01: Track One is a new kind of denomination that’s designed by marketers and slated to go out of business in about 20 years.
Track One is an evangelical movement aimed at baby boomers and younger generations offering contemporary worship and comprising about 100 churches around the U.S. Because many studies have found that religious movements rarely keep up their “peak performance” beyond 15 or 20 years, the denomination will cease to exist after that time, according to its leader Rev. Doug Murren, who with Rev. Steve Sjogren, started the church body last spring (with the encouragement of pollster George Barna).
Most members are independent churches on the East Coast and hold their services in rented bars or basements. Congregations in the loosely-based denomination have no common theology and meet around tables, in close-knit circles. If congregants have a question about the sermon, they interrupt and ask.
(Source: Seattle Times, Oct. 28).
02: The growth of Freedom in Christ Ministries shows how such once-“underground” practices as spiritual deliverance and warfare have become popularized among evangelicals. Freedom in Christ is the brainchild of Neil T. Anderson, an evangelical teacher who holds that Christians can be possessed and oppressed by demons and that believers can attain sanctification through personal and disciplined warfare with such forces.
The ministry is rapidly growing in mainstream evangelical circles, such as Campus Crusade for Christ and the Conservative Baptist Association, and through conferences in charismatic and evangelical congregations throughout North and South America, Europe and Asia. The movement is attracting criticism by evangelical counter-cult groups, particularly for its teachings on the presence of demons in everyday life and locations (such as living spaces), and that Satanic ritual abuse and multiple personality disorder are part of a satanic conspiracy.
(Source: Christian Research Journal, July-September)
03: The International Society for Islamic Secularization is among the first secular groups challenging Islam from within the Muslim world.
The society will promote human rights and secularism, present critiques of Islamic teachings, and unite skeptics of Islam. Among the leaders of the new organization are Arab philosopher Marvin Zeyed, and feminist writer Taslima Nasrin (who is under a death sentence in her native Bangladesh). The group has a web site (www.secularislam.org) and is also launching a journal called Separation of Mosque and State. The group has ties to secular humanist groups in the West.
(Source: Free Inquiry, Fall)