All posts filed under: Religious

Members of the extreme right, Neo-Nazis and New Confederates gathering for the rally in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 10 and 11, 2017. Credit: Anthony Crider/Wikipedia

Black pastor baptizes former neo-Nazi and member of the Klu Klux Klan after he converts to Christ

Just over a year ago, Ken Parker was at the Unite the Right rally held August 11 to 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. Parker, a neo-Nazi, was there along with other members of the extreme right including neo-confederates and the Klu Klux Klan to stand up for whites and protest the pulling down of Confederate statues in that city. Parker was wearing a black shirt with a stylized SS on the collar signifying his involvement with the neo-Nazi group. They fully expected trouble.  And when people showed up countering their protest, the rally quickly turned violent resulting in the death of one person and the injury of 19 others when a member of the extreme right drove his car into a crowd of counter protestors. Parker had originally been a member of the Klu Klux Klan (KKK), a group he joined in 2012. He even had a robe with holes cut out for the eyes and by the time he left Parker had risen to the position of grand dragon. He left the KKK because …

Protests in Iran Credit: Javad Saharban/Flickr/Creative Commons

Christian pastor arrested in Iran as protests rage through the country

According to reports, Iranian Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani has once again been arrested by authorities. Plain clothed agents with Iran’s secret police arrived at Yousef’s home on July 22 and were trying to break down the door. When Yousef’s son opened the door to find out what was going on, he was immediately tasered and thrown to the floor. The Iranian agents then tasered pastor Yousef and brutally beat him in front of his family before arresting him and taking him away. The family found out later that the government transferred Yousef to the country’s notorious Evin Prison renown for its brutal treatment of religious and political prisoners. This isn’t the first time the Iranian secret police had arrested Yousef. In 2009, police arrested him for questioning school authorities on why his Christian children were being taught the Koran. Though the Iranian constitution guarantees religious freedom, the current government of Iran routinely ignores the law. At that time, the police charged Yousef with “apostasy,” as it is illegal in Iran for a Muslim to convert to …

Harvest Crusade Billboard that was pulled down: Credit CBN

Harvest Crusade forced to take down billboards in California

Pastor Greg Laurie revealed some disturbing news about several billboards that he was forced to take down earlier this month advertising his SoCal Harvest evangelistic meeting to be held in Anaheim’s Angel stadium between August 17 to 19. With a seating capacity of 45,000 people, Greg Laurie has held his Harvest Crusades at the facility since 1990. The evangelistic meetings draws between 90,000 to 100,000 people and typically result in nearly 10,000 people becoming Christians. To promote the August crusade, Harvest Crusade booked several billboards with a real estate company called Irvine Company. The billboards contracted by Laurie were at a popular mall called Fashion Island in Orange County. The billboards featured Greg Laurie preaching and holding a Bible up in his right hand along with the dates and location of the crusade. According to Todd Starnes, a columnist with Fox News, a representative with the Irvine Company contacted Harvest Crusade stating the company had received several complaints about the billboard and even one “serious threat.” There were no crosses on the billboard and there …

Chick-fil-a restaurant Credit: raymondclarkeimages/Flickr/Creative Commons

Chick-fil-A announces controversial arrival in Toronto

Chick-fil-A is one of the fastest growing fast-food franchises in the US. So it is not surprising that the chain announced it will be opening a store in Toronto, Canada’s largest city, in 2019. It hopes to have upwards of 20 franchises set up in the Greater Toronto Area by 2024. Chick-fil-A’s arrival in Toronto is proving controversial as those on the left unleash their outrage. The left has a problem with Chick-fil-A because: It’s privately owned by the Christians (the Cathy family). The restaurant has Bible verses printed on its cups; It’s owned by Christians who believe in traditional Christian values on marriage; and are not afraid to express these views. In a 2012 interview with the Baptist Press, Chick-fil-A Ceo Dan Cathy said: “We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that,” Casey said. “We operate as a family business … our restaurants are …

City of Toronto Credit: Duncan Rawlinson/Duncan.co/@thelastminute/Creative Commons

What’s going on in Toronto?

You might have heard the news, a man with a gun walked down a quiet street in Toronto and shot people who were enjoying a warm summer evening. Many people were injured and at this time, two have died, a girl and a young woman. The alleged killer, Faisal Hussain, was a Muslim from a Pakistani immigrant family. Faisal’s brother is in a coma from a drug overdose, and his father has Parkinson’s disease and there is a history, in their community, of dangerous drug gangs. That’s where the guns and bullets allegedly came from. Also, ISIS has now claimed Faisal was one of their soldiers. RELATED: ISIS claims of responsibility for Toronto shooting raise questions of credibility: CBC If we ever learn the truth, we will probably find a toxic mix of immigrant desperation, with all the sources of stress we can imagine. All the bad things seemed to pile on that young man. If there is a good life, he could see it but he couldn’t live it. The authorities, including police and …

Crandell Police singing "God's Not Dead" Credit: Pure Flix/Facebook page capture

Crandall, TX police officers facing opposition as they lip sync for God

Over the past several weeks, cops from police stations across American have been lip syncing popular songs and posting them to Facebook. Referred to as the lip sync challenge the videos are proving quite popular and include songs by such stars as Bruno Mars. However, things took a nasty turn, when officers from the Police Department in Crandall, Texas uploaded their song. The problem was they lip synced a gospel song called “God’s Not Dead” popularized by the Gospel group Newsboys. The song is also feature on Pure Flix’s movie God’s Not Dead. Crandall, TX is small town of 2,900 people and Dean Winter, Crandell’s chief of police, is not shy about his faith. The song is proving popular on Facebook having been viewed over eight million times and it has been recently uploaded to other social media platforms including YouTube. But the video also caught the attention of a group of activist atheists called the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) who sent a letter demanding the song be taken down accusing the group of …

Grocery Store Credit: Province of British Columbia/Flickr/Creative Commons

Report: Religious people have more self-control when it comes to shopping

According to a study by three researchers from university business schools,  Didem Kurt, Boston University, J. Jeffrey Inman, University of Pittsburgh and Francesca Gino, Harvard Business School, religious people not only spend less than non-religious but they are also less likely to make impulse purchases. The study that involved looking at the results of five earlier studies on spending habits also included the group’s own research. In their study, the three researchers put 800 people through a variety of “hypothetical” shopping scenarios and as well tests to evaluate how strong their religious beliefs were. What they discovered is that an incremental increase in religious belief resulted in a 5% decrease in spending and impulsive buying. This confirmed results from a survey of spending by 2,400 people in 10 states in 2011 and 2012, conducted by Point of Purchase Advertising International. It showed that people living in more religious counties not only spent less money on groceries than people living in less religious counties, but also had “fewer impulse purchases.” There are undoubtedly a variety of …

Katy Perry in her 2018 Witness tour Credit: Giorgio Erriquez/Flickr/Creative Commons

In an interview with ‘Vogue Australia’ Katy Perry says she never left God

In a recent cover interview with Vogue Australia, pop sensation Katy Perry had more to say about her Christian faith. Katy’s parents, Keith and Mary Hudson, are both Pentecostal evangelists, and as their talented daughter became involved in music, Katy sang gospel and even released a gospel album. However, as she moved into secular music, Katy seemed to walk away from her faith. She admitted in the interview that her mother was praying that her daughter would come back to God. In response Katy said that she never “left Him, I was just a little bit secular. I was more materialistic and more career driven.” Now in her 30s, Katy said there are changes taking place in her life stating “it’s more about spirituality and heart wholeness.” And we have seen hints of this spirituality popping through on social media as Katy shared Christian messages on Instagram Over Easter, she shared an Instagram post of a rainbow over her Jesus tattoo with the words: ”My brokeness + God’s Divinity = My wholeness” written beneath the image. …

Credit: Orlando Castro/Flickr/Creative Commons

The ‘set times’ of refreshing?

CBN is reporting on a revival that has broken out in Greeneville, Tennessee, a small town in the Northern part of the state with a population of just over 15,000 people. It started on April 15, 2018 at the Greystone Freewill Baptist church. The church had invited Evangelist D.R. Harrison to speak at a week-long revival meeting. By the third week, it was standing room only at the church. The pastor was becoming concerned because more people were wanting to attend than there was room in the church. As they were praying for direction, a North Carolina man stepped forward donating a large 80 foot by 140 foot tent that could seat up to 1,500 people. With this extra room the revival has continued unabated for three months with people attending from several states and a variety of denomination backgrounds. In an interview with CBN, Harrison reported that not only is God moving in power restoring lives and marriages, but people are also getting saved with over 230 people accepting Christ so far during the …

Fulani herdsmen Credit: John Mauremootoo/Flickr/Creative Commons

218 Christians massacred in Nigeria by Fulani herdsmen

Over the June 21-22, 2018 weekend, Fulani herdsmen massacred 218 Christians in Nigeria’s northern Plateau state in coordinated attacks on 11 villages. This is the third worst massacre of Christians by Fulani tribesmen behind the slaughter of 500 Christians in March 2010 in Plateau State and 300 in February 2016 in Benue State. This recent spate of violence is both puzzling and concerning. The Fulani herdsmen are nomadic or semi-nomadic tribesmen that travel through several countries such as Nigeria, Niger, Senegal with their cattle herds. They provide the bulk of the meat in Nigeria. Though the Fulani tribesman are Muslim they have worked peaceably side by side Christians farmers for decades. But that changed in recent years, and some are convinced that Muslim extremism, Boko Haram in particular, has radicalized many in this tribal group. Despite Nigeria being made up of 51% Christians and 45% Muslim, the Muslims are concentrated in the Northern and a middle part of Nigeria where they make up the majority of the population. However, the Plateau State where many of …

Credit: Kamyta/Flickr/Creative Commons

Study shows that religious people live longer

According to the Daily Mail, a study undertaken by researchers from Ohio State University in the US concluded that religious people live on average four years longer than atheists or non religious. The results of their study were published in the Social Psychological and Personality Science Journal. The group of psychology researchers came to this conclusion after studying the obituaries of over 1,000 people. This included 505 recorded n the Des Moines Register in Iowa in January and February 2012. The study led by doctoral student Laura Wallace concluded that church goers outlived non-religious people by 9.45 years. However, once they factored out other elements that can contribute to longer life including marriage and gender, that difference shrunk to 6.48 years. A second study of 1,096 obituaries published in 42 cites between August 2010 and August 2011 showed religious people lived an average of 5.64 years longer than those who weren’t. Once gender and marital status were factored out that difference dropped to 3.82 years. The researchers said there were several factors that may contribute …

Yanghu, Anhui, China Credit: Ted McGrath/Flickr/Creative Commons

China’s communist revival: Is Satan rearing his head again?

There is a communist revival taking place in the world today. We see cultural Marxism rearing its ugly head in universities with the extreme left trying to shut down, sometimes violently, any conservatives who dare to disagree with their extreme left-wing opinions. Put perhaps the clearest example of this swing can be seen in the communist resurgence taking place in China. In an article in the Washington Times, Bob Fu, President of ChinaAid a Christian organization that monitors human right abuses in China, said persecution of Christians in China has reached levels unseen since the days of Mao Tse Tung’s Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). In 2016, ChinaAid reported the persecution of 762 Churches and 48,000 people and by 2017 that had risen to 1,265 churches and 223,000 people. The persecution trend is veering upwards again in 2018 since the passing of a law on Feb. 1 requiring all churches to register with the state.  Earlier this year, the government dynamited the largest church in Shanxi province — the Golden Lampstand Church.  The government has also burned …

US Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. Credit: Keith Survell/Flickr/Creative Commons

Victory for religious freedom in US as Supreme Court rules in favor of Colorado baker

In 2012, Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Denver Colorado, was approached by a homosexual couple who wanted Phillips to make a custom wedding cake for their gay wedding. Phillips said no stating that it contravened his beliefs as a Christian. However, Phillips was willing to make them a birthday cake or any cake for that matter, but was unwilling to decorate it with a message supporting gay marriage. Citing discrimination, the gay couple took Phillips before the Colorado Civil Rights Commission (CCRC) that eventually ordered Phillips to make the cake and as well required his staff to undergo re-education training. However, Phillips decided to take the case to the courts. Initially, he lost his cases in the Colorado courts who ruled in favor of the CCRC’s decision. After the Colorado Supreme Court refused to hear Phillips’ appeal, with the help of the Alliance Defending Freedom, Phillips petitioned the US Supreme Court in July 2016, the highest court in the US. In June 2017, the court agreed to hear the case in and …

Church steeples in Wurzburg, Bavaria Credit: Gertrude K./Flickr/Creative Commons

Bavaria requires a cross be displayed in all government offices

Officially called the Free State of Bavaria, Bavaria is Germany’s largest state making up 20% of Germany’s land mass. With a population of 13 million it is Germany’s second largest state. With its state capital in Munich, Bavaria also has Germany’s second largest economy. Bavarians are very conscious of their identity with many considering themselves Bavarian first and Germans second. With 75% of Bavarians calling themselves Christian (over 50% Catholic), many consider it Germany’s most conservative state. And recently, the Bavarian government passed legislation mandating that all state offices prominently display a cross in their public areas. Before this law was passed, crosses were required in court rooms and schools. The new legislation will not affect municipal governments or Germany’s federal government buildings in the state. It even has an official name “Kreuzpflicht or “cross duty.” According to Christian Social Unions (CSU), the state’s ruling party, the law is intended to recognize the Bavaria’s cultural heritage. Premier Markus Soder said these crosses should not be looked upon as a religious symbol, but a recognition of …

Freshwind Band at Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in March 2008 where the Toronto Revival broke out. Source: andrewgazaneo artwork by Sarah M Gazeno/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Justin Bieber’s mom Pattie Mallette ‘Travailing in the Spirit’?

Pattie Mallette may not be a familiar name to most of us, but her pop star son, Justin Bieber, is a household name in many parts of the world. In earlier articles, I have written about the remarkable spiritual transformation taking place in Justin’s life. Dale Hurd writing for Christ for All Nations tells the story about Pattie’s spiritual journey. Incredibly, it started at the Toronto revival, also called the Toronto Blessing, that broke out in a Vineyard Church in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in January 1994. The church originally called Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship has since been renamed Catch the Fire Toronto and is pastored by John and Carol Arnott. Pattie shared her journey to faith at the 2018 Light the Fire Again conference held at the same building, the Attwell Center, where the Toronto revival broke out. In the early 1990s, Pattie became a Christian in a hospital room shortly after a failed suicide attempt. She was led to the Lord and mentored by a couple who attended the Vineyard church where the revival …

Despite living on a planet with 7.6 billion people, many still feel alone. Credit: Xynn Tii/Flickr/Creative Commons

Survey reveals the Gen Z generation is the loneliest group of people on earth

Earlier this month, Cigna, a global health company, released data it received based on a poll it conducted in February and March this year. Cigna wanted to find out how lonely people were and asked 20,000 Americans over the age of 18 a series of questions based on a 20-question loneliness scale developed by UCLA. This included questions asking if they had anyone to turn to or if the respondents felt like they were part of a group of friends. Based on their response, they were ranked between 20 (least lonely) to 80 (most lonely). When analyzing by age groups, Cigna discovered that the loneliest people on the planet were those referred to a Generation Z (between the ages of 18 to 22) who ranked 48. The least lonely were those over the age of 72 who scored 39. As an age-group, Generation Z was on par with another group, single parents, who despite having children similarly scored 48 in terms of loneliness. The average score for all Americans surveyed was 44 and revealed as …

The Black Church of Buoakirkja in Iceland Credit: David Soldano/Flickr/Creative Commons

How to argue with a “New Atheist”

A few years ago, a man I knew was diagnosed with cancer. He was older than me, and I think his health was not good. The cancer doctors used very aggressive treatments and his tumour began to shrink. His friends, including me, were happy about this because it seemed like he was going to beat the cancer. Then the bad news came. The treatment for cancer was so severe, it was killing him. The doctors were forced to stop the treatment to save his life, and the tumor started growing again. He knew he would die from the cancer, and he went to a hospice for palliative care, which means he went to a specialized hospital, and waited to die. And the end of his story is; he did die, after a few weeks. The palliative care unit was close to where I worked and I made a few lunch-time visits. He had visits from family members in the evenings. On my lunchtime work schedule, I had to walk several blocks and I could only …

Christian NBA star Jeremy Lin Credit: Christian/Flickr/Creative Commons

If God was willing to use Samson, the Lord will use you despite your imperfections

I have thought of writing this story for a while, and when I saw an article on a Christian NBA basketball star Jeremy Lin, I was inspired to write it. For those who don’t know, Jeremy Lin, 29, plays for the Brooklyn Nets in the NBA. He has been an all-star basket ball player throughout much of his career and is the first NBA player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent. He has always floated under the radar. He was undrafted and came out of nowhere during New York Knicks’s 2012 season. The Knicks were having a terrible year and the coach was contemplating cutting Lin who had not seen any significant playing time. But after repeated losses and injuries to players, the coach decided to play Lin who stormed off the bench and many argue single handily turned the Knicks’s 2012 season around. When Jeremy scored 38 points in a game in February 2012, in an interview with ESPN NBA star Kobe Bryant said: “Players playing that well don’t usually come out of nowhere. It …

Credit: Cindee Snider Re/Flickr/Creative Commons

Yes GQ, the Bible is Boring

Gentlemen’s Quarterly Magazine, now GQ, has decided that the Bible is a boring old book and they do not recommend it for reading. This has stirred up many Christians who are trying to defend the holy book. RELATED: GQ magazine puts Bible on list of classic books not worth reading, incurs the wrath of Christians: USA Today If you are a Christian and GQ’s criticism of the Bible offends you, note that you are being had. This is not news, this is a provocative statement invented to bother us and eventually to increase sales of the magazine. You could call it fake news. I don’t know the circulation numbers for GQ, but in general the print media is in big trouble, as we all switch to the Internet. When I go to the check-out in a supermarket I see large displays of glossy magazines, probably including GQ. What I don’t see is anyone buying a magazine. Someone must be buying those things, just not when I’m looking; that unicorn is invisible to me. We could …

Grave yard in London, England Credit: frattaglia/Flickr/Creative Commons

What is grave soaking?

There is a strange story in the Old Testament that seems to have spawned an equally weird practice among a few Charismatic churches. The prophet Elisha had died and been buried in a tomb, perhaps a cave where people of prominence were often buried. It was a difficult time and the Moabites were regularly raiding Israel. A group of men were burying a friend when they receive word a Moabite raiding party was nearby. The men were probably being mustered to repel the raiders and temporarily decided to put the body in Elisha’s tomb that was nearby, with intent of returning later to bury it. Rather than laying it carefully in the tomb, they quickly threw the body in and it inadvertently touched the bones of Elisha. When it did, the dead man came back to life (2 Kings 13:21). There was obviously some type of residual anointing still on the bones of Elisha that led to this resurrection. And this unusual account has led to a strange practice in some Christian circles called grave …

Credit: Russell Davies/Flickr/Creative Commons

Google rejects ads of Christian publisher

In a statement released on Facebook, Concordia Publishing House (CPH), operated by the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) denomination, stated that Google had rejected  one of its ads because CPH’s website had Biblical content and referred to Jesus. Formed in 1847, LCMS has two million members and is evangelical in doctrine as is its publishing arm. In an article on The Federalist, Bruce Kintz, the CEO of Concordia said that they were wanting to advertise their Vacation Bible School but were rejected by Good AdWords that places ads on participating websites. Kintz said Google rejected their ad “because of the faith we express on our website.” When Concordia asked for specifics, Google referred to the organization’s Vacation Bible School page stating the “Bible Challenge would clearly need to come down before they could consider us for ads.” The Bible Challenge page referenced several Biblical passages such as: When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the …

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.  …