August 11 - August 17, 2008 
 Weekly News In Review
 Vol 3, Issue 21
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The Weekly News In Review newsletter is a service provided by Understand The Times that is a compilation of the news articles posted on our site during the previous week.


 August 11 - Multi-Religious Retreats Offer Variety in Faith
 Article: One World Religion

Comment from UTT:
The following article explains the trend that is now currently underway that will eventually bring all religions together for the cause of peace and set up a one world religion. The consequences of the post modern emerging church propaganda are now clearly being revealed as we move further and further away from a faith founded on the Word of God.

Religious retreats are traditionally focused on strengthening a particular faith, but a new type is cropping up where believers of a variety of faiths are worshipping together. Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, Zoroastrian, Judaic, Christian and Islamic texts are read aloud during the same Sunday service at a Muslim Sufi religious retreat in New York, according to The Associated Press. The Sufi Muslim retreat leader speaks about Jesus and the peace that he has inside.

This is the scene at Abode of the Message in New Lebanon, New York, about 25 miles southeast of Albany. At this retreat center, guests are invited to deepen their faith without converting. There is a woman who even described herself as a Sufi Christian.

Nearby, the Buddhists at Zen Mountain Monastery say they see no conflict with Buddhist practice and a person's search for God.

During instruction, guests are taught how to sit, breathe, and meditate. Buddhist leaders at the temple consider the mind a sense organ and believe people spend their lives daydreaming or worrying about the same thing instead of living in the moment.

Likewise Elat Chayyim Jewish Retreat Center in Falls Village, Connecticut, welcomes "seekers who have walked other spiritual paths" and those with no Jewish eduction.

Perhaps the multi- faith retreats are part of the increasing openness Americans have towards their personal faith. A landmark survey released in June found that although America remains a deeply religious nation, most Americans don't believe their religion is the only way to eternal life.

"There's a growing pluralistic impulse toward tolerance and that is having theological consequences," he said.

Eighty-three percent of mainline Protestants, 59 percent of those at historic black Protestant churches, 79 percent of Roman Catholics, 82 percent of Jews, and 56 percent of Muslims said many religions can lead to eternal life.

Read More .... 

 August 8 - A Further Step Forward for Muslim-Christian Relations
 Article: One World Religion

Comment from UTT:
The road towards towards a "common understanding" is quickly being established between "Christians" and Muslims. The following article was posted at Tony Blair's "Faith Foundation" website commenting on the conference that took place on Islamic-Christian relations at Yale University.

Christian-Muslim relations were high on the agenda last week when the world-wide debate launched by A Common Word took a further step forward with an international conference at Yale, one of the world's leading universities.

The conference was co-hosted by Professor Miroslav Volf of Yale's Divinity School and Center for Faith and Culture and by HRH Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad bin Talal of Jordan. It attracted an impressive array of Christian, Muslim and Jewish religious leaders, scholars and intellectuals from around the word. The Tony Blair Faith Foundation was pleased to be represented at the meeting.

In his opening remarks last week Professor Volf drew attention to the Christian- Muslim tensions which menace the modern world, but also sensed that a wind of hope was beginning to blow and new light penetrating the darkness, of which the Yale conference was a further manifestation.

The conference was dedicated to deepening understanding between the two faiths, a deepening which is absolutely necessary in a world where faith remains of vital significance to billions of people -how they think, how they behave, how they interact with each other. And in a globalised world where travel, communications and migration are constantly pushing diverse people closer together, such understanding becomes urgent. Religion is not simply a private affair, a common misconception in the West in particular, but a force with profound implications for the public arena. Indeed, this is precisely what motivated Tony Blair to establish his Foundation in the first place. 

Prince Ghazi stressed that this was not an attempt to create an artificial union between the two faiths but an endeavour to find an essential common ground, the better to ensure that religions are part of the solution and not an impediment.

Although primarily focused on Christian-Muslim relations, a number of Jewish representatives were present, because of the appropriateness of including insights from the third and oldest of the Abrahamic religions.

Momentum on A Common Word will be maintained through further meetings at Lambeth Palace and Cambridge University in the UK, the Vatican, Georgetown University in the USA and Jordan over the next year, demonstrating the seriousness with which the Common Word process is being taken.

The Yale conference was an important milestone in the dissemination and reception of A Common Word. And A Common Word, and the dialogue flowing from it, offers an important opportunity to help turn conflict into co-existence and suspicion into respect.

Read More .... 

 August 13 - Bishop of Fort Worth met with Episcopal delegation to discuss full communion, prelate confirms
 Article: Ecumenical Movement - Protestants Uniting With Roman Catholics

Comment from UTT:
The following article is a preview of what to expect in the near future as the separated brethren begin to come home to Rome. Notice that the focal point of unity is communion (the Eucharist).
.- A senior Episcopal prelate recently confirmed that a delegation of Episcopal priests from Fort Worth visited the Catholic bishop of the diocese, Most Rev. Kevin Vann, to discuss how their diocese might enter full communion with the Catholic Church. While the seriousness of the discussion is not yet known, a document presented by the priests claims an overwhelming majority of clergy in the Episcopal diocese favor pursuing plans to bring the diocese into the Catholic Church.

The Rev. William Crary, who is senior rector of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, confirmed that he and three other Episcopal priests met with Bishop Vann on June 16. They presented the bishop with a document that is reportedly highly critical of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.

The Dallas Morning News says the document claims an overwhelming majority of Episcopal clergy favor pursuing an "active plan" to bring the diocese into full communion with the Catholic Church. The document also reports that Episcopal Bishop of Fort Worth Jack Iker is supportive of the effort.

Rev. Courtland Moore, retired rector of St. Alban's Episcopal Church in Arlington, said there is a "very serious attempt" on the part of clergy in the Episcopal diocese to "petition Rome for some kind of recognition."

"They make it clear that they no longer believe there is truth in the Anglican Communion, and the only way they can find truth is reunion with Rome," he stated.

Read More .... 

 August 13 - Visits by McCain, Obama to Orange County church underscore Pastor Rick Warren's prominence
 Article: One World Religion

Comment from UTT:
The definition of what it means to be a Christian is in the process of being redefined. Those who promote a social gospel and forsake the gospel according to the scriptures are becoming the majority, led by a pied piper that wants to bring a P.E.A.C.E. Plan to the world for the sake of change. 
Both MCCain and Obama support Rick Warren's P.E.A.C.E. Plan. Will the next President support the P.E.A.C.E. Plan with taxpayers funds? That is the question!
The secular press is calling Warren "one of the significant evangelists of this generation." What is he an evangelist for? 
Warren's three legged stool is in the making - remember the third leg is made up by "the churches" - government, the private sector and "the churches." Also, remember, you don't have to be a Christian to qualify as a contributor to the P.E.A.C.E. Plan.
Also note, the former prime minister of England (who now heads an his own interfaith foundation), will be coming to Saddleback next. Who will be next - the Dalai Lama?
Could the purpose-driven P.E.A.C.E. plan be a stepping stone for "evangelicals" towards a global one world religion?
When John McCain and Barack Obama appear on the same stage Saturday at the sprawling religious campus of Orange County's Saddleback Church, their presence will vividly underline the reach that has made Pastor Rick Warren among the most significant evangelists of his generation.

But Warren's willingness to soft-pedal political issues once central to U.S. evangelicals, such as opposition to abortion, has opened him to criticism that he has strayed from his calling to spread the Gospel.

The 54-year-old pastor, they say, is emblematic of a new breed of evangelicals who put social justice ahead of partisan politics. Some go so far as to call the plain-talking Warren, a bear of a man who prefers bluejeans to business suits, the Billy Graham of his era.

"He's a guy whose message has met the right moment,"
said Richard Land, a leading authority with the Southern Baptist Convention, the denomination to which Warren's church belongs.

"You know that I never endorse, nor campaign for, political candidates. Neither is it my role to give political advice. But I am a cultural observer and I do understand the unique stresses and responsibilities of public leadership, so I try to help leaders when asked."

Warren now wants to mobilize 1 billion Christians to attack what he calls "five global giants": spiritual emptiness, corrupt leadership, poverty, disease and illiteracy. His church has already dispatched more than 7,000 volunteers to dozens of developing and Third World countries. Rwanda's president, Paul Kagame, has spoken of his country becoming "the first purpose-driven nation."

Warren is playing an increasingly prominent role on the international stage.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is scheduled to speak at Saddleback Church next month. And Warren plans to visit Kenya, at the invitation of its parliament, to conduct a training session.

His growing portfolio has attracted criticism. "It's not our business to make friends with all of the political leaders of the world," said Bob DeWaay, an evangelical minister from Minnesota whose book, "Redefining Christianity: Understanding the Purpose Driven Movement," critiques Warren's work. "We have a message about how people get right with God, not about how the world is going to get rid of its problems," DeWaay said.

Read More .... 

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In Jesus,
Roger Oakland

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