Speaking to a congregation about the ugly conflicts that plague our world is a challenging task for any pastor. But he is called to search the Scriptures and guide the flock entrusted to him by God in all matters of life.
One such challenging topic was addressed in a recent article by Criswell College adjunct professor of theology Brandon D. Smith: the Islamic State. Smith demonstrated well the classic struggle that every pastor experiences on Sunday morning when preaching about the justice and mercy of God. How does one find a balance? How does a Christian know when to be just and when to be merciful? In the case of ISIS, how should a pastor instruct his flock?
Unfortunately, Smith's advice to pastors about this question turned out to be just as inconclusive and unhelpful as a non-answer would have been. His final analysis: "Non-violence might be the right action, but it might not. War might be the right action, but it might not. Preach that." more >>
NEW YORK — Pastor Judah Smith, who has made headlines for spiritually mentoring big name celebrities such as singer Justin Bieber and football star Russell Wilson, recently sat down with CP Voice to discuss his latest book, Life Is _______, which is a follow up to his 2013 work, Jesus Is _______.
I asked him about the blank line on the cover after the words, Life Is ________.
"The blank is there similar to our previous project because Christians are famous for monologues and not so much dialogue, and the heart behind the project is really to create a conversation," said Smith. "The blank is there because it's like, OK, this is how I would fill in the blank. But just because I fill in the blank, that doesn't mean that you would fill in the blank like that. And here's my value system predicated upon the ancient Scripture and what I believe about God. That's how I fill in the blank." more >>
Comedian Larry Wilmore, host of Comedy Central's "The Nightly Show," criticized and poked fun at the actions of pastor Creflo Dollar — who last week asked Christian followers to buy his ministry a new $65 million jet — and other "prosperity gospel" preachers as part of his opening segment on Wednesday night's show.
The former "Daily Show" cast member lampooned Dollar and megachurch pastors who preach the prosperity gospel, suggesting that they've gone too far and are "taking advantage of poor people."
"When exactly did Jesus start a hip-hop label?" asked Wilmore, referencing Dollar's recent effort to have people pay for a $65 million private jet. more >>
A first-of-its-kind gathering of over 25 different influential Christian organizations and leaders, including the Southern Baptist Convention and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (Charlotte), convened this week to discuss and trade ideas on how to plant and grow multi-ethnic churches throughout North America, including strategies to establish 1,000 such churches over the next seven to ten years.
The Christian Post obtained the program of the closed-door, two-day meeting titled the 2015 Multi-Ethnic Church Planting Leaders Summit in Charlotte, North Carolina. The event, from Wednesday to Thursday, was organized by Mosaix Global Network along with Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary's Center for the Development of Evangelical Leadership in Charlotte.
In addition to discussion on strategic partnerships to establish 1,000 multi-ethnic churches within the next decade, attendees also discussed how to facilitate the process of 20 percent of the churches in North America, having 20 percent racial diversity by 2020. more >>
Associate Counsel Matthew Clark of the American Center for Law and Justice has said that he hopes the U.N. Human Rights Council will take up the case of pastor Saeed Abedini, who is serving an eight-year sentence for his Christian faith in Iran.
"The Human Rights Council Working Group looked at the facts, they looked at the evidence and they came to the independent conclusion, as we have, that his detention is arbitrary, that it is in violation of international law and that he should be freed," Clark said, according to One News Now, commenting on the oral intervention last week by its international affiliate, the European Centre for Law and Justice, before the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
"So the U.N. is taking steps to put out there exactly what is happening and what action needs to be taken by the Iranian government to free him." more >>
The Oklahoma state House of Representatives passed legislation that will require couples looking to get married to seek approval from a clergy member in order for them to be married in the state.
The bill which was introduced in January by Republican Rep. Todd Russ and was passed by the House last Tuesday would change the language of the state's law that governs the duties of court clerks, in which all references to marriage licenses would be thrown out.
The bill essentially separates the government from marriage by requiring that marriage certificates be signed by clergy members or other religious officials instead of county clerks or judges. After couples acquire a marriage certificate from the religious official, a record of it would be made by the clerk's office so that the marriage would be recognized by the state. more >>