A baptism manual produced by Pastor Steven Furtick's popular Elevation Church in North Carolina, which teaches people how to produce "spontaneous" baptisms among the repentant, is being criticized as "emotional manipulation."
The manual, Spontaneous Baptism How-To Guide, was produced by Elevation Church in 2011 and received its first critique in November from James Duncan, a Christian blogger and associate professor of communication at Anderson University who lives in South Carolina.
"As a church we pray Sun Stand Still prayers all the time. We are constantly asking God to do something that seems impossible and then believing that He is going to pull through," explains the introduction to the guide. more >>
A new economic report on India revealed a lower poverty rate in the world's second most populous country. At the same time, more than half of the population still cannot meet their basic needs. With that, the Roman Catholic Church in India echoed Pope Francis' call to devote itself to serving the poor and those marginalized by society.
"The Catholic community intends to improve its services to education, making schools and other educational institutions closer to the poor. It also aims to combat the culture of well-being, which leads to 'globalization of indifference,' as Pope Francis defines it," Agenzia Fides reported on Thursday, citing comments by the "Justice and Peace" Commission of the Indian Bishops.
The McKinsey Global Institute report, commissioned by the Indian government and released this month, revealed mixed economic news for the South Asian country. While the official poverty rate has gone down from 45 percent of the population in 1994 to 22 percent in 2012, it was found that 56 percent of the population, or 680 million people, still lack the means to meet essential needs, such as food, energy, housing, drinking water, sanitation, healthcare, education, and social security. more >>
A memorial service for Arvella Schuller, who along with her husband, the Rev. Robert H. Schuller, was co-founder of Crystal Cathedral Ministries, was held late Tuesday afternoon. Considered the force behind the popular "Hour of Power" television program, Arvella Schuller unexpectedly died last week after a brief illness at the age of 84.
The service was held in the Arboretum at Christ Cathedral (formerly named Crystal Cathedral) in Garden Grove and "well attended," Dorie Mattson, a former director with the ministry for more than 20 years, told The Christian Post.
In a memorial tribute column by Mattson, she writes, "In her lecture entitled, 'Worship: The Inspirational Hour,' Mrs. Schuller spoke passionately on how the purpose of art was found in the priority of praise. This passion, was exemplified through her artistic endeavors on the 'Hour of Power' television ministry, as well as the children's and Glories ministries. more >>
Jewish leaders have expressed outrage of a study guide Presbyterian Church (USA) recently released regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying that the publication is "sending Jews to the trash-heap of history."
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, and Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, the Center's director of interfaith affairs, wrote a column on Fox News website denouncing a guide titled "Zionism Unsettled: A Congregational Study."
In their column, Cooper and Adlerstein said that the "Zionism Unsettled" study guide was "sending Jews to the trash-heap of history." more >>
Archbishop of Newark, N.J., John J. Myers is now under fire for making a lavish $500,000 addition, including a hot tub and elevator, to his $800,000 future retirement home despite Pope Francis calling on bishops to stop living "like princes" and become a "poor church for the poor."
Before the additions began the home that Myers had used mostly as a weekend residence was a 4,500-square-foot building on 8.2 acres of land featuring five bedrooms, three full bathrooms, a three-car garage and a large outdoor pool in Hunterdon County, N.J., reports The Star-Ledger.
In preparation for his retirement in the next two years when he turns 75, a three-story, 3,000-square-foot addition is being built replete with an indoor exercise pool, a hot tub, three fireplaces, a library, an elevator, and other amenities listed on blueprints and permits filed with the Franklin Township building department, according to The Star-Ledger. more >>
A large Texas congregation will soon vote on whether or not they will leave Presbyterian Church (USA) over theological differences.
First Presbyterian Church of Houston, founded in the 1840s with an estimated 3,000 members, will vote on a measure to terminate its affiliation with the denomination next Sunday.
Jim Birchfield, senior pastor at First Presbyterian, told The Christian Post that if the congregation votes to disaffiliate, it intends to join the new, more conservative Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians. more >>