United Methodist Church News Feed

Clergy react to Arkansas execution
United Methodist clergy spoke out against Arkansas first execution since 2005 and plans for other executions by April 27.
Church braces for ruling on gay bishop
Some say fragile unity will be tested, regardless of the ruling in the case that could affect United Methodist Bishop Karen Oliveto.
Preview to the legal debate around gay bishop
The denomination’s top court faces a question of whether it should weigh in on Bishop Oliveto’s election at all.
Faith groups bring hope, new life to refugees
Panel at U.N. headquarters highlights decades-long leadership of faith-based groups in U.S. refugee resettlement.
Norwegian United Methodist pastor leads Lutheran church
Appointment of Norwegian United Methodist pastor to Lutheran church highlights value of ecumenism.
Nigerian seminary educates pastors’ wives
A United Methodist seminary in Nigeria is providing basic skills training for the wives of students training to be pastors.
Hundreds benefit from medical outreach
Free medical outreach program conducted by The United Methodist Church in rural Zimbabwe also encouraged patients to seek treatment sooner.
Africa University farm feeds multitudes
Happy animals, abundant crops makes the pan-African university self-sustaining. The agricultural department was one of first two faculties established in 1992.
Way Forward group ponders structural changes
As the commission works toward church unity, some members say the group is contemplating “loosening the connection.”
Recalling violence against Filipino farmers
United Methodists organize worship service to mark one-year anniversary of a bloody attack in the Philippines.

Christianity Today - RSS Feed

The March for Science Is Willing to Get Political. But Will It Welcome Religion?

How evangelical scientists square their place in the global movement.

Hundreds of thousands of researchers, educators, and doctors will take to the streets tomorrow, holding nerdy signs and sporting pins with slogans like “I Believe in Science.”

For many of them, that’s not all they believe in. Evangelicals’ involvement in the upcoming March for Science reflects their unique place in the sector. Despite all the motivations and concerns they share with their secular counterparts, there’s still some tension over how their faith fits in a field built on empirical facts—especially as the movement employs those facts toward political ends.

The event was initially inspired by fear over anticipated “gag orders” on government scientists following President Donald Trump’s inauguration. The march ballooned from Washington, DC, to more than 500 locations worldwide. Over the past three months, organizers pushed for the scientific community to find common ground to celebrate the role of scientific discovery in society and policy.

“I would hope that the presence of Christians in the march can show that theists and non-theists can look through the microscope together and come to the exact same conclusions,” said Mike Beidler, the president of the Washington, DC, chapter of the American Scientific Affiliation, a network for Christians in science. “The only difference is that the theist then moves beyond the awe of discovery to an attitude of worship of the Creator.”

More than 2 million of the 12 million scientists in the United States identify as evangelical, according to research by Rice University sociologist Elaine Howard Ecklund. March organizers nodded to faith’s place at the march when their diversity committee stated a ...

Continue reading...

Cease Squirming and Know That I Am God: Why Don’t We Share the Gospel?

We share the gospel because men and women need to know they are loved by God.

I’ve seen people squirm and fidget whenever the topic of evangelism is mentioned. Of course, the reasons vary from person to person.

Awkwardness

I wonder if some feel awkward engaging in an activity they’ve never, or seldom, done. They are awkward when it comes to sharing their faith.

But I’m convinced that none of us is very life-skilled, even about significant features of life. For instance, nobody is ready to get married; if we waited until we were, we would miss those joys of life. Nobody is ready to have children; if we waited until we were, the whole human race would end in this generation.

And nobody is ready to share their faith; if we waited until we were, the mission of God, mediated through His people, would come to a halt.

We cannot wait until we are ready. We function awkwardly throughout life. A toddler learning to walk falls down and gets bruised. A six-year-old taking the training wheels off the bicycle falls down and gets scratched. In fact, every new endeavor in life reveals that we are awkward. One could say if we are not awkward someplace in our lives, then we are just not growing.

Historical Baggage

For others, the squirming about evangelism may be a result of watching those who shared the gospel abusively. There are those who use the Bible as if it were a club to coerce and bludgeon people to God. Such insensitivity seldom bears kingdom fruit. Nevertheless, those who are turned off by abuse fail to realize that silence in matters of the gospel also contributes to the failure of the Church; it does not correct the abuse.

In fact, Thomas Aquinas wrote in the Summa Theologica that “an abuse does not nullify a proper use.” If we judged any segment of society by its worst examples, ...

Continue reading...

Blasphemy Blocks Re-Election of Indonesia’s Only Christian Governor

But after losing Jakarta race, Ahok finds some favor in court.

The blasphemy charges that cost Indonesia’s top Christian politician his re-election race won’t send him to jail.

Just a day after Basuki Purnama—popularly known as Ahok—conceded the runoff for governor of Jakarta, prosecutors recommended a light sentence of two years probation instead of the maximum penalty of five years in prison.

Ahok, a double minority in the archipelago as a Christian and as an Indonesian citizen who is ethnically Chinese, secured approval ratings as high as 70 percent in the capital region during his campaign. But when the anti-corruption crusader was accused of distorting a Qur‘an teaching to convince the nation’s overwhelming Muslim majority to vote for a Christian, public opinion shifted dramatically.

Ahok repeatedly denied the claims as a translation error, and accused Indonesia’s hardline Muslim groups of coordinating an attack against him. He ultimately conceded Wednesday’s election, trailing in the polls by less than 10 percentage points.

But Christians’ prayers were answered the following day, when government prosecutors decided to end the trial against him, CBN reported. The official sentencing ruling will come in early May.

“Ahok is very positive. He says that everything is in God’s hands and that everything has a purpose,” said Lucille Talusan, CBN’s Indonesia correspondent. “Even if he is under trial for what is happening in his life, he believes that one day God is going to bring him back to his calling. The first thing in his heart is to serve his people in Indonesia.”

The 50-year-old still sees a future for himself in Indonesian politics and hopes to be president. Indonesia still hasn’t ever directly ...

Continue reading...