February 27, 2009

Online Registration Begins for 2010 Baptist World Congress

Eron Henry, Associate Director of Communications
Neville Callam, General Secretary
Baptist World Alliance

February 26, 2009

The Baptist World Alliance is now receiving registrations online for the 20th Baptist World Congress in Honolulu , Hawaii , in 2010, via the Baptist World Congress website, www.bwacongress2010.org.

Every person attending the congress must register. Online registration closes June 30, 2010.

Participants such as choirs and dance groups may also apply to participate at the event.

The congress, the major international gathering of Baptists which is held every five years, is expected to have a projected 15,000 persons in attendance. It will be held July 28 to August 1 at the Hawaii Convention Center .

The congress theme, “Hear the Spirit,” will be explored in worship celebrations, Bible studies, workshop presentations, and through artistic expressions.

Congress attendees will be exposed to Hawaiian music, Hawaiian culture, and the relationship of the theme to “Aloha” – the common Hawaiian greeting that has multiple meanings.
The major sessions will incorporate the use of several languages, music from around the world, speakers representing various regions and continents, and imageries from various cultures.
Registration may also be done by regular mail by printing the registration form available on the congress website.

See: http://www.bwanet.org/default.aspx?pid=1019

February 20, 2009

Baptist Pastor Convicted in Azerbaijan

Eron Henry, Associate Director of Communications
Neville Callam, General Secretary
Baptist World Alliance

February 20, 2009

Washington , D.C. (BWA)--Hamid Shabanov, a Baptist pastor in the South Caucasus country of Azerbaijan , was found guilty of possessing an illegal weapon and was given “a two-year corrective labor sentence.”

Shabanov, who pastors a house church of approximately 60 members in the town of Aliabad , was arrested on June 20, 2008, after police claimed to have found an illegal weapon in his home after a raid.

Denying the allegations against Shabanov, and claiming that the weapon was planted by the police, Elnur Jabiyev, General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Azerbaijan (BUA), stated that the arrest “was a provocation by the police,” and that it was “a deliberately targeted action.” The BUA leader asserted that “the police’s aim is to halt Baptist activity and close the church in Aliabad.”

“I will continue to fight against this sentence and to clear my name,” Shabanov said after his conviction on February 11. The two-year corrective labor sentence is equivalent to eight months in prison, thus Shabanov, who has already spent more than seven months in detention or under house arrest, will not be locked up. He was ordered to pay a fine to cover the rest of the sentence, 27 days.

Azerbaijan authorities have been accused of committing serious procedural violations in their case against Shabanov. Family and townspeople in Aliabad insisted that the weapon that Shabanov allegedly possessed was planted by the police.

After his arrest, the trial against Shabanov began on July 22, 2008, but the case was referred back to the prosecutor by the judge on July 29 for further investigation. Another hearing was called on August 22 without the knowledge of Shabanov, his lawyer, or family. This hearing extended his detention by a further two months which ended on October 21.

The trial was scheduled to begin on October 28, but despite his lawyer travelling 450 kilometers (280 miles) from Baku , the capital of Azerbaijan , the trial did not begin as the police failed to take Shabanov from jail to the court.

In addition, neither the pastor’s family nor lawyer had received the indictment. “They haven’t even given us the case materials,” Shabanov’s lawyer said.

After another hearing on January 26, Shabanov’s trial began on February 4 and the verdict was handed down on February 11. In between his arrest in June 2008 and the trial in February, Shabanov spent 20 weeks in prison until November, after which he was placed under house arrest.

Shabanov is the second Baptist pastor in Aliabad to be convicted of a crime. Zaur Balaev was arrested in May 2007 and given a two year sentence after being convicted in August of that year for beating up five policemen and damaging a police car door. Members of Balaev’s church and residents in the town disputed the charges against Balaev, who was released in March 2008 after protests from the Baptist World Alliance (BWA), the European Baptist Federation (EBF), and former United States President Jimmy Carter.

The EBF, one of six regional fellowships of the BWA, led a delegation to Azerbaijan in January to meet with government, diplomatic, and religious leaders, partly in response to the cases against Balaev and Shabanov.

Azerbaijan , a Muslim-majority country, gained its independence after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. There are 22 Baptist churches and 3,000 baptized believers in the country of 8.7 million people.

See: http://www.bwanet.org/default.aspx?pid=1018

February 19, 2009

Believers are Always Changing

By Amanda Haines, a Vice President of the BWA Youth Department

Change is always occurring around us. There are drastic changes in the seasonal weather, changes in the economy, there are new political leaders, and monetary currency seems to continuously change. There are numerous changes in our everyday lives. Out of these numerous changes there are many that we cannot control. But even still there are things that we can change. We can change ourselves. We as believers in Christ are changing everyday. We are told to pick up our cross daily and follow Him. When we pick up our crosses, we are crucifying our flesh every day, and when we daily crucify our flesh, a change is taking place in us.

The word of God tells us in Romans 12:2, And be not conformed (which is also a word that means molded or changed) to this world but be transformed (another word that means change) by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is the good, and acceptable and perfect will of God.

We must be changed from the inside out. One of the vital stages of being changed on the inside is to change our mind and our thinking. We cannot change our minds alone. We need the Holy Spirit of God to help us change. As we decide to pick up our cross and follow Him and turn from the flesh-satisfying conformity of this world, the power of the Holy Spirit will transform us and renew our minds. This is how we will do the good the Lords asks of us on this earth. And because of this transformation we can rest assured that the good that is done on earth through us is within the acceptable and perfect will of God.

As believers of Christ, our heart’s desire is to be just like Him. Though we each begin far from Christ, this is an area we can change. As you continue to pick up your cross and follow the Savior you will experience God changing you into a great disciple used for his glory.

February 18, 2009

It’s Time – A Song for Lasting Peace

By Maurice Mondengo

It’s time
A way for lasting peace

It’s time, yes, it’s time
Let’s sow seeds of peace
In the hearts of the children
So that tomorrow when our children grow up
With or without us
They will live peacefully.

Let’s always speak of peace
Close to our children, let’s speak of peace
So that tomorrow when they grow up
Our children also will speak of peace.

Let’s always live peacefully
Close to our children, let’s live peacefully
So that tomorrow when they grow up
Our children will live in a peaceful world.

Let’s always avoid violence
Close to our children, let’s avoid any violence
So that tomorrow when they grow up
Our children will live in a world without any violence.
Little children often do imitate our acts
Tomorrow with or without us
They will repeat what we do in their presence
That’s why we should work for peace.

It’s time, yes, it’s time!
Let’s build a peaceful world
A world of freedom and responsibility
In the hearts of our children
It’s time, yes, more than ever.

Let’s work for the nonviolent way
Based on the spirit of justice
In the hearts of our children
It’s time, yes, more than ever.

If we feel a need of saving this broken world
Let’s now sow seeds of hope, joy, peace, justice and love
In the hearts of our children
And tomorrow, the world will be a better place to live.

February 17, 2009

A Simple Letter and the Power of Partnerships

By Koffi Soke Kpomgbe

“A cat in a bag or a basket cannot be haggled over,” says a proverb in my own home-town.

I was recently asked by a church in Missouri, United States, to carry a letter on their behalf to several villages in Togo where daily life and existence is far from easy. Together with Pastor Robert Adrackey of the Akepe Baptist Church, we were able to visit four Baptist congregations in four different villages. At each of the four locations the message was the same: sharing and reading this letter from a church in Missouri followed by a short prayer.

I lack the words to convey the joy and satisfaction that was expressed by these four churches. The simple fact to hear that friends on the other side of the ocean were thinking of us, praying for us and announcing an upcoming mission trip to our area, was enough to quench the thirst of these brothers and sisters in the rural villages.

To return to the above proverb. One would not purchase a cat in the market until it has been personally seen and touched. In other words, it is impossible to express the depth of meaning and encouragement that such partnerships mean in areas that are otherwise often isolated.

This joy stemmed from the reading of a simple letter.

And how can I read something if no one wrote down anything for them? And how can one write to another, unless you have the love of people in your heart? And how can you send missionaries, value partnerships or have a love of people in your heart, unless you understand the Great Commission and a common Lord and Savior who desires that all enter into a relationship with Him?

On behalf of all the villages that exist at the end of bumpy and dusty roads, thank you.

To the many who actively seek to build international community and pray for brothers and sisters around the world whom they may never even meet, thank you.

Even in the sharing of a simple letter; it is the power of partnership, a power that all of us can extend to one another. You may never know the joy you have brought and the strength you have increased.

Let us be people who actively practice the power of partnership.

** Click on the facebook link on the right for pictures from several churches in Togo.

February 16, 2009

Baptists in Australia Offer Bushfire Assistance

Eron Henry, Associate Director of Communications
Neville Callam, General Secretary
Baptist World Alliance

February 11, 2009

Baptists in Australia have established an emergency relief fund to aid persons affected by the worst natural disaster in the history of the southeastern state of Victoria.

Bushfires that started on February 7 have claimed more than 180 lives, with at least 80 persons missing, and have destroyed more than 900 homes. There are fears that the death toll will rise to more than 300.

Three closely related Baptist bodies, Baptcare, the Baptist Union of Victoria (BUV), and the Baptist Union of Australia (BUA), established an Emergency Bushfire Relief Fund with an initial grant of AUS$50,000.

The fund will be used primarily for food, clothing, accommodation, and personal needs, as well as for bereavement counselling.

In addition to the fund, Baptist churches in Victoria are being used as emergency shelters, and local congregations are offering pastoral care to victims of the fires, which have badly affected farms, forests, and wildlife. More than 1,200 square miles have been destroyed by the inferno.

“We’ve watched in horror this past weekend as news of the tragic bushfires in rural Victoria have taken their toll on lives and property,” said a release from the BUA. “As a network of nearly 1,000 churches the Baptist Union of Australia is calling Baptist churches across our nation to prayerfully consider their response to this disaster.”

“Please join us in praying for those in need, and for all those seeking to offer practical care and support,” the BUV requested in its release to Baptists in Victoria and elsewhere.

For the full release: http://www.bwanet.org/default.aspx?pid=1007

February 12, 2009

Peace on Earth, a Responsibility for All

Excerpts from a Sermon by Maurice Mondengo, a Baptist pastor from the DRC

In this morning’s sermon I would like to focus on Luke 2:14, a verse that highlights two essential truths.

The first is that we are called through worship to give “glory to God in the highest.” However, the worship that we can currently offer is but a series of rehearsals for that great coming day when after this life we join with the angels of the Lord and sing a new song in Heaven. It is only after this life that we can sing and praise the Lord in our white robe washed by the blood of the Lamb of God. This is our hope and joy. Giving “glory to God in the highest” is the expectation of that coming reality.

The second truth is that of “peace on earth,” a responsibility and privilege that is to be pursued in the here and now. Every man, woman, race, tribe, church, and nation in the world has been given the challenging work to keep, build and cultivate peace on earth. Keeping such peace requires that we focus on three areas:

First, peace on earth depends upon peace in our own mind. I know in our world today of physical sickness, economic tsunamis, and refugee and immigration displacement, it is often difficult for us to have peace. Jesus knows our weakness in this matter and how fear robs us of peace in our minds. That is why the Bible is full of the expressions we know well, “Fear not,” and, “Let peace be with you.”

Second, peace with others. We are challenged to keep or build peace with others every single day. We know that we live in a culture of injustice, a culture of war and violence, a culture of confusion, and a culture of saying, “It’s not my business.” However in Psalms 85:10 the Bible states, “Justice and peace have to embrace each other.” Christians are called to embrace justice and peace in our way of living, doing, praying and working in the world. I am not referring to a justice that protects only those who are rich and have power. I am not referring to a justice that would protect the weak and poor only because they are weak and poor. This is justice that is justice for all because it is right.

Third, peace on earth depends, finally, on the strength of our ability to keep or rebuild peace with God. While working for peace on earth, are we at peace with God? Peace of mind is a good thing. Peace with others is also good. But both are not enough. We need to have peace with God as well.

Glory to God in the highest, but peace on earth. Let peace be on earth.

February 10, 2009

Mission: Six Truths Relevant for Today

By Elijah Brown

I have been thinking lately about the meaning of mission in our contemporary setting. Mission is multidimensional in terms of theology and practice and incorporates various activities from evangelism, service in love, and engagement in societal transformation. Various Baptist groups have long argued that one model or another should function as the primary motif.

David Bosch, however, reminds us that mission is often more of a “mosaic” of complimentary diversity in which different models can function as a source of refinement and enrichment. Bosch identifies six “salvific events” that function both as underlying healthy theology and as representative model of holistic praxis.

First, is The Incarnation of Christ. God in his great love was incarnated within a particular setting and context. The Gospel was commissioned with a relevancy that while it was universal, was also highly particular. Mission is about embracing the reality of Jesus Christ and a principle of universal scope which must remain at the same time, relevant in its specificity.

Second, The Cross. While many often articulate a robust theology of the cross and rightly recognize its importance in terms of redemption and salvation, the cross also speaks to the importance of sacrifice and is a model of kenosis that is to be emulated.

Third and Fourth, The Resurrection and The Ascension. In the midst of death and destabilization, Christians are those who announce a gospel of life in the here and now. Though it has not been fully initiated, the reality of God’s kingdom is real and guided by eschatological principles, the basis on which we are to engage this world.

Fifth, Pentecost. The Spirit draws individuals to Christ while giving Christians the boldness to live courageously. At the same time “the Spirit may not be held hostage by the church, as if the sole task were to maintain it and protect it from the outside world” (517). The Spirit is continually and actively involved in culture and history throughout the world. Bosch – with some legitimacy – claims that we have now “entered into the era of the Spirit” (516). Should this be accurate, many Baptists who have traditionally been weaker in a full understanding of the Spirit, may have a particular need to reexamine this salvific event.

Sixth, The Parousia. The Kingdom of God has already begun, and is within the church already present. However it is not yet fully implemented and it is the knowledge that what we see today is but a darkened mirror of the life and freedom to come that provides us a vision of hope. The Kingdom of God is therefore challenge for today and the joy of what is to come.

Mission will remain diverse in the practical applications adopted by individuals, churches and conventions and unions. This diversity can be a source of strength when we ask ourselves: is my theology and practice built upon and modeled around a motif that embraces incarnation, the cross, the resurrection and ascension, Pentecost and the Spirit, and the parousia of the kingdom that already is and is yet to come?

**See David Bosch, Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission. Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1991, 511-519.

Learning to Share the Good News

By Koffi Soke Kpomgbe

From January 8-23, 2009, a 14-member team from the South Korean Campus Crusade for Christ participated in a mission trip to Togo. As I traveled with this team serving as their principal translator, we visited collegiate campuses in Kara and Lome. At both, the team hosted “A Korean Night” in which there were Togolese and Korean traditional dances, modern dances, acapella singing, drama sketches and Taekwondo demonstrations.

In Togo, many Christians actually view Taekwondo as a violent game with nothing of significant value. Many of the local pastors in the areas we visited gave severe criticism to the proposed agenda of cultural activities when they saw that Taekwondo would be on the agenda. However, the program proceeded as planned and I have never seen some of the collegiate guys as touched as what I witnessed during this presentation. There was zero violence in the Taekwondo performances and souls were saved.

We also visited a village in the Bassar region where many people gathered to participate in a program of dances and martial art performances. Again, this same strategy proved effective as the Korean team shared about Christ and many responded. Viewing this encounter, I had no other option except to respond by praising the Lord.

It makes me wonder: do we as Christians in our own social context look at those who have different practices and question whether they are worthy or truly part of the Kingdom?

As the harvest is great, let us ask the Master of the Field to teach us new and different strategies.

While we are part of one family each one of us can share Christ in our own unique way.

**Click on the Facebook link on the right for pictures.

February 5, 2009

Russian Orthodox Elect New Patriarch

On Sunday, February 1, Metropolitan Kirill was installed as the patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church following the death of Patriarch Alexy II who died this past December. The leadership of the Russian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists (RUECB) was invited to participate in the celebrations surrounding the enthronement of Patriarch Kirill.

According to William Yoder of the RUECB Department for External Relations, the election of Kirill on January 27 “can be interpreted as a clear vote for openness and dialogue. The Russian Orthodox Church - Moscow Patriarchate (ROC) has chosen as its new head the leader best-known – and most-criticised – for his openness to other confessions.”

In a statement released by the RUECB, Vitaly Vlasenko noted, “I am very optimistic. Kirill is the ROC’s most brilliant metropolitan. In our short personal meetings he has always been very kind and respectful. Most top-level Protestant contacts with the Moscow Patriarchate have occurred through him.”

The Associated Press also noted, “Kirill served for years as the church's external relations chief. He is seen as a modernizer more likely than his rivals to seek a measure of independence from the state and better relations with the Vatican.” (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090127/ap_on_re_eu/eu_russia_church_patriarch)

Although the RUECB is the largest unified Protestant Church in Russia, a membership of approximately 80,000 adult believers in a country of 142 million citizens underscores the reality that Baptist theology and ecclesiology remains a minority position within Russia.

February 4, 2009

Baptist delegation meets Azerbaijan leader

Eron Henry, Associate Director of Communications
Neville Callam, General Secretary
Baptist World Alliance

January 30, 2009

A delegation of Baptists met with the head of a government committee on religion in Azerbaijan in January.

The delegation, which included Tony Peck, Baptist World Alliance Regional Secretary for Europe, and Paul Montacute, Director of Baptist World Aid, was primarily concerned about recent human rights abuses and restrictions on religious liberty in the South Caucasus country, which gained its independence after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Also part of the Baptist delegation were Christer Daelander, religious freedom representative with the European Baptist Federation, one of six regional fellowships of the BWA, Parush Parushev, Academic Dean at the International Baptist Theological Seminary in Prague, Czech Republic, and Ebbe Holm, an attorney at law.

The group highlighted the situation in the town of Aliabad in the Zagatala region, where two Baptist pastors, Zaur Balaev and Hamid Shabanov, were arrested and imprisoned on what were regarded as trumped up charges. Balaev was released early from prison in March 2008, after being sentenced to two years in prison in August 2007. Shabanov’s case is still before the courts after his arrest on June 20 of last year. He is under house arrest.

In their meeting with Hidayat Orujov, chairman of the State Committee of Work with Religious Associations, the Baptists urged that there be an end in discrimination against Christians by the state, such as the practice of refusing or delaying the granting of birth certificates to the children of Christian parents, and the loss of jobs of Christians upon their conversion to the faith.

The delegation also brought concerns about the difficulties the Baptist union and its churches in Azerbaijan face in obtaining government registration. Even though the union and its churches have submitted all documents and met all requirements for registration, government officials have refused to complete the registration process.

The group, which visited Azerbaijan from January 12 and 16, also met with diplomatic representatives and leaders of other religious groups in the country, including the Norwegian ambassador, Jon Ramberg, and Declan Byrne, Political Secretary for the United Kingdom Embassy. Meetings were also held with leaders of the Jewish, Muslim, and Russian Orthodox Church communities.

Also participating in the meetings were Ilya Zenchenko, President of the Baptist Union of Azerbaijan, and Elnur Jabiyev, General Secretary. The delegation also met with Balaev and other pastors in the country.

There are 22 Baptist churches and 3,000 baptized believers in the country of 8.7 million people.

See: http://www.bwanet.org/default.aspx?pid=1003

Emerging Leader Profile – Azure Covington

By Azure Covington

Currently, I am serving as an associate minister in my home church, University Park Baptist Church, in Charlotte, North Carolina with a primary ministry focus on Christian education. However, I view my full time career as a high school teacher and educator as my principal ministry and will continue to primarily serve in this capacity until the Lord sees fit to have me leave there. As a high school educator, I believe God has given me the opportunity to not only teach course content, but to also display love, compassion, and understanding.

Being part of an emerging global Baptist family has helped me feel further connected to my Baptist heritage and develop a greater understanding of what we as Baptists are doing in our communities globally. While I may not always be in constant contact with my fellow Emerging Leaders, it is always a blessing to receive emails in which they share their thoughts and struggles. I feel as if I have friends all over the world who understand my struggles and will help me celebrate the blessings of God.

**Azure Covington is a member of the BWA Emerging Leaders Network and was recognized by the BWA as an emerging global leader in 2007.

February 3, 2009

Emerging Leader Helps Distribute Mosquito Nets in Togo and Benin

By Brickson Sam

At the end of 2008, the All Africa Baptist Youth Fellowship (AABYF) partnered with the Baptist Unions of Benin and Togo and a United States ministry called HisNets, to distribute 4,000 mosquito nets from December 22-30.

Targeting areas susceptible to the danger of malaria, 2,000 mosquito nets were distributed in both Benin and Togo to orphanages, clinics, hospitals and to rural villages and communities that would otherwise be unable to afford to purchase these nets.

According to the United Nations Foundation’s Nothing But Nets, “use of insecticide-treated bed nets can reduce transmission as much as 90% in areas with high coverage areas.” (http://www.nothingbutnets.net/nets-save-lives/)

Brickson Sam, President of the AABYF and a BWA Emerging Leader, supervised the distribution of the nets which received full support from the Baptist Unions of Benin and Togo and was sponsored by HisNets with a sum of $30,000.

Each of the distributions was preceded with a launching ceremony witnessed by government officials and religious and traditional leaders, as well as a short drama presentation conducted by youth on the benefits of protection from mosquito bites. The political and traditional leaders of the two countries expressed their profound thanks and considered the distribution of nets a blessing and an opportunity.

In recognition of the vital importance of mosquito nets, BWAid maintains an ongoing project to help in the distribution of mosquito nets, particularly in the western Congo where malaria is the primary cause of death for children ages 0 – 5 and in pregnant women. Fifty to 80% of the cases received in emergency pediatric rooms in hospitals are due to malaria.

AABYF hopes to continue to work in additional distributions of these important, life-saving nets which can often be purchased for as little as $10 a piece.

For more on HisNets: http://www.hisnets.org

February 2, 2009

International Year of Human Rights Learning

By Elijah Brown

In recognition of the commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), the United Nations designated 2009 as the International Year of Human Rights Learning.

The Universal Declaration enshrines a number of critical human rights ranging from the right to work and own property, the freedom for peaceful assembly and association, and the right of everyone to freedom of religion. (Article 18, full text: http://www.unhchr.ch/udhr/lang/eng.htm)

Freedom of religion, however, is more than an individual right to choice. It is also the recognition that religions, churches and faith-based organizations have an equally implied responsibility to contribute to the goals of peace, justice and friendship.

In God and the Constitution, Paul Marshall identifies two important Biblical rationales for the religious advancement of political human rights. The first stems from God’s first command, Genesis 1:28, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.” Marshall notes, “Human beings are also part of creation. Stewardship [therefore] includes human life as well as the rest of nature.” (32)

In the reestablishment of the social order following the story of Noah, this stewardship in relation to human life is extended: “Whoever sheds the blood of man by man shall his blood be shed.” (Genesis 9:6) While this text is often used in relation to capital punishment, it is important to “emphasize not what the penalty was, but who was supposed to apply the penalty… Human beings were charged with the responsibility for dealing with injustice themselves.” (44)

Although this is but a thumbnail generalization, much of the Old Testament unfolds meanings of justice and exhorts individuals to take an active role in furthering justice and just human rights at every level of society as part of their theological witness and Biblical mandate.

By the time of the New Testament, complex governments had crystallized with very real social implications. In this context, Christians are exerted to view governments as institutions entrusted with specific and needed tasks. However there is a subtle reminder that “government is under God’s just order and must give and receive only its due. It cannot claim everything; it is not the final authority.” (52)

In a context that demanded emperor worship and witnessed political claims of authority over every societal component, the recognition that worship and justice is standardized and centered in God implies that there are proper limits to the claims, authority and actions of governments. Christians are to respect and comply with the legitimate claims of government while actively working to ensure that the governments themselves embody and pursue a stewardship of justice.

As part of our Biblical mandate of stewardship we have been tasked with the responsibility of pursuing justice. It is a sacred and central component to Christian worship and is to be furthered at individual, communal and governmental levels.

In this 2009 “International Year of Human Rights Learning,” it is my hope that churches and individual Christians alike will play a more active role in this component of our worship.

Of course the above is but a limited sketch of several Biblical references related to the issue of human rights and political justice. There is much more, and I hope that this is but a starting point for an active conversation.

What are some of your favorite Biblical verses about justice?
Would you post some additional Biblical reflections about the nature of human rights?
Would you share how you have been involved in this area?

And most importantly, will you encourage the pursuit of justice?

**Paul Marshall, God and the Constitution: Christianity and American Politics, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2002.