Zhang Shaojie, a prominent church leader from central China, has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for gathering crowds to "disturb public order." A U.S. campaign group has said that the decision constitutes religious persecution and the Chinese government's attempt to hold back the growth of Christianity.
"This case shows the Chinese government continues to cover up religious persecution with fabricated criminal charges against an innocent church leader," said Bob Fu, the head of China Aid, according to The Telegraph.
Liu Weiguo, a rights lawyer who has worked with the pastor in the past, said that he was shocked at the severity of the sentence. more >>
Hillsong Church's global success and notoriety is due to lead pastors Brian and Bobby Houston maintaining their focus on God as their shepherd throughout their nearly 30 years in ministry, says Hillsong New York City pastor Carl Lentz.
During the megachurch's annual conference in Sydney, Australia, Wednesday night, Lentz delivered a message about the church's humble beginnings and the importance of remaining close to God through life's highs and lows.
"The story of Hillsong Church has never been about chasing a movie, or chasing the spotlight, it's always been about chasing the Shepherd! Sometimes when you don't know the journey, people can look at certain moments and say that they want that but they don't understand that our pastors, all they've done their whole lives is chase the shepherd," said Lentz. more >>
Six thousand attendees showed up dressed in white to a service at Faith Community Baptist Church on Sunday "to make a stand for God's intended marriage and family."
The "Wear White" campaign event came one day after the sixth annual Pink Dot, an event which celebrates LGBT individuals and calls for an end to discrimination, attracted 26,000 individuals, reported Channel News Asia and Singapore Yahoo!.
FCBC Senior Pastor Lawrence Khong called upon those in attendance to "preserve purity in the home," and said that while he had relationships with members of the LGBT community, he believed that the church could not bend on its definition of marriage as between a man and a woman. more >>
North Korea has said it will put on trial two American tourists charged with "perpetrating hostile acts" against the country. One of the tourists was detained for leaving a Bible behind in his hotel room.
"The significance of these arrests and trials cannot be overstated: North Korea is choosing to publicly blame Christian missionaries for its human rights problems and internal difficulties," Seoul USA CEO Pastor Eric Foley told The Christian Post in an email on Monday.
"There are important lessons to be learned from the arrests by Christians seeking to reach North Korea in the future. Now is not the time to comment on the strategies of those being detained. But what we can conclude with certainty is that there is no 'back door' into North Korea – no strategy for sharing the gospel there that does not involve paying the highest of personal prices. This is what North Korean underground Christians have known and practiced for years." more >>
China has charged four people in connection with the March terror attack at a train station in Kunming where 29 people were killed and 140 injured in a brutal stabbing attack.
The Xinhua state media station reported Monday that the four suspects had been charged with leading the March 1 terror attack in the public train station. "The Kunming Municipal People's Procuratorate found that the suspects were involved in organizing, leading or taking part in the terrorist attack as well as intentional homicide," the news agency reported, citing the prosecutor in the case.
"The crimes of the four defendants are clear and the evidence is abundant," the prosecutor added. more >>
South Korea has urged North Korea to release the Baptist missionary Kim Jung-wook, who was sentenced last month to hard labor for life on charges of spying and trying to set up underground churches.
South Korea has denied that Jung-wook is its spy and said that his punishment is too harsh, according to Mission News Network, which also reported that the North has ignored the South's pleas to free the missionary.
Kim allegedly admitted to committing anti-North Korean religious acts and "malignantly hurting the dignity" of the country's supreme leadership, or the ruling Kim family (no relations). more >>