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Word&Way News: Nov. 3
Here’s the weekly roundup from Word&Way. In addition to a look at the use of the Bible to justify war in Gaza that is free for anyone to read, paid subscribers to A Public Witness received a report on Trump attorney and Christian radio host Jenna Ellis.
Top 5 at wordandway.org
Speaker Mike Johnson’s Biblical Interpretation Problem. Rodney Kennedy offered some lessons in hermeneutics for the new U.S. House speaker.
Review: God’s Monsters. Robert D. Cornwall reviewed God’s Monsters: Vengeful Spirits, Deadly Angels, Hybrid Creatures, and Divine Hitmen of the Bible by Esther J. Hamori.
Mike Bickle, Leader of IHOP Movement, Accused of Sexual Abuse. Bob Smietana reported on allegations against the founder of the Kansas City-based International House of Prayer.
Largest Christian University in US Faces Record Fine After Federal Probe Into Alleged Deception. Collin Binkley reported on Grand Canyon University getting hit with a large fine for allegedly misleading potential students about program costs.
Refugees Came to Noel for Opportunity. Tyson’s Plant Closure Leaves Their Futures Uncertain. Clara Bates wrote about Myanmar refugees in a rural Missouri community again facing uncertainty.
This week: Randall Balmer on Saving Faith
Other noteworthy podcasts this week:
State of Belief played an interfaith briefing held on Capitol Hill about the need for people of faith to push back against book bans.
by Brian Kaylor, Word&Way Editor-in-Chief
King Charles III visited Kenya this week, his first trip to a former British colony since he ascended to the throne. Among the various places he visited during his four days in the African nation was a 16th century military fort. Its name? Fort Jesus.
Built by the Portuguese during a time of religious wars between European powers killing in the name of Jesus and Arab leaders who claimed Islam, it was repeatedly captured and recaptured over a couple hundred years of fighting. Later, the British took control of the area and converted the fort into a prison.
What a sad indictment of “Christian” quests for power. How many people died in battles for control of a fort named for the Prince of Peace? How many people suffered in a prison named for one who preached freedom for the captives? How many times was the name of Jesus uttered in despair or cursing by locals because of the violence, bigotry, and greed of those controlling the fort?
That’s what happens when Christians try to create a “Christian” empire or nation. It never actually acts very Christlike. Instead, it just turns out to be another bloody, greedy force with the name of Jesus tacked on. That’s what it means to take God’s name in vain.
Other News of Note
Anthea Butler wrote at MSNBC about the danger of politicians like Speaker Mike Johnson and New York City Mayor Eric Adams insisting they were put in power by God.
Jennifer Bendery of Huffington Post reported that Speaker Mike Johnson’s wife took down her counseling service’s website amid scrutiny after Johnson’s election (the site was previously included in a report from A Public Witness on the new speaker).
The public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention is advocating against proposed Equal Employment Opportunity Commission rules that would bar workplace discrimination against people who have had an abortion or are transgender.
“Jesus is no stranger to pain, arrest, torture, and death. He walks with us in our pain. God is under the rubble in Gaza. He is with the frightened and the refugees. He is in the operating room. This is our consolation. He walks with us through the valley of the shadow of death.” —Rev. Munther Isaac, a Lutheran pastor in Bethlehem, in a sermon published by Sojourners.
While U.S. evangelical leaders have voiced strong support for Israel’s military actions in Gaza, evangelicals from around the world are calling for an end to the war and a focus on creating a “just peace.”
Brian Kaylor wrote a reflection for the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America about a war-scarred mural of Jesus in Beirut, Lebanon.
Photo of the Week
Thanks for reading!