NEW YORK — Martin Luther King Jr. has often been quoted as saying that he found it "shameful" and "appalling" that 11 o'clock on Sunday was the most-segregated hour of Christian America. Yet, 40 years later, many churches in the United States are still struggling to realize the dream of racial diversity in their congregations. How did the institution of slavery in America affect this trend, and what role did Christians play in U.S. slavery?
Louis DeCaro Jr., professor of Church History at Nyack College's Alliance Theological Seminary in NYC, recently spoke with The Christian Post to provide some context for these questions. DeCaro, who has pastored two multiethnic congregations, has authored biographies on Malcolm X and several works on 19th century Christian abolitionist John Brown, cast as a "radical," "insurrectionist" and "terrorist" by historians.
Brown, born in 1800 to Calvinist parents in Connecticut, believed in armed resistance to slavery. An ardent abolitionist, Brown is most known for leading less than two dozen men, including his sons, on a raid at Harpers Ferry in what is now West Virginia. Brown hoped to spark an uprising among slaves to bring an end to the institution, but failed miserably. Two days after the attack, Brown was defeated by Robert E. Lee, and hanged on Dec. 2, 1859, after a swift trial headed by a judge and jury who were slaveholders. During his trial, the Christian abolitionist insisted that his actions were just and sanctioned by God. more >>
In the wake of the jury deadlocked on whether to charge Michael Dunn for first-degree murder charges against the late Jordan Davis, pastors and Christian leaders have criticized Florida's Justifiable Use of Force law, most often referred to as the "Stand Your Ground" law.
Dunn was convicted on three counts of attempted murder, but the Florida jury came to no consensus on Saturday on whether to convict or acquit the defendant in the African American teenager's 2012 murder.
Dunn, who is white, shot into Davis' car 10 times after the teenager ignored his requests to turn his music down and "mouthed off" to him. The defendant also claimed that Davis had a shotgun, but police found no weapons inside the car. more >>
When Jimmy Hester evaluates the effectiveness of True Love Waits, an abstinence-based movement he is co-founder of, the Southern Baptist leader questions where society might be without it.
"What would have happened if this had not happened? What kind of impact might our culture have had on students if there had not been a sexual abstinence movement in '93, '94?" Hester asked, in an interview with The Christian Post.
For Hester, who expresses cynicism about using statistics to measure the outcome of his work ("you can shape them however you like"), anecdotes such as Christian singles telling him they still carry their abstinence pledge cards or testimonies from young adults who tell him that his work impacted their lives, provide more than sufficient evidence that his work was worthwhile. more >>
I respect Kirsten Powers as a sincere sister in Christ. But her view of sin and holiness, as expressed in her latest USA Today column, "Jim Crow laws for gays and lesbian?" is typical of the journey of adults coming to faith. Sometimes we tend to filter Biblical teaching through our experiences, instead of the other way around.
After discussing the case of a baker who did not want to provide a cake for a same-sex "wedding," because he feels he would be encouraging the celebration of sin, Powers concludes, "'What would Jesus do?' I think he'd bake the cake." I think it would help her to see more clearly if she would have used Jesus' real profession for the comparison. Jesus was a teacher, a preacher, a religious leader. Does she believe Jesus would go to the wedding to deliver a blessing (i.e., offer His services)? I suspect not.
But somehow, if you are a photographer, she thinks you should be forced, under penalty of law, to go and bless the union by using your talents to portray them in some amazing, inspiring pictures. more >>
Diogo Morgado has spoken out against the focus being placed on him personally, with social media users describing him as "Hot Jesus." The actor, who portrays Jesus in upcoming movie, "Son of God," has said that although he's flattered by fans fussing about and complimenting his looks, he insisted he does not want that or anything else to distract from the movie's core message.
"It's a compliment, obviously but I don't want that to take away from what we tried to achieve," Morgado said, after The New York Times asked him about his reaction to a campaign expressing excitement about his good looks dubbed #HotJesus that went viral on Twitter. "The best story is the story that gets to the most people. If the message of Jesus was love, hope and compassion, and I can bring that to more people by being a more appealing Jesus, I am happy with that."
Roma Downey, who is producing the film along with her husband Mark Burnett, told the NYTimes that in settling on the Portuguese actor, they were looking for someone who was "strong and charismatic, who could also be a carpenter." more >>
The culture war may be lost and religious liberty might not be that far behind, according to a new survey from LifeWay Research.
Seventy percent of senior pastors at Protestant churches say religious liberty is on the decline in the United States and 59 percent of Christians believe they are losing the culture war. Eleven percent considers that war already lost.
The survey results are staggering– indicating grave concerns about the moral direction of the nation from both the pulpit and the pew. more >>