Indian-born apologist notes differences with LDS, Fuller head offers apology
On Sunday night, evangelical apologist Ravi Zacharias gave one of his frequent messages on defending Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and the Life in a culture that rejects truth claims. But the pulpit differed radically from Zacharias's usual lecterns, for it was in the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City.

Zacharias is actually the last person, Mormon or not, who will speak at the Tabernacle for at least 18 months—the building, which was constructed between 1853 and 1893, is undergoing substantial renovations.

Asked to speak on "Who is the Truth?" Zacharias was not expected to highlight many differences between historic Christian theology and Mormonism, but apparently he did mention them. The Deseret Morning News reports:

He spoke of the "exclusivity and sufficiency of Jesus Christ," noting that he asserted an exclusive truth claim in his declaration as "the Way, the Truth and the Life." While he acknowledged that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints differ in many of their views from historic Christianity, he emphasized much of what they share in reverence for a being both consider the divine Savior of mankind.

The Salt Lake Tribune offers a similar summary, saying Zacharias

acknowledged there are doctrinal differences—including some that are deep—between traditional Christianity and the LDS faith.
His hour-long sermon emphasized aspects of Christian doctrine for which Mormons have a different understanding, such as sin, salvation through the Cross, and the Trinity.
But his overarching message—that Jesus Christ is the answer to the longing in all human hearts—was one that resonated with both evangelical Christians and Mormons … .

The sermon, which filled the Tabernacle to capacity with about 7,000 evangelical Protestants, Mormons, and others, received a standing ovation.

But Zacharias, who spoke elsewhere in Utah last week, wasn't the only evangelical on the platform. Michael Card led music, and Fuller Seminary president Richard Mouw gave an introductory sermon.

And it'll be Mouw, not Zacharias, that Utahns will remember, says The Deseret Morning News. He offered "a stunningly candid apology to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and [noted] that 'friendship has not come easily between our communities.' He dubbed the evening 'historic' and apologized that evangelicals 'have often misrepresented the faith and beliefs of the Latter-day Saints.'"

Mouw's full remarks are not available online (neither are Zacharias's, but Standing Together Ministries, which organized the talk, is selling CDs and DVDs). But here are the full quotes that made the papers:

Article continues below
  • "Let me state it clearly. We evangelicals have sinned against you."

  • "We've often seriously misrepresented the beliefs and practices of members of the LDS faith."

  • "It's a terrible thing to bear false witness. … We've told you what you believe without first asking you."

  • "I'm not being melodramatic when I say this is an historic occasion."

  • "I remain convinced there are serious issues of difference that are of eternal consequence, but now we can discuss them as friends."

The best quote, however, is from an unnamed pastor quoted in The Deseret Morning News. Saying he wanted to see the evangelical-Mormon meeting become an annual event, the pastor added, "Don't you all have a bigger place right across the street?" That'd be the Mormon Temple. And no, non-Mormons aren't allowed there.

Those interested in the story may also find interesting this list of Zacharias's books by a Mormon, a few links on Mormon love for C.S. Lewis—which may be why Utah papers are likely to call Zacharias a modern Lewis.

One more note: Several news outlets, including an earlier Christianity Today Weblog, have noted that Zacharias is apparently the first evangelical to speak at the Tabernacle since Dwight L. Moody. After Weblog's previous posting on this subject, we received more information from Ronald V. Huggins, assistant professor of historical and theological studies at Salt Lake Theological Seminary:

D.L. Moody's 1871 appearance in the Salt Lake Tabernacle is mentioned in the Salt Lake Deseret Evening News (Sat. June 3, 1871, p. 3 and Mon., June 5, 1871, p. 3), which has Moody appearing there with the singer Philip Phillips and Dr. J.H. Vincent, editor of the Teacher's Journal.
Moody preached a sermon entitled "Salvation for All." A dual correction is called for in relation to Weblog's statement: "Ravi Zacharias has reportedly become the first evangelical invited to speak in the Mormon Tabernacle since Brigham Young extended an invitation to Dwight L. Moody in 1871."
First, the claim that Brigham Young extended an invitation to Moody is an unsubstantiated embellishment that has arisen in the process of circulating the story about Ravi's coming to Salt Lake. No evidence is known to exist suggesting that he invited Moody.
Second, Moody's 1871 visit cannot be the last time an evangelical spoke in the Mormon Tabernacle. Moody himself spoke there again on Sunday, April 2, 1899 (See Deseret Evening News, Mon. Apr. 3, 1899, p. 8).
Article continues below
The account of Moody and Sankey's 1880 visit to Salt Lake City in Ira Sankey's Life and the Story of the Gospel Hymns (p. 78-79), with its inaccurate statement that afterward "Mr. Moody never visited Salt Lake City again," has naturally given rise to confusion.

The “unnamed pastor” in The Deseret Morning News was actually Craig Hazen, Director of the M.A. Program in Christian Apologetics at Biola University. And the “bigger place right across the street” he was referring to was apparently a 21,000-seat conference center, not the Mormon Temple. Sorry for the confusion.

More articles

Child Sacrifice? | Religion & politics | Secular Left | Democrats | GOP | Evangelicals & Politics | James Dobson | Jerry Falwell | Catholics & Politics | "Moral Values" | Religion & Culture | Supreme Court | Arlen Specter | Free Speech | Education | Church & state | Los Angeles County Cross | Homosexuality | Marriage & Family | Iraq | War & Terrorism | Islam | Sudan | Presbyterians | Episcopalians | Clergy Unions | Missions | Ministry | Charitable Giving | Church Life | Catholicism | Catholic Bishops | Closing Parishes | Abuse | Life Ethics | | 'God Gene' | Books | Television & Film | Alfred Kinsey | Da Vinci Code | Art | People | Business | Fraud & Crime | Spirituality | More Articles

Couple arrested for wanting to sacrifice child:

Article continues below

Back to subject index

Religion & politics:

  • Are blacks the new "bigots"? | Beyond victimhood (Rich Lowry, National Review Online)

  • The God vote | This election was decided with a bitterness that all but reached a point of Americans shouting, ''My God's better than yours.'' (Derrick Z. Jackson, The Boston Globe)

  • Will the moderates speak up? | Which party is really open on the abortion issue? (E. J. Dionne Jr., The Washington Post)

  • U.S. moral movement echoed in Gwinnett | In Gwinnett, where Bush took 65 percent of the vote, preachers, politicians and citizens agree that politics and religion often meet at the polls (Gwinnett Daily Post, Lawrenceville, Ga.)

  • Slapping the other cheek | I'm not getting a peace, charity, tolerance and forgiveness vibe from the conservatives and evangelicals who claim to have put their prodigal son back in office (Maureen Dowd, The New York Times)

  • A polarized nation? | Ordinary Americans are probably less polarized than in the past. The bad news is that several powerful forces are pushing them further apart (Editorial, The Washington Post)

  • Values and priorities | The born again shouldn't absent themselves from politics and government. But these temporal institutions cannot solve the nation's problems or the problems in too many of their own homes (Cal Thomas, The Washington Times)

  • A question of faith | If our troops hail from the nation's heartland and there are no atheists in foxholes, it is reasonable to assume there aren't many atheists in the heartland either (Stephen A. Myrow, The Washington Times)

  • Mark Earley's prison epiphany | Politician-turned-preacher Mark Earley teaches some unexpected lessons about faith and politics (Editorial, The Virginian-Pilot)

  • Letting politics into the pulpit | Leaders of our complex, nominally secular nation cannot create public policy as if they were elders correcting wayward church members or reconciling Jews and non-Jews (Ernest L. Wiggins, The State, Columbia, S.C.)

Back to subject index

The secular left:

  • Secularism is not inevitable or desirable | Nothing is served by crude caricatures: the secular view of religion as irretrievably fanatical, or the religious view of secular culture as irredeemably decadent and effete. The real question for all of us is whether we can make space for difference, for the one who is not like us (Jonathan Sacks, The Times, London)

Article continues below
  • The potent mix of faith and politics | Some reflection is needed, especially in three areas: the stereotyping of religious people, the interpretation of the doctrine of separation of church and state, and the alliance of pseudo-religious organizations and political campaigns, as seen in this month's U.S. election (Rick Anderson, Toronto Star)

  • Convert or be damned | The secular left's attitude to religion is as fundamentalist and flawed as anything you hear in Riyadh or Utah (Gary Younge, The Guardian, London)

  • Religious-right straw men | Our intellectual class finds it easier to create religious-right straw men, then blame their stereotypical creation for all their woes. (Tom Purcell, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

Back to subject index

Democrats & religion:

Article continues below
  • The Long view | A roundup of this week's Church bulletins (Rob Long, National Review)

Back to subject index

Republicans & religion:

  • Leap of faith | Blaming religion for the GOP ascendance makes no sense (Gregg Easterbrook, The New Republic)

  • Social conservatives skeptical of Romney's viability in 2008 | Though the Massachusetts governor is generally viewed as a conservative in the Massachusetts political climate, among activists who are crucial in GOP presidential politics, he is seen as a moderate on the two key subjects -- abortion and gay rights -- that galvanized voters on a moral issues agenda in the recently completed presidential campaign (The Boston Globe)

  • Moderate voices retain sway in bolstered GOP | The real brake on an ultraconservative agenda in the Senate could be Republicans from Democratic-leaning states -- the Northeast moderates and independent thinkers whose votes will also be needed to pass contested legislation ("News story," The Boston Globe)

  • The elephant in the room: GOP schism | Many moderates say they no longer feel invited to the party (The Dallas Morning News)

  • The country didn't turn right | But the GOP did (Jonathan Rauch, Reason)

Back to subject index


Evangelicals & politics:

Article continues below
  • Religious Filipinos exult in Bush victory | Filipino Americans, who are religious in nature rallied for Bush, embracing his pro-life values and stronger faith (Pacific News Service)

  • Bush burns for the religious right | After months on the campaign trail charging toward the ideological center to entice independent voters, the reelected--or as the faithful may believe, divinely re-ordained -- President Bush is making a sharp turn back to the right (Cynthia Hall Clements, The Lufkin Daily News, Tex.)

  • Cross purposes | I hope that by 2008 it will be clear that Christians cannot be taken for granted by the Republicans (Patrick Henry, Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

  • How lines of the culture war have been redrawn | Politically, the United States has gone from being a 49-49 nation to a 51-48 nation, with Republicans more firmly on top. But beneath that veneer of stability, the tectonic plates of America's culture wars are shifting. Particularly among religious conservatives, the feeling is strong that this is their moment (The Christian Science Monitor)

  • Evangelical issues left in Bush's dust | Why is the White House deserting religious conservatives? (John Aloysius Farrell, The Denver Post)

What evangelicals want:

  • What would Jesus do in Bush's shoes? | Bush counted on evangelicals to support him in the election. They're going to ask what they'll get in return (Robert Joiner, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

  • Right takes fight to biz | Just 10 days after the Bushies reclaimed the White House and Dubya declared he had a mandate to enact whatever he pleases, rightwingers of all stripes have taken that as a cue to widen the crusade for their causes (Elizabeth Guider, Variety)

  • Bush feeling heat from evangelicals | They backed him - but his priorities may not be theirs (The Sacramento Bee, Ca.)

  • Of prayer and payback | The religious right strongly believes it helped Bush seal re-election. So what does it want in return? (Newsweek)

  • The Christian Right's humble servant | For the religious right, Bush was like any other stealth candidate. No matter his unqualifications, he delivered for them in his first term, and so they rewarded him with their votes in record numbers (Max Blumenthal, AlterNet)

Back to subject index

James Dobson:

Article continues below

Back to subject index

Jerry Falwell:

  • Falwell wants to make sure conservatives are a majority | The goal of Jerry Falwell's new Faith and Values Coalition is to add 10 million conservative, evangelical and voting Christians (The Roanoke Times, Va.)

  • Stretching Falwell's vision of morality | I don't see how you make a list of moral priorities that doesn't put responsibility to your neighbor somewhere near the very top (Margaret Edds, The Virginian-Pilot)

  • Welcome to the resurrection | Will the Rev. Jerry Falwell's new organization, 'The Faith and Values Coalition,' become a 21st Century Moral Majority? (Bill Berkowitz,

Back to subject index

Catholics & politics:

  • Groups merging on political theology | Conservative Catholics, white evangelicals and black Protestants - who haven't always seen eye to eye on issues - converged this election season on certain moral values to create a formidable political tide (The Hartford Courant, Conn.)

  • Catholics may turn political tide | The judicial and legislative challenges to traditional Catholic values may yet result in the development of a more predictable Catholic bloc which has been elusive and uncertain in past elections. (Frank R. Mazzaglia, MetroWest Daily News, Framingham, Ma.)

  • Liberalism now reigns in Spain | In the six months since voters put them in office, Spain's Socialists have set in motion a dramatic public policy turnabout on what American voters might call moral issues, infuriating the Catholic Church and underscoring the diminishing influence of Christianity in European political life (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

Back to subject index

"Moral values":

  • The elect | Morality and religion aren't the same thing, no matter what the exit polls say (Leon Wieseltier, The New Republic)

  • Intolerance is not a 'value' | Here's what Republicans of conscience have to understand about the machinations of Karl Rove and company. Fear isn't some emotion that can be easily bottled back up after it's been -- viciously—unleashed (Timothy M. Gay, The Washington Post)

  • Moral values growing, chaplain says | U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry Black thinks pundits underestimated the impact of 9-11 and the war on terror on the American psyche (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

  • Values voter no ignorant bigot | "Vote for us, you greedy warmongering bigots, because we're smarter than you are." (Jack Kelly, The Toledo Blade, Oh.)

Article continues below

Back to subject index

Religion & culture:

Article continues below

Back to subject index

Supreme Court:

  • Can Bush deliver a conservative court? | President Bush has promised to appoint "strict constructionists," but Republican presidents have largely failed to do just that (The New York Times)

  • Take the issues to the people, not to the courts | For many Democrats, the worst thing about the election result is the prospect of President Bush's appointing a new generation of conservative justices to the Supreme Court. But in the long run, a rightward shift in America's courts could be one of the best things to happen to liberalism in years (David von Drehle, The Washington Post)

  • What happens if Roe is overturned? | In all likelihood, after fierce political brawling in statehouses across the country, a crazy quilt of differing laws would emerge, with some states keeping abortion widely available and others placing a range of restrictions on it (The Boston Globe)

  • Abortion unlikely as confirmation test | Few potential high court nominees hold public views or have a written record on the issue (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

  • Who are the activists now? | Judges that rule for Bush escape that nasty label (Michael Kinsley, Los Angeles Times)

Back to subject index

Arlen Specter:

  • For Specter, a showdown over judiciary chairmanship | GOP senator battles conservatives angered by his comments (The Washington Post)

  • Specter faces debate over judiciary panel | As Congress returns from its election break to wrap up work for the year, a key focus will be on whether moderate Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., should chair the committee that considers President Bush's judicial nominations (Associated Press)

  • Specter hopes to save Senate chairmanship | Hoping to save his upcoming Judiciary Committee chairmanship, Sen. Arlen Specter plans to argue directly to the panel's Republican membership that he can be the best steward of President Bush's judicial nominees in next year's Congress (Associated Press)

  • Conditions seem right for a fight on abortion | The Arlen Specter imbroglio is just the beginning (The Kansas City Star)

  • Frist sees hurdles for Specter | Senator Bill Frist said that Senator Arlen Specter must convince his fellow Republicans that he deserves to be chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee (The New York Times)

  • Frist withholds Specter support | Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist yesterday withheld his support of Sen. Arlen Specter to head the Judiciary Committee, and said the Pennsylvania Republican needed to prove to his colleagues this week that he will run the panel impartially and push nominees all the way to a full Senate vote (The Washington Times)

Article continues below

Back to subject index

Free speech:

  • Anti-abortion advocates sue city | Protest permit policy unconstitutional, they say (The News-Press, Fort Meyers, Fla.)

  • 'Friends' makes an enemy | Bawdy banter in the writers' room offended an employee, whose case pits free speech rights against sexual harassment laws (Los Angeles Times)

  • Christian group's parade float irks Clovis resident | What angered Joe Christopherson most was to see the word "God" crossed out and replaced with "man." The most prominent text on the float read "One nation under man," a play on words taken from the Pledge of Allegiance (Clovis News Journal, N.M.)

Back to subject index

School Bible program under fire:


Article continues below


Article continues below

Teaching evolution and intelligent design:

Back to subject index

Church & state:

  • Pentagon to cut off Boy Scouts from bases | The Pentagon has agreed to warn military bases worldwide not to directly sponsor Boy Scout troops, partially resolving claims that the government has engaged in religious discrimination by supporting a group that requires members to believe in God (Associated Press)

  • Ten Commandments monument tour visits Bossier City | After being ousted from an Alabama courthouse last year, a two and a half-ton granite replica of the Ten Commandments made its 73rd stop on a 15-state tour (The Shreveport Times, La.)

  • President Bush's re-election victory threatens separation of church and state | There has already been a period of time when people of similar religious faiths ran the known world on dogma - it's called the Dark Ages (Armand L. Circharo. Jr, The Telegraph, Nashua, N.H.)

  • Fundamentalists want the wall to come tumbling down | Would Christians still agitate for a God-infused government if they were no longer the majority religion, or for a veritable Great Wall of separation? (Tamara Dietrich, Daily Press, Hampton Roads, Va.)

  • Accidental hero | Rocco Buttiglione talks to Daniel Hannan about homosexuality, homophobia and 'the morbid totalitarianism of the Left' (The Spectator, U.K.)

  • Kibaki seeks prayers for his opponents | President Kibaki yesterday asked Kenyans to pray for a few individuals who had lost direction and were hampering his efforts to lead democratically (The Nation, Kenya)

  • Keep religion out of politics, urges Latham | Opposition Leader Mark Latham today hit out at coalition anti-abortion campaigners, saying that while he respected the role of churches, there was no place for religion in politics (The Age, Melbourne, Australia, also in The Sydney Morning Herald)

Article continues below

Back to subject index

Los Angeles County cross:

  • L.A. group demands cross back on county's seal | A group of outraged Angelenos is gathering signatures to restore a tiny cross to the county seal after the board of supervisors recently voted to remove it. (The Washington Times)

  • A Jew fights for the cross | I am asked why, as a Jew, I have led this fight to keep the cross on the county seal. (Dennis Prager, Los Angeles Times)

  • Seriously folks, this is not a laughing matter | Any symbol of faith that's used as an element of an official seal of a governmental body violates the spirit and the letter of the Constitution (Ramona Ripston, Los Angeles Times)

Back to subject index

Same-sex marriage:

Gays regroup after election:

Article continues below

Homosexuality & religion:

  • Right wing and pro-gay? Right on | Terri Mawby can't think of anything more conservative than two people getting married - even if they happen to be the same sex (David Harsanyi, The Denver Post)

  • Clergy urged to fight homos | Mukono Diocese bishop, Paul Luzinda, has asked the clergy to fight homosexuality and lesbianism in the church (The Monitor, Uganda)

  • Scotland accused of homophobia | Scottish government has been accused of homophobia after it delayed a sexual health plan following pressure from the Catholic Church (UPI)

  • Head of world's largest gay church resigns | Cathedral of Hope pastor will lead social justice group (The Dallas Morning News)

  • Pope says Anglican gays are obstacle to unity | Pope John Paul on Saturday urged Christians to be committed to seeking unity of their divided Churches but, in a reference to homosexual clergy in the Anglican communion, said new ethical obstacles had surfaced (Reuters)

  • Bully pulpit | ABC is preparing a major investigation of the Matthew Shepard gay-bashing murder that contends it may not have been a hate crime—but a mugging gone wrong (New York Post)

Back to subject index

Marriage & family:

Back to subject index

Persecution in Iraq:

Back to subject index

War & terrorism:

Article continues below
  • Pope urges transparent elections in Iraq | Pope John Paul II told Iraq's new ambassador to the Vatican on Monday that national elections planned for January must be "fair and transparent" if the country hopes to build an authentic democracy (Associated Press)

  • Missionary groups flee violence in Africa | Missionaries from Northern Ireland are among those who have been evacuated from the Ivory Coast due to the eruption of violence in the west African country (The Belfast Telegraph)

  • Military plans cross-out | The military plans to remove the Maltese cross from the caps of its chaplains. The Defence Department, which hired its first Muslim chaplain a year ago, says it's time the military reflected Canada's multi-faith society (The Ottawa Sun)

Back to subject index


  • Muslims say their faith growing fast in Africa | Zafran Mukanwali put down her rosary and embraced Islam a decade ago out of disgust with ethnic murders committed by Catholics, including priests, in Rwanda's 1994 genocide (Reuters)

  • Faith, friendship and peace | Christians and Muslims need to be encouraged to have real dialogue in their communities, especially during Ramadan, and as Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda try to threaten our societies (Akbar S. Ahmed and J. Douglas Holladay, The Washington Times)

Islam in the Netherlands:

  • Dutch PM urges dialogue after sectarian violence | Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende visited a mosque on Sunday and urged dialogue among different communities in the Netherlands after a wave of sectarian attacks in a country once known for its tolerance (Reuters)

  • 'Fault lines' of radical Islam growing | The same day Dutch mourners gathered outside a crematorium for a final goodbye to slain filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, police on the other side of the world made a horrific discovery in a hut: the decapitated body of a Thai laborer (Reuters)

  • Tolerant Dutch wrestle with tolerating intolerance | The Dutch had the world's most tolerant, open-minded society, with full sexual equality and same-sex marriage, as well as liberal policies on soft drugs and prostitution; but a large segment of the fast-growing Muslim population kept that society at arm's length, despising its freedoms (The New York Times)

  • Criticism no reason for murder | When a film-maker can be killed just for criticising a religion, wasting time complaining about a man such as Bush who, despite his religious leanings, is doing his best to spread secular democracy to a large part of the world dangerously misses the point (James Morrow, The Australian)

Article continues below

Back to subject index


Back to subject index

Presbyterians leave posts after Hezbollah meeting:

  • Two leave Presbyterian posts | They had met with Hezbollah (The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Ky.)

  • Embracing ignorance not effective plan for peace | The apparent termination of two officials of the Presbyterian Church (USA) is an unfortunate testament to the hurdles confronted by those seeking a peaceful solution to the violent conflict in the Middle East (Editorial, The Decatur Daily, Ala.)

Presbyterians threatened with arson attack:

  • Presbyterian Church receives arson threat | The Presbyterian Church (USA) has stepped up security at its headquarters and advised its churches to be on alert after receiving a letter threatening arson attacks because of its policies in the Middle East (Associated Press)

  • Presbyterian churches get more security | A letter sent to the Presbyterian Church's national headquarters threatening the institution with arson for its decision to divest from companies supporting Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip led Chicago-area church leaders to step up security in their houses of worship (Chicago Tribune)

Back to subject index

Episcopal Church:

Article continues below

Back to subject index

Clergy unions:

Back to subject index


  • Spreading the faith around the world | Koreans may be found teaching seminary students in Kenya, preaching the gospel to indigenous rural tribes in Malaysia, holding Bible study for children in a church in Bangalore, India or training seminary students on Luzon island in the Philippines (JoongAng Daily, South Korea)

  • Connecting through e-vangelism | To spread the gospel, evangelical Christians are using Web sites such as, run from the home of an Orlando woman for the Campus Crusade for Christ. It's an effective high-tech link (The Orlando Sentinel)

  • To the ends of the earth | Some 6,000 translators, volunteers and support personnel from some 60 countries who work with Wycliffe Bible Translators, translating the Bible into the languages of indigenous peoples around the world (The Dallas Morning News)

  • Churches put faith in mass mailing of film | Campaign to distribute copies of "Jesus" a gift, Westerlo pastor says (The Times Union, Albany, N.Y.)

  • Benny Hinn: Six million adherents expected at crusade | National Healing Crusade scheduled for Lagos in 2005 (This Day, Nigeria)

  • Georgia Baptist assembly to focus on evangelism | Now that conservative Christians have helped re-elect President Bush, a group of Southern Baptists in Georgia says it's time to shift their focus to some old-fashioned evangelism (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Back to subject index


  • The political conversion of New York's evangelicals | Evangelism is flourishing not just in the red states of the nation's heartland, but in the urban, liberal stronghold of New York City, where thousands of evangelical churches are anchored in working-class neighborhoods (The New York Times)

  • Young adults urged to serve | Heather Mercer, a missionary rescued from imprisonment in Afghanistan, won cheers Saturday as she urged more 2,000 people -- most ranging in age from 20 to 30 -- to serve God and pursue their deepest passions (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, Tex.)

Article continues below
  • True-blue pastor soldiers on | John Fife's work to help illegal immigrants continues (E.J. Montini, The Arizona Republic)

  • Course helps believers, doubters find answers | Churches across Gwinnett and in 150 countries around the world are embracing Alpha as an evangelism tool and as a means of revitalizing congregations that have lost their spiritual fervor (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

  • Bringing people in from the cold to have a hot meal | Victoria Thornton-Lucas is a community fixture as the founder and director of the Bushwick Community Council Services Soup Kitchen and Pantry at the Bushwick United Methodist Church (The New York Times)

  • If it goes on without me, then I've done a good job | What is it like to give over a program that you have founded and nurtured, chaperoned and loved for many years, and now must step away from? (June Bingham, The New York Times)

  • From balls of yarn, needles and prayers, a new ministry | St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church's shawl ministry is a group that knits shawls for parishioners, community members and strangers who are sick or going through trying times (The New York Times)

  • Anti-porn crusade targets Christians' 'secret' | Since 2002, two nondenominational Christian pastors from California have been spreading the message that looking at pornography is the "dirty little secret" of many Christians --- including pastors (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Back to subject index

Charitable giving:

Back to subject index

Church life:

  • Mercy mission or mammon? | The Church of Scotland's elegant hotel in Israel now offers every comfort, but does it fulfil its ambitions? (Leora Eren Frucht. The Times, London)

  • Houses of worship embrace new ways to communicate | Once little more than plain buildings marked by religious symbols, today's prayer houses look more like conference centers with state-of-the-art equipment. (The Virginian-Pilot)

  • Historic Cuban church begins construction | Following a procession through the streets of the city's historic district, religious figures and Cuban government officials on Sunday laid down the first stone of what will become the island's first-ever Russian Orthodox church (Associated Press)

Article continues below

Back to subject index


  • Vatican backs Burke on St. Stanislaus | A ruling from Rome has dealt a blow to parishioners at St. Stanislaus Kostka church in a dispute with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis over control of the church, its property and its purse strings (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

  • Religious fraternity | For four decades, the monks of New Skete have carved their own pat (Times Union, Albany, N.Y.)

  • Diocese says 'hola' to Hispanic Catholics | Spanish Mass helps area newcomers experience God in their first (and sometimes only) language (The Charlotte Observer, N.C.)

  • Group wants tax dollars for Catholic schools | While the state's attention is turned toward solving the public school finance questions, the Catholic bishops of Texas maintain hope that private schools could someday have a piece of the pie (The Monitor, McAllen, Tex.)

  • Reciting a rosary, but in sonata form | The commemorations of the 300th anniversary of the death of Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber have not exactly swamped the concert calendar or jammed ticket hotlines (The New York Times)

  • Pope urges greater Christian harmony | Despite progress, many "stumbling stones" still stand in the way to greater harmony between the branches of Christianity, Pope John Paul II said Saturday (Associated Press)

  • Voice of faith is silenced | The questions are personal for the priest the poor and immigrant parishioners at St. Catherine's call ''Father Bob." (Eileen McNamara, The Boston Globe)

Back to subject index

Conference of Bishops picks Spokane's William Skylstad:

Article continues below
  • Skylstad picked to lead bishops | The bishop of Spokane, Wash., was elected president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops yesterday, despite his intent to declare his diocese bankrupt in the next few weeks (The Washington Times)

  • New head of US bishops faces scrutiny | His diocese to file for bankruptcy in sex abuse scandal (The Boston Globe)

  • U.S. Catholic bishops pick new leader, but scandal lingers | Hoping to put three years of scandal behind them, the U.S. Catholic bishops elected a new president on Monday, then got a harsh reminder of the financial fallout from the sexual abuse crisis rocking the nation's largest church (San Francisco Chronicle)

  • U.S. bishops pick leader from bankrupt diocese | Bishop William S. Skylstad of Spokane, Wash., who plans to declare his diocese in bankruptcy because of sexual abuse claims, was elected yesterday as the next president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (The Washington Post)

  • Bishops' new leader from troubled diocese | America's Roman Catholic bishops chose a new president Monday who has released the names of priests accused of molesting children and reached out to victims but who also plans to seek bankruptcy protection for his diocese because of abuse claims (Associated Press)

  • Catholic bishops, after a divisive debate, choose a new leader | The Roman Catholic bishops of the United States elected Bishop William S. Skylstad of Spokane, Wash., to be president of their national conference in an unusually close vote yesterday, disappointing Catholic conservatives who had opposed his elevation and drawing complaints from groups representing victims of clerical sexual abuse (The New York Times)

  • Skylstad to lead bishops | Peers name Spokane bishop president of influential group (The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Wa.)

  • New bishops' head from troubled diocese | A bishop whose diocese plans to seek bankruptcy protection from millions of dollars in clergy sex abuse claims was elected Monday as the next president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (Associated Press)

Other events at the bishops' meeting:

Article continues below
  • As bishops meet, legal troubles still loom | Catholic leaders try to regain trust amid continuing lawsuits and financial challenges (The Christian Science Monitor)

  • Silenced priest warns of gay crisis | Starting today, 290 of the nation's Catholic bishops will meet at the Capitol Hyatt for their yearly business meeting and to tie up loose ends on the massive sexual-abuse crisis that has shaken the U.S. Catholic Church to its core in the past two years (The Washington Times)

Back to subject index

Closing Catholic parishes:

  • A legacy of lost trust | Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley's anguish over ordering 83 parish closings is not in doubt. But it will take more than personal distress for the institution he represents to regain credibility with a flock that still isn't sure it can believe its leaders and is increasingly divided over cultural issues like same-sex marriage (Joan Vennochi, The Boston Globe)

  • Church asks for halt to trespassing charge | Six parishes granted stays on closing (The Boston Globe)

  • Boston archbishop reveals pain of closings | Archbishop Sean O'Malley made an emotional appeal Saturday to Catholics who oppose the downsizing of local parishes, saying the cuts are so painful that he sometimes asks God to "call me home and let someone else finish this job" (Associated Press)

  • Galvin suggests church property trust | Investors would make decisions (The Boston Globe)

  • Despite settlement, victims struggle to ease the pain | A year after the legalities ended, and the settlement checks were cut, Bergeron and many other victims continue to seek a more elusive commodity: closure (The Boston Globe)

  • Defeated, but still devoted | Since June, parishioners at St. Pius X Church on the Milton-Hyde Park line have rented a bus weekly, sometimes biweekly, and headed to Archbishop Sean O'Malley's residence behind the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston's South End (Bella English, The Boston Globe)

  • Anguished O'Malley explains fiscal crisis | In a dramatic plea for understanding, Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley yesterday described his effort to close parishes as "personally repulsive to me," but he also urged Catholics to understand that the sweeping reorganization of the Boston Archdiocese is necessary because of the shrinking number of priests and a financial crisis he described as "much worse than most people realize." (The Boston Globe)

  • Excerpts: 'We need a unity that transcends our parishes' | Excerpts from a letter Roman Catholic Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley of Boston yesterday addressed to the Archdiocese of Boston (via The Boston Globe)

Article continues below

Back to subject index


Back to subject index

Life ethics:

  • FDA strengthens warning on the abortion pill | Federal drug regulators strengthened the warning label on the pill, RU-486, after the death of a woman who took the pill (The New York Times)

  • Noxious Nitschke | Euthanasia advocates work to make suicide easy (Wesley J. Smith, National Review Online)

  • End run toward a U.N. cloning ban | The U.N. should postpone making a decision on the divisive and ideologically driven issue of whether to ban the cloning of human embryos (Editorial, The New York Times)

  • Calif. stem cell initiative could backfire nationally | The resounding victory of California's $3 billion ballot initiative for embryonic stem cell studies may have the unintended consequence of slowing research on the national level and creating a backlash from religious conservatives who feel emboldened by President Bush's reelection, say activists on both sides of the issue (The Washington Post)

Article continues below
  • Stem cell research: Hope or hype? | How to find cures for the nearly 150 million Americans who suffer from diseases and handicaps like multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, diabetes and spinal cord injury is surrounded by a cloud of controversy in which politics and big business play as large a role as science (Foster's Sunday Citizen, Dover, N.H.)

  • The attack on adult stem cells | Almost "every other week there's another interesting finding of adult [stem] cells turning into neurons or blood cells or heart muscle cells," notes molecular biologist Eric Olson at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Unfortunately, it seems every other week there's also another article in the popular press claiming adult stem cells range from nearly worthless to utterly worthless (Michael Fumento, The Washington Times)

  • Company to pass on stem cells for free | In a world first, embryonic stem cells will be given away without commercial restriction by a Melbourne company (The Age, Melbourne, Australia)

Australia stops abortion inquiry:

  • Cabinet endorses abortion status quo | The Prime Minister, John Howard, has quashed debate within the Government on abortion, with federal cabinet yesterday endorsing his view that there should not be a parliamentary inquiry into the issue (The Sydney Morning Herald)

  • Howard aborts Abbott's inquiry | A parliamentary inquiry into abortion is off the immediate political agenda after John Howard stepped in to stall Health Minister Tony Abbott's passionate campaign against the "tragedy" of pregnancy terminations (The Australian)

  • PM warns Abbott over abortion view | The Prime Minister, John Howard, has quashed the prospect of a parliamentary inquiry into abortion, and warned Tony Abbott to keep his personal anti-abortion views separate from his management of the health portfolio (The Sydney Morning Herald)

  • National sex-ed call to cut abortions | The Federal Government faces increasing calls for a national strategy on sex education to reduce the number of abortions (The Age, Melbourne, Australia)

Back to subject index

'God gene':

Article continues below

Back to subject index


  • Publisher tries novel approach to teaching Bible | A group of well-known Christian writers joined with representatives of the comic book industry to create a series of comic books and novels (Quincy Herald-Whig, Ill.)

  • Bible to be given true Scots accent | The opening line of the Bible, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth", is expected to become, "In the beginnin, God made the lift and the yird" (The Times, London)

  • 'Moral suicide,' à la Wolfe | In Tom Wolfe's latest book, "I Am Charlotte Simmons," he's located one of the paradoxes of college life today (David Brooks, The New York Times)

  • Evangelical Alliance attacks Steve Chalke over 'Lost Message' book | The row surrounding the controversial book 'The Lost Message of Jesus' has intensified, threatening splits within Evangelicalism, with a public statement issued by the Evangelical Alliance accusing the author, Rev Steve Chalke, of "avoiding" the "key biblical texts" from which the idea of penal substitution is created (Ekklesia, U.K.)

  • Books on ethics | Modern quandaries, from dishonesty among adults to consumer marketing to children (The Washington Post)

  • Culture war grips children's literature | Media reports have chronicled how baby boomers who abandoned their childhood religion are drifting back now that they are parents, seeking a spiritual compass for their children (The Boston Globe)

  • Reprint of Mormon text has a twist: It's not free | The sacred text of the Mormon faith, one of the fastest growing churches in America, will be published by a mainstream publisher for the first time, after nearly two centuries of being handed out for free (Reuters)

  • Cold war in a controlled Church | Catherine Pepinster reviews The Pope in Winter by John Cornwell (The Independent, London)

  • A close-up story of faith in practice | In Spirit & Flesh, sociologist James Ault reveals life in a fundamentalist church community (The Christian Science Monitor)

  • The comeback deity | Alister McGrath's fascinating thesis—presented gently and persuasively, with a notable lack of bombast or fervour—is that atheism has lost its way, and is in terminal decline (Harry Reid, The Herald, Glasgow)

  • Is it the end of the world as this author knows it? | An argument brews over the Left Behind series and a rival set of Christian books (Time)

Article continues below

Back to subject index

Television & film:

  • 'Ryan' viewers complain to FCC | Groups affiliated with the American Family Association., a conservative Christian group that monitors the airwaves, pledged Thursday to flood the FCC with complaints about the language and violence in Steven Spielberg's film (Reuters)

  • Document: File an indecency complaint against ABC for 'f' word and 's' word | File a formal complaint against ABC for airing indecent language during the November 11 ABC movie, Saving Private Ryan (Action Alert, AFA)

  • A noir departure | How is it that people persist in obsessions that will kill them? Pedro Almodóvar turns his attention to such questions in 'Bad Education' (Los Angeles Times)

Back to subject index

Alfred Kinsey:

  • The Kinsey effect | The pioneering researcher's sexual revelations enlightened and shocked a nation. His legacy is controversial yet powerful (Los Angeles Times)

  • The war on Kinsey | A new biopic reinvigorates Christian right's old battle against sexologist (The National Post)

Back to subject index

Da Vinci Code:

  • Da Vinci code priest is dug up, hidden from 'rapacious' relic hunters | The mayor of a French village besieged by Cracking the 'Code' | The duo behind 'A Beautiful Mind' have picked a star for their 'Da Vinci' adaptation—Tom Hanks (Newsweek)

  • The Da Vinci connection | Rosslyn Chapel near Edinburgh has long been a source of mystery and legend, but with the success of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, the bestselling novel in which it features, visitor numbers are going through the roof (Sunday Herald, Glasgow)

  • Hanks, Howard do "Da Vinci" | Tom Hanks is cracking the code (E!)

  • Hanks to hunt for Holy Grail in Da Vinci code blockbuster | Hollywood is attempting to turn the biggest-selling adult fiction book of all time, The Da Vinci Code, into a screen blockbuster, with Tom Hanks as the globe-trotting Harvard professor in pursuit of the Holy Grail (The Telegraph, London)

  • obsessive fans of The Da Vinci Code has been forced to dig up the body of a mysterious priest and encase it in a concrete mausoleum to deter rapacious treasure hunters (The Telegraph, London)

Back to subject index


  • Letting the sunshine in | At this Needham studio, stained-glass artisans give new meaning to window treatment (The Boston Globe)

  • A ministry of storytelling | Playwright and director Phyllis Tucker-Wicks has enlisted her twin, Philetha Tucker-Johnson, to help with her latest play, a story about Jesus' mother (St. Petersburg Times, Fla.)

Back to subject index

Article continues below


  • Innovator of the Year: Mel Gibson | Undeterred by cynics, the filmmaker has succeeded by taking risks and following his convictions (Hollywood Reporter)

  • Ashcroft kicks the screen door | Ashcroft left as he came to office: the unflinching and unrepentant zealot (Jonathan Turley, Los Angeles Times)

  • The Blair switch project | Jayson Blair, the diminutive ex-journalist who shook up the mighty New York Times when his serial plagiarism was revealed last year, has found God (New York Post)

  • East Haven pastor disputes view of Columbus as hero | Last month, when tens of thousands of people lined local streets for the region's annual Columbus Day parade, the Rev. Raymond Dubuque saw red (New Haven Register, Conn.)

Back to subject index


Back to subject index

Fraud & crime:

Article continues below
  • Slain missionary flown to Charlotte | Drew Rush was doing his life's work in the Latvian capital of Riga when he was murdered during an apparent robbery (The Charlotte Observer, N.C.)

  • Britain say 'miracle baby' was a fraud | An infertile Nigerian couple who believed a self-styled preacher's claim that their child was miraculously conceived were really the victim of greedy international child traffickers, a British judge ruled Friday (Associated Press)

Back to subject index


Back to subject index

More articles of interest:

Back to subject index

Related Elsewhere:

Suggest links and stories by sending e-mail to

What is Weblog?

Check out Books & Culture's weekly weblog, Content & Context.

See our past Weblog updates:

November 12 | 11 | 10
November 5 | 3b | 3a | 2 | 1
October 29 | 28 | 27 | 26 | 25
October 22 | 21b | 21a | 18b | 18a
October 15 | 13 | 12 | 11
October 8 | 7 | 6 | 5 | 4
October 1 | September 30 | 29 | 28 | 27

Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
Ted Olsen
Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's executive editor. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
Previous Weblog Columns: