Southern Baptist Convention Offers to Cover Funeral Expenses for All 26 Church Shooting Victims

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHRISTIAN POST AND FOX NEWS)

 

Southern Baptist Convention Offers to Cover Funeral Expenses for All 26 Church Shooting Victims

(PHOTOS: FAMILY PHOTOS VIA NBC NEWS)Eighteen of the 26 victims who were fatally shot by Devin Kelley at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, on November 5, 2017. They are (1st row L-R) Bryan Holcombe, Karla Holcombe, Crystal Holcombe, Brook Ward, Marc Daniel “Danny” Holcombe, Richard Rodriguez; (2nd row L-R) Annabelle Pomeroy, Greg Hill, Joann Ward, Emily Garza, Tara McNulty and Shani Corrigan; (3rd row L-R) Emily Hill, Haley Krueger, Noah Holcombe, Sara Johnson, Dennis and Megan Hill.

The North American Mission Board, the domestic missions agency of the Southern Baptist Convention, has offered to cover the funeral expenses for the families of the 26 people killed inside the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, at the hands of Devin Kelley on Sunday.

The NAMB confirmed the offer in a Baptist Press report on Monday.

SBC President Steve Gaines also confirmed on Twitter Tuesday that he, along with SBC Executive Committee President Frank S. Page, visited with Sutherland Spring’s Pastor Frank Pomeroy and his wife, Sherri, who lost their daughter, Annabelle, in the massacre.

“Just spent a few hours with @RichardsJim@frankpagesbc with Pastor Frank Pomeroy and his wife, Sherri, here in Sutherland Springs. Godly people,” Gaines said.

As the tragedy unfolded on Sunday, Gaines, who leads Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee, said his congregation felt led to pray for the Sutherland Springs church and he felt a need to help in their time of grief.

“Yesterday as we prayed at Bellevue for the families of those slain and also the others who were wounded at First Baptist Church, Sutherland Springs, I sensed the need to go there and try to minister to the pastor and his wife and their devastated congregation,” Gaines said.

(PHOTO: REUTERS/JONATHAN BACHMAN)A woman places flowers at a memorial in memory of the victims killed in the shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, November 7, 2017.

“I discussed it with Frank Page and Jim Richards, and we all agreed to go and help any way we possibly can. Our Southern Baptist family grieves with this beloved church and the community it serves. Our prayers are ascending steadily to God’s throne of grace. May God bring healing and hope to those that are hurting,” he said.

As the small congregation worshiped at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs on Sunday, Kelley, 26, began firing his Ruger AR-556 rifle inside the building shortly after the 11 a.m. service began.

Within minutes, 26 people were dead and at least 20 others were left with serious injuries The New York Times reported. At least eight members of one family including a pregnant mother were killed. Nearly half of the deceased are children.

Police say Kelley unleashed about 450 rounds of ammunition on the helpless congregation and survivors say the deranged shooter who later killed himself expressed an intention to execute the entire congregation.

Roseanne Solis, one of the survivors of the church massacre, told KSAT 12 that the congregation was singing a new song when Kelley interrupted the praise with gunfire and declared that everyone was going to die.

“I hear firecrackers popping. Ta-ta-ta,” she recalled before someone screamed at the church members to take cover.

“Everybody started screaming, yelling. Everyone got down, crawling under wherever they could hide,” Solis said. “It was so scary. He was shooting hard.”

She explained that she got shot in the left shoulder and watched as other church members started falling to the floor, bleeding and in shock.

Things got quiet briefly inside the church after the first barrage of bullets but quickly deteriorated again when Kelley told everyone they would die.

“I thought it was the police when he went inside because everyone got real quiet. Everyone was saying ‘Be quiet. It’s him. It’s him.'” Then he yelled out, ‘Everybody dies [expletive],’ and Kelley started shooting again.

David Brown, whose mother was sitting in the back pew of the church, told Fox 31, that Kelley went from pew to pew to exact his mission to kill everyone.

Solis’ husband, Joaquin Ramirez, who was also inside the church at the time of the attack, said even though the church members were urging each other to keep quiet as the gunman hunted for survivors the children couldn’t stop crying.

Kelley found them, he said, and shot them at point-blank range. About half of the 26 victims from the massacre are children.

Heroic Mother Died Shielding Own Children in Texas Church Slaughter

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHRISTIAN POST AND FOX NEWS)

 

Heroic Mother Died Shielding Own Children in Texas Church Slaughter: ‘She Was Epitome of Christ’

(SCREENSHOT: FOX NEWS)Vonda Smith, a close friend of slain mother Joann Ward, speaks with Fox News on November 8, 2017.

Three of the 26 victims in Sunday’s mass church shooting in Texas were a mother and two of her young daughters, though the woman’s two other children reportedly survived only because she sacrificed her life for them, a family friend has said.

Vonda Smith, a close friend of slain mother Joann Ward, told Fox News in an interview on Wednesday that she spoke with 9-year-old Rihanna, one of Ward’s children that survived the shooting at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs.

“The first thing she told me was that the reason she didn’t get shot like everybody else was that her momma threw her on the ground and told her to hide,” Smith said.

“As soon as she threw her on the ground, she scooped up her other three that were sitting next to her in a pew — Ryland, who’s 5, and Brooke, who’s 5, and Emily, who’s 7 — and she immediately covered them with her body. And that’s exactly how Rihanna described it.”

While Rihanna and Ryland survived the attack, Emily and Brooke died alongside their mother.

Smith explained that her friend was strong in her relationship with Jesus, and would tell people to “live for Christ, no matter what.”

“She was dragging people to Church. She was begging her best friend, Cody, to go to Sunday school with her. That was her heart,” Smith recalled.

The family friend noted that the community is not surprised at Ward’s ultimate sacrifice for her children.

“If they needed anything, it was [at] the drop of a hat. It was about her children. And that’s Joann’s heart,” she said. “It’s the thing that you hear sometimes parents say, but you never think they’ll have to. She said, ‘I would die for my children.’ And she ended up having to do that, in the very end.”

“She loved them so. And she gave it up for them ultimately,” Smith continued. “She was the epitome of Christ.”

The tragic stories from Sunday’s shooting carried out by 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley that has shaken Christians across the country continue flowing in.

Pastor Frank Pomeroy of First Baptist Church and his wife, Sherri, were away on the day of the shooting but revealed that their 14-year-old daughter was among the victims.

Sherri Pomeroy said in a statement that the church was not composed of “members or parishioners,” but was a “very close family.”

“We ate together, we laughed together, we cried together, and we worshiped together. Now, most of our church family is gone, our building is probably beyond repair and the few of us that are left behind lost tragically yesterday,” the pastor’s wife said.

“As senseless as this tragedy was, our sweet Belle would not have been able to deal with losing so much family,” she said, referring to her daughter.

On Monday it emerged that a pregnant mother and three of her five young children, along with several other members of her extended family, were all killed in the shooting.

Crystal Holcombe was killed within minutes of the attack, alongside her children Emily, Megan and Greg, with her father-in-law, his wife, her brother-in-law and his 18-month-old daughter being among the victims as well.

Michele Hill, Holcombe’s aunt, said in a GoFundMe campaign message:

“Through all the pain we still hold on to the unshakable truth that we serve a mighty and just GOD. HE is on HIS throne and is kneeling down to hear our prayers and is collecting each and every tear we shed. We do not mourn their death because we are unsure of where they are, we mourn the loss of their presence in our lives. We have no doubt that their last breath here was their first breath in the presence of our GOD and HE welcomed them with open arms.”

Follow Stoyan Zaimov on Facebook: CPSZaimov

Mike Pence on Critics Slamming Prayer After Church Shooting: ‘We Need to Cover Families in Prayer’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHRISTIAN POST)

 

Mike Pence on Critics Slamming Prayer After Church Shooting: ‘We Need to Cover Families in Prayer’

(PHOTO: REUTERS/MARY F. CALVERT)U. S. Vice President Mike Pence addresses Chamber of Commerce ”Invest in America!” summit in Washington U.S., on May 18, 2017.

Vice President Mike Pence has responded to critics who have questioned the usefulness of prayer following Sunday’s mass shooting at a church in Texas which left 26 people dead.

“Right now I truly believe that covering those families in prayers are making a difference in their lives, and it will continue to support those families and that community in the days ahead,” Pence told Fox News in an interview on Tuesday.

Online debate has unfurled across Twitter and other platforms in the wake of the massacre at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, with some suggesting that prayer does not work if it can’t protect Christians at church.

“I’m a believer. I believe in prayer and I know that at this moment of such heartbreak and loss in that community that what most Americans are most able to do is pray for those families,” Pence said.

The vice president added, however, that prayer takes “nothing away from our determination … to get to the bottom of what happened, to understand the why, to determine whether or not there were errors along the way.”

Authorities are investigating if and in what way existing laws and background checks were not properly applied to shooter Devin Kelley, who illegally purchased the guns he used in Sunday’s attack.

House Speaker Paul Ryan also told Fox News in a separate interview on Monday that he stands by his offers of prayer, even though he was specifically targeted for his tweets.

Former “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “Stand By Me” actor Wil Wheaton lashed out and wrote in response to Ryan’s prayer tweet earlier this week: “The murdered victims were in a church. If prayers did anything, they’d still be alive, you worthless sack of [expletive].”

Wheaton later apologized and explained he wasn’t trying to attack people of faith, through prayer continues being criticized in debates online.

“It’s disappointing. It’s sad, and this is what you’ll get from the far secular left. People who do not have faith, don’t understand faith, I guess I’d have to say,” Ryan told Fox.

He added: “And it is the right thing to do, is to pray in moments like this because you know what? Prayer works.”

The House speaker blamed the “secular left” for much of the “polarization and disunity” in the country due to sentiments like that.

Prominent pastors, such as Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside and Irvine, California, told The Christian Post on Monday that while it is hard to understand God’s role in tragedies like church shootings, prayer is far from ineffective.

“The Bible does not promise anyone a pain-free life. In fact, Jesus Himself said, ‘In this world, you will have tribulation’ (John 16:33). Here is what I do know: these people that were gathered for worship at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, believed in and loved Jesus Christ,” Laurie added.

He said that the victims are now in God’s presence, “where there is ‘fullness of joy’ and ‘pleasures forevermore’ (Psalm 16:11). All of their questions are answered; our questions will have to wait.”

Pastor Ronnie Floyd, president of National Day of Prayer and senior pastor at Cross Church in Northwest Arkansas, separately told CP:

“In this fallen world when the spirit of evil is raging, all things that happen are not good. Yet, our faith and hope remains in God alone. When we pray we are depending on God for strength; when we do not pray, we choose to depend upon ourselves which always lead to unbelief.”

‘Unbelief’ and ‘Comfortable’ Christianity Fueling Millennial Interest in Occult

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHRISTIAN POST)

 

‘Unbelief’ and ‘Comfortable’ Christianity Fueling Millennial Interest in Occult, Astrology, Pastors Say

(IMAGE: EDWARD HENRY CORBOULD)

millennial’s are increasingly exploring and turning to occultist spirituality and astrology, as statistics continue showing rising numbers of “nones,” those who do not identify with any particular faith. This is in part due to a mindset of fear and unbelief and comfortable Christianity, some pastors say.

Market Watch reported Monday that the psychic services industry grew 2 percent between the years of 2011 and 2016, an industry now worth approximately $2 billion. Also in recent years, according to Pew, the percentage of people ages 18-29 who “never doubt the existence of God” dropped from 81 percent in 2007 to 67 percent in 2012.

Pastors who spoke with The Christian Post believe the lack of spiritual power and a “comfortable” Christianity in the Church has created a vacuum of sorts, and a mindset of fear has constricted the real power of the Holy Spirit.

“Though some churches do explore the mystical realities of the spiritual realm, they are often marginalized due to misunderstandings or possible lack of biblical integrity,” said Wanda Alger, field correspondent with intercessor’s for America and a pastor at Crossroads Community Church in Winchester, Virginia, in a CP interview Thursday.

“At the same time, the devil can’t do anything new.”

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(PHOTO: RACHEL ALGER)Wanda Alger, staff writer at intercessor’s for America

She noted that Ecclesiastes 3:11 states that God has “put eternity into man’s heart” and because human beings are made in God’s image and God is Spirit, “our very DNA connects us to the spiritual realm.” Therefore, we have a “natural” desire to know what’s happening in that realm because we were created from it, she added, pointing to how God breathed life into Adam in the creation account and how in John 4:24 Jesus said the Father seeks those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth.

“Unfortunately, unless the church provides the proper context for this reality, unbelievers will look elsewhere to satisfy their spiritual hunger,” Alger said.

All other experiences with the spiritual realm — be they from psychics, astrological, or mediums — she continued, are counterfeits, replacing something that is very real and powerful. She mentioned that Hollywood is exploiting this realm with greater attention on the supernatural nowadays which leads unsuspecting seekers into deceptive experiences that yield more spiritual darkness.

“Rather than deeming everything that is supernatural ‘demonic,’ the church needs to wake up to the reality of this realm and begin to approach it from a Kingdom perspective which understands its place and purpose,” Alger stressed.

“The sad thing is that these millennial’s who are exploring the dark side of the supernatural have more faith and belief than most Christians. Because they are open and spiritually hungry, the spirit realm responds. The biggest hindrance to understanding the realities of the Spirit realm is unbelief,” she emphasized.

Ken Thornberg, executive director of Freedom Encounters, an interdenominational equipping and deliverance ministry in Boise, Idaho, concurs.

“By and large, the church does not operate in power,” Thornberg said, “and it actually operates with a lot of unbelief. We don’t want to rock the boat.”

Churches have gotten too comfortable, he stressed.

“We like our tithes and offerings and we can’t afford to lose them and the Enemy has convinced the leadership of the Church that if they begin to walk in signs, wonders, miracles, and healing that it is going to turn people away, when history has shown that exactly the opposite occurs.”

He has observed youth who meet people involved in the occult, witchcraft, and New Age spirituality, who hear stories of supernatural power and are intrigued. “But these are nothing but imitations of what the Holy Spirit can do in people’s lives,” he said.

“But the youth don’t know that because they have not been taught or they have not experienced it. But they want to.”

When Thornberg recounts to youth testimonies of the Holy Spirit’s power and work in the world that he has seen personally, they are wide-eyed and engaged. Many pastors, however, do not go near this out of fear, he noted.

“But my Bible says that the Enemy is the author of fear,” he said.

“When millennials see the faith and the power and the excitement of others in the occult, they don’t see fear, they see curiosity” and an invitation to do exciting things, when such language ought to be coming out of the leadership of the Body of Christ, he said.

He believes that churches cannot afford to ignore the demonic realm especially since in the last several years it has come into the observable dimension of human events.

Alger added: “In our attempt to be Biblical accurate and doctrinally guarded, the church has ended up operating in more doubt and fear than faith. That’s one reason Jesus said, ‘When I return, will I find faith on the earth?'” (Luke 18:8)

17 Year Old Boy Beaten To Death In His Pakistani Classroom Because He Was A Christian

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHRISTIAN POST)

 

A Christian boy, who was doing well in his studies despite being from a poor home, was beaten to death by his Muslim classmates inside his school in Pakistan’s Punjab Province. The victim’s parents say he was targeted for being a Christian soon after he joined the school.”You’re a Christian; don’t dare sit with us if you want to live,” a Muslim student had once told the victim, Sharoon Masih, who was studying at MC Model Boys Government High School in the Vehari area in Punjab, according to the British Pakistani Christian Association, which has reported on the killing.

Masih was beaten up by several students on Aug. 27, his fourth day at the school. He died on the spot, inside the classroom.

The attacking students were shouting insults at him while beating him, but no teacher or school staff came to his rescue.

The Head Teacher has been dismissed, and the prime suspect, a student identified as Muhammad Ahmed Rana, has been arrested.

The victim’s father, Elyab Masih, who works as a laborer in a brick kiln, had saved his hard-earned money for the admission of his son.

The victim’s mother, Riaz Bibi, said her son had been warned by his peers not to mix with Muslims at the school. She said her son was called a “chura,” a derogatory term which refers to the people who belong to the lowest caste, according to the hierarchy in some South Asian societies.

Some even tried to convert the boy to Islam, Bibi said.

“My son was a kind-hearted, hard-working and affable boy,” the mother was quoted as saying. “He has always been loved by teachers and pupils alike and shared great sorrow that he was being targeted by students at his new school because of his faith.

“Sharoon and I cried every night as he described the daily torture he was subjected to. He only shared details about the violence he was facing. He did not want to upset his father because he had such a caring heart for others.

“The evil boys that hated my child are now refusing to reveal who else was involved in his murder. Nevertheless one day God will have His judgement.”

BPCA Chairperson Wilson Chowdhry said Christians are “despised and detested” in Pakistan.

The murder, he said, “serves only to remind us that hatred toward religious minorities is bred into the majority population at a young age, through cultural norms and a biased national curriculum.”

He added, “The government of Pakistan failed to remove offensive texts within their national curriculum despite it having being highlighted by the United States Commission for International Freedom and potentially being a bar to future foreign aid.”

Last month, a 16-year-old Christian boy in Pakistan was arrested for allegedly burning pages of the Quran, which under section 295-B of Pakistan’s penal code, could mean the death penalty.

USCIRF ranked Pakistan among the top five countries with the strictest blashpemy laws in the world in a recent report, and warned that such laws are often used to target religious minorities.

Marco Rubio Mocks Politico for Saying Proverbs Is Republican

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHRISTIAN POST)

Marco Rubio Mocks Politico for Saying Proverbs Is Republican

Jul 10, 2017 | 9:13 AM

(PHOTO: REUTERS/JIM YOUNG)U.S. Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., reads from the Bible at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, United States, July 18, 2015.

GOP Senator Marco Rubio of Florida blasted left-leaning media, Politico, which published an article commenting that he was tweeting “the most Republican part of the bible,” referring to his use of verses from the book of Proverbs in the Old Testament.

“Proverbs is the Republican part of the bible? I don’t think Solomon had yet joined the GOP when he wrote the first 29 chapters of Proverbs,” Rubio wrote, after an article in Politico said, “Each day, the Florida senator is quoting a verse from Proverbs, the GOP’s favorite part of the book.”

The article couldn’t stop Rubio from quoting Proverbs.

Hours after commenting on the Politico article, the senator’s tweet read, “Where words are many, sin is not wanting; but those who restrain their lips do well. Proverbs 10:19.”

The article quoted Rubio’s tweet from last month: “As dogs return to their vomit, so fools repeat their folly. Proverbs 26:11.”

The author, Joel B. Baden, professor of Hebrew Bible at Yale Divinity School, wrote that the senator had been tweeting bible verses since May 16.

“He has tweeted a biblical verse almost every day since then. Almost all of them come from the Old Testament, and specifically the book of Proverbs,” Baden wrote, remarking that “Proverbs is probably the most Republican book of the entire Bible.”

The author said other Republicans also like to quote Proverbs, citing Ben Carson as an example.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Carson “compared himself favorably to the blustery style of then-candidate Donald Trump by quoting Proverbs 22:4: ‘By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life.'”

Gerald Ford’s favorite Bible passage was Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust wholeheartedly in Yahweh [the Lord], put no faith in your own perception; in every course you take, have him in mind: He will see that your paths are smooth,” Baden added. “Ford repeated this when he served in the Navy during World War II, throughout his presidency and in his swearing-in.”

President Trump also likes the idea of Proverbs, the author went on to say, quoting from a September 2015 interview on CBN. Trump claimed in that interview that some of his most appreciated verses were from Proverbs, however, he said his favorite verse in Proverbs was “never bend to envy,” which doesn’t appear in Proverbs or anywhere else in the Bible.

“There is surely nothing wrong with a politician turning to the Bible for spiritual, ethical and moral guidance,” Baden wrote. “The Bible is the foundational text of Western civilization, after all. But concentrating exclusively on the parts of it that affirm one’s own perspective is a form of confirmation bias.”

Baden suggested Rubio should read and tweet from Ecclesiastes or from Prophet’s such as Amos: “Because you trample on the poor and take from them levies of grain, you have built houses of stone — but you shall not live in them” (Amos 5:11).

The author also quoted Leviticus 19:33–34, “When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not wrong him. The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love him as yourself.”

When Rubio first started posting Bible verses to Twitter, there were some negative reactions, which Rubio described as a “Twitter freak out.” One political blogger called the Bible verses “oddly terrifying.”

Shamefully The Southern Baptist Convention Failed To Condemn “Alt Right” Racism

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHRISTIAN POST)

The Southern Baptist Convention failed to pass a resolution aimed at condemning the “Alt Right” movement, with a new resolution being scheduled for debate on Wednesday afternoon.

(Photo: Screengrab/SBC Annual Meeting) Over 4,300 messengers came to the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting, held in Phoenix, Arizona, June 13, 2017.

During the first day of its annual meeting in Phoenix, Arizona on Tuesday, the SBC entertained a resolution meant to denounce the far right movement known as the “Alt Right.”

The Alt Right is a political movement generally associated with white nationalism and known for launching intense attacks on ideological enemies on social media.

(Photo: The Christian Post / Samuel Smith) White nationalist leader Richard Spencer takes questions from journalists during the Conservative Political Action Conference at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Oxon Hill, Maryland on Feb. 23, 2017.

At the end of their Tuesday meeting, SBC delegates failed to pass a resolution denouncing the Alt Right, with the Baptist Press noting that a new resolution is scheduled for a vote on Wednesday afternoon.

“The Resolutions Committee chose not to report out the proposal to messengers. An effort by the resolution’s author to bring the ‘alt-right’ measure to the floor failed in the afternoon session,” reported the Baptist Press.

“… a motion by another messenger in the evening session also fell short. Each motion required a two-thirds majority, and the evening vote received only 58 percent approval.”

William Dwight McKissic, an African-American Texas pastor, introduced a draft resolution denouncing the Alt Right last month.

“… there has arisen in the United States a growing menace to political order and justice that seeks to reignite social animosities, reverse improvements in race relations, divide our people, and foment hatred, classism, and ethnic cleansing,” read the draft.

“… this toxic menace, self-identified among some of its chief proponents as ‘White Nationalism’ and the ‘Alt-Right,’ must be opposed for the totalitarian impulses, xenophobic biases, and bigoted ideologies that infect the minds and actions of its violent disciples.”

Todd Benkert, messenger from East Lake Baptist Church in Crown Point, Indiana, posted on the blog SBC Voices on Wednesday that he feared the failure to pass the resolution was a “huge misstep.”

“I awoke this morning tired and frustrated that we didn’t, in fact, get it right. The world is watching. Our brothers and sisters of color are watching. They’re getting a mixed message,” wrote Benkert.

“Southern Baptists should be leading a lost world in racial unity and biblical reconciliation. Instead, we are once again caught flat-footed, communicating to the world that we just don’t get it and communicating to our fellow brothers and sisters of color that we don’t really care.”

SBC Resolutions Committee Chairman Barrett Duke explained to reporters that the Alt Right resolution failed because “we just didn’t see a way that we could speak to the multiple issues that were raised in that resolution in a way that we felt would be constructive,” adding that much of the proposal “already had been addressed recently.”

Russell Moore, president of the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said Wednesday morning on Twitter that he expects the SBC to “enthusiastically pass” the resolution. He also noted Alt Right ideologies are “anti-Christ and satanic to the core.”

Follow Michael Gryboski on Twitter or Facebook

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/southern-baptist-convention-resolution-denouncing-alt-right-white-nationalism-187909/#5rPYE87O0vdYwEwB.99

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/southern-baptist-convention-resolution-denouncing-alt-right-white-nationalism-187909/#fyArKKBRkBvC0Ak1.99

ISIS Murderers 2 Chinese Missionaries In Pakistan For Sharing The Gospel

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHRISTIAN POST)

ISIS Kills 2 Chinese Missionaries Accused of Violating Visa Rules in Pakistan by Sharing the Gospel

Jun 13, 2017

The Scottish Episcopal Church approves gay marriage
Pakistan’s interior ministry has said the two Chinese nationals who were kidnapped and killed by Islamic State-affiliated militants last month were preachers who allegedly violated their business visa rules.

(Screengrab: JustPaste.It) A masked ISIS militant reads the charges facing the two men tied to a cross, who were later shot in the back of the head for banditry, Mosul, Iraq.

According to Reuters, the terrorist-linked Amaq News Agency announced last Thursday that IS (also known as ISIS, ISIL or Daesh) was responsible for the killing of two Chinese nationals who were abducted last month in the Baluchistan province and were believed to be Mandarin language teachers.

“Islamic State fighters killed two Chinese people they had been holding in Baluchistan province, southwest Pakistan,” Amaq was quoted as announcing in a statement.

On Monday, the Pakistani government identified the two Chinese nationals killed as 24-year-old Lee Zingyang and 26-year-old Meng Lisi. The interior ministry also claimed that both Lee and Meng were in violation of their visa rules because they were preaching instead of learning Urdu.

“Instead of engaging in any business activity, they went to Quetta and under the garb of learning (the) Urdu language from a Korean national … were actually engaged in preaching,” Reuters quoted the ministry as saying in a statement.

The statement didn’t indicate whether the Korean national was from South Korea or North Korea or what the Chinese nationals were preaching.

According to the online news outlet Quartz, The Global Times and Shanghai-based The Paper, the slain Chinese nationals belonged to a 13-member Christian missionary group in China being led by a South Korean national.

Quartz also cited Chinese reports indicating that a local Muslim community complained about the group trying to evangelize to them. Additionally, Quartz reports that a Chinese journalist has said that Chinese foreign ministry officials briefed reporters in a closed-door session and gave them much of the same information that has been reported.

Following the killing of the two Chinese nationals, Pakistan’s interior ministry has decided to “streamline” its visa policy for Chinese nationals, Pakistan’s The Nation quoted a ministry spokesperson as saying.

According to The Nation, Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan called for a databank of Chinese nationals present in Pakistan during a meeting.

“This data bank, to be prepared by National Database and Registration Authority, should be shared with all security agencies,” the minister said, reiterating their claim that the deceased Chinese nationals violated the terms of their visas.

The killing of the two Chinese Christians come as IS has attempted in the last year to establish its presence in Pakistan, just like it has in Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Afghanistan. IS-linked militants have carried out a number of attacks in Pakistan this year, including a suicide bombing at the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan that killed at least 90 and injured over 300 in February.

Last month, IS claimed a bomb attack on a convoy of Senate Deputy Chairman Abdul Ghafoor Haideri south of Quetta that killed 25 people.

Additionally, this is not the first time that IS has claimed responsibility for the killing Chinese nationals.

In 2015, IS in Syria killed 50-year-old Beijing native Fan Jinghui who was held hostage for months.

Pastor Greg Laurie To Headline Phoenix ‘Super Bowl Of Evangelism’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHRISTIAN POST)

Tens of thousands of people across the nation are expected to attend or watch what evangelist Greg Laurie has referred to as the “Super Bowl of evangelism” this Sunday.

Screenshot Pastor Greg Laurie sharing the Gospel with 100,000 people Harvest America 2016 at Texas AT&T stadium

Laurie, senior pastor at Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California, and Harvest Crusades will be hosting the annual Harvest America revival event in Glendale, Arizona, which this year will feature a number of well-known Christian musical talents, a Gospel message from Laurie and a sneak peek at Laurie’s upcoming documentary on the faith of Hollywood icon Steve McQueen.

The event, which is billed as “the nation’s largest one-day evangelistic outreach,” will be held at the University of Phoenix Stadium and begins around 4:30 p.m. It will be livestreamed online and telecast on the Trinity Broadcasting Network.

The show will feature performances from “The Voice” star Brennley Brown, “American Idol” winner Jordin Sparks, Christian bands MercyMe and NEEDTOBREATHE, contemporary Christian musician Phil Wickham and Christian rapper Trip Lee. The night will be capped off by a sermon and call to profess faith in Christ from the 64-year-old Laurie.

“Super Bowl Sunday, which for many now is a religious holiday, is a day when many of us watch a football game on TV. It is something we all do across the country at the same time. There will be Super Bowl parties where you will invite people over to your home and then watch the game,” Laurie told The Christian Post in an interview this week.

“I use that as a picture to describe what Harvest America is,” he continued. “Yes, it happens in one place — Phoenix, Arizona — but the reason we call it Harvest America is there are thousands of host sites around the nation in places ranging from church sanctuaries to movie theaters to open fields to front rooms. We ask everyone simultaneously to watch this event as it happens live in Arizona.”

Harvest America 2016 was hosted at the home of the Dallas Cowboys, AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and was attended by over 82,000 people while an estimated 180,000 people across the world watched the event at 7,000 different simulcast hosting locations. An estimated 25,000 people made professions of faith at the end of the night.

As Laurie has maintained that America is in need of a “spiritual awakening,” this year’s Harvest America coincides with Laurie’s declaration earlier this year that 2017 is “the year of Good News.

“I think that right now there is a real anxiety in many people. There is a fear in the air,” Laurie told CP. “Recently, I read that the No. 1 phrase typed in the Google search engine was ‘Is World War III near?’ because of a nation like North Korea threatening to nuke us in doing missile tests. I think that people are agitated, they are concerned, they are wondering the answers to those age-old questions. I think we need to be there with answers from the Bible.”

(Photo: Trever Hoehne for Harvest Ministries)Greg Laurie, senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California and Harvest Orange County in Irvine, California, shares the Gospel with a sold-out crowd of 19,000 for Harvest America at the American Airlines Center and Victory Park in Dallas, Texas, Oct. 5, 2014.

“As we have gotten away from that [biblical] virtue and those moral absolutes because we have gotten away from God’s Word and we have gotten away from God Himself, we have a nation in need, a nation in crisis, a nation where the family is breaking down, a nation where we have riots in our streets and racial unrest,” the evangelist added. “The answer is we need another spiritual awakening.”

Laurie said that since the event will be televised on TBN and livestreamed on Harvest America’s website, it creates an opportunity for people across the nation to invite their friends and neighbors to their homes and churches to watch the event in fellowship with their communities.

“When I am calling people to Christ in the University of Phoenix Stadium, I will be calling them to Christ wherever you are,” Laurie said.

An aspect that will be entirely new to this year’s Harvest America is Harvest’s partnership with the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board’s Crossover Phoenix 2017, an outreach event in which believers will be trained and expected to evangelize people on the streets of Phoenix.

“They felt like they needed an event, sort of a catalyst to wrap it around,” Laurie said of NAMB’s Crossover. “I thought it was a perfect fit. We, like NAMB and the SBC, are passionate about evangelism and about calling people to Christ and so we agreed.”

Laurie said that experienced evangelism leaders associated with Harvest will conduct a training class for people who plan to take part in the Crossover event on Friday.

“We are hands-on involved in training and we do a lot of this sort of thing,” he explained. “We train people and take them out in the streets all year long. So this is in our wheelhouse. This is a perfect cooperative effort between Harvest Ministries and NAMB because we all have the same objectives.”

Laurie said that it remains to be seen if the Crossover evangelism efforts will lead to an increased attendance at Harvest America but knows that the partnership will help Harvest have a greater impact on the Phoenix community.

“People are coming in from around the country and they are being trained in sharing their faith. They are going to go out and engage people,” Laurie stated. “Even if people don’t come to the event itself, the fact that we are sending people out into the community to talk to people about their faith is, in itself, a really great thing. The fact that we are coordinating with the crusade itself is an even better thing.”

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The Scottish Episcopal Church voted to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHRISTIAN POST)

The Scottish Episcopal Church voted on Thursday to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples, becoming the first major U.K. church to break from the Anglican majority, which defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

image: http://d.christianpost.com/full/111439/590-412/church-marriage.jpg
(Photo: Toby Melville/Reuters)Gay rights campaigners protest in the grounds of Canterbury Cathedral in Canterbury during the Anglican Primates meeting in January 2016.

The change to canon law on marriage was agreed by the required two-thirds majority in each section of the synod — the bishops, clergy and laity. Sixty-seven percent of clergy and 80 percent of bishops and laity voted in favor of gay marriage.

The new clause removes the language stating that marriage is a “physical, spiritual and mystical union of one man and one woman.”

It recognizes that there are different understandings of marriage within the church and allows clergy to solemnize marriage between same-sex couples. Clergy who do not agree with gay marriage will not be obligated to go against their conscience.

“This is the end of a long journey,” said the Most Rev. David Chillingworth, Bishop of St. Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church. “We have studied, thought and prayed.

“This is a momentous step. By removing gender from our marriage canon, our church now affirms that a same sex couple are not just married but are married in the sight of God.”

The Scottish Episcopal Church, which has over 350 churches across Scotland, is a member of the Anglican Communion — a global church body that defines marriage as between a man and a woman and rejects homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture.

Responding to the controversial vote, the Church of England said that it will continue opposing gay marriage, noting that the majority of the Anglican Communion stands by its side, despite growing disagreement on the issue.

“The Church of England is unable by law to marry couples of the same sex and the teaching of the Church of England remains unchanged. However, this is a matter on which there is real and profound disagreement in the Church of England,” a spokesperson said.

Ian Ferguson, of Aberdeen and Orkney, the only Scottish diocese to oppose the change to redefine marriage, lamented the vote, saying, “This is one of the saddest and most painful days for us … We are broken. This schismatic move … will cause serious harm to our unity.”

He added that some congregants “may seek alternative episcopal oversight.”

The Telegraph pointed out that the conservative Anglican group Global Anglican Future Conference had said before the vote: “If this action is taken it will further marginalize faithful Anglicans in Scotland who seek to uphold Jesus’s teaching on marriage.”

Chillingworth acknowledged that the decision is “difficult and hurtful” for those who believe redefining marriage is unbiblical and wrong. “For them this new chapter will feel like an exclusion — as if their church has moved away from them.

“So the journey which we now begin must also be a journey of reconciliation.”

He said the Scottish church body will move forward with “two honorable and historic understandings of marriage —– one which sees the marriage of same sex couples as an expression of Christ-like acceptance and welcome — and another which says that the traditional view of marriage is God-ordained and scripturally defined.”

Supporters of the change in marriage law praised the outcome of the vote, BBC News noted, with the Episcopal Church’s Bishop of Edinburgh, the Right Reverend Dr. John Armes, stating: “I am very pleased for the couples who can now have their relationships recognized by the church and blessed by God.”

“I’m also pleased for what this means about our church and the way we have been able to do this. But obviously any change like this creates pain and hurt in some as well, so as a bishop of the church I feel for them.”

Other major members of the Anglican Communion, such as the U.S. Episcopal Church, have also voted to support gay marriage. The U.S. church was temporarily suspended from the Communion for its stance last year, but it has refused to go back on its decision despite the controversy.

Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, secretary general of the Anglican Communion, said that the Scottish church has made “a departure from the faith and teaching upheld by the overwhelming majority of Anglican provinces on the doctrine of marriage.”

He pointed out that that the churches within the Communion are “autonomous and free to make their own decisions on canon law,” however, and said the Scottish Church’s change to canon law will be discussed at the next meetings of the primates of the Communion in Canterbury in October.

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Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/scottish-episcopal-church-approves-gay-marriage-opponents-broken-by-move-that-harms-unity-187162/#xLyWMK81wO2zIHeE.99