The most prominent ecumenical church association in the United States has accused the filmmakers behind a controversial DVD on radical Islam of “distorting truth and misleading viewers.”
The National Council of Churches (NCC)’s Interfaith Relations Commission says the DVD, “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West,” has the effect of “fanning the sparks of mistrust, bigotry and hatred that undermine the very foundations of a multi-religious democracy.”
“We are deeply troubled by the apparent intent of a film that presents a barrage of violent images, pieced together with the voices of commentators who move from speaking of ‘radical Islam’ to impugning Islam and Muslims more generally and presenting fear-mongering parallels between today's extremist terrorists and the Nazis,” the commission expressed in a statement released late last week. more >>
A team of Muslim scholars arrived in Rome Monday ahead of a landmark meeting with top Catholic officials.
The Muslim scholars, who will meet Pope Benedict XVI and Vatican officials for a series of talks starting Tuesday, hope the Nov. 4-6 meeting will help defuse ongoing tensions between Islam and Christianity.
"It is clear that the time has come to open debate on the common theological underpinnings and the shared foundations of the two religions," wrote Professor Tariq Ramadan, president of the European Muslim Network (EMN), in a commentary appearing in the U.K.-based Guardian. Ramadan is part of the delegation of Muslim scholars taking part in the first round of interfaith talks with the Vatican. more >>
PATTAYA, Thailand - The highly-anticipated, upcoming third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization will be addressing emerging threats and concerns to Christian missions, informed the head of the Lausanne Congress on Monday at a major evangelical conference.
With new forms of hostility towards Christianity emerging, S. Douglas Birdsall, the executive chair of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization, said the 2010 gathering in Cape Town, South Africa, is needed to bring together the best minds in the evangelical world to develop unified responses to challenges to the faith.
“You might ask is there a need for an international congress that deals with world evangelization,” said Birdsall at the 2008 World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) General Assembly in Thailand. more >>
A delegation from the American Bible Society presented Pope Benedict XVI with a one-of-a-kind Bible on Tuesday at the Vatican.
The 3,200-page Biblica Polyglotta (Polyglot Bible) was created in honor of the XII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Catholic Bishops, Oct. 5-26, taking place at the Vatican. The theme of the Synod of Catholic Bishops is “The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church.”
Along with the special version for the pope, ABS also presented the Vatican with 1,000 additional copies of the Scriptures, which will be given to visiting dignitaries as the official biblical gift of the Holy See. more >>
Plans for the historic merger of the two largest Reformed church bodies in the world will be consolidated this week during a high-level, five-day meeting that opened Monday.
Members of the governing bodies of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) and the Reformed Ecumenical Council (REC) are meeting this week for the first time together in Utrecht, Netherlands, to work on finalizing a draft constitution, shaping the structure and vision of the soon-to-be-official World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC), and dealing with “numerous practical considerations.”
“This important joint meeting demonstrates the commitment of these two Reformed bodies to grow together in the coming months,” stated WARC general secretary Setri Nyomi in a public announcement last week. “It is a great opportunity to meet our sisters and brothers in REC and to make concrete our dream of a new truly vital Reformed communion that will meet the challenge of God’s call to justice and unity in the 21st century.” more >>
The executive committee of the World Council of Churches decided this week during their meeting in Germany to extend the term of their current general secretary, the Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia, until a new leader takes office.
Initially, the committee was planning to select an interim general secretary during their Sept. 23-26 meeting in Luebeck, Germany.
However, it was decided that Kobia will remain the WCC general secretary until the election at the Council’s central committee meeting to be held in Geneva, Switzerland, next year from Aug. 26 to Sept. 2. more >>