Regional bodies of the United Methodist Church do not believe they are violating denominational rules on ordination by no longer questioning clergy candidates on matters of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
As part of the divisive debate over homosexuality within the UMC, some regional bodies, or Annual Conferences, have had their Boards of Ordained Ministry waive the consideration of a clergy candidate's sexual orientation.
Pastor Perry Noble of NewSpring megachurch in South Carolina has revealed that he received an invitation to attend the highly publicized meeting of 500 evangelical leaders with Donald Trump in New York on June 21, but is turning it down.
Noble explained in an article on his website that he initially thought Trump was a "political fad that would pass the wind," but like many others turned out to be wrong, as the billionaire businessman looks set to capture the Republican presidential nomination.
"Now evangelical leaders say they want to meet with him — almost as if he has to prove himself to us," the pastor noted, referring to Trump agreeing to meet with 500 top evangelical and social conservative leaders in a closed-door event in June in New York, to ascertain what he has to offer to the country. more >>
An atheist group has filed a complaint against a Wisconsin-based Christian school for its decision to punish students who openly express transgender or homosexual behaviors.
St. John's Lutheran School of Baraboo, which receives federal funding for certain student aid programs, informed parents earlier this year that they reserve the right to punish homosexuality and transgender activity.
Patrick Elliot of the Madison-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, the largest atheist organization in the United States, filed a complaint earlier this month against the school before the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. more >>
A conservative Anglican leader stated that Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby's recent comments on evangelism are "half-right."
At an interfaith event held in London earlier this month, the head of the 88 million-member Anglican Communion drew a line between evangelism and proselytizing by saying: "I draw the line in terms of respect for the other; in starting by listening before you speak; in terms of love that is unconditional and not conditional to one iota, to one single element on how the person responds to your own declaration of faith; and of not speaking about faith unless you are asked about faith," said Welby, according to the Telegraph.
"I draw a pretty sharp line, it is all based around loving the person you are dealing with which means you seek their wellbeing and you respect their identity and their integrity." more >>
Belief in eternal punishment in a literal hell is declining among Christians in America. By contrast, belief in heaven is in great shape.
In a National Geographic article published earlier this month and now making the rounds among Christians, writer Mark Strauss outlines the shifting Christian perspective toward believing that those who don't accept Christ die a spiritual death as well as a mortal one instead of being punished eternally in hell.
Noting a 13 percentage point drop over the past 20 years in Americans who believe in a fiery underworld, the author notes that the stats present "a conundrum that continues to tug at the conscience of some Christians, who find it difficult to reconcile the existence of a just, loving God with a doctrine that dooms billions of people to eternal punishment." more >>
Pastor Saeed Abedini suggests that while Christians shouldn't be speculating when exactly Jesus Christ will return to Earth, at the same time they should be aware that the "last hour" might be approaching.
"We are living in a sobering moment in history that calls us, as believers in Jesus Christ, to take a stand with Israel. We could be people of the last hour. We are not to be passive in the face of prophecy; we are called to pray with passion, to intercede, and to minister according to the Words of the Savior who said it is not our task to speculate when the end will be," Abedini wrote in a Facebook message on Sunday.
"If you are looking forward to Yeshua's second coming, when the world as we know it will change, then you want to stand with Israel. You will help us spread the Good News of Yeshua's love to the Jewish people who are being awakened, whose eyes are being opened and whose hearts are being changed today like never before," he added. more >>