• State District Court Judge Kent Sullivan of Texas has ordered a $136 million libel suit against Harvest House Publishers and authors John Ankerberg and John Weldon to proceed. Living Stream Ministry and the Local Church are suing the three for libel over statements in the out-of-print Encyclopedia of Cults and New Religions, first published in 1999. The book included an article critical of the Local Church, founded by Watchman Nee. In June Sullivan dismissed a motion for summary judgment filed by the defendants. A trial date of January 12, 2004, has been set.
  • Chief Justice Roy Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court defied a federal court order to remove a 5,300-pound granite monument featuring the Ten Commandments from the state judicial building. Last November District Judge Myron H. Thompson ruled the display unconstitutional and ordered its removal. Workers removed the monument on August 27. There may be hundreds, if not thousands, of Ten Commandments displays in public buildings. "The courts are issuing confusing and conflicting opinions," Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice told The Washington Post. "The Supreme Court is going to have to weigh in on this."
  • The city of Evanston, Illinois, agreed in July to pay $350,000 to the Evanston Vineyard Christian Fellowship to settle the church's lawsuit against the city for blocking the use of its property for worship services.
  • Canada's federal Court of Appeal ruled in June that Chosen People Ministries may not use a stylized menorah as its "official mark" in the country. The court said the group, based in New York, is not a "public authority," which the government would control through tax rules and other measures.


  • Former CT editor at large J(ames) D(ixon) Douglas, who edited and contributed to some of the most significant biblical and church historical reference works of the last 50 years, died after a heart attack on August 9 in Scotland. He was 81. Among the volumes Douglas worked on were The New Bible Dictionary, The New International Dictionary of the Christian Church, Dictionary of 20th Century Christian Biography, and the Expositor's Bible Commentary series.
  • Arnold T. Olson, former president of the Evangelical Free Church in America, died July 25 in an Edina, Minnesota, hospice after a short illness. Olson, the author of nine books, was 93.
  • Missionary author Eldred Echols, who founded the Southern Africa Bible School near Johannesburg, died after surgery for a herniated disc on May 25. Echols, who had Parkinson's disease, was 83.
  • Bryn Jones, 63, a leading figure in Britain's charismatic House Church Movement, died of a heart attack in San Diego on May 1.
  • Six Anglican missionaries taken captive by Solomon Islands warlord Harold Keke are dead. In August Keke confirmed the workers, with the Melanesian Brotherhood of the Church of Melanesia, were killed a day or two after being abducted in the spring.


  • Family Research Council named two-term Louisiana legislator Tony Perkins as its fourth president. Perkins, 40, a former Marine, served in the state House of Representatives. He wrote the nation's first covenant marriage law, as well as a law increasing the cooperation of faith-based organizations with the Louisiana Department of Corrections. Perkins succeeds Ken Connor, who resigned.
  • Big Idea Productions, creator of VeggieTales, filed for bankruptcy on September 2. Big Idea also announced plans to sell its assets to Classic Media llc. Big Idea is down to about 45 employees from a high of 200 in 2002.
  • The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) opened its new National Ministries Office on September 1. The office coordinates efforts among evangelicals in regional, state, and local associations. It also networks with Christian colleges, universities, and seminaries. Robert Wenz, a former pastor and a part-time professor of Bible and philosophy, has been named vice president of national ministries for NAE.
  • Jon Lewis, formerly a senior executive with Mission Aviation Fellowship, has been appointed president/CEO of Partners International. Lewis, 52, succeeds Paul-Gordon Chandler, who moved to Cairo last summer to be the rector of an Anglican church.
  • In May Mdaba Mazabane, president of the Association of Evangelicals in Africa, was appointed chairman of the International Council of the World Evangelical Alliance.
  • In July Roy Peterson, former head of Wycliffe Bible Translators U.S.A., was named CEO of The Seed Company, which seeks partnerships with translators around the world. Robert Creson, formerly associate executive director of SIL International (a Wycliffe sister organization), succeeds Peterson as Wycliffe president.
  • George Verwer, 65, founder and international coordinator of Operation Mobilization, handed leadership of the worldwide evangelism ministry to Peter Maiden in August.
  • In August President Bush once again named Richard Land of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. Land is the first commissioner to be reappointed since the group was established in 1998.
Changing Views of Islam

Changing Views of Islam

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