The Kentucky Baptist Convention is attempting to attract nonbelievers through gun giveaway events, calling the events "Second Amendment Celebrations" which are intended to serve as "an outreach to rednecks."
Churches participating in the "celebrations" hope to lure nonbelievers to the event with the promise of possibly winning a new firearm. Once the visitors arrive at the event, they are told about Christianity and the Good News of Jesus.
As The Courier-Journal reports, the next "Second Amendment Celebration" event is this Thursday at Lone Oak Baptist Church in Paducah, where 1,000 people are expected to attend. The event will include a free steak dinner and the opportunity for those participating in a raffle to win one of 25 firearms. As the event's website states, a "variety of guns, including hand guns, long guns and shot guns have been donated as prizes for the event." more >>
An hour or so before the Justice Conference was set to kick off its first main session, I stepped outside of the Orpheum Theatre to soak in one last bit of warm Los Angeles sun and "fresh" air. The red badge dangling from my neck caught the attention of a nearby elderly Hispanic man with smudges on his face, who inquired, "You a tourist?"
I've called the L.A.-area my home for the past 9 years, but I suddenly became acutely aware of how out-of-place I must have looked to this man. Inside the theatre, I was just one of the many hipster-looking young adults who gathered together because we knew that calling Jesus our Savior also meant some sort of tie with justice. Outside of the theatre, I was a tourist - a foreigner - disconnected with the downtown L.A. surroundings and its impoverished residents.
While the Orpheum Theatre was noted by the Justice Conference's website as "one of L.A.'s most venerable landmarks," the truth was that we were located less than two blocks away from Skid Row, an area synonymous with poverty and homelessness. While stories of international injustice boomed from 12-foot high speakers, we were sitting just steps away from factories in the Fashion District with "sweatshop-like" labor conditions. more >>
In response to the controversy about the forthcoming blockbuster "Noah," Paramount Pictures has released a disclaimer that the film, while it accurately presents the biblical themes, has taken some license in storytelling.
"While artistic license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values, and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide," declares the statement, which will be presented in all future marketing materials. It closes by directing viewers to the biblical story found in Genesis.
This move follows an appeal from Jerry A. Johnson, president and CEO of The National Religious Broadcasters. "People may assume that this film is a straightforward retelling of the biblical Noah narrative – The movie trailer might lead them to believe that as well," Johnson wrote to The Christian Post in a Friday statement. "It is not. It is instead a dramatic story based upon Noah that contains a lot of extra-biblical material," the NRB president explained. more >>
Why are Christians, as a new Pew report documents, the most persecuted religious group in the world? And why is their persecution occurring primarily throughout the Islamic world? (In the category on "Countries with Very High Government Restrictions on Religion," Pew lists 24 countries-20 of which are Islamic and precisely where the overwhelming majority of "the world's" Christians are actually being persecuted.)
The reason for this ubiquitous phenomenon of Muslim persecution of Christians is threefold:
Christianity is the largest religion in the world. There are Christians practically everywhere around the globe, including in much of the Muslim world. Moreover, because much of the land that Islam seized was originally Christian-including the Middle East and North Africa, the region that is today known as the "Arab world"-Muslims everywhere are still confronted with vestiges of Christianity, for example, in Syria, where many ancient churches and monasteries are currently being destroyed by al-Qaeda linked, U.S. supported "freedom fighters." Similarly, in Egypt, where Alexandria was a major center of ancient Christianity before the 7th century Islamic invasions, there still remain at least 10 million Coptic Christians (though some put the number at much higher). Due to sheer numbers alone, then, indigenous Christians are much more visible and exposed to attack by Muslims than other religious groups throughout the Arab world. Yet as CNS News puts it, "President Obama expressed hope that the 'Arab Spring' would give rise to greater religious freedom in North Africa and the Middle East, which has had the world's highest level of hostility towards religion in every year since 2007, when Pew first began measuring it. However, the study finds that these regions actually experienced the largest increase in religious hostilities in 2012." more >>
When Harvard University was founded in 1636, its mission was that its students "be plainly instructed and consider well that the main end of your life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ."
The YMCA began as "a refuge of Bible study and prayer for young men seeking escape from the hazards of life on the streets."
Neither organization still intimately affiliates with its once-overt religious identity. Indeed, they are two out of dozens of colleges and non-profits that once manifested Christian ideals and now posses a reputation, values and processes which are staunchly secular. more >>
According to megachurch pastor Andy Stanley, if your religious convictions conflict with your ability to serve those you differ with, that's your business, but you should "leave Jesus out of it."
What exactly did he mean by this? And has he thought through the implications of his statement?
Since I have been unable to reach Pastor Stanley directly and since he expressed his views publicly, I want to take this opportunity to raise some questions for him – really, for all of us – to think through carefully. more >>