The Communist Party of China has intensified its ongoing crackdown of Christianity and other faiths with the publication of new rules and regulations that tighten the government's grip on underground churches, persecution watchdog groups have said.
China Aid, which reports on religious freedom issues in China, said late last week that the new restrictions are aimed at dispersing Christian house churches and silencing Tibetan and Xinjiang separatists.
The Revised Draft of Regulations on Religious Affairs is expected to formally come into effect early in October, and includes prohibitions on "organizing citizens to attend religious training, conferences and activities abroad," "preaching, organizing religious activities, and establishing religious institutions or religious sites at schools," and "providing religious services through the internet." more >>
Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia, has committed $1 million in donations to the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., which opened Saturday with a dedication ceremony presided over by President Barack Obama, former President George W. Bush and others.
The largely African-American church was approached by the Smithsonian Institution and some members of the church who are in the development team and told that "the museum was seeking contributions and looking for faith-based organizations to lead the way and be a founding donor," the Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley, the church's senior pastor, told CBS News.
"I spoke to the leadership about it, prayed about it, and believed that was the right thing to do, went to the membership, and with unanimous approval, they said they wanted to be part of it, and that they support the church launching out to be the first, and turned out to be the only faith-based institution giving a million dollars," Wesley added. more >>
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Saturday expressed hope that a new national museum showcasing the triumphs and tragedies of the African American experience will help to bring people together as the nation reels from recent racial upheaval.
Speaking at a dedication ceremony for the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Obama said that the story of black America is the story of America.
"This national museum helps to tell a richer and fuller story of who we are," said Obama. more >>
I've had enough.
I've heard the lies too many times. It's time for them to end.
The lies are about pastors and staff. They are false statements that seem to have some traction. They are diminishing the respect of pastors. And, for the most part, they are undeserved. more >>
A few years back, I listened in astonishment as some prominent emerging leaders talked about replacing "preaching" with "having a conversation."
At first, I thought that they might be confusing individual conversations with how we should speak to the masses, but I was wrong. They felt that we should stop "preaching" from the pulpit and start being more passive and less confrontational.
Never mind the fact that Jesus said, "I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent" (Luke 4:43). more >>
The Episcopal Church continued its long trend of decline in 2015, with recently released statistics showing the Mainline denomination losing more than 37,000 members last year.
In statistics released earlier this week by the Episcopal Church Office of Research, in 2015 the Church had approximately 1.77 million members in its domestic dioceses, down from about 1.81 million members in 2014.
2015's membership numbers contrast strongly with the Episcopal Church's membership count 10 years earlier, which stood around 2.2 million members. This represents a decline of nearly 20 percent over the past decade. more >>