Faith & Religion

Attack ad

Religion | United Church of Christ produces controversial TV ad
by Edward E. Plowman
Posted 12/18/04, 12:00 am

Leaders of the shrinking 1.3-million-member United Church of Christ want gays to know they are welcome in UCC churches. So, they produced a 30-second TV ad to make their point.

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How early Christians lived

Religion | Christians had constant reminders that they were aliens and strangers-and also salt and light-in these ancient cities
by Marvin Olasky
Posted 12/11/04, 12:00 am

ANTIOCH, EPHESUS, and PERGAMUM, Turkey - Tidings of comfort and joy," we sing almost 2,000 years after the first words of good news began to spread. But into what kind of world were the tidings poured?

At Christmastime especially we tend to associate the origins of Christianity with shepherds in the field, keeping watch over their flocks at night. But a visit to this city once known as Antioch, and now named Antakya, suggests that Christianity grew up in an affluent urban society.

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Troubling trend

Religion | Church growth stalls among Southern Baptist churches
by Edward E. Plowman
Posted 12/04/04, 12:00 am

A new study of church growth among the 42,000-plus churches in the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's largest Protestant denomination, found 70 percent of them have "plateaued" or are declining. It is a 20-year trend that has disturbed many SBC leaders. The study, based on statistics for 1998 to 2003, classified 30.3 percent of churches as growing, 45.8 percent as plateaued, and 23.9 percent as declining-an increase of 6 percent from an SBC study for 1978 to 1983.

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