The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


World Scan

Ten churches were attacked and destroyed by mobs in Surabaya, Indonesia, June 9. Church members worshiping at the time of the attacks were injured, robbed and molested. The destroyed churches included a local parish of the Protestant Christian Batak Church, the largest Lutheran church in Asia. Local religious leaders asked authorities to prevent such attacks on churches and protect Christians from physical persecution.

People who are involved in religious groups fear death less than those who have no religious faith, according to a study conducted at the California School of Professional Psychology in Fresno. "Strong religious convictions and the belief in an afterlife are associated with significantly less anxiety and depression regarding the idea of dying," said David B. Larson, president of the National Institute for Healthcare Research in Rockville, Md., which released the report.

The first Muslim was welcomed into the ranks of military chaplains. Lt. j.g. Monje Malak Abd al-Muta'Ali Noel Jr. said, "I think it's good for the Muslim community to be able to see we are represented. We are here." Noel received a degree from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and the American Islamic College.

Leaders of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops reaffirmed the church's opposition to same-sex marriages and called on secular authorities to oppose efforts to grant homosexual unions the legal status of marriage. The hierarchy also rejected charges that opposing same-sex marriages re presents "unjust discrimination or animosity" toward homosexuals.

The Assemblies of God, one of the nation's largest Pentecostal denominations, is urging its members to boycott the Walt Disney Co.'s products and theme parks because of concerns about moral messages contained in Disney films, books and videos. It cited the publication Growing up Gay, a book for teens, by Disney-owned Hyperion Press; distribution of the movie Priest by a Disney subsidiary; and the annual "Gay and Lesbian Day" festivities held at Disney World.

The 4.5 million-member Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark gained 1,600 more members than it lost in 1995. A decade before, the reverse was the case, with 8,000 more people leaving the church than joining.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German theologian executed by the Nazis for his participation in the plot to kill Adolf Hitler, has been formally cleared of the treason charges that sent him to his death. Berlin justice officials ruled that Bonhoeffer's sentence had been effectively lifted when Bavaria threw out all Nazi-era convictions in May 1946.

Archbishop John Vikstrom and two other officials of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland held an open dialogue with representatives of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada. "This visit breaks new ground for the Christian Church," said Paul A. Crow Jr., president of the Disciples' Council on Christian Unity.

Lutheran churches in Rome and Genoa have decided that Roman Catholics can become members, a change from previous rules that only recognized Protestants. Under the new rules, baptized residents of Rome or its outskirts who are older than 16 can become members if they have attended a Lutheran church for six months.

The New Living Translation , a fresh version of The Living Bible published by Tyndale House, www.tyndale.com/nlt, is available in most major bookstores. About 90 Bible scholars produced the paraphrase over seven years.


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