The News In Review newsletter is a service
by Understand The Times that
is a compilation of the news articles
on our site . Understand The Times does not
endorse these events but rather is
showing the church the current events.
purpose of posting these articles is to warn the church of deception from a
March 23 - A durable doomsday preacher predicts the world's end -- again
Article: Unbiblcal Christianity
Save the date: May 21,
2011. If preacher Harold Camping is right,
that's the exact date Jesus will
return and the righteous will fly up to heaven, leaving behind only their
clothes. That will be followed by five months of fire, brimstone and
plagues, with millions of people dying each day and corpses piling in the
streets. Finally, on Oct. 21, the world ends exactly as the Book of
Revelation says it will - with a bottomless pit, a lake of fire and, at
last, a new heaven and new earth.
Doomsday preachers come
and go, but at nearly 90 years old, the spry Camping has managed
to ignite a nationwide movement that has garnered
"God has put his stamp of
approval that this is the day," McCann said in a telephone interview.
"I don't doubt it, and I don't look at the
possibility of May 22 happening."
Neither does Camping.
Asked how he arrived at the date, he opened his Bible to Genesis and said
Noah loaded animals into the ark in 4990 B.C., a number he said he arrived
at years ago after looking at carbon dating, tree rings and other data.
Paging forward to 2 Peter, he read aloud, "one day is with the Lord as a
thousand years and a thousand years is one day."
Leafing back to Genesis,
he said that the seven days Noah spent loading the ark was really 7,000
years. He then added 7,000 to 4990 B.C to arrive at 2010. He added one more
year, he said, because there is no year one in the Bible.As for the exact
date of May 21, he pointed again to Genesis, which says the flood began on
the "17th day of the second month." According to the Jewish calendar, which
he believes God uses, that is May 21.
Press found that 41% of Americans expect Jesus' return before 2040. But
pinpointing an exact date is unusual, said John R. Hall, a sociology
professor and author of "Apocalypse," an examination of doomsday groups.
Camping has wiggled
before. He first predicted Jesus' return in 1994 in a
book named for that year - but with a big question mark at the end. While
writing the book, he said the year 2011 began to come up in his
calculations, but 1994 was more prominent. When the year came and
went, Camping explained that he was wrong and needed
more study. "It just was a cudgel to keep studying," he said.
Read Full Article ....
March 24 - Is religion going extinct?
Article: One World Religion
Both fans and
foes of religion should take note. A study conducted by scholars
from the University of Arizona and Northwestern University, and
presented at a meeting of the American Physical Society suggests
that religion may be dying in
nine countries. The study
projects the extinction of religion in
Australia, Austria, the Czech Republic, Canada, Finland,
Ireland, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Switzerland.
using complex mathematical models, confirms trends observed by
social scientists for some time. While not studied, the trend
line in the United States has been interpreted in similar ways
by other scholars, most recently because of polling conducted
for the American Reiligious Identification Survey in which
the fastest growing religious
group in America was the "nones" i.e. people indicating that
none of the categories offered by the study fit how they would
describe themselves when it came to religion.
religion foes begin celebrating however, it's worth noting that
these studies make a giant conceptual error - one which confuses
the death of religion with the end of religion and religious
affiliation as we know them. There is
plenty of evidence for the latter two phenomena, but the fact
that people are doing religion differently doesn't mean that
religion is going extinct.
None of our
faiths has been here forever, and according to most of them,
each is an improvement over what preceded them, so it's likely
that if these traditions should actually die out,
they too will be replaced by potentially
superior alternatives. I am not a
supersessionist who believes that whatever comes last is best.
In fact, that approach has proven to be
quite deadly, at least for most of Western religious tradition,
and actually for other parts of the world as well, though we
tend to be less aware of their bloody pasts.
I am simply
suggesting that if religion as we know it as a whole does go
extinct, there is reason to
believe that it will be replaced by religion as we do not know
it yet, and that it may well be an improvement over the versions
we currently have. But even if that process
is unfolding, it will be, like most evolutionary processes,
quite slow, so nobody reading this is likely to confront the
actual death of the tradition to which they are currently
Could these shifts be part of a much
larger trend? It may be that in all of these
places, people are insisting that the
conceptual, spiritual, and religious offerings which have
comprised their menu options are simply insufficient.
Read Full Article....
March 24 - Poll: Nearly 4 in 10 Americans Say Natural Disasters Sign from God
Article: Signs Of The Last Times
When Tokyo Gov.
Shintaro Ishihara called the massive earthquake
and tsunami in Japan tembatsu --
or "divine judgment" -- he
expressed a kind of theological cause and effect
shared by nearly 40 percent of Americans.
Ishihara later apologized for his remarks. But a
recent poll from the Public Religion Research
Institute and Religion News Survey shows some
support for his original sentiment:
16 percent of Americans
agree that natural disasters are a sign from
God, while 22 percent mostly agree.
A slight majority --
51 percent -- disagreed
natural disasters are a sign from the Almighty.
Yet a slightly larger majority, 56 percent, said
they believe God is in control of everything
that happens in the world.
Others had their own
take on the poll's results.
want a God who loves and doesn't judge,"
said Rabbi Irwin Kula, author of
Yearnings: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of
Life. Kula maintained traditional theology,
"that natural disasters
are punishment for sin, is rejected by God in
the (Old Testament's) book of Job, but it is a
dominant strand in every tradition."
According to Kula,
"tragedy has nothing to do with the victim's
behavior. It is simply the mystery and vastness
But Eric Metaxas,
author of Everything You Always Wanted to
Know About God, said that "according to the
Bible, the world is NOT the way God wants it to
like earthquakes and tsunamis, said Metaxas, are
examples of that brokenness "that God is in the
process of redeeming and (that) He is with us in
The poll results
revealed differences of opinion on the subject
among various Christian denominations.
Nearly 6 in 10 (59%) of
white Evangelicals said they believed natural
disasters are a sign from God. But a much
smaller minority -- just 31 percent of Catholics
and 34 percent of non-evangelical Protestants --
The perceived increase in
the number and severity of natural disasters is
evidence to 44 percent of Americans of what the
Bible calls The End Times, prophesied in the Old
Testament's book of Daniel and the New
Testament's book of Revelation. Fifty-two
percent disagreed, according
to the poll.
Read Full Article ....
March 24 - Piper, McLaren Ponder God's Hand in Japan Quake
Article: Emerging Church
Did God cause the earthquake in Japan?
Reformed theologian John Piper says yes.
But emergent church
pastor Brian McLaren isn't satisfied with
the simple answer, especially as it paints
God as heartless or inept.
All in all, McLaren says
if his "only option
for Christian faith required me to be
satisfied with the explanations given by
Piper, I would be driven away," he
wrote in a commentary featured in The Other
Piper wrote in his blog:
"No earthquakes in the
Bible are attributed to Satan. ...
Earthquakes are ultimately from God. Nature
does not have a will of its own. And God
owes Satan no freedom. What havoc demons
wreak, they wreak with God's permission. And
God has reasons for what he permits. His
permissions are purposes."
We don't know all ("hundreds of thousands")
the purposes for the calamity in Japan and
won't know until the end of age, Piper says.
But there are possible purposes revealed in
the Bible. Piper lists:
"The end-time earthquakes" are meant as
calls to unbelievers to repentance and
as a wake-up call to the world that
Jesus Christ is coming and God's kingdom
will soon be born;
"God's unilateral taking of thousands of
lives is a loud declaration that 'The
Lord gave and the Lord has taken away'
(Job 1:21)" - in other words, life is a
loan from God;
The powerful earthquake reveals the
"fearful magnificence of God" - "most of
the world does not fear the Lord and
therefore lacks saving wisdom;"
When the earth shakes, there is a sense
that there is no place to flee. Where do
you turn? To God.
seeking "simple answers" and who are "of a
certain theological bent,"
McLaren has no doubt that what Piper
presented will satisfy them. But McLaren
doesn't agree with
such simplicity, particularly when it comes
to the matter of evil and suffering.
"If one were to ask, 'What is God's
relationship with the universe?' the only
answer from Piper and his colleagues
'Sovereignty,' and sovereignty would mean
absolute, unilateral control," he
"That, I think, is not the only
option for a faithful believer in God."
McLaren argues that
"it is better
to say" that God's sovereignty is not
"God isn't the kind of king interested in
absolute control. God wouldn't create that
kind of relationship with the universe
because God isn't that kind of God," he
"Instead, God creates space and time for a
universe to be, to become, to unfold in its
own story, its own evolution.
Read Full Article ....
March 25 - Netanyahu: Israel ready to react with 'great force'
Article: Israel And The Last Days
Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday that
ready to act with "great force" against
terror attacks, a day after
Israelis launched retaliatory strikes in
Israel had been
"subjected to bouts of terror and rocket
attacks," Netanyahu said following
a spate of rocket fire
on southern Israel from Gaza and a bombing
in Jerusalem that killed one and wounded
more than 30 people.
"We stand ready to act
with great force and great determination to
put a stop to it,"
Netanyahu told reporters before a meeting
with US Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
"Any civilized society
will not tolerate such wanton attacks on its
civilians," he said.
Gates, a former
CIA director with years of experience in
US-Israel security ties were as strong as
they had ever been at a time when the region
is in "turmoil." In Tel Aviv on
Thursday, Gates said
Washington firmly backed Israel's right to
respond to the both the rocket fire and the
Jerusalem bombing, which he described as
"repugnant acts." But he suggested
tread carefully or risk derailing the course
of popular unrest sweeping Arab and Muslim
countries in the Middle East.
powers have already
urged Israel to show restraint amid fears
Netanyahu would order another ground
invasion of Gaza.
Read Full Article ....
March 26 - Pakistan Switches Sides, Expanding Arms Allegiance With China and Leaving U.S. Behind
is beefing up its arsenal of nuclear-capable
missiles by embracing China as its new
strategic arms partner and backing away from
the U.S., analysts have told Fox
this month test-fired a nuclear-capable
missile from an undisclosed location - the
second in a month of try-outs for its
short-range surface-to-surface Hataf 2 class
with the Chinese. It was the latest in a
series of arms collaborations between the
two nations, which view their strategic
partnership as a counterweight to a boldly
confident India, which has American support.
mid-1960s, the United States was the
principal supplier of weapons to Pakistan,
the world's eighth
most-powerful nuclear nation. But the
U.S. began to back away from the
relationship after years of difficult and
sometimes unpredictable relations following
the 9/11 attacks. The
U.S. no longer fully supports the military
ambitions of a Pakistan that is being
destabilized by an insurgency it cannot
control, rising radicalism and anti-Westernism,
and a government considered by some too weak
government official was recently quoted as
saying it was vital
for the navy to acquire more submarines to
offset "the pressure we will definitely come
under" due to the rapid expansion of India's
naval capability. "Our Chinese brothers have
always come to our help and we are asking
them for assistance once again," he
Read Full Article ....
March 25 - Forum Opens for Those Approaching God as the Unknown
Article: One World Religion
The Courtyard of
a new forum for
dialogue between believers and nonbelievers,
was launched Thursday at the Paris
headquarters of UNESCO,
in the presence of
diplomats, international officials and
representatives of the world of culture.
initiative, promoted by the Pontifical
Council for Culture,
takes up a suggestion of Benedict XVI to
create a space for dialogue "with those to
whom religion is something foreign, to whom
God is unknown and who nevertheless do not
want to be left merely Godless, but rather
to draw near to him, albeit as the Unknown"
(Benedict XVI, Dec. 21, 2009).
this dialogue was presented
as an "essential
element in the quest for peace and abolition
of the rejection of the other in the
affirmation of one's own identity,"
explained the Pontifical Council for Culture
in a communiqué.
dialogue has the same relevance for our time
as interreligious dialogue,"
the council statement affirmed.
"From the perspective of globalization, it
calls for posing vital questions of a
universal character and values."
political personalities, among them Giuliano
Amato, former Italian prime minister,
stressed the point of view of the debate at
the political, cultural and social level.
between believers and nonbelievers will give
liberty and democracy their meaning,"
former prime minister of Congo, and the
ambassador of that country to France and
stressed the importance of this dialogue to
promote a culture of peace in the world,
beyond European and Western borders.
founder of L'Arche Community, spoke about
the power of transformation that stems from
the quality of a look directed to wounded
is more important than dialogue to establish
a relationship of trust," he said.
non-believers must continue to coexist,
concluded Monsignor Follo, saying
this is not
just a question of reciprocal tolerance, but
a challenge that must be assumed.
Read Full Article ....
March 23 - PETA: Don't call animals 'it' in the Bible
PETA, the People
for the Ethical Treatment of Animals,
is calling for a more
to the Bible. The group is asking
translators of the New International Version
remove what it calls "speciesist" language
and refer to animals as "he" or "she"
instead of "it."
The NIV is a
popular translation of the Christian Bible.
An updated translation was released this
month. The translators said 95% of the 1984
translation remains the same.
PETA is hoping the
move toward greater gender inclusiveness
will continue toward animals as well.
"When the Bible moves
toward inclusively in one area ... it wasn't
much of a stretch to suggest they move
toward inclusively in this area,"
Bruce Friedrich, PETA's vice president for
policy, told CNN.
a practicing Roman
Catholic, said, "Language matters.
animal 'it' denies them something.
They are beloved by God. They glorify God."
in slaughterhouses mocks God," he said.
intuitively that "animals are 'who' not
'what.' ... Acknowledging it would better
align our practices with our beliefs."
"Do we need to know
the gender of the lion Samson slew? What
would it give us there?" he said.
"You could try to specify that,
but you would be doing
so entirely inventively if you did. It's not
in the original language. ... Nothing is
made of it in the story."
he sympathizes and agrees with PETA's
position that God calls for humans to care
but he said, "When you
get to the point when you say, 'Don't say
it, say he or she'
when the text doesn't, you're both screwing
up the text and missing the main point you
Read Full Article....
We hope the Weekly News In Review has been a
blessing to you.