Sunday, December 20, 2015

The 3 - December 20, 2015

This week's edition of The 3, my week-in-review feature, includes coverage of a meeting of a group of evangelical leaders this week to discuss the refugee crisis.  Also, taxpayer funding of the nation's largest abortion provider continues in the new massive budget bill approved this week by Congress. And, a professor at a Christian college is now on leave because of comments she made related to Muslims and Christians worshipping the same God.

3 - Faith leaders meet to discuss refugee crisis

A group of over 100 evangelical leaders met earlier this week in Chicago to discuss a Biblical response toward Syrian refugees who are seeking to come to America.  A report on the Baptist Press website says that those gathered issued a joint declaration on caring for refugees in the midst of a humanitarian crisis affecting nearly 60 million displaced persons worldwide.

Those gathered discussed the statement on Thursday at the Great Commandment, Great Commission Summit (GC2) at the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism (BGCE) at Wheaton College in Chicago.
The statement reads, "In light of this crisis, we commit ourselves and our churches to actively care for and minister to global refugees with mercy and compassion, both here and abroad, based on God's compelling concern for all people in need and especially refugees."  The "Christian Declaration on Caring for Refugees: An Evangelical Response" affirms six key beliefs:
  • Refugees possess the image of God and, as such, are infinitely valuable to God and to us.
  • We are commanded to love our neighbor, and it is our privilege to love refugees.
  • As Christians, we must care sacrificially for the refugee, the foreigner, and the stranger.
  • We will motivate and prepare our churches and movements to care for refugees.
  • We will not be motivated by fear but by love for God and others.
  • Christians are called to grace-filled and humble speech about this issue.
There will be a follow-up live-streamed summit at Wheaton on January 20, 2016.

Ed Stetzer, Executive Director of LifeWay Research, in a teleconference announcing the statement is quoted as saying, regarding the public rhetoric in general, that it "has often been demeaning and dehumanizing, and we think that refugees need to be spoken of in ways that are appropriate for people created in the image of God."

2 - Spending bill passes Congress, Planned Parenthood funding intact

Last Friday, the $1.1 trillion bill known as the omnibus spending bill, sailed through the U.S. House of Representatives.  The Daily Signal reports that the vote was 316-113.  Ninety-five Republicans split with House GOP leadership to vote against the spending billAnother 150 Republicans supported it, while just 18 Democrats opposed it.  The website reports that the budget vote in the Senate was 65-33.

The Daily Signal also reports that the budget was slated to continue to allow hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer funds, from both discretionary funding under Title X and from Medicaid reimbursements, to flow to Planned Parenthood Federation of America affiliates, despite the videos that have been released over the past few months that show Planned Parenthood personnel involved in selling parts from aborted babies.

The website says:

The funds currently flowing to Planned Parenthood affiliates should be redirected to health centers that offer comprehensive health care without entanglement in abortion on demand. Members of Congress had the opportunity with the year-end funding bill to end both mandatory and discretionary federal funding of Planned Parenthood and end taxpayer entanglement with the largest abortion provider in the country, but they failed to do so.

The Daily Signal also pointed out that, "While long-standing pro-life riders are included in the omnibus, a much-needed policy to address serious conscience violations is missing from the spending bill."

1 - Professor at Christian college suspended due to comments about Muslims and Christians worshipping the same God

Larycia Hawkins is a political science professor at Wheaton College near Chicago.  To show solidarity with Muslims during Advent, she announced she would begin to wear a headscarf, or hijab. But, she also made a theological statement that resulted in her being placed on administrative leave by the university, according to a report on the Christianity Today website.

The report said that in a Facebook post on December 10, she wrote, “I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book,” adding, “And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God.” Also, Hawkins tweeted in response to her critics. “A holy kiss to you who disavow the idea that Muslims & Christians worship the same God: I love you. Peace & respect..."

A statement by the university said, "Wheaton College faculty and staff make a commitment to accept and model our institution’s faith foundations with integrity, compassion, and theological clarity,” adding, “As they participate in various causes, it is essential that faculty and staff engage in and speak about public issues in ways that faithfully represent the college’s evangelical Statement of Faith.”

The college said that the disciplinary action was taken not because Hawkins was wearing a hijab, but "in response to significant questions regarding the theological implications of statements that [Hawkins] made about the relationship of Christianity to Islam." Hawkins will receive “the full review to which she is entitled as a tenured faculty member,” the college stated.

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