—The Reformed Church in America has rejected a proposed constitutional amendment to the denomination's Book of Church Order that would have required all ministers and congregations to reaffirm annually that salvation is in Christ alone. Two-thirds of the 46 regional jurisdictions needed to approve the amendment for passage, but only half did. The vote came in response to the case of Richard Rhem, pastor of Christ Community Church in Spring Lake, Michigan, who refused to recant unorthodox beliefs (CT, Oct. 7, 1996, p. 86).
—According to Barna Research Group of Oxnard, California, the number of born-again Catholics in the past year has jumped to 31 percent from 22 percent. Pollster George Barna's criteria include whether respondents have "made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ" and "accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior." Barna cites a renewed emphasis on personal Bible study within the Catholic church as a factor. Overall, Barna says, 43 percent of Americans describe themselves as born again, compared to 39 percent a year ago. Catholics are second only to Baptists.
—Two dozen churches from around the country formally organized the Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America (ARBCA) on March 11 at a meeting in Mesa, Arizona. ARBCA is designed to provide "a fellowship in which churches of common confession may find mutual encouragement, assistance, edification, and counsel." The group, which will use the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith (1689) as a doctrinal standard, also may cooperate in ministerial training, publications, and church planting.
—General Motors, Chrysler, and Johnson & Johnson, this season's top three sponsors of the abc sitcom Ellen, decided not to advertise on the April ...1
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