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PRESBYTERIANS’ DROPPING OF HYMN STIRS DEBATE

USA Today, 8/5/13, “Presbyterians’ decision to drop hymn stirs debate” [Excerpts]: Fans of a beloved Christian hymn won’t get any satisfaction in a new church hymnal.

The committee putting together a new Presbyterian Church (USA) hymnal dropped the popular modern hymn “In Christ Alone” because the song’s authors refused to change a phrase about the wrath of God.

The original lyrics say that “on that cross, as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied.” The Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Song wanted to substitute the words, “the love of God was magnified.” The song’s authors, Stuart Townend and Nashville resident Keith Getty, objected. So the committee voted to drop the song.

Debate over “In Christ Alone” is a mix of church politics, the touchy subject of updating hymn lyrics, and rival views of what Jesus’ death on the cross meant.

The Rev. Chris Joiner of First Presbyterian Church in Franklin agrees with that move. He said some of his church members are fans of the song and will be disappointed that it was dropped.

But the words of the song don’t work, he said. “That lyric comes close to saying that God killed Jesus,” he said. “The cross is not an instrument of God’s wrath.”

But the Rev. Scott Sauls, pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville, disagrees. He said the word “satisfied” means that Jesus paid the whole price for sins.

(http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/08/05/presbyterians-decision-to-drop-hymn-stirs-debate/2618833)

"GLOBAL DEMOCRACY" BILL

Christian Post, 7/25/13, “Liberal California senator tries again with ‘Global Democracy’ bill” [Excerpts]: Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California) has reintroduced the Global Democracy Promotion Act, which failed when it was introduced in 2011. It would bring to a halt executive orders such as the Mexico City Policy which forbids use of federal tax dollars for organizations that provide or promote abortion.

Attorney Steven H. Aden of Alliance Defending Freedom [says] the proposal goes even further. “Liberals in Congress have proposed a bill to export the ultraliberal, so-called constitutional law coming from the Supreme Court on matters like same-sex marriage and abortion on demand.”

Passage would mean the unfettered ability of the Obama Administration to pressure foreign countries to adopt its liberal social agenda. Meanwhile, some nations at the United Nations have objected that the US seems more concerned about promoting abortion and homosexuality internationally than solving the world’s real problems.

(http://onenewsnow.com//politics-govt/2013/07/25/liberal-california-senator-tries-again-with-global-democracy-bill)

AFRICAN ANGLICANS TO TAKE STOCK

ReligionNewsService.com, 8/27/13, “10 years after Gene Robinson, African Anglicans to take stock” [Excerpts]: Concerned that the crisis in the worldwide Anglican Communion is deepening, conservative Anglican primates in Africa are organizing a second conference to discuss ways of returning the church to what they describe as biblical faithfulness.

The primates held the first conference in Jerusalem in 2008, five years after openly gay New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson was consecrated in the Episcopal Church. The action threw the communion into disarray.

Now, the archbishop of Nigeria and archbishops in East Africa have organized the second Global Anglican Future Conference at which they hope to accelerate the process that began in Jerusalem. The so-called GAFCON II meeting will take place Oct. 21-26 in Nairobi....“We have succeeded in consolidation,” said Ugandan Anglican Archbishop Stanley Ntagali.

“Anglican churches have been planted in North America. The clergy trust one another to preach according to the Bible,” he said. “But the crisis in the communion continues to deepen as more (homosexual) consecrations occur.”

In addition to the consecration of gay bishops, the African primates are concerned with the growing acceptance of same-sex unions in the West. They say attempts to discipline the Episcopal Church were not successful, and, as a result, a “spiritual cancer” has spread to other provinces, including the Anglican Church of Canada, the Church of England, the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Church in Wales, and the Anglican Church of Southern Africa.

“We need to see the overthrow by some churches of the creation order of female and male as just one symptom of the disease,” wrote Kenyan Anglican Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, chairman of the GAFCON primates’ council in a letter to the conference dated Thursday (Aug. 22). “The cause is spiritual.”

The primates remain optimistic that Archbishop Justin Welby, the new global leader of the Anglican Communion, may prevent a split since he is on record as being opposed to gay consecrations.

(http://www.religionnews.com/2013/08/27/anglican-primates-in-africa-organize-second-global-meeting)

HOMESCHOOLING MORE POPULAR IN CHINA

WallStreet Journal, 7/25/13, “Homeschooling Becomes More Popular in China” [Excerpts]: According to a recent survey of 18,000 parents in mainland China who have expressed interest in homeschooling their children, some 2,000 of them have already started to give lessons at home.

China’s exam-oriented education system is notoriously stressful for students and families alike. Over half (54%) of [homeschoolers] do so because they object to the teaching philosophy of traditional schools.

Still another 6% of parents, including a number of Christians, said they chose homeschooling for religious reasons, according to the survey.

Meanwhile, a mounting number of student abuse cases in China have lately been exposed , drawing outrage from the public and helping further spur the push for alternatives to traditional schools, people in the industry say. “I think kids are hurt mentally and physically at traditional kindergartens in China,” said Zhang Qiaofeng, citing the well-publicized cases of ear-pulling and other kinds of corporal punishment that recently caused controversy after being exposed in the Chinese press.

The survey said that 41% of homeschooling parents said they would continue to educate their kids at home after middle school.

(blogs.wsj.com/chinarealtime/2013/08/27/homeschooling-becomes-more-popular-in-china)

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