Sovereign Grace charged with covering up sex abuse
A lawsuit filed in October alleges that leaders at Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM) covered up sexual abuse committed by church members for more than two decades. The lawsuit alleges founder and president C. J. Mahaney and seven other leaders failed to report incidents of abuse. It also says they tried to "mislead law enforcement into believing the parents had 'forgiven' those who preyed on their children." SGM, a network of Reformed churches in 21 countries, is still dealing with the aftermath of a 2011 internal investigation of Mahaney's leadership.
Adult stem cell researchers win Nobel Prize
The Nobel Assembly awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine to John B. Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka, researchers who discovered a way to develop stem cells from adult skin cells—thus removing the need to use and destroy human embryos. Pro-life groups trumpeted the award, lauding the discovery as the "ethically acceptable (and far more promising) alternative."
Another school says InterVarsity discriminates
Tufts University has revoked its InterVarsity Christian Fellowship chapter's status as an officially recognized student organization. The Boston-area research university's student judiciary initially suspended Tufts Christian Fellowship (TCF) for requiring that student leaders must affirm basic Christian beliefs. Ruling that this violates the school's non-discrimination policy, the judiciary told TCF to move its belief-based requirement from its constitution to its nonbinding mission statement. TCF refused. InterVarsity faced similar problems at Vanderbilt University earlier this year.
Cubans will soon travel more freely
CUBA Beginning in January, Cubans will be able to travel in and out of their island country without first needing to obtain permission from their government. Authorized Cubans will no longer need an exit visa, which required a letter of invitation from a host in another country, and can travel for up to two years without losing their citizenship rights. The change will allow Christian leaders in Cuba to interact more frequently with church leaders abroad, noted HCJB Global.
Islamists delay Christian inauguration
INDONESIA This fall, the capital of the world's most-populous Muslim country elected a Christian as its deputy governor. But the Jakarta inauguration of Basuki Tjahaja was delayed 10 days due to protests by Islamists "who want non-Muslims banned from all key positions of responsibility," AsiaNews reported. Hundreds of members of the Islamic Defense Front rioted in Jakarta's streets, making good on their earlier promise to protest the election of Tjahaja and of governor Joko Widodo, a moderate Muslim.
Southern Baptists refuse to sell property
LifeWay Christian Resources announced that it will not sell its Glorieta Conference Center in New Mexico to Olivet University. LifeWay's decision came after a National Association of Evangelicals-run panel studied Olivet's theological compatibility with the Southern Baptist Convention's resources arm. CT earlier reported that reliable sources claim that the spiritual leader and founder of Olivet, David Jang, heads a movement that teaches he is a new Christ; however, it was unclear whether those accusations played any role in the report, which was not made public.
Adventists: Ordaining women a mistake
Leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church said recent decisions by two regional bodies to allow ordained female pastors were "serious mistakes," and women who were ordained won't be recognized—at least for now. The decisions by the Maryland-based Columbia Union Conference and the California-based Pacific Union Conference came as the worldwide church body is in the midst of a broad study of the "theology of ordination." The denomination will discuss the study at its 2015 general conference. Many Adventist female pastors merely hold "commissioned" status, which does not allow them to be ordained; most male pastors hold a "ministerial" credential, which does allow ordination.