Revival Time

By the time the month-and-a-half-long campaign ends on April 29, some 80 percent of the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) 37,000 churches are expected to have participated in a major revival effort around the theme “Here’s hope. Jesus cares for you.”

This message is now being communicated in radio spots and magazine ads, and on billboards and bumper stickers all over the United States. The campaign is sponsored by the SBC Home Mission Board and is intended to promote simultaneous revivals organized by SBC churches.

Sad State Of Affairs

One in ten ministers have had affairs with members of their congregations, and about one in four have had some kind of sexual contact with parishioners, according to a major study conducted by the Chicago-area Park Ridge Center for the Study of Health, Faith and Ethics.

Over a four-year period, hundreds of ministers from urban and rural, large and small churches responded to questions as part of the study. In a talk discussing the project, Karen Lebacqz, a United Church of Christ minister and one of the project researchers, said that clergy engage in extramarital sex usually out of loneliness and a feeling that they are not supported.

Almost all of those interviewed who acknowledged illicit sexual behavior said they felt guilty about it and blamed their failure mainly on the intimacy of counseling situations. Many cited sexual behavior as the most confusing personal issue they face and said they had an inadequate sense of how their theology shapes their sexual feelings.

Said Lebacqz, “We need to deal openly and realistically with this.” She said temptation of pastors and parishioners could be minimized in part by limiting counseling to daytime hours and through counseling with entire families instead of with just one family member.

Christianity Favored

Protestants and Catholics are the two religious groups most likely to leave a favorable impression on people, according to a survey of over 600 adults. The survey, conducted by the Barna Research Group, also solicited respondents’ opinions on Jews, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Hare Krishnas, Buddhists, and Muslims.

Seventy-two percent of those surveyed said they had either a somewhat-favorable or very-favorable view of Protestants and Catholics, while only about 10 percent said they had a negative view of Protestants, and 13 percent had a negative view of Catholics. About 75 percent of the Protestants and Catholics surveyed had positive views of each other.

Respondents’ somewhat-favorable or very-favorable views were less common among other religious groups, including Mormons (42 percent); Buddhists (25 percent); Jehovah’s Witnesses (20 percent); Muslims (20 percent); and Hare Krishnas (9 percent).

Overdose On Religion?

A drug treatment center in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, operating with the conviction that Christ is the ultimate answer for drug addiction, is facing the loss of government funds because of its emphasis on religion. Such funding accounts for nearly three-fourths of the center’s $300,000 annual budget.

According to the Canadian publication Christian Week, regional government officials, citing the Harvest House treatment center’s requirement of attendance at church services, have announced the withdrawal of funds. Bill Main, the treatment center’s program director, maintains its approach is essentially the same as that of other religious groups. A government official said other groups, such as the Salvation Army, emphasize religion only “in moderation.”

Problems developed for Harvest House last October when authorities began investigating reports that residents were being handcuffed and subjected to other forms of degrading treatment. A three-month investigation failed to substantiate any of the charges, but the bad publicity drew attention to the center. Main said a government official privately admitted that the funds would not have been withdrawn had it not been for the publicity. The center, which has operated for ten years, is appealing the decision.

Briefly Noted

Refused: By the Missouri state senate, legal permission for the family of Nancy Cruzan to remove the food and water tubes that are keeping her alive. The 32-year-old woman has been in a vegetative state since 1983. Lawmakers said that to approve a measure calling for removal of the tubes would have amounted to state-sanctioned euthanasia.

Moving: To Colorado Springs, which is becoming home to more and more Christian organizations, LeTourneau Ministries International and the affiliated LeTourneauFoundation. The organization, which works through missions groups to assist Latin American urban churches in evangelism, plans to move in July from its current location in Rockwall, Texas.

Announced: By Robertson McQuilkin, his resignation as president of Columbia Bible College and Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina, effective June 30. McQuilkin, 62, has served as president of the institution for 22 years. In his letter of resignation, he said his wife is struggling with dementia and needs his full-time care.

Died: On February 19, of complications from Parkinson’s disease, Presbyterian ecumenist James Iley McCord, at the age of 70. McCord had served as president of Princeton Theological Seminary; he was the founder of Princeton’s Center for Theological Inquiry.

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