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Top News Stories of 2008

The events, people, and debates of the past year that Christianity Today's editors and writers believe have shaped, or will significantly shape, evangelical life, thought, or mission.

1. Election 2008: Democrats woo evangelical vote, making only slight gains from Bush era.

Meanwhile, Religious Right leaders waited until the gop convention to support McCain (or was it Palin they supported?). Institutions like Saddleback Church, Messiah College, and Belmont University played host to both sides.

2. Voters turn back California Supreme Court's same-sex marriage decision.

More than $70 million was spent in the battle over Proposition 8 before Election Day. Then came the lawsuits—along with demonstrations and attacks against Mormons, who were seen as key to passing the proposition.

3. Christians in Orissa, India, again become scapegoats for Hindu extremists.

Reports say scores of people were killed in months of pogroms, with tens of thousands displaced and 117 churches destroyed. With elections in the spring, more violence is likely.

4. Anglican Communion continues to implode in slow motion.

Yes, this makes the list almost every year. But this time whole dioceses split from the Episcopal Church, as half of Anglicanism's bishops boycotted the Lambeth Conference and met on their own in Jerusalem. As the year closed, former Episcopalians were formalizing the creation of a new province.

5. Christians flee Iraq and Gaza.

About 13,000 Christians—or one in two—left Mosul in October. In Gaza, churches where hundreds worshiped until recently are attended by less than a dozen. Historic Christian communities are becoming history.

6. Candidates' religious associations come under scrutiny.

Jeremiah Wright and John Hagee got more airtime than some presidential candidates. Remember when clergy endorsements and church affiliation helped campaigns?

7. Ministries hold their breath as financial crisis threatens the global economy.

A downturn in donations is likely to meet a surge in need domestically and abroad.

8. Muslim and Christian interfaith dialogues get serious.

Evangelicals took part in (and debated about) Yale's "Common Word" meetings, among others. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia hosted an interfaith conference at the United Nations.

9. Todd Bentley's Florida Outpouring divides charismatic movement.

Charisma's Lee Grady warned of a "charismatic civil war" between those critical of Bentley's often-violent healing ministry and those who saw it as launching a global revival. After more than four months of consecutive meetings, Bentley announced he and his wife were separating and stepped down.

10. Texas authorities raid FLDS ranch.

While Christians were stunned at the stories of child marriage, polygamy, and abuse, some Christian legal experts and others said the case raised long-lasting questions about balancing the need to protect children with religious freedom.

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