornado—delivered his sermon behind the remains of the altar and in front of a cross with a hand-lettered sign reading, "He makes all things new." read more

"Klanned" Parenthood

Two pro-life groups, Christian Defense Coalition and Survivors, are sure to generate some controversy with a clever new anti-abortion campaign called "Defund Klanned Parenthood." The groups plan to focus on the fact that Planned Parenthood was founded on the principles of Margaret Sanger and point out racist statements made by Sanger, as well as her connections to the Ku Klux Klan.

"We are launching 'Defund "Klanned" Parenthood' to expose the reality that Planned Parenthood founder, Margaret Sanger, was a racist who supported the agenda of the Ku Klux Klan, spoke at their events and wanted to reduce the number of African-Americans," said Christian Defense Coalition director, Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney. "We are calling upon the members of Congress, who have given billions of public money to Planned Parenthood over the years, to defund this group whose roots are racist, bigoted and extremist." read more

Leaders Respond to Bin Laden Death

The Sunday-night announcement by President Barack Obama that terrorist leader Osama bin Laden had been killed by Navy Seals in a top-secret operation led to a flurry of comments, scripture quotations and even celebration from pastors and church leaders on Twitter, Facebook and blogs—some even correcting one another for their perspectives on the momentous occasion.

Rick Warren tweeted, quoting Proverbs 21:15, "When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers." read more

America's Favorite Version

In spite of its sometimes archaic language and the variety and availability of more modern translations, according to a recent study by LifeWay Research, the King James Version of the Bible remains the most beloved translation. The poll of 1,004 American 18 and older was conducted to mark the 400th anniversary of the King James Version, published in 1611 under the direction of England’s King James I. read more

Functional Universalism

The release of Love Wins, by Michigan pastor Rob Bell, initiated a firestorm of blog posts, news articles and even mainstream media attention on the topic of hell. The controversial pastor's book, which suggests that everyone will eventually be saved and challenges the traditional Christian view of hell as eternal punishment, has been met with criticism in the evangelical community. But a recent study from The Barna Group reveals that the functional universalism of Love Wins may be held by many professing Christians. read more

Catholic Exodus

Sojourn Community Church, a fast-growing baptist congregation in Louisville, Ky., is moving into the soaring gothic sanctuary once occupied by St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, a parish that has been closed since 1996. Founded in 2000, Sojourn's restoration of the historic building highlights a century-long trend that has been overlooked by Catholics and Protestants alike. read more

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