The Islamic State has been selling artifacts from churches and other cultural centers in the nation of Iraq to fund their organization, says a British publication.
ISIS is taking antiquities, including those worth millions of dollars, from the Middle Eastern country and selling them to prospective Western buyers, according to Oliver Moody of The Times.
"Willy Bruggeman, a former deputy director of Europol who is now president of the Belgian federal police council, said that some of the artefacts had almost certainly been sold illegally to buyers in the UK, although none had yet been traced to Britain," reported Moody on Wednesday. more >>
New Jersey-based Liquid Church announced this week its plan to equip churchgoers to participate in a "spiritual flash mob" on Christmas Eve.
"Thousands will be commissioned to put their faith into action with a special twist on the crowd-favorite that infuses a Biblical approach," organizers stated while listing the schedule for 12 Christmas Eve services at all four of its locations.
"We're excited to see what happens as thousands of unsuspecting people meet our 'conspiracy of kindness' face-to-face and receive the love coming their way this Christmas," lead pastor Tim Lucas said. "Especially on a night like Christmas Eve, when others might not take notice of their circumstances, we want them to know that they really do matter to God." more >>
Evangelical pastors and leaders agreed during a panel discussion livestreamed on Tuesday from the historic Lorraine Motel and National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis about the need for the church in America to be more centered on the Gospel and not be swayed by the media when it comes to racially charged issues currently confronting the nation. Meanwhile the leader of a multi-ethnic church plant movement watching the conference said that it's long past time for only dialogue about race within the local church, and it's time to see results.
"The increased frequency of racially painful, polarizing, dialogue in our society is today forcing the American Church, and more specifically Evangelicals from a much broader base of denominations and networks than ever before, to address their own systemic segregation," said Pastor Mark DeYmaz, who is executive director of the multiethnic church movement Mosaix Global Network and who watched the livestream of the event, to The Christian Post. "And this we must do in order to present a credible witness of God's love for all people in an increasingly diverse and cynical society.
"That said, as I'm sure organizers of this event will agree, many believe it is long past time to speak about race within the local church." more >>
The Rev. Franklin Graham says Christians should never deny Jesus Christ in order to spare their lives from slaughter by terrorists, such as ISIS, and further asserts that doing so would be a betrayal against martyrs who stood strong for their faith, despite persecution.
"Christians have been martyred going all the way back to the Romans when they fed them to the lions. We would be betraying every person who stood for their faith, who stood for Jesus Christ, if we turn our back on Jesus Christ. … I think we take a stand for our faith," Graham said on Fox News' "The Kelly File" when host Megyn Kelly asked if Christians should lie in order to save their lives when confronted with death at the hands of Islamic terrorists.
Noting that Christians who live in countries where they're the religious minority are the most persecuted people in the world, Kelly commented on a story about four Iraqi Christian children who were beheaded by ISIS militants after they refused to convert to Islam, a story reported by The Christian Post earlier this month. more >>
A Roman Catholic Church in Cardoba, Spain, which used to be a mosque, is facing a complaint from the regional government for attempting to distance itself from its Islamic past. Church officials have denied the accusations, however, and said that the Cordoba Cathedral continues to attract major tourist attention every year.
According to The Associated Press, Tourism Chief Rafael Rodriguez said church officials have been attempting to erase the cathedral's Islamic past on its website and on brochures, claiming that the move could hurt tourism to the area.
Denying the accusations, church officials noted that tourism to the region is growing, reaching over 1 million on an annual basis. more >>
A 24-year-old man suspected of setting fire to a Roswell, New Mexico, church was arrested this week and was naked when police picked him up.
Epiphany Byzantine Catholic Church located on Old Alabama Road burned down around 2 a.m. on Sunday. The suspect, Juan Carlos Ramirez, was naked and arrested nearby for disorderly conduct. He had been charged with arson as a result of a police investigation and a subsequent confession, according to a WSBTV report.