A beloved pastor in Texas dropped dead before some 200 people including his own sister while preaching at the funeral of a church member last Friday, after ironically warning them of the need to be "ready for death."
Sheila Edwards, sister of the-late Rev. Darryl Edwards, 55, of the Fannin Street United Methodist Church in Goliad, Texas, told the Victoria Advocate that her brother was exhorting on the need to be "ready for death" at the 10 a.m. funeral service for his parishioner, Sally Bland, on Friday, when it took him suddenly.
"He was talking about how you need to be ready for death because you never know the day or hour," she said of her brother's sermon. "And about then, it happened." more >>
Last Friday, the Institute on Religion and Democracy's (IRD) Chelsen Vicari met with Deamon Scapin, the pastor of a new Capitol Hill church plant called Triumph D.C. According to the new church plant's website, Triumph seeks to be "a network of life-giving churches and a movement of leaders to influence a city that influences the world." Deamon, his wife Kristine, and their three children moved from suburban Texas in 2013 to join the revitalized movement of church planting happening inside the Washington D.C. Beltway.
Chelsen Vicari: When did you first recognize the call to lead a church plant in Washington D.C.? And, by the way, uprooting your family from suburban Texas to this crazy, chaotic, awesome city is quite daunting. What were your thoughts and feelings during such a hectic, exciting time?
Pastor Deamon Scapin: That is a huge story, but I'll try to condense it. Just out of college and newly married, we moved from Pensacola, Florida to Texas through a relationship with a spiritual father of mine to be on staff there at a church. At the time, we knew that when we were joining the staff—this was sixteen years ago or so—that we weren't going to be there forever. We were going to Texas for ministry training, development, and experience. At some point we knew we would plant a network of churches that we would have the opportunity to lead. We ended up taking over the 30-year old founding campus over and we lead there for about six years. But my wife and I knew God was leading us to do the work that we had done in Texas in another place. more >>
Pastor and Counter Culture author David Platt said society cannot effectively fight sex trafficking until it examines its own pornography use.
The Alabama megachurch pastor and Southern Baptist Convention's International Mission Board president writes in Counter Culture that many college students, if asked, would express a desire to end sexual slavery. Yet studies such as a 2008 Barna Research report shows that adults under the age of 25 are twice as likely than Baby Boomers to watch pornography.
"Every time someone views pornography online or on a mobile phone in a living room or office or wherever… they're contributing to a cycle of sex slavery from the privacy of [their] own computer or [their] own smart phone," Platt asserts. more >>
Pastor and author David Platt said he once avoided speaking out about abortion. Now he warns Christians who are silent on the issue that they do not have the option of picking and choosing which social issues to support.
In his latest book, Counter Culture: A Compassionate Call to Counter Culture in a World of Poverty, Homosexuality, Racism, Sex Slavery and other Social Issues, Platt admits that for a time he avoided speaking up about abortion because of its status as a wedge issue.
But the Bible helped him realize that "Before it's ever a political issue, this is a God issue." Now he says when it comes to the unborn, "What we believe about who God is and how God creates doesn't leave room for political or moral neutrality on abortion." more >>
Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, joined Father Gerald Murray of New York on Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor" Tuesday night to encourage Americans of all faiths to contact the White House and demand that the Obama administration call out radical Islam and take action to defeat the Islamic State terrorist organization.
"This is a part of a disturbing pattern," Jeffress said when asked by Bill O'Reilly what he made of Obama's initial refusal to call the ISIS beheading victims Coptic Christians [until he publically acknowledged that the 21 Egyptian men were Christians and not just "citizens" in a Wednesday LA Times op-ed].
Jeffress continued, "This president is continually lecturing us that we're not in a religious war against Islam, and while that's true, it's time for the president to get off of his high horse and acknowledge that radical Islam is in a religious war against us. Until we understand that, we won't understand where this is headed." more >>
An amendment to the rules of the United States' largest Presbyterian denomination to recognize gay marriage has gained considerable support in its regional bodies, with 51 of 172 presbyteries already voting in favor of redefining marriage to include same-sex couples. The denomination's remaining presbyteries having until June to cast their votes to make the final decision.
Over the weekend several presbyteries belonging to Presbyterian Church (USA) voted to approve Amendment 14-F, which would change the denomination's definition of marriage to include same-sex couples.