WASHINGTON—While speaking at a North Korea Freedom Week forum on Capitol Hill Friday, the first North Korean defector to be ordained as a Methodist minister asserted that Korean Christians not only want to topple the regime of dictator Kim Jong-un but want the unification of North and South Korea to occur through the Gospel.
Kang Chul-ho, who established the first North Korean defector church congregation in South Korea and is also the vice president of the North Korean Christian Association, spoke at the forum entitled "Ending the Kim Regime's Reign of Terror in North Korea: What Must Be Done," and explained that the socialist regime fears the power of the North Korean defectors more than it actually fears the military strength of South Korea.
"This is our 12th meeting of North Korea Freedom Week and I come to realize more and more each time I attend these rallies, there is an important role to be played by North Korean escapees," Kang explained. "The saying goes that Kim Jong-un in a meeting stated that he was not afraid of the 600,000 military personnel in South Korea but he was concerned about the North Korean escapees and that these escapees were a threat to the republic." more >>
Megachurch pastor Tony Evans has issued a call to Christians across the nation to rise to the challenge of bringing solutions to some of the issues he believes are apparent in the violence that recently gripped parts of Baltimore city amid protests over the police killing of a young black man.
"It is with deep regret and sadness that I have joined the rest of America to see the carnage, the pain and the anguish taking place in my hometown, Baltimore, Maryland," said Evans in a video released the night after rioting and looting erupted in Baltimore.
"To see what can emanate from hopelessness is a reminder of two things. First of all, the damage that hopelessness can do, the wrong that can be expressed by people in their frustration so that they wind up doing the very thing that they're complaining against. At the very same time, I recognize this demonstrates the need for the Church of Jesus Christ to offer the hope that is missing in so many people's lives." more >>
Passion for Truth Ministries Pastor Jim Stanley, 40, who told his St. Charles, Missouri, congregation last summer that he didn't realize he had been arrested after a federal grand jury indicted him last June for defrauding investors, admitted in federal court Thursday that he cheated his elderly victims out of $3.3 million while making $570,000 for himself.
In a courtroom packed with supporters, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Staley, who owned a financial consulting form, pleaded guilty to four counts of wire fraud rather than taking his case to trial. He admitted that he cheated 16 investors, and his defense attorney, Scott Rosenblum, says his client was ashamed and "completely accepted responsibility." The attorney stressed that the crime "had nothing to do with his role as a pastor."
Assistant U.S. Attorney Dianna Collins said some of the investors trusted Staley because he was a "nice religious man" who referred to several of them as "Grandma." more >>
As the rioting, looting and burning of homes and businesses that erupted earlier this week threatened to overshadow the weeks-long peaceful protests that have been ongoing in Baltimore, the word "thug" began rolling off of lips and popping up on social media accounts, including on those belonging to some Christians shocked by the violent scenes playing out on TV networks like CNN. However, one Baltimore pastor, recalling the Apostle Paul's transition from the persecutor Saul, warned against simply condemning "rioters as unsalvageable thugs."
"Resist the temptation to condemn rioters as unsalvageable thugs and instead pray that God would transform these Sauls into Pauls," Dan Hyun, lead pastor at The Village Church in Baltimore, tweeted just after midnight on Tuesday.
Hyun added the hashtag "#MyStory" at the end of his tweet, suggesting that his testimony bears semblance to the radical conversion of Paul, who, before changing his name, terrorized and imprisoned Christians in the Roman Empire. The devout Jew, who the Bible says was "breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord," experienced a vision of Jesus and eventually became a believer himself. The Apostle Paul remains one of Christianity's most influential leaders and the New Testament's most prolific author. more >>
President Barack Obama's administration has warned that it will veto a proposed amendment that would require the release of Pastor Saeed Abedini and three other American citizens held prisoners in Iran before any final nuclear deal agreement is reached. The American Center for Law and Justice, which represents Abedini's family, called the admittance "despicable" and "outrageous."
"That is simply unbelievable. Refusing to discuss the Americans being held hostage by Iran at the bargaining table and rejecting any congressional attempt to make any deal with Iran contingent on the release of the Americans is unacceptable. It's quite frankly appalling," the law group wrote in an update on Thursday.
"This is despicable. This is outrageous. And it is an insult to the captive Americans and their families," it added. more >>
ORLANDO, Fla. — Megachurch pastor Bishop T.D. Jakes of The Potter's House in Dallas, Texas, charged Wednesday that it's corporations and not elected officials that represent "the greatest hope" in effecting change and development in underserved communities across America. He said, however, that they need to "add a moral component to money" to make it happen.
"We need corporations to add a moral component to money," said Jakes, to a group of pastors and Christian leaders at the Reconciled Church Summit on Wednesday. The movement was launched in response to national protests against the killings by police of black men in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York, by Bishop Harry Jackson, senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Maryland, televangelist James Robison, and Jakes in January.
"Starbucks is trying to do it. … If we can tie morality to money, to a purpose, to resources, we can really begin to change things. I don't really believe that the greatest hope is in the elected officials. I believe it is in the corporations and the business opportunities coming together," he continued. more >>