Hundreds of kidnapped Arab Christians have been ransomed, tortured, beheaded and killed over the past year, including a priest who was chopped into pieces, in attempts to raise funds for radical Islamic terror groups and to strike fear into the hearts of Christians across the Middle East and throughout the world.
"Christians have become a form [of] currency in this tragedy," John Newton told The Christian Post. Newton is spokesman for Catholic relief agency Aid to the Church in Need. "I know of one priest who was kidnapped for two months ... they asked for a ransom of $120,000, which the family managed to raise and deliver. ... But hours later, the priest was killed and his body cut up, with pieces of him sent in a box to the family."
The process of trying to free kidnapped priests poses a difficult challenge. In many cases, Christian organizations are left in the dark with little information on who the kidnappers are or where the victims are being held. more >>
Bishop T.D. Jakes has clarified that his method of ministering to gay people who choose to attend The Potter's House church was "evolving" and said he does not endorse same-sex marriage, after a recent HuffPost Live interview led some viewers to believe he had "shifted" in his biblical convictions regarding human sexuality and marriage.
Christians and Americans in general remain divided in their opinions on the morality of homosexuality and the legality of same-sex marriage, and the Supreme Court's ruling in June effectively affirming same-sex marriage as a constintutional right has not bridged the divide.
"Currently, 54 percent of Americans say they favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally, with 39 percent opposed. In May, 57 percent favored legalizing same-sex marriage, while 39 percent opposed," the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan fact tank, reported on July 29. more >>
Creation Museum CEO and President Ken Ham has shared a video update taken by helicopter of the Ark Encounter project, showing the construction of the life-size Noah's Ark in Kentucky. Ham said the project will be opened sometime in 2016, and promised it will be one of the "greatest Christian attractions in the world."
"A few days ago, AiG's audio/visual team had the opportunity to record some footage of the life-size Noah's Ark construction site from a helicopter. When you see what they have produced, you will be amazed at the size of what is being built," Ham shared in a Facebook message on Monday.
"The video begins at the parking area (4,000 car spaces), then goes over the shuttle road, and then to the Ark construction site," he continued. more >>
We understand that you are feeling a bit overwhelmed by recent events that threaten to marginalize you. We'd like to offer a bit of empathy, and if it is not too presumptuous, some valuable experience and tools as well. You see, we've been there before.
First came the recent Pew study entitled "America's Changing Religious Landscape." Pew demonstrates that more Christians continue to live in the US than any other country in the world. About seven out of ten Americans call themselves Christian. But it also found that the percentage of adults (ages 18 and older) who describe themselves as Christians has dropped by nearly eight percentage points in just seven years, while the percentage of Americans who are religiously unaffiliated — describing themselves as atheist, agnostic or "nothing in particular" — has jumped more than six points. Losses are severe among mainline Protestants and Catholics. Lots of Christians are understandably worried about this trend.
Evangelicals, however, did much better. Your hard numbers actually improved. But those of us who have evangelical friends know that you, too, are wondering whether the trends towards unbelief (or at least no church affiliation) will catch up with you as well. Your retention rate of young people — one number bandied about is 69%, which means losing one person in three — is already keeping you up nights. more >>
Two South Sudanese Presbyterian pastors who faced death penalties on charges of espionage have been freed from prison after months in detention following a judge's order for their release on Wednesday.
As previously reported, pastors Yat Michael and Peter Yein Reith were arrested by Sudanese authorities last winter and detained without charges and prevented from access to their family and lawyers until March 1.
They were eventually charged with various crimes against the state, including criminal conspiracy, espionage, promoting hatred amongst the sects, blasphemy, undermining the constitutional system, obtaining official documents and disturbing the peace, two charges of which were punishable by death. more >>
Franklin Graham, the CEO of Samaritan's Purse and a fierce pro-life advocate, has criticized comments made by Democratic Senator Harry Reid of Nevada who accused Republicans of losing their "moral compass" following an attempt by lawmakers to bring a bill to defund Planned Parenthood up for a vote.
Graham took to Facebook to address the comments made by Reid, and blasted the senator's pro-choice stance on Wednesday.
"Senator Harry Reid outrageously declared yesterday that Republicans had 'lost their moral compass' after they were unable to get the 60 votes needed to move the bill in Congress forward that would defund Planned Parenthood," wrote Graham. more >>