The Oregon Faith Report - Faith News from Oregon


OSU debate: Did Jesus Really Claim to be God?

September 29, 2014 --

By Oregon State University Socratic Club

Please put on your calendar our first debate of the year, “Did Jesus Really Claim to be God?” scheduled in Milam Auditorium, Wednesday, October 15, at 7 p.m.  The speakers are Craig Blomberg and Carl Stecher.  Craig Blomberg is Distinguished Professor of New Testament at Denver Seminary.  He holds a PhD in New Testament from Aberdeen University in Scotland.  He is the author of 20 books, including “The Historical Reliability of the Gospels.”  Carl Stecher is Professor Emeritus of Literature at Salem State University.  He earned his PhD from the University of Connecticut.  He is the co-author of “God Questions.”  Both speakers debated one another last year and we are looking forward to having them back.  I hope to see you there.

Some of you might be interested in a new course that I am offering for the first time this fall quarter.  It is Hst 399,

“Early Christianity to A.D. 600.”  The course deals with the origins and Jewish background of Christianity in Palestine, the ministry and teachings of Jesus, the spread of Christianity throughout the Roman Empire, the formation of the New Testament canon, the controversies over doctrine and heresy, and the origins of monasticism and the Papacy.  For more information, feel free to email me at 541.752-7224.
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Should judge recuse herself for being Catholic?

September 26, 2014 --


By Catholic League for Religious & Civil Rights

Bill Donohue comments on an attempt to force a Catholic judge to recuse herself from a case because she is Catholic:

Kathleen Oropeza is the president of Fund Education Now, a Florida activist group that is anti-school voucher, anti-charter schools, anti-testing, and pro-union. Her outfit has filed a lawsuit contending that the state constitution mandates “high quality” public education, and that funds distributed to other schools deprive public schools of the monies they need to succeed. The state circuit judge handling this case is Angela C. Dempsey, a Catholic. Oropeza wants Dempsey to recuse herself because of her alleged bias.

Oropeza’s claims are not only without merit—they smack of bigotry. Dempsey is being accused of supporting Catholic Charities, speaking at Catholic schools, and contributing to Catholic causes. Oropeza did not say whether Dempsey blesses herself with holy water while exiting church on Sunday (that would have been the real clincher).

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Top atheist’s remark on Down Syndrome stirs debate

September 24, 2014 --

By Paul Louis Metzger

Multnomah University Professor
New Wine Skins Ministry

People often wrongly connect Darwin’s doctrine of the survival of the biological fittest, including reproduction, with superiority in other spheres, such as morality, intellect, aesthetics, and spirituality. If anything, the moral to Darwin’s ethical stance is that people should have big families, wherein the children reach adulthood. What is termed Social Darwinism should probably be labeled Social Spencerism, following Herbert Spencer’s social philosophy. Darwin did not fully accept Social Darwinism or “eugenics,” which was coined by Darwin’s cousin, Francis Galton (See the essay on Darwinism in Leslie Stevenson, David L. Haberman and Peter Matthews Wright, Twelve Theories of Human Nature, sixth edition, 2013, pp. 251-252, 254-255, 257-258).

Further to the preceding statement about misunderstandings over Darwin, people often wrongly connect Richard Dawkins’ infamous Twitter statement about his preference for aborting a Down syndrome carrying fetus with eugenics (Dawkins’ tweet was in response to a woman pondering via Twitter what should be done if she were carrying such a fetus). Dawkins challenged the presumed connection to eugenics in this statement:

Those who thought I was advocating a eugenic policy and who therefore compared me to Hitler. That never entered my head, nor should it have. Down syndrome has almost zero heritability. That means that, although it is a congenital condition – a chromosomal abnormality that babies are born with – there is very little tendency for susceptibility to trisomy to be inherited genetically. If you were eugenically inclined, you’d be wasting your time screening for Down syndrome. You’d screen for genuinely heritable conditions where your screening would make a difference to future generations.

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Willamette & George Fox debate America’s faith

September 22, 2014 --

By George Fox University

George Fox, Willamette professors debate topic, ‘Did America Have a Christian Founding?’

Mark David Hall and Kevin K. Green will discuss subject on successive Thursday nights in September

George Fox University and Willamette University are co-hosting a two-night debate on the topic “Did America Have a Christian Founding” on successive Thursday evenings in September. The public is invited to both events at no charge.

The debate will feature Mark David Hall, the Herbert Hoover Distinguished Professor of Politics at George Fox, and Steven K. Green, a professor in Willamette University’s School of Law.

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25 Congress members decry Navy Bible rule

September 19, 2014 --

Forbes Leads Members in Urging Navy to Keep Bibles in Lodging Facilities

Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04) helped put together 25 Members of Congress in a bipartisan letter to the Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, urging that donated religious materials remain in the guest rooms at Navy Lodge facilities. Last week, it came to light that the Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM) had issued a memo for the removal of Bibles currently in Navy Lodge guest rooms after NEXCOM received a complaint. After significant pushback, however, the Navy announced that the decision was being reconsidered.

The letter acknowledges the Navy’s announcement that the Bibles will be replaced, pending review, and requests confirmation that the Bibles have in fact been replaced. The Members note, “The mere presence of a Bible or other religious text–texts which are typically placed out of sight in a nightstand drawer–coerces no one. The Establishment Clause does not require that you remove the Bibles from the guest rooms.”

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Faith & sports not always best friends

September 17, 2014 --

By Tom Krattenmaker

 Award-winning Portland-based writer
Recent book: The Evangelicals you Don’t Know
– Article Also featured on..

Soccer fans around the world were glued to the World Cup, and among the takeaways for American viewers is the reality that ours is not the only country where faith and sports form a potent pair. Host nation Brazil pulses with Christian fervor and is undergoing a dramatic shift from its historic Catholicism to highly visible forms of evangelical belief — often seen in the country’s soccer superstars and fans.

The outsized passions at the World Cup also frame the need for a truth often lost in the excitement: Sports and faith invariably blend, but they conflict, too, often at the expense of the latter. Sports-loving Christians, beware.

Just in time for the pinnacle of world soccer mania, a team of Christian scholars, pastors and coaches has prepared a new “Declaration on Sport and the Christian Life.” It extols the benefit of athletics and commends their “rightful place in Christian living.” But it calls on Christians not to ditch the values of Jesus in the rush to go all in on sports.

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Celebrity pastors face troubled times

September 16, 2014 --

By Tom Krattenmaker

 Award-winning Portland-based writer
Recent book: The Evangelicals you Don’t Know
– Article Also featured on..

It’s not easy being a celebrity pastor these days with that pesky Internet around.

Consider the struggles of Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle. Faced with mounting accusations circulating online — plagiarism, misusing church funds to prop book sales, silencing anyone in his church with the temerity to question him — Driscoll has urged his followers to stay off the Web. “It’s all shenanigans anyway,” he explains.

Steven Furtick, a megachurch pastor in North Carolina, and Dave Ramsey, an evangelical finance guru, have been taking hits, too, as have the wheeler-dealers on the Preachers of L.A. reality show. This, against a backdrop of culture shifts creating strong headwinds against the leader-and-follower model typified by today’s Christian superstars.

What are a megapastor and his followers to do? Remembering the biblical admonitions against idolatry would be a good start.

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C.S. Lewis expert — free Oregon lectures

September 15, 2014 --

By George Fox University

C.S. Lewis expert, Notre Dame history professor present free lectures at George Fox University

Author Michael Ward, director of the C.S. Lewis Centre in Oxford, England, and Mark A. Noll, the Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History at Notre Dame, visit in September

George Fox University invites the public to a pair of free lectures this month featuring Michael Ward, regarded as an expert on the works of C.S. Lewis, and Mark A. Noll, the Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame.

Noll will present “The Challenges for Christian Learning: Looking Back, Looking Ahead” at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 22, in Wood-Mar Auditorium on the university’s Newberg, Ore., campus. Later that week, Ward will speak on “The Heavens are Telling the Glory of God: C.S. Lewis, Narnia and the Planets” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 26, in Bauman Auditorium.

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World ‘Shroud of Turin” experts gather in America

September 12, 2014 --

shrdtrnBy Resurrection of the Shroud Foundation,

International experts on the controversial Shroud of Turin will gather in St. Louis in October to present and discuss the latest discoveries on the burial cloth purported to be the burial shroud of Jesus Christ. The International Conference, called Shroud of Turin: The Controversial Intersection of Faith and Science, will be held October 9-12 at the Drury Plaza Hotel in Chesterfield. This will be the first Shroud Conference held in the United States since 2008.

More than 30 Shroud experts from around the world will be presenting information on the latest discoveries about the Shroud. The experts, or sindonologists, represent such diverse fields as archeology, physics, iconography and theology. Conference chair and sindonologist Joe Marino says, “I’m particularly excited that we have many new presenters since the last USA Conference in 2008.”

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Crackdown hits 9 Oregon medical pot shops

September 10, 2014 --

Faith News Note:

The Oregon Health Authority has targeted nine Oregon medical marijuana dispensaries with cease and desist letters or face criminal prosecution. Watch the KPTV-FOX 12 news clip below.


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