November 30, 2007

Weekly Round-Up: Uganda, AIDS, Mormonism, and Lausanne

There are several articles that I want to point out this week:

1) "LRA Rifts Worry Bishops," in the New Vision newspaper (Uganda). The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) is often in the news today, and understanding this group is an essential aspect of getting to know Uganda. Let us pray that this recent development does not hinder the search for peace!

2) "Kigali crusade," in the Sunday Vision newspaper (Uganda). This news story reports on a major charismatic crusade in Rwanda, which featured well-known Ugandan charismatic Robert Kayanja (think of an African Benny Hinn). Africa is filled with these miracle preachers and events. With high unemployment throughout the continent and many people too poor to afford medical treatment, the prosperity gospel provides them with hope. How they need the true hope that comes from the gospel of Jesus Christ!

3) "Baptist ministry in Africa offers physical, spiritual lifelines for people living with AIDS" and "Ugandan pastor carries message of hope as a minister to those living with AIDS" in Baptist Press. Many of us recognize the serious challenge that AIDS has become through much of Africa, and Uganda is no exception. Here are two articles reporting on ways that Baptists have been involved in the country.

4) Rob Bowman, "Do Mormons believe 'that Jesus was fully God'?" and "Christianity Today, Mormons, and the Deity of Christ" on the Parchment and Pen blog. Simply must-reads (including the comment sections). Bowman posts his review of the new book by Robert Millet (a Mormon) and Gerald McDermott (an evangelical), Claiming Christ: A Mormon—Evangelical Debate. Why did he post it on a blog? Because Christianity Today rejected it for publication. His next post explains why. Startling stuff! But wait, there's more disturbing news--Craig Blomberg and Paul Owen chime in on the comment section of these posts making some very problematic statements. These are two posts that you won't want to miss!

5) Chris Wright, "Theology Working Group Focuses on Lausanne Core Slogan," in the Lausanne Connecting Point, November 2007. In preparation for Lausanne 2010 in South Africa, the Lausanne Theology Working Group is focusing on the core "slogan." Chris Wright makes some incredibly informative insights. Here's a quote:

Indeed, my hope for Cape Town 2010 is that it would launch and foster nothing less than a 21st Century Reformation – among evangelicals, who need it as much as any other Christian bloc.

For there are scandals and abuses in the world-wide evangelical community that are reminiscent of the worst features of the pre-reformation medieval church in Europe.
• There are some mega leaders, like ancient prelates, wielding vast wealth, power and control – unaccountable, unattractive and unChristlike
• There are multitudes of ordinary Christians going to so-called evangelical churches, where they never hear the Bible preached or taught. They live in scandalous biblical ignorance.
• Instead they are offered, in the ‘prosperity gospel’ a form of 21st century indulgences, except that you pay your money not for release from pains after death, but for receipt of material ‘blessings’ here and now.
• And there are evangelicals parading ungodly alliances with secular power – political, economic and military – identifying themselves (and the gospel they claim to preach) with agendas and ideologies that reflect human empire not the kingdom of God in Christ.

Will we have the courage to identify and renounce such scandals and to seek a reformation of heart, mind and practice?

I can't wait to hear more reflections as Lausanne 2010 draws near!