This weekend I was in Charleston for the first service at Emanuel AME Church after the brutal white supremacist terrorist attack of this past week. Walking around downtown, I was struck by the unity of the city.
People stood before the church, singing. The town's churches displayed signs of solidarity and rang their bells together in unison. And the one thing I heard talked about more than anything else was forgiveness, specifically the way the families of the victims said they forgave the terrorist even after the murder of their loved ones. Some saw this as commendable; others were taken aback.
On the one hand, this sort of forgiveness is the reaction most people would hope they would have to evil. At the same time, most of the people who talked about this with me said they couldn't imagine that they could forgive such a thing. Some even wondered if the note of forgiveness was morally right. After all, they reasoned, this is a murderer who should be brought to justice. more >>
Where sin abounds grace does much more abound. I'm confident that Charleston, SC won't become the next Ferguson or Baltimore despite the president or his Justice Departments egging it on. There are simply too many praying people in "the holy city" of Charleston. The people of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church led by Reverend Clementa Pinckney have bared a tragedy no one should endure, and yet the church of Christ is showing the world how to unite in the midst of tragedy and grief. Having said that, it's time for the church to rise up and be intolerant of evil racists everywhere whether their name is Dylann Storm Roof or Barack Hussein Obama!
I can only imagine what must have crossed Dylann Roof's mind as he observed the riots of Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland unfold. A psychopathic racist fueled by hate took in the visual stimuli that would serve as the clarion call for race wars in his evil mind. Every single chant of "hands up, don't shoot," and "no justice, no peace" would only embolden him. Maybe the president would come in and speak words of peace - calm the storm. He didn't. Instead he used identity politics to federalize local police departments. In Dylann Roofs mind, blacks were taking over and the time to stop them was now.
Two "isms" helped to create Dylann Roof...racism and leftism. In today's society we're no longer challenged to consider moral cause and effect. We've removed God from the public square and replaced Him with Instagram and Twitter. Every millennial wants to be famous for something even if it's evil or mundane, and as evidenced by the victim he left behind "to tell the world what happened," he wanted to be famous for murdering blacks. Obama didn't shoot the gun, but by creating an atmosphere of racial division, he certainly has contributed to the mindset that brings out the worst in racist of all colors. more >>
Joel Osteen, best-selling author and pastor of one of America's fastest-growing churches, led tens of thousands of worshipers in an emotional prayer this past Sunday for survivors and family members of the nine people killed in a Charleston, South Carolina, church massacre last week.
His voice halting at times, the Lakewood Church pastor prayed for his "brothers and sisters in Charleston" for about 40 seconds as he stood on the large stage of the massive Houston, Texas, church, his arms held high and his eyes shut tightly.
"Lord, we lift up all those that are going through loss, those that are hurting, our friends, brothers and sisters in Charleston. Through that loss, Lord, we just ask You to comfort those. Lord, let them feel Your presence, Your power, Your goodness, Your mercy," Osteen began. more >>
Both of South Carolina's U.S. senators, Tim Scott and Lindsey Graham, and the state's governor, Nikki Haley, called for the removal of a Confederate flag display on the grounds of the state capitol.
At a press conference held Monday afternoon surround by other high-ranking elected officials, Haley said that while the flag was "an integral part of our past" that it must be moved.
"It's time to move the flag from the capitol grounds," said Haley, whose comments brought about a lengthy round of applause. more >>
Answers in Genesis CEO and President Ken Ham has responded to the shooting last week that killed nine people at a Charleston church Bible study by claiming that the Bible teaches humans are one race, and there is no such thing as black or white people.
"Answers in Genesis has a great short animated video that explains that there is only one race, and there are no black people or white people — we are all varying shades of the same basic color (a pigment called melanin)," Ham said on his Facebook page, linking to the video.
"This brief animated feature explains all of this in an easy to understand way, showing observational science confirms the Bible's history that we are all one race, all descendants of Adam. It was the event of the Tower of Babel that resulted in different people groups (NOT races) and the minor exterior differences we see in the human race today." more >>
I came to Christ 45 years ago. What drew me was the love of a black man who picked me up and gave me a lift after my car broke down on the freeway. Before exiting the car he invited me to attend his church. Because of his kindness, I went to a little storefront church in the inner city of Cleveland where I was impacted by the witness of about 30 black brothers and sisters who loved God and me, the only white guy there.
My description may sound similar to that of the young, terrorist killer in the Charleston, South Carolina church last Wednesday evening. He admitted afterwards that the love of the people so affected him that he almost changed his mind about his diabolical plan. Unfortunately he didn't, but what followed this heinous act are unmistakable examples of true Christianity. Was it also a sign of how people of faith should respond to increased persecution in the days before us?
In Hebrews chapter 11 there is what is often referred to as "God's Hall of Fame." Describing the adversity and even martyrdom of exemplary people, it says, "the world was not worthy of them" (Heb. 11:38). Might this be an accurate way to characterize the lives of those who perished and their loved ones' responses in the wake of this disaster? And shouldn't what we witnessed change our lives for the better if we follow their example of faith and forgiveness? more >>