Recently, at each of our church's worship services, I asked the members of the congregation I serve to indicate, by a show of hands, how many of them believe that they will not die. Not a single person answered in the affirmative. I would venture to guess that my congregation's response to this question is typical among the vast majority of Christians across the world today. Even so, the eschatological hope of avoiding death that was prevalent in the early of days of Christianity may soon return to the church universal via a seemingly unlikely source – mainly - human technological advancement.
Early Christians understood that death is the enemy of humankind. Many early Christians actively maintained the hope, throughout their lives, that they would never have to die. The Apostle Paul, for instance, was hopefully optimistic that Christ might return in his lifetime to transition his existence from his mortal body to his immortal one.
And while the early Christians refused to live in fear of their mortality, their hope was to avoid it, if possible, without compromising the integrity of their faith. Over time though, due to experiencing generations of death, this eschatological hope has slowly faded among Christians. That is until recently when the technological world has made popular the concept of the technological Singularity. more >>
COLUMBUS, Ohio — In a blistering message aimed at Southern Baptists, evangelicals, Americans, the Supreme Court, and the world – Southern Baptist Convention president Ronnie Floyd pointed to some of the nation's most divisive issues Tuesday morning in his convention sermon.
In tackling same-sex marriage, racism, abortion, and the freedom of religion, the Arkansas pastor warned there is an "alarm clock going off in our nation and around the world" and now is not the time to push the "snooze button."
"Southern Baptists, now is the time to lead," he said. "We need to believe and stand on His Word and for His name unashamedly and boldly, but always compassionately." more >>
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ronnie Floyd, senior pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas, was elected today for the second year as president of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Floyd was elected with no opposition with 5,277 members present, according to Jim Wells, registration secretary. Last year in Baltimore, he succeeded Fred Luter, pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, who became the first African American pastor in that role since he was elected in 2012.
In April he was named by Newsmax as one of the top 10 of 100 top Christian leaders in America today. The list includes entertainment stars, and those involved in the political process as well as pastors. more >>
Church is boring for most because the power of God has vanished from many congregations...there is a lack of desire to pursue Him in the pulpit as well as in the pew. Like Samson, they "know not that the Spirit of the Lord has departed" (cf. Judge 16:20). High attendance is not the gauge of success, faithfulness is. Granted, a healthy church should experience seasons of growth, but even cults generate large numbers of followers. Here are 5 simple ways to gauge the health of a church:
1. Is Prayer an after-thought or a priority? Nights of prayer and worship are often replaced with Bingo and fund raisers. We're in a hurry to burn through a sermon, scurry through worship, and head to the nearest restaurant. This is a sure sign of a dying church. If churches are too busy to pray—they're too busy. "When faith ceases to pray, it ceases to live" (E.M. Bounds). We should never allow our relationship with God to suffer because we're too busy. "We must spend much time on our knees before God if we are to continue in the power of the Holy Spirit" (R.A. Torrey). Spiritual life and prayer go hand-in-hand. You can't have one without the other.
2. Is the church known for either emotionalism or dead formalism? Unfortunately, Christians often embrace one of two extremes when it comes to the topic of revival and the Holy Spirit. At one extreme are those who embrace pure emotionalism and hysteria—"if it's odd it's God" is often their motto. All weird behavior is excused. The other extreme resembles a cemetery. There's no living, vibrant spiritual life taking place. The church is dead, cold, and lifeless; talk of revival is either dismissed or ridiculed. Both extremes are characteristics of a dying church. more >>
Christian conferences are often pitched as life-changing opportunities to fellowship and inspire spiritual growth through the sharing of the Gospel by popular pastors and singers with major followings in the Christian community. With tickets to some of these events costing up to $799 to register, according to an investigation by The Christian Post, concerns are being raised about the monetization of the Gospel that the Bible declares is free.
"I think it may reduce the number of people in attendance," Steve Brower, pastor at Faith & Victory Fellowship in Freeport, New York, told CP. "We also don't want to reinforce the association that the world has of the church being all about money."
Popular televangelist Joyce Meyer, of the Missouri-based Joyce Meyer Ministries, also does not charge a fee for all but one of her conferences because she wants to reach as many people with the Gospel as possible. more >>
Several reports over the past week have said that Coptic Christian families in the Beni Suef governorate in Egypt have seen their homes burned down and have been forced to flee angry Muslim mobs who accuse them of insulting Islam in Facebook posts.
Nigeria's Pulse news website reported that Coptic homes in the region have been stoned and attacked with Molotov cocktails, setting several houses on fire, despite attempts by some Muslim youths to defend the Christians.