August 29, 2011- September 4, 2011 
 News In Review
 Vol 6, Issue 34
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Dear Ron,

This newsletter is available online by clicking here. The archived newsletter are also available by clicking here.

The News In Review newsletter is a service provided by Understand The Times that is a compilation of the news articles previously posted on our site . Understand The Times does not endorse these events but rather is showing the church the current events.  The purpose of posting these articles is to warn the church of deception from a Biblical perspective.

 August 30 - Study claims Episcopal church attendance dwindling
 Article: Miscellaneous

A recent study done by the Anglican organization Virtue Online claims that more than one-third of Episcopal churches in the U.S. have only 40 or less members and that attendance numbers are still dropping.

"What this foreshadows is that within the next 3 to 5 years more than 2,000 churches across the country will be forced to close, merge or be sold regardless of cash reserves or endowment because there will simply not be enough people in them to keep the doors open," read the Aug. 23 survey.

Not only will hundreds of Episcopal clergy will be "forced into early retirement," said the organization, but many will have to take secondary employment "in an attempt to keep the doors open to a handful of aging congregants."

Researchers argue that the Episcopal Church has given an inaccurate depiction of the amount of followers by repeatedly claiming that 2.3 million U.S. Episcopalians regularly attend services. "More than two-thirds of this figure have either died, left the church, or attend twice a year, along with tens of thousands still on church rolls who have never been - and should be - removed."

The survey showed future prospects of sharp decline in attendance for the Episcopal Church in the U.S., with 2,219 churches having congregations of aging parishioners in their mid-60s or older.

"There are virtually no young people coming forward to fill the gap," they said.

Virtue Online also noted that parishes with congregations between 201 and 500 "must generate and pull in a new generation of Episcopalians if they are to be sustainable for the long haul."

However, "many of these will face stiff competition from a new generation of Evangelical converts and those leaving the Episcopal Church."

Read Full Article .... 

 August 29 - Are Evangelicals Seeking 'Dominion' Over Politics, Government?
 Article: Social Gospel

News reports and rumors have been circulating since Rick Perry's Aug. 6 prayer gathering called "The Response," that evangelical members of a radical Christian sect called the "New Apostolic Reformation" (NAR) are seeking to take "dominion" over the earth through politics, media and other sectors. Church leaders, however, say the New Apostolic Reformation is not about dominating society or forcing Christian morals on America, but rather actively living out the Christian faith.

Forrest Wilder, a Texas Observer columnist who has been following the NAR and its influence on political figures, told The Christian Post that it is not a specific church, denomination or organization, but is a movement of an "interlocking array of churches, ministries, councils, personal friendships and alliances" that are connected for a common cause.

That common cause, Wilder argued, is to promote Christian dominion over society, culture and government through the influence of its ministries.

Jackson says of the NAR's mission, "It has to do with church planting, overseeing a number of these emerging, some would call, post-denominational churches. There really isn't a headquarters; there really isn't a movement."

However, a letter sent to CP under the promise of anonymity states, "The NAR is not an organization. No one can join or carry a card. It has no leader."

The NAR, Tabachnick said, "teach[s] quite literally that these 'mountains' have fallen under the control of demonic influences in society and therefore, they must reclaim them for God in order to bring about the kingdom of God on Earth."

Read Full Article.... 

 August 30 - China's yuan could challenge dollar role in a decade
 Article: One World Government

Here's a bold prediction to feed Western worries that power is shifting inexorably to the East: China's yuan could overtake the U.S. dollar as the world's principal reserve currency as soon as next decade. Beijing has been promoting the use of the yuan beyond its borders since 2009 to settle trade transactions. The resulting build-up of deposits in Hong Kong has spawned a thriving yuan bond market.

Internationalizing the yuan, also known as the renminbi (RMB), brings with it a host of financial and political benefits. Notably, it allows China to build up claims on the rest of the world in yuan rather than increasing exposure to foreign currencies, especially a dollar that it distrusts.

"Chinese economic dominance is more imminent and more broad-based -- encompassing output, trade, and currency -- than is currently recognized," he writes in a new book, 'Eclipse: Living in the Shadow of China's Economic Dominance'.

Using an index of country shares in the world's gross domestic product, trade and net exports of capital stretching back to 1870, Subramanian calculates China is already on the cusp of overtaking the United States as the world's leading economy. On conservative assumptions, it will soon carve out an unassailable lead.

"By 2030, this dominance could resemble that of the United States in the 1970s and the United Kingdom around 1870. And this economic dominance will in turn elevate the renminbi to premier reserve currency status much sooner than currently expected," he writes.

In promoting the yuan's use overseas, China's leaders are seizing an opportunity to gain a foothold in Asia at the expense of the United States, Europe and Japan, all weakened by the global financial crisis, Garcia-Herrero said.

Subramanian duly laces his book with caveats but nevertheless concludes that the economic world in 2030 will be unrecognizably different from what it is today as poorer, more populous countries grow faster than advanced economies.

"A key message is that the dominant West will have to start readjusting to the new reality of relative but not necessarily absolute decline," he writes. "In particular, the economic dominance and hegemony of the United States will be under challenge from a rising China."

Read Full Article.... 

 August 31 - Science Gone Wrong: Bioengineered animal proteins used to make bulletproof humans
 Article: Cloning And Genetic Engineering

If certain crazy scientists have their way, we could eventually see some humans covered in skin that has been bioengineered with animal parts such as spider's silk and goat milk.

Bulletproof vests are widely accepted as a method of ballistic protection, but genuine bulletproof skin has always been a concept meant only for science-fiction movies. It's absolutely heinous and ridiculous to imagine such a notion becoming a reality, but thanks to a sickening development devised by UK scientists, it may be soon become reality: a bulletproof "vest" or human bulletproof skin created by combining genetically engineered goat milk and spider's silk woven into skin cells.

Researchers working with the Forensic Genomics Consortium in the Netherlands genetically engineered goats to produce milk teeming with the same protein found in the webs spun by silk spiders. This milk is then spun and weaved into a material that is claimed to be almost ten times stronger than steel.

Scientists hope to blend this supposedly forcible fabric with real human skin to make what they expect to be a vest "tough enough to stop a bullet."
The "spidersilk" project was named "2.6g 329m/s' after the weight and velocity of a .22 caliber rifle bullet.

The "spidersilk vest" idea was taken a step further when researchers asked: why bother with only a vest if we can actually replace real human skin with bioengineered spidersilk protein? One Dutch researcher with the project, Jalila Essaidi, claimed the goal is to eventually replace keratin, the protein responsible for the toughness of our skin, with bioengineered spider's silk.

The first stage of this experiment involves growing a layer of real human skin around a sample of bulletproof skin, which takes around five weeks to complete.
The whole process is possible by adding the silk-producing genes of a spider to the genome of a human. The outrageous end result, according to these mad scientists: bulletproof humans.
Again, this probably all sounds like science fiction, but it's merely a truly rude awakening: these types of sickening experiments are becoming realities in science. It is not fiction that human-animal hybrids have been produced by these UK scientists for the last three years.

Some of the abnormalities the scientists created were animal eggs fertilized with human sperm, cybrids (or animal cells that are injected with human cell nuclei) and chimeras, a mixture of human cells and animal cells.

Read Full Article.... 

 August 30 - Activists shine light on forgotten causes
 Article: Social Gospel

AIDS. Famine in Africa. The plight of Palestinian Christians and others in the Holy Land. They're social justice issues that have long concerned some American Christians - though typically not those in evangelical circles. But that's changing, say members of Fort Wayne's Christian community, and one measure of just how much may be an interdenominational event Sept. 17.

"Forgotten People: A Call to Action" is bringing top activists on those global issues to Fort Wayne for a conference that aims to unite mainline and evangelical branches of the local Christian community, says Michael Spath, a conference organizer.

"The mainline churches have been known for world missions for a long time, but     the face of evangelicalism is changing," says Spath, who leads the peace center and also teaches religion at IPFW.

Evangelical congregations are moving beyond a traditional emphasis on individual, born-again salvation, he says. "There has really become much more of a global awareness, a sense of there being one human family," says Spath, a member of Plymouth Congregational Church of Fort Wayne - United Church of Christ.

"I think the evangelical churches in our community have become very sensitive to global concerns, and many of them are doing great things around the world."

The Rev. Bill Campbell, pastor of Life Bridge Church, part of the evangelical Foursquare Gospel denomination, says evangelical mega-churches - including Willow Creek Church in suburban Chicago and Saddleback Church in Southern California - have been influential in setting the global tone.

One conference speaker is Lynne Hybels, who co-founded Willow Creek with her pastor husband Bill. She is the congregation's Advocate for Global Engagement.

Other speakers are: the Rev. David Beckmann, a Lutheran pastor and economist who heads Bread for the World, an international advocacy group for food policies that solve the problems of famine and hunger; Princess Kasune Zulu, a Zambian-born global AIDS activist who tested positive for HIV after an arranged marriage with an infected man; and the Rev. Mitri Raheb, pastor of Bethlehem's Christmas Lutheran Church who works with youth in the West Bank.

Attendees will be given specific ways to influence the issues individually and in their home churches, says the Rev. Roger Reece, executive pastor of Associated Churches.

Read Full Article.... 

 August 30 - Rick Warren: 9/11 National Prayer Day Planned 2 Blocks From Ground Zero
 Article: One World Religion

A church located two blocks from New York City's ground zero, which was planted in Manhattan shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the U.S., will be part of the live webcast memorial services led by Orange County, Calif., megachurch pastor Rick Warren. The services will be at least partially broadcast from Lower Manhattan Community Church, one of Saddleback's "daughter churches," on the weekend of the 10th anniversary of the tragedy.
Warren made it obvious to his congregation during weekend services that the decision by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's to exclude any prayers from clergy at ground zero in the upcoming 10th anniversary commemoration of the 9/11 attacks did not sit well with him. Bloomberg recently stated, "Everybody would like to participate, and the bottom line is everybody cannot participate. There isn't room. There isn't time. And in some cases, it's just not appropriate."

"This week the mayor of New York City announced that at the 10th anniversary memorial service at ground zero that there are going to be no prayers," Warren said in church, accompanied by a smattering of boos. "Now, you know what I think about that. So, we are going to have our own nationwide, national prayer day," he said to applause.

Warren said that Saddleback sent two of the church's pastors to New York City to start two churches "in order to take care of the spiritual needs of a very confused and broken city." Lower Manhattan Community Church was originally called Mosaic.

"This will be a nationwide coast-to-coast linkup to have prayer. Of all the times, America needs prayer," Warren said and then rhetorically asked, "Do you think it needs prayer right now?"

"We want to give people an opportunity to process the anniversary from a spiritual perspective," Holladay said. "It wasn't just a national or civic tragedy, it was a spiritual tragedy, and we want to support people as they work through it. 9/11 left a spiritual vacuum behind for many people. We want to fill that vacuum with God's love."

Read Full Article.... 

 August 31 - Filipinos Ready to Pray 1 Million Rosaries
 Article: Roman Catholic Church And The Last Days

Comment from Understand the Times:
We love Filipinos and want them to be saved. If you know one who is praying the rosary for PEACE, let them know they are wasting their time. Many of the same ones who are praying the rosary are followers of Rick Warren. This would make sense since Warren has partnered with Tony Blair who is following the pope.
The Family Rosary Crusade in the Philippines is spearheading a campaign to get 1 million Filipinos to pray 1 million rosaries in 200 days for all nations in the world.

Dubbed "A million roses for the world: Filipinos at Prayer: Peace for All Nations," the campaign aims to rally Filipinos to offer one rosary each day for a particular country in the world in 200 days. The nationwide activity will begin Oct. 7, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary and end May 31, 2012, Feast of Our Lady of All Nations.

Bishop Nereo Odchimar, president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, lauded the campaign, saying that with 1 million peace-loving Filipinos praying together, "we can claim peace for the world from the hands of the good Lord and his mother."

Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, director of the Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education, which partners with the Family Rosary Crusade, also encouraged the faithful to join a similar rosary campaign for schools nationwide dubbed "1.1 on 11/11." This initiative will bring students of Catholic schools, colleges and universities to pray simultaneously 1 million and 100 rosaries at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 2011.

"This campaign aims to teach our youth that prayer can change the world and people who pray can change the destinies of peoples," the archbishop said. "Indeed there can be no world peace without prayer."

Read Full Article.... 

 September 2 - Pope urges Catholic-Orthodox cooperation on new evangelization
 Article: One World Religion

Pope Benedict XVI is encouraging Catholic and Orthodox Christians to work together in re-evangelizing traditionally Christian countries.

Over the past four days, the symposium has brought together both Catholic and Orthodox scholars in the Greek city of Thessaloniki to discuss the topic of "The witness of the Church in the Modern World." The Pope described the theme as "very timely and central" to his "concerns and prayers" for a "new evangelization" of traditionally Christian countries where the practice of the Christian faith has declined in recent times.

Christianity was brought to the city of Thessaloniki by St. Paul in the first century. The Pope asked for his intercession that the talks between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches encourage "a climate of fraternal charity," and observed that the "mutual understanding of our traditions and true friendship are already in themselves a contribution to the cause of Christian unity."

Pope Benedict also pointed out that the current cultural, social and economic environment "presents the same challenges to both Catholics and Orthodox." Instead of divisions, these challenges should call forth a Christian evangelizers who are "mature in faith and capable of finding a meeting point beyond the real tensions," he said, quoting Pope Paul VI.

The Inter-Christian Symposium is co-organized by the Franciscan Institute of Spirituality at Rome's Pontifical Antonianum University and the Orthodox faculty of theology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. The initiative hopes to help heal the rift between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches which has persisted since the 11th century.

Read Full Article.... 

 September 6 - Rethinking theology for HIV response
 Article: Social Gospel

For churches in Africa, the Old Testament has historically occupied a prominent place in theological thinking. "Our theology is constructed with the image of God in the Old Testament," reflects Charles Klagba, theological consultant for the Ecumenical HIV and AIDS Initiative in Africa (EHAIA).

"It is for that reason the reaction of many churches on this continent to the epidemic is very much influenced by the belief that illness is a punishment for individual sins," he says. "This theology is very vivid in the Old Testament. This interpretation has reinforced the stigma and hindered the ministry of the church to be competent."

Deconstructing this theology and giving birth to an alternative approach that can give hope to people have been at the centre of Klagba's encounters with theologians, pastors and church leaders.

"I engage churches and theological institutions in a serious re-reading of the Bible in order to reshape for themselves their discourses that are rooted in the daily concerns of the people." His journey, he said, could be termed a "theology of deconstruction."

His ultimate objective is fostering new readings of the Bible that make the whole church an HIV-competent and healing community. With a focus on re-reading the Bible in the HIV era, workshop topics include ethics, mission, African religions, sexuality, gender and Christian education.

"Participants, somehow, come out transformed. Many clearly commit themselves to engage in some kinds of action as a result of this transformation," he says.

Read Full Article.... 

 August 3 - Australian Officials Accused of 'Christian Cleansing' for Move to Ban 'B.C.' From Texbooks
 Article: Perilous Times

Australian education officials are working to remove any references of Christ in their school textbooks, which has caused an outrage in the country's Christian community.
According to FOX News, the government is working to eliminate the usage of "BC," an acronym for Before Christ and "AD" which stands for "Anno Domini." Instead, the new terms for usage in education texts would be "BCE," which would stand for Before Common Era, "BP," which would represent Before Present and "CE" which means Common Era.
Although a spokesperson for the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority told The Herald Sun that the change was a normal way to represent dates in history, the Christian community in the country views things differently. The Australian Christian community is calling the move to banish "BC" from textbooks a "Christian cleansing," according to FOX radio.

Peter Jensen, Archbishop of Sydney, spoke to the Daily Telegraph about his thoughts on eliminating Jesus Christ from educational texts. Jensen called the move an "intellectually absurd attempt to write Christ out of human history." Jensen explained that Christ was an important figure in history to all people.

"It is absurd because the coming of Christ remains the centre point of dating and because the phrase 'common era' is meaningless and misleading," he said to the Sydney Daily Telegraph.

Fred Nile, a minister in New South Wales, told The Daily Telegraph that the announcement was a "final insult" to Christians in Australia and "an absolute disgrace." Nile said he feels the move is an attempt to remove any traces of Christianity from the country. "The direction of the national curriculum is towards almost a Christian cleansing to remove from our history any references to the role Christianity had in the formation of Australia and still has today," he told The Telegraph.

Read Full Article.... 

 September 6 - Rethinking church and its mission in the 21st century
 Article: Miscellaneous

Comment from Understand the Times:
The Acts Chapter 2 outpouring of the Holy Spirit that the author of the following article is predicting is called the "Second Pentecost" by the Roman Catholics and the "Second Jesus Movement" by those who followed Lonnie Frisbee. Domionists and Kingdom Now supporters see this as a great revival as the world comes to Christ. Those who study Bible prophecy and believe the words of Jesus, believe those who are deluded by these movements will be part of the great apostasy that prepares the way for the coming of the antichrist.

After more than 30 years of operation, NASA ended its shuttle program July 21. That morning, I drove two hours to meet with a committee to explore the possibility of serving as the next president of Eastern Mennonite Missions. That same weekend a new nation was to be born in Southern Sudan. I could not help but see the emerging theme.

As a person born and raised in Africa - once considered the mission field for Europe and North America - I could not help but consider the new reality I was living in. The fact that I was being considered to lead a mission agency in the United States was a new frontier for the mission agency and for me. Southern Sudanese for the very first time had their own brand new country, and the shuttle had served its purpose and something new was being envisioned. These stories convinced me that a new era has dawned and with it new ways of living and being the church in the world.

I believe this story is relevant for the church as it engages God's mission in the 21st century. We are living in exciting, as well as scary, times. These times are characterized by great opportunities to innovate and think outside the box. As NASA continues to research and envision the new frontier of space exploration, the church must likewise envision the new mission frontier.

I envision a new generation of missionaries being raised as the church once again rediscovers God's mission in a fresh and new way. We cannot live as if everyone understands what it means to be a Christian, even those who have been part of the church family for years. The Christendom era where we assumed that everybody knew the Bible is long gone. And I think we should celebrate that reality! Still, as we look back, we must acknowledge the successes, as well as the failures, of that era. Like NASA, we must reflect and dream about new ways to be relevant, go to places where the witness of the Gospel has not yet reached, and discover fresh ways to embody faithful Christian discipleship in our own communities.

Taking Van Gelda seriously, I looked at Acts 2. In this chapter, I see the church growing exponentially as the Holy Spirit descended in a fresh way. Numerically, it grew from 120 people to 3,120. As the Holy Spirit took charge, it was transformed and empowered to become an authentic Christian community that ministered to others. It became a community that continually experienced the Lord's hand at work, God's Spirit continued to shape and act in powerful ways. It is no wonder that the author reports, "And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved" (Acts 2:47). This Christian community experienced phenomenal growth as the Holy Spirit descended and the community took seriously their new identity and mission.

Is the Acts 2 experience possible again? Yes, it is! What would the church look like if we lived as Holy Spirit-filled communities of Jesus? What kind of impact would we have in our immediate neighborhoods and around the world? We must actively engage our changing cultural realities with the transforming power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In order to do this, we must once again cultivate the virtues that continue to form us and help us embody the Christian narrative.

Read Full Article.... 

We hope the Weekly News In Review has been a blessing to you.

Roger Oakland

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