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."
Pope Francis has hit back against those who say that focusing on the poor is a sign of communism, by stating in a speech that caring for the less fortunate is part of the Christian Gospel. He also said that if "faith doesn't reach your pockets, it is not a genuine faith."
Vatican Radio reported that Francis made the comments during mass on Tuesday in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where he said: "Oh, this priest speaks about poverty too much, this bishop talks about poverty, this Christian, this sister talk about poverty. Well, they're a bit communist, aren't they?"
The Roman Catholic Church leader asserted that "poverty is at the very center of the Gospel: If we remove poverty from the Gospel, no one would be able to understand anything about the message of Jesus." more >>
Jewish author Avi Lipkin claimed Monday that "all" churches in America have been infiltrated by Muslim spies who frequently pretend to have found Christ but are really looking to provide intelligence to radical Muslims who will try to kill all Jews and Christians when jihad is ordered upon the U.S.
Lipkin, who has authored a number of books critical of radical Islam, frequently speaks at Christian churches around the U.S. to emphasize the importance of unity between the Jewish and Christian communities in standing against the advance of radical Islam. Lipkin, who immigrated from New York to Israel in 1968, spoke at this week's Future Conference held at Skyline Church in San Diego where he proclaimed that the world is facing the "most interesting" biblical period since the days of Jesus Christ and contended that the coming of the Messiah is just around the corner.
"We are realizing with our own very eyes fulfillment of more Bible prophecy than in any other generation in 2,000 years," Lipkin asserted. "I believe the Messiah is in our time and I believe Israel will realize its borders." more >>