This weekend I was in Charleston for the first service at Emanuel AME Church after the brutal white supremacist terrorist attack of this past week. Walking around downtown, I was struck by the unity of the city.
People stood before the church, singing. The town's churches displayed signs of solidarity and rang their bells together in unison. And the one thing I heard talked about more than anything else was forgiveness, specifically the way the families of the victims said they forgave the terrorist even after the murder of their loved ones. Some saw this as commendable; others were taken aback.
On the one hand, this sort of forgiveness is the reaction most people would hope they would have to evil. At the same time, most of the people who talked about this with me said they couldn't imagine that they could forgive such a thing. Some even wondered if the note of forgiveness was morally right. After all, they reasoned, this is a murderer who should be brought to justice. more >>
Evangelical Christian pastor Joel Osteen shared in an interview this week that "a whole group of probably about 50 Muslims" recently visited his nondenominational megachurch in Houston, Texas, and indicated that his inspirational messages on "how to live a great life" resonate with people "in Muslim countries."
"I have Muslims that attend our church and my books sell a lot in Muslim countries as well," Osteen said during an interview with Jeremy Hobson for the "Here and Now" radio program published online Monday.
Hobson had mentioned that he heard Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel express the opinion that Christianity and Judaism had not done "a good enough job keeping an open conversation with Muslims" in the U.S. He then asked Osteen if he has conversations with Muslims, which prompted the preacher to share that he "certainly" does. more >>
The wife of Florida pastor Tullian Tchividjian, a grandson of prominent evangelical preacher Billy Graham, has issued a brief statement of her own after her husband revealed over the weekend that she, as well as he, each had an "affair."
"The statement reflected my husband's opinions but not my own. Please respect the privacy of my family at this time, thank you. I do thank everyone for the outpouring of love for my family as well during this difficult time and we appreciate all the prayers and support we are receiving," Kim Tchividjian said in a statement submitted to The Washington Post.
Evangelical leader the Rev. Franklin Graham has responded to critics of his decision to discontinue business with Wells Fargo following the company's TV ad featuring a same-sex couple.
The head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse had a column published last week arguing that the boycott was not about Wells Fargo being "gay-friendly."
"Indeed, the bank we transferred our accounts to — BB&T based in Winston-Salem, N.C. — is also widely considered gay-friendly. In fact, it may surprise some to learn that I think every business should be gay-friendly," wrote Graham. more >>
Within weeks, two of my heroes have fallen from grace, and some of my friends in pastoral ministry have taken detours in their destiny as well. Moral failings among leaders are becoming an epidemic. No one is beyond the reach of Satan's grasp. Although I'm disappointed, my faith is not shaken because only Christ should be placed on a pedestal.
Why do they fall? They fall for the same reason that all Christians fall. Each of us are drawn away by our own evil desires and enticed. When these desires are acted upon, they lead to sin (cf. James 1:14-15). Sin has a life cycle—it either grows or withers depending on whether we feed or starve it. John Owen, the prolific Puritan author wrote, "Be killing sin, or sin will be killing you."
Consider the following ways that sin gains entrance: more >>
Answers in Genesis CEO and President Ken Ham has responded to the shooting last week that killed nine people at a Charleston church Bible study by claiming that the Bible teaches humans are one race, and there is no such thing as black or white people.
"Answers in Genesis has a great short animated video that explains that there is only one race, and there are no black people or white people — we are all varying shades of the same basic color (a pigment called melanin)," Ham said on his Facebook page, linking to the video.
"This brief animated feature explains all of this in an easy to understand way, showing observational science confirms the Bible's history that we are all one race, all descendants of Adam. It was the event of the Tower of Babel that resulted in different people groups (NOT races) and the minor exterior differences we see in the human race today." more >>