All posts filed under: Religious

Hills of Tennessee, as seen from Tiprell, Cumberland Gap Credit: Don Sniegowski/Flickr/Creative Commons

Another unexpected Christian hero at the Waffle House shooting in Antioch, Tennessee?

Though he doesn’t consider himself particularly religious, James Shaw Jr., 29, comes from a Christian family who attends Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church in Antioch, Tennessee. Shortly after having his wounds tended in hospital, Shaw headed to church with his family. Earlier that Sunday morning, Shaw was a hero. He was in the Waffle House restaurant with friends around 3 am when a gunman walked in with an AR-15 rifle and began shooting. The killer was naked except for a green jacket. He apparently shot two people in the parking lot, before moving into the restaurant. He killed four people and wounded four others before Shaw finally stopped the massacre. Shaw remembered seeing the alleged killer, Travis Reinking, sitting in a car as Shaw walked into the restaurant. When Shaw heard the first shots, he thought someone had dropped plates. Police are calling Shaw a hero because unarmed he wrestled the rifle out of the killer’s hands forcing him to flee the restaurant. Undoubtedly more would have died, if Shaw had not intervened. However, Shaw admits …

Part of the earthly treasure of King Bluetooth, the man who Christianized the vikings, discovered

A teenage boy, Luca Malashnitschenko, 13, and his teacher Rene Schon were out with metal detectors on Rügen Island. Located in the Baltic Sea, off the northern coast of Germany, it is the country’s largest island. Then came the bleep on Luca’s detector indicating the presence of metal. When they dug down and found a splash of silver, they suspected it was probably aluminum. But once they dug it out they discovered it was a silver coin from the Viking era. When more relics and coins started appearing, they realized there was more to this find and reported it to the regional archaeology service. A team was eventually dispatched and an excavation of a 4,300 sq foot area uncovered a viking hoard consisting of coins, jewellry —  braided necklace and brooches, as well as a Thor hammer and over 600 coins that ranged in age from AD714 to 983. This included 100 coins dating to the reign of the Danish Viking King Harald Gormsson, otherwise known as Harry Bluetooth. In old Norse, the phrase is …

Sandy, second from the left, on his Nairobi adventure

I saw God in Nairobi

Many years ago, when I was a careless young man, I traveled to Nairobi, in Kenya, East Africa. I had relatives who worked as missionaries in the tea country, in the west of the country. If you know Kenya, they lived just west of Kericho, on the road to Kisumu. The drive from Nairobi, the big city, to Kericho is almost one day, with a few breaks. My relatives invited me to visit them in Kenya, and I jumped at the chance because it sounded like a great adventure. I stopped my university studies, which were starting to bore me, and a good friend agreed to travel with me. He was also bored with life. On the way to Africa, we had to change planes in London, so we took several weeks and bought railway passes and travelled anywhere that seemed interesting in Europe, with backpacks. This was all fun, including the time we got arrested for crossing the border into a communist country. They handcuffed us and then let us go after about an …

Humbolt's main street Credit: Monique Vezina/Wikipedia

Where was God? The Humboldt Bronco tragedy

They did not know they were going to be the latest news and that it would send waves of shock and sorrow across the nation. The Humboldt Broncos, a hockey team in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League consisting of 16 to 20-year-old players, were headed to a play off game in the northern town of  Nipawin, in Saskatchewan, Canada. Their team bus t-boned a semi-trailer crossing highway 35 killing 16 of the 29 people on board — 10 players and 5 team personnel including the head coach and the bus driver. The Humboldt players had all dyed their hair blonde which made it difficult to identify them. Tragically because the players were so badly hurt, two were misidentified. It would take a couple of days for one family to find out that a son they had thought died was actually alive, and for another family to sadly learn their son was dead. How heart breaking this must have been. What were the players thinking as they traveled on the bus?  The bus was quiet recalls …

George Washington University's Foggy Bottom campus Credit: another believer/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

University calls for Christians to repent of their ‘privilege’

Founded in 1821, the main campus of George Washington University (GWU) is found just a few blocks from the White house in Washington, DC. Its main campus is located in Foggy Bottom, an area largely owned by GWU where it serves as the landlord for such tenants as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. GWU’s motto is Deus Nobis Fiducia (God is our trust) or at least once was. There have been radical changes at the university and now when you click on its website you are welcomed with: “No matter what subject we pursue, we’ve all come here to change the course of history.” Though these words sound noble, when we understand them in the light of the cultural Marxism that has gripped many universities, they take on a more ominous tone. Where GWU once believed “God is our trust,” and make no mistake this is a reference to the Christian God, the campus recently held a workshop to strip people of their “Christian privilege.” The seminar held on Thursday, April 5, …

Katy Perry Credit: ONU Brazil/Flickr/Creative Commons

Is Katy Perry’s heart softening towards God?

American pop star Katy Perry posted an interesting Christian message to her 69 million Instagram followers on Easter Sunday. She also works as a judge on the new American Idol show. She not only highlighted her Jesus tattoo, that she has had for years, with special lighting, Katy also added the words: “My brokenness + God’s Divinity = My wholeness.” As some may know, Katy has a Christian background. Her parents, Maurice and Mary (née Perry) Hudson, are Pentecostal pastors. Katy’s birth name was Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson. As a girl, she even spoke in tongues after being filled with the Holy Spirit and with her natural singing ability Katy sang gospel in church.  She hoped to move full-time into gospel music but that ultimately transformed into secular. Below is a Gospel song that Katy Perry (then Katy Hudson), sang on the Christian broadcast network, TBN, in 2002: The relationship with her parents has been strained as she rejected her parent’s faith. In 2008, she wrote a song, I Kissed a Girl, that topped the pop chart …

Beijing, China on a smoggy day Credit: Jesse Varnier/Flickr/Creative Commons

Jesus Meets “The Great Firewall of China”

Very recently, the government of China has restricted the sale of Christian Bibles online, to its own citizens. The Communist government of China wants to control rapidly growing religions, including Christianity and Islam, although the Islamic Koran is still available online. Religion was supposed to die in China, after the Communists came to power in 1949, but recently there are signs that Chinese people are becoming more religious, and the major religions are surging in popularity. Also, China is becoming a world leader in online marketing, or e-commerce. The growth in online sales is also surging in China, and this is a very recent trend. RELATED: China’s e-commerce explosion. What can we learn? In this mix, Bible sales have suddenly been restricted. RELATED: China bans Bible sales: New York Times Bibles are still available from church book stores, but not online. Strangely, China produces millions of Bibles for export, in many languages, including Chinese. There are no restrictions on this business. So, what does the restriction of Bible sales mean for Christians? Probably not much. …

Cuba Credit: Nick Kenrick/Flickr/Creative Commons

The struggle for religious freedom in Cuba

Though still a communist nation, in 1992, the Cuba government reclassified itself as a secular nation under its constitution instead of an atheistic one. At the same time, it also partially lifted restrictions on religion and since then Christianity has seen remarkable growth in that country. The country’s current ruler, Raul Castro, the brother of Fidel who died in November 2016, actually attended a Jesuit school before the 1959 Communist revolution. He has been in charge in Cuba since 2011. Under his rule, the Catholic church has retained some favor with the government and in 2014, Cuba allowed a Catholic church in Santiago to construct a new building. It was the first church built in Cuba since the 1959 Communist revolution. The government has also declared Christmas and Good Friday as national holidays. In 2015, President Raul met with Pope Francis and after his meeting commented that he was seriously thinking of going back to church. When reporters laughed, Raul stated, “I’m serious.” But there still remains a tension between the government and Christians. In …

Why did Facebook ban an ad for a Catholic university?

UPDATED: Facebook has been under fire recently for both the free wheeling way it deals with its poster’s personal information and what some consider its blatant attack on free speech and conservative and Christian viewpoints on its social media website. In an article in the British newspaper, The Guardian, a former Facebook employee alleges the social media giant used software algorithms to restrict the number of conservative news articles that appeared in its “trending news” sidebar. Such a move would impact the number of people viewing articles from conservative news sites. Facebook is one of the most dominant social media platforms in the world reporting 2.2 billion active users in January 2018. Founder Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook in 2004 as a way to connect students attending Harvard University where he was a student. It was initially limited to Harvard students, but after half the school’s population signed up, Zuckerberg quickly realized there was more of a market for the platform. After bringing in others to work on the site, they initially added other universities and …

Iceland Credit: Lovepro/Flickr/Creative Commons

Study says a pagan poem and volcanic eruption resulted in the Vikings turning to Christ

According to a report in the journal Climate Change, a volcanic eruption and an ancient pagan poem convinced the Vikings to embrace Christianity. The mass conversion of the Vikings to Christ took place around 1100 AD and according to the researchers from the University of Cambridge two events in the 10th century played a role in this decision. Using ice cores, they said Iceland’s Eldgjjá volcano erupted between 939 AD and 940 AD. At this point the Vikings were creating settlements on the island. It involved a prolonged lava eruption that spread over a year. It also resulted in a tremendous amount of ash pouring into the atmosphere blocking the sun causing very cool summers and extremely cold winters. The ash not only affected the climate of Iceland, but reached into North America and Northern Europe, the traditional home of the Vikings. This resulted in droughts, animal stock dying off and increased mortality. The second thing that attributed to the conversion was an apocalyptic Viking poem called Völuspá written around the same time. In English, …

Cannabis Credit: Pitscher/Flickr/Creative Commons

The hidden costs of marijuana legalization?

Earlier this month, Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau said his government expects to have legislation passed this summer legalizing marijuana. According to Lifesite News, in its current form, Bill C-45 would allow children as young as 12 years old to not only have five grams of Marijuana (10 joints) but to even share it with their friends. Anyone over the age of 17 will be allowed to purchase any amount of marijuana that they want and to even grow four plants in their home, but does limit how much they can share in public to 30 grams (60 Joints). Of course, we all know how mature teens are and none of them will be taking it to school. Fortunately, it looks like more responsible provincial governments may toughen the rules in their respective provinces. This is all happening despite several studies that show marijuana is particularly dangerous for teens whose brains are still developing. In a study released in 2015, researchers at the Psychiatry Institute at London, England’s King’s College blame Marijuana for 25% of the …

Christian foster couple vindicated: Easter Bunny denial is not wrong Canadian court rules

Derek and Frances Baars are a Christian couple who now live in Edmonton, AB, Canada. In 2016, the couple, who attend a Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America, lived in Hamilton, Ontario and were fostering two girls, aged three and four. They ran into problems with the Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton (CAS), the organization responsible for fostering, when the Baars refused to tell the two girls that the Easter Bunny was real. Though they did not believe they should lie to the children in their care, the Baars nevertheless organized an Easter egg hunt for the two girls and had them dress up for the occasion. The Baars were completely upfront about their beliefs. When they first applied to be foster parents, they told CAS that they would not lie about the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus, and that was obviously fine at the time. In a dramatic conclusion, CAS gave the family one day’s notice before callously yanking the two girls from the home. CAS also ruled the Baars would no longer be …

Church near Weeping Water, Nebraska Credit: rich/flickr/Creative Commons

Despite what the media says, study states Christianity thriving in America

Though there have been reports in the mainline media indicating a decline in religious beliefs among Americans, it is a bit misleading. It leaves the impression that faith is decaying on all fronts. That is not true. According to a report released by Landon Schnabel and Sean Bock professors at Harvard and Indiana University (based in Bloomington), any declines in religious attendance are only being noticed in liberal or what they classify as moderate religions. The numbers for those with a strong faith and literal belief in the Bible remains strong. According Schnabel and Bock, the number of Evangelical Christians as a percentage of the American population grew from 18% in 1972 to 28% in 1989 and that percentage has held true since then. In their report, they describe Evangelical faith as intense and persistent. However, the same can not be said for liberal or moderate churches, those who no longer believe in the Bible. Over the same period, their numbers declined from 35% in 1972 to 12% in 2016. Schnabel and Bock note: “But …

Billy Graham speaking in Oslo, Norway in 1955. Credit: foto.digitalarkivet.no/Wikipedia

Billy Graham’s ‘Valley of Decision’

Billy Graham died Feb. 21, 2018 at his home in North Carolina. Born Nov. 7, 1918, he was 99 years old. Graham was arguably the most famous Christian preacher of the last 100 years. It is estimated that he spoke to nearly 215 million people in 185 countries and probably 100’s of millions more watched him on TV. And his TV ministry had as much of an impact as his live preaching. He differed from many modern TV evangelists in that Graham’s TV ministry reached non Christians. When I was going to seminary, there were two twin brothers, both who went into full-time ministry, who were saved watching Billy Graham on TV. The former pastor of the church I attend was also saved watching Billy Graham on TV. In 1934, at the age of 15, he was led to the Lord by a traveling evangelist Mordecai Ham who was holding revival meetings in Graham’s hometown of Charlotte, NC. So much is being said about Billy Graham, that I really don’t know what I can add.  …

Credit: nfnitloop/flickr/Creative Commons

Is God Real? or Donuts in the Snow

So, is God real? If yes, why is there suffering in this world? Why doesn’t God fix our problems, if He loves us? This is an old argument, and I learned the answer a few days ago. Here is some background. Right now, where I live in Canada, we are in “Roll up the Rim to Win” season at Tim Hortons. Timmies is a cultural thing here, we all go there for coffee or tea and conversations. We also eat too many donuts there. In season, we roll up the rims of our paper cups and learn what we have won. I usually win a chance to play again; they are very kind when they say “no.” When I win a free donut I tear off that statement from the rim, and keep the ticket. One thing I really don’t need is a free donut and I can think of something worse, two free donuts. I had two winning tickets that I carried with me like a guilty pleasure. I do contract work, and some …

Casas colgadas de Cuenca, Spain Credit: Jose Luis Mieza/Flickr/Creative Commons

Spain’s song at Eurovision written by two Evangelical Christians

Eurovision is an international singing contest held annually in Europe. It started in 1973 and features winners from participating European countries who hold national competitions to select their representative. It differs from North American singing competitions like The Voice in that participants must sing an original song. But it doesn’t have to be written by the people singing it. In fact, the major emphasis seems to be the song over the performers, though obviously they need to be talented as well. With a growing Evangelical population, Spain will be represented at this year’s competition with a song written by two Evangelical Christians, Sylvia Santoro and her nephew Raul Gomez. Sylvia wrote the words and Raul supplied the music. The love song entitled, Tu Canción, won the Spanish leg of the event with 43% of the vote, beating out eight competitors. It was sung by a group called Almaia, composed of two singers Amaia and Alfred. So far the song has over 750,000 views on YouTube. Married with two children, Sylvia is a popular gospel singer among …

Franklin Graham Credit: cornstalker/Wikipedia

Politicians demand Franklin Graham be banned from entering England

In September 2018, Franklin Graham, 65, the son of famed American evangelist Billy Graham is scheduled to speak at the Lancashire Festival of Hope in Blackpool, England. The event is being sponsored by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) and a number of local churches. With a population of 150,000, Blackpool is located on the Northwest coast of England. Shortly after the announcement, some left-leaning MPs began petitioning the government to ban Franklin Graham from attending the rally. This included Labour MP Afzal Khan who stated in an interview with The Guardian that Franklin Graham’s “views are not welcome.” He along with a couple other MPs including one Cabinet Minister wrote letters to England’s home secretary Amber Rudd asking her to not issue a visa to Graham preventing him from entering the country. Franklin Graham has publicly opposed Islamic extremism and gay marriage and expressed concerns about immigration. Graham also supported Donald Trump in his campaign for the American presidency and stated that God had a hand in Trump’s victory. Though Graham’s criticisms are considered …

Palouse region of Idaho Credit: Charmar/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Christian Terrorists?

Just before Christmas I had a coffee break with a good friend. He is not a Christian, and I am. Somehow religion came into the conversation and he said something I have heard before; words like ‘Sure, there are Muslim terrorists, but there are also violent Christians who persecute us.’ I started to argue, but then I realized, he might be right about Christians. And I will let the Muslims answer for themselves. There are some very violent people in the world who claim to be Christians. About two years ago I drove to Portland Oregon for some training. I could have flown, but I like driving, and because I live in western Canada, I drove to the U.S. border in northern Idaho. I arrived in the evening and it was obvious that I wasn’t driving much further in the darkness. I was hoping for a motel room about an hour down the road but they probably thought I was visiting friends in the area. Usually border agents are friendly with me, but the two …

Marijuana Credit: Alex B/Flickr/Creative Commons

‘Scromiting’ caused by a ‘safe’ drug?

With the Canadian government pushing ahead with a nation-wide legalization of marijuana in 2018, the main message behind the push world-wide that it’s a safe drug, is hitting home. After surveying 43,703 young people, the US-based National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) states that nearly 25% of all teens in America have tried Marijuana. NIDA has conducted a survey on teen drug habits annually since the 1970s and the survey revealed that marijuana usage is also trending upwards, even for those as young as 12. And what is happening in the US typically reflects what is taking place in Canada. The study found that marijuana usage is noticeably higher in states that have legalized recreational marijuana usage, where the safe-drug message is the most pronounced. There is some good news, the survey found that the usage of other drugs has either fallen or remained the same with one exception, along with Cannabis teens are also using more LSD, a hallucinogenic drug. Meanwhile doctors are reporting a significant increase in people arriving at hospital emergency rooms …

Credit: SAITOR/Flickr/Creative Commons

What Christians need today — courage

YouVersion Bible App was created in 2008, since then over 295 million people have downloaded the app for use on their phone, Ipads and computers. According to this year’s stats, so far this year the app is being downloaded 1.4 times every second of the day. In the same time frame, people are also sharing ten verses with friends. But YouVersion also provides the most read verse of the year and in some ways this provides an insight into what believers are facing around the world. Outside of North America, the most read verse is: 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 NASV) In America, the most read verse is similar but with a slightly different twist: 28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28 NASV) The verses portray how things are changing …

United Nations headquarters in New York City Credit: Neptull/Wikipedia

Ancient gods revival?

The same company responsible for building a full-scale model of the Arches of Baal last year has produced a full-sized replica of the ancient Roman goddess Athena. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) used the group, the Institute of Digital Archaeology (IDA), to make a 3-D replica of Athena and recently had it on display at the United Nations headquarter in New York City. Similar to what happened to the Baal arches, in 2015 ISIS destroyed the original statue of the goddess in a museum in Palmyra, Syria. According to UAE, this ancient goddess was “synonymous with reason, refuge and the rule of law, all the same values on which the historic institution was built.” However, this is only part of the story. Athena was also the Roman goddess of war and was valued for providing warfare strategy. The recreated idol actually portrays the goddess holding a spear, representative of her warrior symbolism. Many believe Athena was simply the Roman version of the ancient Canaanite goddess Asherah, that went by various names in different cultures — …

Wilfred Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada Credit: GatorEG/Wikipedia

Strong reaction to Wilfrid Laurier’s ATTACK on free speech

Some suggest that Canadians recently got an inside look at the cultural Marxism that is dominating many universities across Canada and the US where students and those in authority are trying to stop any views that dissent with the prevailing left-wing agenda. Lindsay Shepherd is a 22-year-old graduate student at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. She also teaches a class at the university but was called before a tribunal because she shared a dissenting opinion in her class. Fortunately, Lindsay had the presence of mind to tape this interview so Canadians could have a first-hand look on what is becoming common place on university campuses that seem less concerned with teaching students how to think and more interested in telling them what to think. In her class, Shepherd was talking about the use of non-gendered pronouns that is becoming a controversial topic on university campuses. The discussion is often centered around people who are transitioning from one sex to another. As an example, some are insisting they should no longer be referred to as …

East Coweta football team gathering for prayer before a game. Credit: Fox News Youtube capture

Victory: Youth take ownership of their faith at East Coweta high school

It was an amazing story, and despite legal threats from an atheist group, students at East Coweta High School in Coweta County, Georgia have taken ownership of their faith in a big way. At the end of October, the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter of complaint to the Coweta school district that its high school football head coach, John Small, was leading a team prayer before games and demanded that this stop. FFRF argued that this violated the constitution of separation of church and state and they included an image of Small standing with his head bowed during a team prayer. In response, the Coweta school division sent a letter to all staff that they were no longer to take part in any prayer or worship while working in an “official capacity” with the school. It was expected that the team’s prayer sessions would come to an end. However, instead something incredible happened. The players took the initiative to pray before the game and instead of 100 players gathering to pray as …

Kim Clement (1956-2016): YouTube Capture

God’s prophetic voice needed today

As I read about the massacre of 26 people (ages five to 72) in the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, during their Sunday morning service, it struck me how we need God to speak and warn us. Sutherland Springs located 30 miles southeast of San Antonia is a small town of just 400 people. yet somehow evil found its way there. Twenty were also injured in the attack by gunman Devin Patrick Kelley, 26. A former member of the air force, a self-proclaimed atheist and loner, Kelley apparently killed himself after careening off the road in a chase after the shooting. Two days earlier — Friday, November 3, 2017 — a neighbor attacked Christian politician Senator Paul Rand as he returned home. Rand suffered five broken ribs and lung contusions. According to a report on the Daily Caller, another person who lives on the same block alleges the attacker is an “avowed socialist” who fought with other neighbors over politics. Despite this underlying issue, recent media reports suggest that conflicts over landscaping issues …

Considered to be the location of the Garden Gethsemane located at the foot of Mount Olives in Jerusalem where Jesus sweated blood Credit: tango7174/Wikipedia

Italian woman sweats blood confirming Luke 22:44

The Canadian Medical Association Journal recently published an article on the case of a 21-year-old Italian woman who has been bleeding blood from her face and hands. Italian doctors reported that over the past three years the woman has gone through episodes were she spontaneously bled blood without any breakage in the skin. According to their report the episodes would last up to five minutes. Though they occurred at any time from sleep to periods of exercise, doctors noted the bleeding intensified when she was under emotional stress. Embarrassed by her condition, the young woman was becoming a loner refusing to leave her home. After ruling out chromhidrosis, a condition that causes discolored sweat, doctors diagnosed the young woman with a rare condition called hematohidrosis – ‘blood sweat’, when people actually sweat blood. Some believe it’s caused by rupturing capillaries near the sweat glands. This can happen during times of extreme fear or stress. An Indian health journal reported ‘blood sweat’ in cases of people about to be executed and even cited an incident that …

Photo from South Dakota 1936 during the drought that hit North America during the 1930s. Credit: United Stated Department of Agriculture/Wikipedia

A different kind of famine?

With the Canadian government planning to legalize recreational marijuana effective July 1, 2018, Bill C-45 that is working its way through parliament includes a provision that could have disturbing ramifications for young people. Though the bill sets a minimum age of 18 for a person to legally buy marijuana, the curious provision allows young people between the ages of 12 to 18, to possess under five grams of marijuana without being criminally charged. This is the equivalent of a 12-year-old walking the streets with shot of whiskey in his or her pocket without any consequences. The biggest problem is the message the government is sending young teens through such a provision. It leaves the impression that marijuana is a safe drug, which is the mantra activists use to push governments to legalize Cannabis in the first place. There have been many voices responding to the Canadian government’s decision to legalize including the prestigious Canadian Medical Association Journal that condemned the decision in a recent editorial. As governments around the world legalize recreational marijuana, concerned medical researchers are releasing a staggering …

Brooke Simpson Blind audition Credit: Youtube Caputer/The Voice

Church youth leader wows ‘The Voice’

It was a four-chair turn for church youth leader Brooke Simpson on ‘The Voice’ as she sang a song by Demi Lovato called Stone Cold. Entering is sixteenth season, the winner of ‘The Voice’ receive $100,000 and a recording deal. Simpson is a graduate of Lee University, a Church of God University based in Cleveland Indiana. She works for Potential church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In a YouTube video uploaded earlier this year, Brooke said that she and her husband Ray started a program called ‘Youth in Revolt’ encouraging youth to live as rebels for God in a society that is increasing becoming anti-Christian. Before she was done all four coaches were standing applauding her performance. Pop Singer Miley Cyrus said “You know you’re good because I am a little speechless and that never happens.” Adam Levine called her “one in a million.” I find it more than a coincidence that Simpson is following in the footsteps of another Lee graduate Jordan Smith who won ‘The Voice’ in 2016. All four judges turned their chairs …

Asteroid collision artist's representation Credit: NASA/Wikipedia

Oh no, not again — prediction made world will end September 23

Up to this week, I had never heard of Jason Meade. But over the last couple weeks he has certainly gotten his 15 minutes of fame when under the banner of a Christian numerologist he claimed that the countdown for the world’s end will start tomorrow — September 23, 2017. Several secular media outlets have picked up the story including Foxnews and the Washington Post. Unfortunately, when Meade’s prediction doesn’t come true tomorrow, it will be another stab in the back for Christians. I know Meade is wrong, because the Bible says he is wrong. Jesus speaking to his disciples about the end-times said: 36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. (Matthew 24:36 NASV) The Lord says very clearly that we will not know the day when Jesus will return. What does this mean? Well I could guess the day. I could pick a date out of a hat and predict Christ will return on say February 18, 2034 and …

Groom, Texas Credit: maciek/Flickr/Creative Commons

Report: Persecution of American Christians up 133% between 2001 and 2016

A report recently released by First Liberty Institute (FLI) entitled “Undeniable: The Survey of Hostility to Religion in America” outlines the growing number of attacks on religious liberty in America. Founded in 1972, First Liberty Institute fights for religious liberty in the US through advocacy and litigation by providing pro-bono legal defense to those being persecuted or discriminated against for their faith. According to the organization’s report, the number attacks on Christians jumped by 15% between 2015 and 2016. Since FLI started tracking attacks on religious liberty in 2001, the number has increased by 133% over the following five years. In 2011, FLI reported 600 attacks on religious liberty and by 2016 the number had reached 1,400. FLI’s CEO Kelly Shackelford noted that the cases they cited are just the ones that were published. She described them as just the “tip of the iceberg” as many cases of faith persecution and discrimination are simply not reported. This is not even referring to the number of attacks on Christians that now routinely take place in the …

Li River, China Credit: Charlie fong/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

China forbids children from attending church

According to reports coming out of China, several provinces have stepped up their persecution of the Church by prohibiting children from attending religious services. Recently, over 100 churches in the Chinese province of Zhejiang received notice that minors can no longer attend any type of religious activity including church and summer camps. In some jurisdictions, parents were required to sign papers saying their children will not be attending religious services. Officials threatened parents with legal action if they disobeyed. This is not the first time Zhejiang officials had taken a hard-line against Christians. In late 2015, officials ordered the removal of all crosses on government-run churches. When Christians protested, some were arrested and several churches destroyed. Related: Chinese Officials Tear Down More Christian Crosses, Beat Protesters: Breitbart It is uncertain how widespread this recent edict is, but Amnesty International reported receiving news on this prohibition from around the country. In Hunan province, politicians stated they will be investigating both government-run churches (both Catholic and protestant) and the underground churches to make sure they are not …

London Bridge tower highlighted Credit: Wikipedia/cmglee

Who do British Jews consider their biggest threats?

Using YouGov, a survey company, the British organization Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) has conducted an annual survey of English attitudes towards Jews since 2015. Perhaps the most disturbing fact to come out of this year’s survey is that over the past two years a third of the Jews living in England had considered leaving due to the growing antisemitism in that country. The survey also found that 25% do not believe Jews have a long-term future in England with a further 21% stating they were uncertain. However, this was still better than what they see going on across the English Channel when 35% said they did not believe Jews have a long-term future in Europe and 24% stating they were unsure. This is certainly paving the way for further Jewish migration to Israel, an event prophesied in the Old Testament centuries earlier: 3 “Then I Myself will gather the remnant of My flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and bring them back to their pasture… (Jeremiah 23:3 NASV) Perhaps not surprisingly …

Hall of Supreme Harmony, Beijing, China Credit: See-ming Lee/Flickr/Creative Commons

Is the world building for a revival?

Amid news of the Chinese government’s crack down on Christianity, reports are also circulating of the remarkable growth taking place in the Chinese church. Of course, with the government being so tight-lipped it is impossible to verify the accuracy of these accounts. It is also difficult to know how many Christians there are in China. In 2010, the Chinese government officially said it had 23 million Christians. However, that only included those attending the legally sanctioned church — the one run by the Communist government. When you include the underground church, the numbers would obviously be higher.  A 2010 survey conducted by Dr. Yanga Fenggang of Purdue University put the total number of Christians closer to 33 million (30 million protestants, 3 million Catholics). However based on a 2011 survey,  Pew Forum estimated the number of Christians at 67 million. If this number is right, the underground church is nearly twice as large as the officially sanctioned church. Curiously, a recent Global Trends (GT) survey of 23 countries in September-October 2016 uncovered evidence that may …

Credit: Stefan Georgi/Flickr/Creative Commons

Raging Billboards

Someone put a religious message on a sign beside a freeway near Indianapolis. You can see what they wrote in the picture. The message is a summary of some things conservative Muslims believe about their founder. In the twenty-first century, these ideas don’t look good, but people are outraged that the sign is critical and hateful. There are some lessons for us in this story. You can’t win against the critics: Every human organization or movement has skeletons in the closet, historical things we wish would go away; and the Internet lets the critics dig out those facts and tell the world. In Canadian and Australian history, people who called themselves Christians forced native children into residential schools, away from their families. Today this is a national embarrassment. The Mormons have many things to explain. In the U.S. the Democratic Party was the political base for slavery, segregation, and ugly racism. They are trying to do better now. The message on the sign was skillfully written and researched. If the author is sued, he will …

Hillary Clinton Credit: Aaron Webb/Flickr/Creative Commons

Is a prophecy about Hillary Clinton coming to pass?

Prior to America’s recent presidential election, several Christian prophets predicted that Donald Trump would become the next president of the United States. One of those was Kim Clement who hinted at Trump’s presidency in 2013. Trump would not officially seek the Republican nomination until June 2015 and most considered the chances of him even winning that nomination as very remote, much less the US presidency. Kim died on November 23, 2016, two weeks after Donald Trump won the presidential election. But Kim Clement, who had gained a reputation in Charismatic circles as  a prophetic worshiper, also had a prophecy for Hillary Clinton. He gave that prophecy back in 2006: “And some of you said, when the Spirit said, ‘Hillary Clinton,’ some of you shouted out, ‘yes!’God said, ‘I have already dealt with her heart, not to be president of this nation, but to be president in a Christian world. She will have a testimony second to none and will eventually come out with it and make declaration that Christ Jesus saved her marriage, saved her …

Credit: Thomas Hawk/Flickr/Creative Commons

Faith under pressure…

Considered a rising star in women’s soccer in America, Jaelene Hinkle, 24, recently announced she will not be playing for the US women’s national soccer team in two exhibition games scheduled for June. No explanation was given about why she pulled out and in its news release announcing her withdrawal, US Soccer stated Hinkle cited “personal reasons.” Hinkle has played in eight international games with the America’s national soccer team since 2015. However, Hinkle who plays defense is also a Christian and is very vocal about her faith on social media. She even posted her opinion of the Bible on Instagram stating: “It’s not a fictional book. It’s not pick and choose what you want to believe. You either believe it or you don’t.” Because of this, many wonder if she made the decision after US Soccer announced it would honor gay pride month in June by using rainbow numbered jerseys on both its men’s and women’s national uniforms. As soon as news surface she had withdrawn, gay activists tweeted their disappointment saying they were …