Cosmetic surgery procedures are on the rise across the United States, with an estimated 15.6 million procedures in 2014, a 3 percent increase from the previous year. While it remains unknown what percentage of Christians make up the millions undergoing these vanity procedures each year, believers who've suffered from botched surgeries are now declaring the practice sinful, but not everyone agrees.
Earlier this month, an annual report released by The American Society of Plastic Surgeons revealed that more Americans are turning to cosmetic surgery procedures to enhance their appearance. Procedures like breast augmentations, facelifts and liposuction are among the top surgical procedures for cosmetic surgery enthusiasts striving for perfect beauty.
For Christians like Brazilian model Andressa Urach, who almost lost her life due to a botched surgery in December last year, she has seen the light and now believes that cosmetic surgery is a sin because God told her so. more >>
Close to 100 evangelical and Roman Catholic leaders in the U.S. have united in a message calling on Christians to act on their "moral obligation" to fight climate change, which they also called a pro-life issue, following on Pope Francis' environmental encyclical released last week.
"As Catholic and evangelical leaders, we are deeply inspired by Pope Francis' encyclical addressing our shared responsibility to be prudent stewards of creation. Pope Francis has issued a bold call to action, and the clock is ticking on a challenge that requires a collective effort in service of the global common good," the religious leaders said in a full-page advertisement on the back page of Politico.
"As citizens of the most powerful nation in human history, we have a unique responsibility to promote sustainable development, reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and build a thriving culture of life that protects human dignity," they added. more >>
Pope Francis has spent time praying before the Shroud of Turin in a two-day visit to the city this weekend, joining hundreds of thousands who in the past two months have stopped to pay their respects to what some believe is the burial cloth of Jesus Christ.
Although the Vatican has never publicly declared whether it considers the shroud an actual relic belonging to Jesus, Francis told the audience at mass in Turin that the cloth is an "icon of love."
"The shroud attracts toward the face and the martyred body of Jesus and at the same time pushes us toward the face of those who suffer or are unjustly persecuted," he said, according to Catholic Herald. more >>
Several evangelical groups have praised Pope Francis' major encyclical on the environment released on Thursday, which warns that climate change is real and is impacting all of God's creation, including impoverished people in different corners of the world. Francis said that it's wrong to treat nature and other living creatures as "mere objects" for "human domination."
"We are grateful that the pope has joined with over 300 Evangelicals like Rick Warren, Rich Stearns, and Bill Hybels, and other Christian leaders who understand climate change is the greatest moral challenge of our time and the greatest opportunity for hope. It's time to make hope happen by fueling the unstoppable clean energy transition, stopping the ideological battles, and working together," said in a statement Rev. Mitch Hescox, president & CEO, Evangelical Environmental Network.
"Creating a new energy economy that benefits all and addresses climate change is not about a political party but living as a disciple of Jesus Christ. We urge all people of good will, especially fellow Christian conservatives, to read and study these timely words from Pope Francis." more >>
A Baptist theologian, who's spent years studying the works of leading Mormon scholars, said he has noticed a shift in "Mormonism" that can potentially lead to the the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints one day being viewed as a Christian denomination, much like what occurred in the evolution of the Worldwide Church of God.
Although many evangelical critics belonging to mainline Christian denominations view the LDS Church as less-than-Christian, Roger Olson, who's a theology professor at Baylor University's George W. Truett Theological Seminary in Waco, Texas, wrote in a recent blog post on Patheos.com that through his studies of the Mormon faith and discussion with various LDS leaders, "there is no doubt" in his mind that there is a "discernible" evolution of Mormonism that is leading it to a "more biblical" account of Jesus and salvation.
"There is no doubt in my mind that something is going on in the LDS Church and Mormonism, in general, that constitutes a gradual but discernible shift away from those doctrines most anti-Mormon Christian critics like to highlight toward a somewhat more biblical and even evangelical account of Christ and salvation," Olson, who's also a Baptist minister, wrote. more >>
The largest Protestant denomination in the United States has passed a resolution stating that marriage is between one man and one woman regardless of what the U.S. Supreme Court concludes later this month.
Messengers for the Southern Baptist Convention voted Tuesday afternoon in favor of Resolution 5, which among other things, prayerfully calls for the Supreme Court to "uphold the right of the citizens to define marriage as exclusively the union of one man and one woman."