In a move that could bolster his potential 2016 presidential campaign, retired conservative neurosurgeon Ben Carson took his first trip to Israel to visit the Holy Land and gain a better understanding of the conflicts affecting the Jewish state.
Carson, who left for his trip on Saturday and will stay for one week, has continued a trend of presidential hopefuls who have voyaged to Israel prior to their campaigns in moves thought to improve foreign policy credentials.
Although the rising 63-year-old conservative has not officially announced his candidacy, he told Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV last Friday that it was imperative for his presidential prospects for him to finally make his first trip to Israel so that he can see first-hand the territorial issues of one of America's biggest allies faces. more >>
An estimated 300 to 330 million "spiritual tourists" visit significant religious sites every year, such as the Jesus Trail or the Wailing Wall in Israel. Why do they do it, and what are they searching for? Bruce Feiler, author of the bestsellers Walking the Bible: A Journey by Land Through the Five Books of Moses and Abraham: A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths, embarked on several spiritual journeys with seekers of various faiths to find out.
In a new series titled "Sacred Journeys With Bruce Feiler" and premiering on PBS Tuesday, Dec. 16, Feiler accompanies pilgrims from the U.S. in their spiritual quests to sacred sites in France, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Jerusalem, India, and Nigeria. The six-part series kicks off with Feiler's journey with a group of solders that includes Wounded Warriors, soldiers injured during their service in Iraq and Afghanistan, to the believed healing waters of a Roman Catholic shrine in Lourdes, France.
Feiler also spends time with Brian Kwan, a Colorado man who had a crisis of faith after losing his Christian father. Why did Kwan, who converted from Buddhism to Christianity as a teen, choose to embark on the 40-mile, four-day journey known as the Jesus Trail? more >>
Some minority Christians in Israel have expressed concern for the proposed "Jewish State" bill that is set to define the country as the "nation-state of the Jewish people." Other commentators have said, however, that it would be incorrect to assume the bill will infringe on the rights of minorities, and instead can be seen as a move to back Israel's right to exist.
The Jerusalem Post reported that the bill seeks to define Israel as "the nation-state of the Jewish people" and reinforce the use of "Hatikva" as the national anthem, and the use of the Hebrew calendar.
While some of the nation's Christians, who make up only two percent of the population, have reportedly expressed concern for the rights of religious minorities in the country, other voices have said it is unlikely that the bill would pose such dangers. more >>
In a recent interview on CBN News, Andrew White, an Anglican priest known as the "Vicar of Baghdad," tried to recount the horrific atrocities Christians in Iraq are suffering at the hands of the Islamic State. After explaining how Christian minorities fled Baghdad to Ninevah when Islamic militants began terrorizing them and bombing their churches, White said:
Then one day, ISIS, the Islamic State, the Islamic caliphate came [to Ninevah] and they hounded all of them [Christians] out. Not some, all of them. And they killed huge numbers. They chopped their children in half; they chopped their heads off.
It should be noted that the targeting of Christian children in Iraq goes back years before the creation of ISIS. For example, in June 2008, a Canadian parliamentary committee heard about how "militant Muslims" were crucifying Christian children: "Since the war began in 2003, about 12 children, many as young as 10, have been kidnapped and killed, then nailed to makeshift crosses near their homes to terrify and torment their parents." more >>
Pastor John Hagee, the founder of Christians United for Israel, has clarified that he did not mean to call President Barack Obama one of the "most anti-semitic presidents" in history, but stands by his assertion that Obama is anti-Israel.
"The prepared text of my remarks before the Zionist Organization of America called President Obama one of the most 'anti-Israel' presidents in U.S. history," Hagee, who is also the senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, said in a statement, referring to his speech on Nov. 23 at the Zionist Organization of America annual dinner in New York.
"During my speech, I inadvertently called him one of the most 'anti-Semitic' presidents in history," he added. more >>
Harvest Ministries Pastor Greg Laurie said Sunday his study of Bible prophecy and current events shows America will fade as the world's foremost superpower in the last days, either because it will join with the antichrist or it will be diminished by the rapture.
In a November 30 sermon entitled "Israel, Iran, ISIS and Bible Prophecy," Laurie preached that Christians are now living in the "last days" before the fulfillment of various End Times prophecies laid out in the Bible book of Revelations. Current events such as Israel establishing itself as a nation, Russia alignment with Iran and the rise of Islamic extremism, he said, are setting the stage for a predicted conflict in which the world's forces turns against Israel.
One force that will be missing during that conflict, Laurie says, is the United States of America. "[As] the forces of antichrist emerge, I believe that America will fade from the scene." Putting the United States in the context of Scripture, he explained, "We are not found in the End Times scenario." more >>