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March 17, 2020: Worshipers move online, St. Patrick film, Vietnamese Christian freed

March 17, 2020: Worshipers move online, St. Patrick film, Vietnamese Christian freed

Tuesday, March 17, 2020:

Here are the latest headlines, brought to you by The Christian Post.

— Churches empty as worshipers move online

Over the weekend, many churches in the U.S. sat empty as in-person worship services were canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak. President Donald Trump joined hundreds of thousands of Christians who worshiped online through livestreaming.

Pastor Jentezen Franklin of Free Chapel Church in Georgia and Pastor Miles McPherson of Rock Church in California both preached about choosing faith over fear.

— St. Patrick’s Day: Film on the saint in theaters for 2 days

With St. Patrick’s Day commonly associated with beer, shamrocks and casting snakes out of Ireland, a new film tells the true story of the saint who singlehandedly brought Christianity to Ireland.

“I Am Patrick: The Patron Saint of Ireland” is in theaters for two days only, March 17 and 18. Starring "Lord of the Rings" star John Rhys-Davies, the film shows viewers how Patrick sacrificed everything to be a missionary in a country where he was enslaved.

— Christian in Vietnam released after nearly 16 years in jail

A Christian in Vietnam, named Y Ngun Knul, was recently released from prison after spending nearly 16 years in prison.

He had been arrested for launching protests against the closure of a Protestant church and for advocating for religious freedom.

Though he is free now, he struggles with poor health due to years of incarceration.

— Retiring megachurch pastor opens up about struggles with anger

The former pastor of Minnesota’s largest church, Bob Merritt, who retired early this month, opened up about how he struggled with anger during a time when his church was growing rapidly.

Merritt led Eagle Brook Church for over 30 years and helped it to grow from 300 attendees to over 50,000, including those who watch online. But he “wasn’t doing well” under the workload from leading a growing church and also teaching at Bethel Seminary.

He found himself constantly angry at staff and at home. With the help of a counselor, he broke down when he heard from his 15-year-old, who said, “I just want to know why my dad's angry all the time.”

Merritt made changes in his life and credit counseling for saving both his career and marriage.

— Professor punished for refusing to use transgender pronouns appeals case

A Christian philosophy professor at Shawnee State University in Ohio who was punished for objecting to using opposite sex pronouns when addressing a trans-identified student is appealing his case.

The appeal comes after a federal judge dismissed Nicholas Meriwether’s lawsuit, who argued that he was unlawfully disciplined.

His attorney, Senior Counsel Travis Barham of Alliance Defending Freedom, said the professor’s First Amendment freedoms should be protected and that he should not be forced to express ideological beliefs that he does not hold.

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