The Rev. Cho Yong-gi, founder and pastor emeritus of Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul, South Korea, one of the largest Pentecostal churches in the world, has been sentenced to three years in prison for embezzling church funds.
Cho was found guilty of causing $12 million in losses to the church by having officials in 2002 buy stocks owned by his eldest son, Cho Hee-jun, at four times the market value, Yonhap reported on Thursday.
The 78-year-old pastor, who founded the church in 1958, will also have to pay about $4.6 million in fines. The junior Cho will also be serving a three-year prison term for colluding with his father, the Seoul Central District Court ruled. more >>
A study of "faith-driven consumers" reveals that a vast majority won't be satisfied with a Bible-themed movie that strays from, and maybe even rejects, the biblical message. The concerns expressed in the survey could have serious implications for the forthcoming Bible blockbuster "Noah."
The studio behind the film, Paramount Pictures, prescreened "Noah" to a group of Christian viewers and discovered a problem. According to The Hollywood Reporter, many of the viewers "questioned the film's adherence to the Bible story and reacted negatively to the intensity and darkness of the lead character." The director is reportedly working with different versions of the story, in part to better appeal to a Christian audience.
The challenge could be a substantial one. 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 >>
A few years ago I spoke at Harvard University with 9 other speakers. We were surprised when the gay community opposed the very idea that a Christian group would be on campus.
They concluded that we would be like every Christian group that they had an experienced. They thought we would use our time to bash gays and their agenda. Our conference was on the theme of Community Transformation.
They met with the Dean of the school and did all they could to shut down the conference. They spread lies about the speakers and I was personally targeted by spreading lies about me. They tried to tie me to some Uganda anti-gay legislation just because I been there and knew someone who had been caught up with the controversy. It was guilt by association. 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 >>
For more than twelve years I have been helping others to see what has long been overlooked, otherwise missed, or outright ignored in the New Testament: namely, the biblical mandate of the multi-ethnic church as envisioned by Jesus Christ (John 17:20-23), described by Luke (Acts 11:19-26; 13:1), and prescribed by the Apostle Paul throughout his writings, most specifically in Romans and Ephesians. Needless to say such teaching, though exegetically sound, is not readily embraced by an Evangelical establishment more enamored by size and growth than with diversity and holistic community engagement.
Nevertheless since the Mosaix Global Network's first national conference in 2010, attitudes have markedly changed. Receptivity to the multi-ethnic church is up across the board; throughout denominations, networks, and conferences, alike. Likewise, an increasing array of local and national influencers is speaking up encouraging biblical diversity in the local church for the sake of the Gospel. The number of practitioners is growing, too, due to intentional multi-ethnic church planting as well as through the transition of healthy but otherwise homogeneous churches. In fact today, according to the latest research, 13.7% of churches throughout the United States have at least 20% diversity in their attending membership (up from just 7.5% in 2000). Beyond this, 14.4% of Protestant Evangelical churches have now reached this marker.
That said, I am sometimes asked: "If this mandate is so clear in Scripture, how has it been so missed throughout history? In other words, who else in the past has shared a similar message or understanding?" more >>