Now that Christianity is strange to the larger American culture, Christians have an opportunity to reclaim the freakishness of the Gospel message, Russell Moore writes in his new book, Onward: Engaging the Culture Without Losing the Gospel.
"As American culture changes, the scandal of Christianity is increasingly right up front, exactly where it was in the first century. The shaking of American culture will get us back to the question Jesus asked his disciples at Caesarea Philippi: 'Who do you say that I am?' As the Bible Belt recedes, those left standing up for Jesus will be those who, like Simon Peter of old, know how to answer that question.
Once Christianity is no longer seen as part and parcel of patriotism, the church must offer more than 'What would Jesus do?' moralism and the 'I vote values' populism to which we've grown accustomed. Good," wrote Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, in Chapter two. more >>
International pop star Katy Perry is at the center of a legal battle between a Los Angeles Archbishop, who's trying to sell a Catholic convent, and two nuns who've decided to sell their former home to a buyer whose bid is $1 million higher than Perry's offer.
Perry, the entertainer who was named No. 3 on Forbes' recent list of the highest paid celebrities in the world, said she's prepared to pay Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez $14.5 million for the former Catholic convent in the the Los Feliz neighborhood of downtown Los Angeles that she wants to turn into her home, according to The Los Angeles Times. Perry's plans, however, are being thwarted by the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, who believe the convent is theirs to sell and already struck a $15.5 million deal with restaurateur Dana Hollister.
While 52 Immaculate Heart sisters once lived on the property that Perry has reportedly been eyeing for three years, Sister Catherine Rose told the Times that many were moved out of the property "against their will" in 2011. The nuns said they gathered their money collectively to purchase the property at a discounted rate from a benefactor decades ago and worry that if the diocese completes the sale with Perry, the sisters will not see any of the money which is needed to cover their living expenses. more >>
A fire that broke out in South Carolina on Tuesday at a historic black church once destroyed by the Klu Klux Klan, was not intentionally lit, according to a report.
Twenty years after two members of the KKK torched Greeleyville's Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church, the community again watched it burn in flames on Tuesday evening although federal law enforcement officials reportedly said that a preliminary investigation has ruled out arson. Investigators are trying to determine whether lightning may have caused the fire.
"You feel sorry, it's devastating to put the church and the community back through the same thing. Even though it was 20 years ago, it seems like it was just yesterday," Mayor Jesse Parker of Greeleyville told CNN. "We stood out here last night, the church folks, the pastor and we had a prayer vigil as the church burned … This is a Christian community, our churches are cornerstones of our community so I'm quite sure the church will rebuild." more >>
Joel Osteen, the popular 52-year-old leader of America's largest protestant church, Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, bluntly revealed that the reason why he avoids speaking out on hot button social and political issues, such as same-sex marriage, is because he believes that's not what he's called to do as a pastor.
In a recent interview on WBUR's "Here & Now" radio program Osteen, who was asked if he felt these hot button social and political issues are important, said: "I think they are important but I think everybody has their own calling."
He further explained that "It's not what I'm called to do." more >>
Christians should have some concerns about Friday's U.S. Supreme Court decision redefining marriage to include same-sex couples. Some reactions, however, have been overblown. Here is what Christians should, and should not, be concerned about.
First the bad news.
(For simplicity, "Christian" in this article will refer to conservative Christians, or Christians who maintain a biblical understanding of sex and marriage. As a general rule, Christians who follow the culture on those matters have fewer concerns about how the culture will treat them.) more >>
A young Nigerian businessman who reportedly got possessed by a "homosexual demon" after going swimming with a group of men in Nairobi, Kenya, is seen on video being delivered from the "evil spirit" in a powerful swoop at The Synagogue Church of All Nations led by popular African preacher, T.B. Joshua.
The video, which was posted to YouTube in May, shows the young man, identified as Tedus, being confronted by a preacher called Wise Man Christopher who apparently forced the demon to manifest itself.
"You cannot hide," Christopher said in what was understood to be a conversation with the demon living inside the man. more >>