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Weekly briefing: Ravi Zacharias dies, Trump calls churches 'essential,' pro-lifers on 'Jane Roe'

Weekly briefing: Ravi Zacharias dies, Trump calls churches 'essential,' pro-lifers on 'Jane Roe'

Ravi Zacharias speaks at Together 2016 in Washington, D.C. | RZIM

We've compiled the top stories of the week. Here's what you need to know:

Apologist Ravi Zacharias dies after cancer battle; many pay tribute

Prominent Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias died Tuesday after battling cancer. He was 74.

Tributes for the influential thinker poured in from pastors, evangelists, lay persons as well as Vice President Mike Pence.

“Ravi Zacharias resurrected the faith of many doubters and illuminated the truth for many skeptics. He articulated the validity of the Christian faith better than anyone I know.” — Jentezen Franklin, Free Chapel

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Trump calls churches ‘essential,’ want them to reopen

Amid ongoing lawsuits and debates over restrictions on church gatherings, President Donald Trump said Thursday that he considers churches “essential” and said governors are hurting their states by keeping them closed.

He said he spoke with the CDC about guidelines for houses of worship to reopen. 

“Churches, to me, they are so important in terms of the psyche of our country.” — Trump

His comments come after First Pentecostal Church of Holly Springs in Mississippi, which filed a lawsuit against a town ban on worship gatherings, was destroyed by a fire Wednesday. Investigators believe it to be an act of arson. The phrase “Bet you stay home now you hypokrits” was found spray painted in the parking lot.

Meanwhile, Catoosa Baptist Tabernacle in Georgia, decided to close again after learning that several families contracted COVID-19. The church had restarted in-person services late April.

Pro-lifers slam documentary claiming ‘Jane Roe’ was paid to be pro-life

FX is releasing a new documentary on Friday that claims Norma McCorvey, the famed woman behind the 1973 landmark Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion, was paid to become a pro-life activist later in her life.

Pro-lifers who have known her for many years, including Father Frank Pavone, rejected the claim, arguing that McCorvey was sincere about her beliefs.

“She spent more years trying to overturn Roe v. Wade than she spent as a pro-abortion activist … There is no way her Christian faith or her pro-life beliefs were false.” — Operation Rescue President Troy Newman

Christians win ‘American Idol,’ ‘The Voice’

Two Christians, including a pastor, who have not been shy about their faith, swept the popular singing competitions “American Idol” and “The Voice” this week.

Samantha Diaz, also known as Just Sam, was crowned the winner of “American Idol.” Her final performance of “You Say” was a duet with Christian artist Lauren Daigle. 

Todd Tilghman, pastor of Cornerstone Church in Mississippi, won “The Voice” after singing MercyMe’s “I Can Only Imagine.”

“I sure am grateful for every moment.” — Tilghman

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Aimee Byrd on why the Church needs to focus more on discipleship than ‘biblical manhood and womanhood’

Small churches hit by pandemic: We’re in this for the souls

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8 Christians in India who were arrested while packing relief supplies

Thomas Nelson

New releases

Album:

Freedom EP by Tommy Payne (May 22)

Books:

Corona Crisis: Plagues, Pandemics, and the Coming Apocalypse by Mark Hitchcock (May 19)

Chasing a God You Don’t Want to Catch by Darren Wilson (May 12)

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