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 >>
Citing his exhaustion and personal brokenness, Pete Wilson, senior pastor of the multi-campus Cross Point Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and author of the best-selling book Plan B, shocked his congregation on Sunday when he announced his resignation from the church he founded 14 years ago.
Cross Point Church was planted by Wilson and his wife, Brandi, in 2003 and has since grown to "reach more than 7,000 people each weekend through its five locations around the Nashville area and online." It is promoted as one of the "fastest growing churches in America."
On Sunday, however, the day the church celebrated its 14th anniversary and America remembered the terror attacks of September 11, Wilson told his congregation that he was no longer fit to lead. more >>
Newly released research into the growth of megachurches has suggested that Pastor Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, remains the largest church in America, with a weekend attendance totaling 52,000 people.
Church Growth Today, a research center led by John N. Vaughan since 1980, said in a statement that Osteen's congregation remains the largest in America when it comes to weekend attendance, noting that the church has seen a growth of 7,200 people since 2010.
What is more, the church has five times as many followers as it did when it was led by founding Pastor John Osteen, who died in 1999. more >>
The doors to gospel star Travis Green's church are officially open, welcoming a number of high profile people to worship during its first official Sunday service.
Among the Forward City Church Columbia, South Carolina visitors is Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin.
Missionaries Nik and Ruth Ripken have interviewed more than 600 persecuted Christians in over 72 countries, and now the film "The Insanity of God" will convey the amazing story on the silver screen across the country.
For just one day, Aug. 30, LifeWay Films, International Mission Board with Fathom Events will present the film, based on the Ripkens' 2013 best-selling book by the same name, in 530 movie theaters nationwide.
"They discover the church not only survives under persecution, but it thrives," says Trey Reynolds, manager of LifeWay Films, in a statement. more >>
John Bryson, former Acts 29 network board member and lead pastor of Fellowship Memphis, a popular multicultural church he helped found in Memphis, Tennessee, said he has hired a private investigator after allegations surfaced that he covered for one of his former worship director, Rick Trotter, who was arrested earlier this month for "making upskirt videos of church members."
"It appears the facts and rumors surrounding Rick Trotter's termination from Fellowship have begun to blur," Bryson wrote in a statement to The Christian Post on Tuesday. "The statement we provided on August 11 lays out the facts that I am currently aware of. Of course there may be additional facts that we were not aware of in 2010 when we terminated Trotter, but to ensure we do get a clear understanding of the true facts, we have hired an outside firm to conduct an independent investigation. This will allow us all to separate facts from rumor."
Trotter, 40, who is married with children, is currently facing eight charges of photographing women at the Downtown Church in Memphis without consent, according to The Commercial Appeal. He was also fired from his position as the voice of the Memphis Grizzlies as a result of the arrest. Police reportedly found videos on Trotter's church-issued laptop showing him kneeling behind at least four women during worship service and recording under the women's skirt or dress with his cell phone. more >>