President Barack Obama's administration revealed on Thursday that it paid $400 million to the government of Iran in January contingent on the release of American pastor Saeed Abedini and three other U.S. citizens, but insisted that the payment could not be called a "ransom."
Fox News reported that the money was apparently tied to a failed military equipment deal between the two nations stemming from 1979, but as State Department spokesman John Kirby explained, the deal was conducted separate from the negotiations to free the four prisoners, and so it can not be categorized as a ransom.
Still, Kirby admitted that the White House refused to deliver the cash to Iranian officials until the four American prisoners were released. more >>
Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship church in Riverside, California, assures believers that God will not send someone to Hell if they have never heard the Gospel, adding that people will only be held accountable for what they know.
"What about the person who has never heard the Gospel? Will God Send them to Hell?" Laurie asked in a Facebook video posted on Wednesday, repeating the question of a reader.
"You're going to be held accountable for what you know, not what you don't know," the megachurch pastor answered. more >>
An 80-year-old Washington pastor who refused to allow a man to steal his bike without a fight, chased down the thief then hopped onto the back of the criminal's speeding truck and clung to it in a daring attempt to retrieve his property.
Jerry Sebranke, the founding pastor of Park Ridge Community Church in Bothell who was doing business inside his local bank when he saw his bike being stolen, wasn't able to recover it from the thief because he was forced to let go of the truck.
"He did it so fast, but it was my bike so I ran out the door as fast as I could run and jumped on the back of the truck and that was the beginning of the episode of traumatizing my own self," Sebranke told local news station Q13 Fox. more >>
John Piper believes it is essential that families worship together on Sunday in church instead of a separate children's service, while other pastors, including J.D. Greear, agree in part.
Reviving a long-held debate on how to do church, pastor and theologian John Piper argues in a desiringGod article that something powerful is transmitted when children behold their parents worshiping the Lord. So important is this, Piper says, that he and his wife wrote a lengthy letter to their church more than 20 years ago outlining why they should not have children's church or a mini-sermon for children at all, arguing that parents should start bringing their kids to service around the age of 4.
Just as children do not understand language when they are young, parents nevertheless immerse them in it hoping that they will grow up into joyful use of it, Piper contends. How much more important, then, is immersion in an atmosphere where kids see their parents encountering the glory of God in prayer and worship each Sunday, he poses. more >>
After it was announced on TBN last week that Pastor Donnie McClurkin is "getting married," the gospel singer and his girlfriend, Nicole C. Mullen, clarified earlier this week that he has yet to pop the question and they are not engaged.
During Mullen's Periscope Bible study on Monday, she spoke about the marriage announcement made on TBN's "Praise the Lord" last Thursday, saying that while the couple is "definitely on the road to marriage," they are not engaged.
"There's a protocol that both he and I want to honor. So, are we officially engaged? No," Mullen said. "Are we on the road to marriage? Yes." more >>
Financial offerings to one's church have always been a freewill effort, but more than likely church leaders wouldn't mind receiving extra generous gifts.
A new report from the Leadership Network, a Christian nonprofit ministry headquartered in Dallas, Texas, is giving churches advice on how to increase the contributions they recieve.
In partnership with MortarStone, a donor analytics platform that analyzed over $1.5 billion in personal church giving, Leadership Network's Warren Bird has generated a report that condenses those analytics into the following 13 benchmarks that might help church leaders increase the generosity of their congregants. more >>