A group of evangelical pastors and leaders plan to serve as an advisory council to the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention as part of the organization's Leadership Network, officials announced Wednesday.
"The ERLC Leadership Network is about ministering in the midst of a devil-haunted universe," ERLC President Russell D. Moore said. "As we come alongside one another, we'll talk about crucial ethical issues confronting churches and how we can engage the culture with a Gospel-focus. We'll think through issues that aren't yet confronting churches, but will, and how we can best go through the difficulties of life and local church ministry with a joyful warrior kingdom expectancy-marching toward Zion on the triumphant side of history."
The ERLC Leadership Network is a movement of men and women - leaders, pastors and lay people - who desire to join the ERLC's efforts to apply the Gospel of the kingdom to the major cultural issues of our day, states the group. more >>
WASHINGTON – Nine out of the ten countries ranked the most oppressive for Christians to live in were due to Islamic extremism, according to Open Doors' annual World Watch List, which was released Wednesday.
With the exception of North Korea – ranked No. 1 for the 12th year in a row – every other country on the top 10 list had as its source of persecution, Islamic extremism. North Korea's persecution of Christians was due to communist oppression and dictatorial paranoia, explained Open Doors in its 2014 World Watch List. According to the report, the countries with the most extreme persecution besides North Korea are: Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Maldives, Pakistan, Iran, and Yemen, respectively.
Open Doors announced the rankings for its 2014 World Watch List, which documented the 50 nations least tolerant of their Christian population, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The Christian persecution watchdog group's methodology involved measuring the level of Christian freedom found in five spheres of life: private, family, community, national, and church. A sixth sphere regarding degree of violence also factors in to the rankings. more >>
A Pastafarian elected to a New York town board, who may be the first of his sect to become a public official, wore a strainer while being sworn in last Thursday.
Christopher Schaeffer was sworn in to a position on the Pomfret Town Board on Jan. 2, wearing the cooking item while raising his right hand for the ceremony.
Schaeffer explained to local media that he wore the strainer in the name of "religious freedom" and in solidarity with likeminded individuals in Russia, reported Greg Fox of the Dunkirk Observer. more >>
Dr. Joe Hellerman has just released his new book Embracing Shared Ministry: Power and Status in the Early Church and Why it Matters Today. His doctoral research dealt with the social history of the early Christians, and he has authored five books. In addition to a full time schedule teaching at Biola University's Talbot School of Theology, he's a team pastor at Oceanside Christian Fellowship in El Segundo, California. I recently caught up with Joe to ask him about how the early church dealt with issues like power and status and what it can teach Church leaders today.
Q: Your new book is Embracing Shared Ministry: Power and Status in the Early Church and Why it Matters Today. As the title describes, it's about power and status in the early Church. Why is that important for church leaders today?
Joe Hellerman: It is "social given" among human beings that "wherever two or more are gathered," leaders will emerge who will exercise power and authority over others in the groups they lead. This is true in every culture, in just about any social setting, including the church. God created us this way, and he made provisions for this very phenomenon in the Bible, by establishing church offices, along with necessary qualifications and character qualities for church leaders. Since the use (and abuse) of power tends to manifest itself somewhat differently at different times and places, it is important regularly to return to the Bible's teaching on the proper use of power and authority in order to evaluate current tendencies and practices. more >>
A Roman Catholic congregation in a small Oregon town has erected a pro-life display featuring over 500 white crosses. Parishioners from St. Francis Catholic Church of Sherwood and a local chapter of the Knights of Columbus built the display last weekend.
Fr. Ysrael C. Bien, parish priest for St. Francis Catholic, told The Christian Post that the display was meant "to promote life issues outside the confines of our parish community." Bien presided over "a simple blessing" Sunday in honor of the display, which was meant to be in remembrance of the "millions of babies" aborted since 1973.
"When a knight saw similar memorial white crosses erected in California, he got the idea and brought it to the council and myself for approval," said Bien. "The parish Respect Life committee also got involved and before you know it, parishioners, including our youth ministry members, began painting the crosses." more >>
As much of the East and South endure extremely cold, life-threatening temperatures on Tuesday, churches across the region are offering much-needed shelter and rest for stranded passengers and those without a place to stay.
The Weather Prediction Center on Tuesday announced that "dangerously cold arctic air" has overtaken the eastern two thirds of the nation, with wind chill and hard freeze warnings in effect for much of the Deep South, and temperatures reaching to as low as -20F and even -50F in some places.