Evangelical pastors and leaders agreed during a panel discussion livestreamed on Tuesday from the historic Lorraine Motel and National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis about the need for the church in America to be more centered on the Gospel and not be swayed by the media when it comes to racially charged issues currently confronting the nation. Meanwhile the leader of a multi-ethnic church plant movement watching the conference said that it's long past time for only dialogue about race within the local church, and it's time to see results.
"The increased frequency of racially painful, polarizing, dialogue in our society is today forcing the American Church, and more specifically Evangelicals from a much broader base of denominations and networks than ever before, to address their own systemic segregation," said Pastor Mark DeYmaz, who is executive director of the multiethnic church movement Mosaix Global Network and who watched the livestream of the event, to The Christian Post. "And this we must do in order to present a credible witness of God's love for all people in an increasingly diverse and cynical society.
"That said, as I'm sure organizers of this event will agree, many believe it is long past time to speak about race within the local church." more >>
NEW YORK — A New York City pastor who visited Sudanese Christian mother Meriam Ibrahim during her detention in the Muslim-majority country for blasphemy has partnered with a U.S.-based Yazidi activist to travel to Iraq to assess the humanitarian crisis of the religious minority group that has been targeted by the Islamic State. The men said they also hope to win the release of Yazidi women and girls abducted by the jihadist group and used as sex slaves.
The Rev. William Devlin and Texas-based Yazidi human rights advocate Murad Ismael were traveling to Erbil, Iraq, this week to "assess the humanitarian condition of the Yazidis first-hand" and "will also be seeking the release of women and young girls kidnapped by ISIS," they told The Christian Post in a series of emails and phone conversations.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, abducted scores of Yazidi women and girls in August as they attacked their towns in the Sinjar Mountain area in the Nineveh province in northwest Iraq. ISIS cornered many of the tens of thousands of Yazidis on Mount Sinjar, where some died from hunger and dehydration before the international community stepped in to help. The United States was among the countries offering humanitarian aid, in addition to carrying out airstrikes and training local forces in their military engagement with ISIS militants, who have already seized cities in Syria and Iraq. Reportedly, hundreds of Yazidis still remain on Sinjar Mountain, defending themselves against the Islamic State's unrelenting attacks. more >>
For the third Christmas in a row, Christian American-Iranian pastor Saeed Abedini, who has been imprisoned in Iran for his faith since 2012, is missing his family. And despite being cold and threatened by inmates in prison, Abedini encouraged Christians in a moving and at times heartbreaking letter to his family from his prison cell to keep hoping in God.
The letter, which Abedini wrote from the Rajai Shahr Prison, was posted on the ACLJ website after he sent it to a family member.
The organization noted that Abedini was allowed see a relative for the first time in more than a month last week. He's also still waiting to receive medical attention for pain and internal injuries he suffered as a result of multiple beatings in prison over the last two years. more >>
Three Iranian Christian leaders have seen their convictions overturned following an appeals hearing, in what persecution watchdog groups are hailing as an encouraging victory. Pastor Matthias Haghnejad and Deacon Silas Rabbani have been granted their freedom after their six-year sentences were overturned, but pastor Benhram Irani is still serving six years for previous convictions.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide confirmed the court's decision in an email to The Christian Post on Tuesday. The group's Chief Executive, Mervyn Thomas, said in a statement:
"We are extremely pleased to learn of the release of Pastor Matthias Haghnejad, Deacon Silas Rabbani, Hossein Baraunzadeh and Rahman Bahman. While we welcome this news, we remain concerned at the continued detention of Amin Khaki and long-term prisoners like Behnam Irani and Farshi Fathi – all of whom who have been unjustly detained." more >>
A Mississippi pastor tapped into his creative side while embarking on a protest of gay marriage by dressing up a horse to demonstrate how ridiculous he thinks it is.
The pastor, Reverend Edward James of Bertha Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, brought the horse to the federal courthouse on Friday in Jackson to protest a federal judge's ruling, currently on hold, to overturn the state's ban on gay marriage.
Christian pastors and leaders are expected to voice their concerns at what may turn out to be a historic gathering next week for "It's Time To Speak," a live stream event focusing on race, the church and "where to go from here," in light of recent events in Ferguson, Missouri; Cleveland, and New York.
The eleven leaders, including event organizer Pastor Bryan Loritts, theologian John Piper, and pastors Matt Chandler, Darrin Patrick, and Derwin Gray, are scheduled to meet at the historic Lorraine Motel and National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis for A Time to Speak, on Tuesday (Dec. 16).
"Twenty years from 'It's Time To Speak' will be viewed as a reformational moment," Gray, pastor of Transformation Church in Indian Land, South Carolina, told The Christian Post on Friday. "This event will be a call for the local church to be what she was meant to be – a multi-ethnic and multi-class of communities of reconciliation, love, and unity." more >>