Star Wars Based Service at German Church

Zion Church in Berlin will host a special service using the themes of good versus evil from the Bible and from the Star Wars film series. The article explains the theological and outreach aims of Ulrike Garve and Lucas Ludewig in arranging the service. Zion Church is know as a congregation served by the German martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer in the 1930s and as a gathering place for dissenters during the Cold War.

Evangelical Preacher on Trial after Branding Islam ‘Satanic’

An evangelical preacher from Northern Ireland who branded Islam satanic has been charged with spreading a “grossly offensive” message.

CHR Comment: Although one might agree that Rev. James McConnell’s comments are offensive, many Christians have held that other religions and religious people’s activities stem from Satan misleading people. In fact, this would be a common theological argument against groups viewed as teaching falsely. The New Testament also includes such statements (e.g., Acts 5:3; 26:18).

Source: Evangelical preacher on trial after branding Islam ‘satanic’ – The Washington Post

Prayer Described as Inaction

The front cover of New York’s ‘Daily News’ for Thursday takes a strong stance against how some politicians are reacting to the San Bernardino shooting with calls for prayer instead of tighter gun control laws.

CHR Comment: Christians may too easily say, “I am praying about it” or “I will pray for you” instead of “fixing” things, as the front cover of New York Daily News complains (see second link below). Yet ruling out prayer as part of the solution is also unhelpful. Underneath the headlines are differing views about the problems of gun violence and mass shootings in America. One group sees gun laws as the source of the problem or part of the solution. Another group sees mental health care as the trigger to the problem. By faith, Christians may view prayer as sincere action and seek God’s guidance on what they should do to address this very real issue in modern life.

Source: ‘Daily News’ provokes with cover on Calif. shooting: ‘God isn’t fixing this’

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/gop-candidates-call-prayers-calf-massacre-article-1.2453261

How New Yorkers and Parisians Reacted Differently to Attacks on Their City

One priest who helped victims of the Paris attacks remembers his own experience helping communities in New York after 9/11.

CHR Comment: Rev. Jean-Christophe Bieselaar was a priest serving in New York City in 2001 and currently serves as a chaplain in Paris. He describes how Americans look to the Lord as a refuge in times of crisis whereas the French tend to ask why God allows terrible things to happen. New York churches were full in 2001, with people standing in line to enter. Church attendance in Paris has jumped but the response is not nearly as great as was seen in New York.

Source: How New Yorkers and Parisians reacted differently to attacks on their city | Public Radio International

New Commentary Series from Church Fathers

Four volumes are now available in this new series, which draws texts from early Christian writers to prepare a commentary. The Patte review on this page is from a critical scholar, who finds this historical approach unappealing. Church historians should find this series and the Ancient Christian Commentary series very helpful for exploring the history of biblical interpretation, which drives theology.

Review of Biblical Literature.

Rev. Lyle E. Schaller Dies at 91. Church Growth Consultant

Highly influential church growth consultant, Lyle Schaller, taught sociological principles to churches, which made them more attractive and effective in gaining audiences. His approach helped shape modern churches, although it also raised concerns about whether sociology should trump biblical theology’s emphasis on God’s role in conversion and the role of tradition in guiding congregational life. Rev. Lyle E. Schaller Dies at 91; Helped Protestant Churches Survive and Grow – NYTimes.com.