The FBI is investigating a string of fires that have occurred over the past week at primarily black churches in the South and so far at least three of them have been ruled an arson.
Less than one week after 21-year-old white suspect, Dylann Roof, allegedly opened fire and killed nine worshipers at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, churches in Tennessee, Georgia, South and North Carolina and Florida caught fire and investigators are trying to determine whether the blazes are connected.
"They're being investigated to determine who is responsible and what motives are behind them," FBI spokesperson Paul Bresson told BuzzFeed News. "I'm not sure there is any reason to link them together at this point." more >>
Six men who called senior pastor of Lakewood church, Joel Osteen, "a liar" during a bizarre outburst which scared several members into leaving a service at the Houston, Texas, megachurch prematurely on Sunday morning were removed from the church then slapped with charges of criminal trespassing.
Donald Iloff Jr., a senior executive with Joel Osteen Ministries, revealed in a statement to The Christian Post on Monday that the hecklers were all with The Church of Wells, a controversial group known for protesting Christian churches they disagree with and that they were quickly arrested by members of the church's security team, a number of whom are local law enforcement officers.
"We've learned that the protestors who disrupted one of our Sunday morning services were the leaders of a small controversial church in Nacogdoches, Texas, called The Church of Wells. This group is known for protesting many Christian churches with whom they don't agree. The six protestors were arrested by Houston police and are being charged with criminal trespass. Lakewood Church takes the disruption of our services seriously and plans to pursue criminal charges, as well as all other legal remedies against these individuals and The Church of Wells," said the statement. more >>
The Evangelical Fellowship of India has reported a violent attack against Christians in the country that was committed earlier this month when over 200 Hindu radicals stormed a Protestant church in the town of Attingal, Kerela, beating up the pastor and some of the worshipers, and breaking the altar.
EFI shared the news with Fides News Agency, reporting that the attack took place on June 14. The radicals apparently shouted slogans like "Bharat Mathaki Jai" ("Hail Mother India") during the attack, which was broken up after police arrived.
Christians in Attingal have since staged a protest march in the city, calling for harmony and religious freedom, while counter-demonstrators reportedly chanted anti-Christian slogans and threats. more >>
Homosexuality is one of the nine sins mentioned in 1 Corinthians with reference to the unrighteous who will not inherit the kingdom of God, but it is different from all the rest, writes an author on the desiringGod blog, explaining why this difference is even more pronounced today.
"At this moment in history, contrary to the other sins listed here, homosexuality is celebrated by our larger society with pioneering excitement. It's seen as a good thing, as the new hallmark of progress," writes Jonathan Parnell, the lead pastor of Cities Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
This sets homosexuality apart from the other sins mentioned in the passage: sexual immorality, idolatry, adultery, thievery, greed, drunkenness, revilement and swindling, Parnell writes in an article written months before the Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage but republished on the home page of the desiringGod ministry now due to its increased relevance. more >>
Texas pastor Voddie Baucham has appeared in a video produced by the desiringGod ministry, responding to the oft-repeated claim that "gay is the new black." He argues that some similarities between the two movements cannot undermine significant differences between ethnicity and sexual orientation.
Similarities exist because "there are some things that we accepted philosophically in the civil rights movement that were not based in biblical truth," which are being applied in the so-called gay rights movement the exact same way, says Baucham, pastor of preaching at Grace Family Baptist Church in Spring, Texas.
The video was posted on the desirigGod website the day after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution guarantees same-sex marriage across the country. President Barack Obama hailed it as "a victory for America." more >>
Islamic militants claiming to be representatives of terror group ISIS in Jerusalem have threatened to "cleanse" Israel of all Christians and "non-believers" unless they leave the country. The extremists are accusing Christians of encouraging Muslims to abandon their religion.
"Those who work with the Zionists also encourage Muslims to leave their religion and become more secular and open, and they spread evil," Arabic-language leaflets warns, according to The Jerusalem Post. "They take these Muslims away from us. ... We know where they are, but we need help to find them all — all those Christian collaborators."
The message continues: "ISIS soldiers will work to kill these people so this country is clean of them and ... will clean this country and the Muslim Quarter from these Christians during this holy Ramadan." more >>