All posts tagged: feature

Sermon at the University of Cambridge said Jesus had a ‘trans body’?

Church parishioners were left in tears after a sermon by a junior research fellow at the University of Cambridge in the UK on Sunday, Nov 20, 2022, implied that Jesus had a trans body. Joshua Heath came to this conclusion based on 13th and 14th-century paintings, composed centuries after Christ’s crucifixion. According to Heath, in a painting found in a 14th century Prayer Book, Bonne of Luxembourg, the wound in Jesus’ side, put there by a Roman guard checking to see if Jesus was dead, looked like a woman’s sex organ. He then pointed to another painting by Jean Malouel in the 13th century that had the blood from Jesus’ side trickling down to the Lord’s groin. Heath suggested that these paintings intimated Jesus had a trans body. As the sermon was being delivered shouts of ‘heresy’ could be heard coming from the Anglican church congregation as people showed their disgust about the homily. After the service, a member of the congregation wrote to Dr. Michael Banner, the Dean of Trinity College, who was also …

Splitting churches: That LGBTQ Issue

A very large split is happening in some churches, these days. You might have heard of the United Methodist Church, a very large denomination with many churches, and their arguments about sexual identity. One of the largest Christian communities in the world is falling apart. This morning I went for a walk with some neighbors and someone remembered me from many years ago. I asked him where we met, and he named my old family church. He still recognized me, after all these years. We talked, and he explained that he lived near us, with his husband. I tried to avoid an awkward pause in the conversation. At our church, a lady that we know was talking to some of us, including a pastor. She talked about her life, and what was happening to her. One issue was that she had recently broken up with her girlfriend. That was awkward. You probably have similar stories. So, with Gay, Trans, LGBTQ or any identification; what should we do? There are other issues, like abortion, and the …

Supernatural Patience and Endurance

By Rick Renner

Here is an important fact to know about the apostolic ministry: God didn’t leave it to us to guess who is a true apostle and who is not! I’m thankful for that! In Second Corinthians 12:12 the apostle Paul wrote by the Holy Spirit about the signs that will help us discern correctly whether an apostle is in our midst. He said, “Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.”

‘The Chosen’ surprised and placed third in theater box office sales this past weekend

The Chosen is a multi season TV series on the life of Jesus portrayed in the Gospels. Each episode focuses on one of the stories. Now in its third season, the first two episodes were released as a special-screening in 2,012 theaters across the US this past weekend. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the show shocked Hollywood as it grossed $8,7 million on its first weekend, and ended up as the third most watched movie. Leading the way was Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, with $67.3 million on its second weekend of viewing. Second place fell to another new release, a comedy-horror movie called The Menu, which had $9 million in sales, but was viewed in 3,211 theaters, a third more than The Chosen. The Chosen beat out releases by such Hollywood franchises as Disney, Universal and DC Comics. It also outsold, She Said that covered the exposure of notorious Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein by New York Times reporter Jodi Cantor. Writing for the Texas Monthly, Sean O’Neal, said the show portrays Jesus’ disciples as real, …

Micro churches, the New Testament pattern?

Churches are still reporting a significant drop in attendance in 2022, following the lockdowns in 2021 that saw church services curtailed in many countries. According to reports, in 2019, 34% of Americans attended a service at least once a month, and recent surveys indicate this has dropped to 27% in 2022. The same thing is happening in Canada, where the government’s StatsCanada reported that the number of people who attended a religious service at least once a month has dropped from 23% to 19% in 2022. These are interesting days for the churches that still haven’t recovered from the pandemic and related lockdowns. But these difficult times, may also provide an opportunity to rethink church. An Assemblies of God church in Gainesville, Florida may provide a pattern for such a transformation, micro churches, AG News reports. In 2004, when Mike A. Patz became the lead pastor of the 3,500 member Greenhouse Church in Gainesville, Florida, God gave him a vision of having the church return to the pattern found in the Book of Acts of …

Roman Catholic Doctrine: the veneration of Mary

The Roman Catholic Church’s veneration of Mary started centuries ago in the church’s battle with Gnosticism, a belief that separated the spirit of a man from his flesh. Flesh was evil, and the spirit was good. As part of this belief, a person could basically sin as much as they wanted in the flesh, because the spirit remained pure, a view hinted at and condemned by Paul in Romans 6:1. The Gnostics also believed that because of the Lord’s sinless life, Jesus could not have been human or born in flesh, and that He appeared on earth in spirit form. As this heresy spread in the early church, Christ’s humanity, became a test for the spirits; 2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, (1 John 4:3 NIV) To counter this heresy, the church began to push and exalt Mary, Jesus’s earthly mother, as evidence of Christ’s human birth. But by the third and fourth century, it had …

Violence: Are we ready?

A few years ago, I was driving on a wide and busy road. It was a warm summer evening, and I was caught in a slow stream of traffic. It all seemed normal. On the other side of the wide road, and slightly ahead, I noticed a group of people. I glanced over at them, and it looked like an argument was starting. It looked a bit scary, when I looked closely. One older man was talking to some younger men. The older man was not old, just older than the others. He was probably native. The young men were white, and they looked like skinheads. They had short hair and work boots, and they seemed aggressive. The boots are important in this story. If we could describe a racialized and ugly encounter, like a scene in a movie, this was it. Then the fight started. The lone, older man was shoved, and he fell to the ground, on his hands and knees. The fight continued, and I can still picture one of the young …

Roman Catholic doctrine: Praying to the saints

When it comes to praying to the saints, the Roman Catholic Church knows it is walking a fine line, because of the repeated admonitions throughout the Bible against contacting the dead. Leviticus 20:6 explicitly warns that God will oppose any person who consults mediums (those who consult the dead) or familiar spirits (literally the souls of dead family members). Similar warnings are found in Leviticus 19:31, and Deuteronomy 18:10-11. So how does the Catholic Church get around these warnings? Well, first it states that people are not actually praying to dead saints, they are simply asking these saints to pray for them. Suggesting that asking the dead to pray for you is different from prayer is just a matter of semantics. In fact, they are praying to the saints, even when asking. To support their position of praying to the saints, Catholic theologians point to passages in the Book of Revelation that picture people in heaven praising, worshiping and even petitioning God (Revelation 4:10, 5:8, 6:9-11). They theorize that Mary, the mother of Jesus, can …

How a misfiring gun, turned a gang member to Christ

In 2016, Javier Torres was a member of a Mexican gang in Northern California, until God intervened in an unusual way, causing him to become a believer in Jesus. According to AG News, he and members of his gang were involved in a confrontation with a member of another gang. Torres pulled his gun and unloaded his pistol, a .357 magnum revolver, on the man. However, instead of shots ringing out, there were only six clicks as the gun didn’t fire. Stunned, Torres and his gang fled. Once back at their home base, another gang member checked Torres’ gun. When he noticed that the bullets had not misfired, he told Torres that it must have been God who stopped the pistol from firing. Shook by the experience, for the next three months Torres turned to cocaine. But one day, when he was unable to get cocaine for his daily fix, Torres turned to God in prayer. “God, if this is you helping me get me out of this pain and hurt, I want a new …

What is Christian nationalism?

A recent survey conducted by Pew Research found that 60% of Americans believe that America was founded as a Christian nation. Nevertheless, only 33% believe that the US is still a Christian nation today. The survey also found that 45% believe that the US should be a Christian nation and 47% believe the Bible “should have a great deal or some influence on U.S. laws.” Meanwhile, 21% said it should have little or no influence. So this leads us to the broader issue of Christian nationalism which has become a topic in recent days. What exactly is Christian nationalism? In a nutshell, it is the belief that America, similar to Israel, is a Christian nation chosen and in covenant with God. I think we need to look at this issue in light of what happened under the Roman Emperor Constantine, which ironically took place on Oct 27, the same day the results of the survey were released. In his article, On this day in Christian history, Constantine saw a vision from God: “Conquer by this”, …

Seven Steps to Help Unite the Church of America

By Dr. Michael L. Brown

It was Jesus Himself who said, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.” (Matthew 12:25) The same applies for the Church: If we are divided against ourselves, we will be ruined and we will not stand. And if we, the people of God in America, will not stand, neither will our nation. But how we can unite when there are such deep divisions and differences among us?

Does an ancient mosaic point to Peter’s home in Bethsaida?

Archaeologists, Prof. Steven Notley from New York’s Nyack College and Prof. Mordechai Aviam of Israel’s Kinneret College believe they have found an ancient Byzantine church located in Bethsaida said to built over the home of the Apostle Peter. The Bible tells us that Peter, Andrew, and Philip were from Bethsaida (John 1:44). It was also the town that Jesus condemned because of its refusal to repent after all the miracles that had been performed there (Matthew 11:20-25). The site, referred to as El-Araj, is located on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. The archaeologists, who had previously found the remains of an ancient Byzantine church, announced that they recently discovered a round Mosaic medallion that was part of a larger mosaic floor in the church’s sacristy. This is the room where those leading the church service gathered to prepare. The medallion contained two lines of Greek script, which refers to the donor, “Constantine, the servant of Christ,” and a petition to Peter who is called, “chief and commander of the heavenly apostles.” This …

Did the Pope get it wrong? … or right?

Most of the world knows, now, that the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church has just finished a visit to Canada. He is eighty-four years old, and sometimes he was transported in a wheelchair. I live close to some of the sites that he visited, and I know, the weather was hot. Apparently, he is now talking about retirement. So, what would motivate a man in his eighties, to travel to the other side of the world, and speak to huge crowds? The stadium, where he held a mass, holds about sixty thousand, and about fifty thousand attended the mass. The local authorities warned about traffic disruptions on major highways. The motivation was clear; there is a history of church-run boarding schools for native people, and the Pope now describes that as “genocide.” He traveled to Canada to apologize for something that his church did. He believes his church was wrong. Can we judge the Pope? Was he wrong? Or was he correct? Was it important for an old man to travel so far, and …

How gratitude rewires your brain

In his letter to the Romans, the Apostle Paul writes that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). The Greek word translated ‘transformed’, metamorphoō, speaks of an utter and complete change. It is where we get the English word metamorphosis, which describes the process when a caterpillar builds a cocoon, dissolves, and reforms into a butterfly. The change is so dramatic that the butterfly can no longer eat the same thing that it did when it lived as a caterpillar. But for the believer, Paul adds that this transformation takes place as we ‘renew’ our minds. Paul uses the same Greek word, anakainoo, when he writes that we are ‘renewed in the spirit of our mind’ (Ephesians 4:22-24). Anakainoo means to ‘make new,’ ‘make different,’ ‘to renovate’ and refers to a dramatic change, and it’s this change in thinking that transforms us. But when Paul speaks of the spirit of our mind, he is speaking about what controls and directs our thinking. Some Bible versions, such as the NIV, …

German citizens pay a ‘church tax’

Premier Christian News reports on an interesting story out of Germany about thousands of people leaving their faith because of the country’s ‘church tax.’ Germany is one of a handful of countries in the world, including Austria, Denmark, and Italy, that imposes a ‘worship’ or ‘church’ tax on its citizens. It is a form of income tax and depending on where a person lives, the tax can range from 8% of income in Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria to 9% in the remaining states. Since it was first implemented in 1919, German citizens pay the tax if they are registered as a member of a protestant and Catholic Church or as a member of the Jewish faith. This also includes anyone who has been christened or married in a German church. Churches, including Evangelical, can then apply to receive funding from the ‘worship tax’ and those eligible typically receive about 70% of their income from the state’s church tax. According to Simplegermany.com, in 2020, the German government paid out 12.1 billion Euros to protestant and Catholic churches. …

Lies and Deception: Are you a fact-checker?

You probably have a phone like mine. I get news that I didn’t ask for, and it comes to me all day, every day. Some are information, some are manipulation, and some are advertising for things I could buy. I also can learn about the lives of movie stars. We also have polarized truth. The vegans believe they have found the truth and the truth is meat-free, but the carnivores think they have the truth, and it is vegan-free. We also have political arguments, and polarized news about our health, and what did I miss? We are divided. I used to try to read it all, but I have learned, there are news sites that I can go to any time. I can just pick a favourite, and it will give me a summary of just about everything I should know. If a site seems biased and slanted, I can change to a new one with just a click. Since I learned that, I start my day by scrolling to the bottom of the “news” …

The Bible’s description of how Esarhaddon became Assyria’s king, confirmed by archaeology

Though secularists like to discount the Bible by portraying it as a collection of myths, even its smallest, seemingly insignificant details are proving to be historically accurate. In a few passages, the Bible refers to Esarhaddon, an Assyrian King who ruled between 681-669 BC. The son of Sennacherib, he is considered one of the greatest kings of the Assyrian empire. In 2 Kings, we are told that Esarhaddon came to the throne after his older brothers assassinated their father: 37 One day, while he [Sennacherib] was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisrok, his sons Adrammelek and Sharezer killed him with the sword, and they escaped to the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son succeeded him as king. (2 Kings 19:37 NIV) The lead-up to this started when Hezekiah became king of Judah and refused to continue paying tribute to the Assyrian empire. As a result, King Sennacherib invaded Judah to bring them back into line. What followed is confirmed several times in the archaeological record. The invasion involved the sacking of several smaller …

The power of believing

By Rick Renner When our TV program was broadcast on Channel One in Belarus, every home in the entire nation had the ability to watch it. The proof of how many people watched our program was the mountains of mail we received every week from Belarus. The impact we had was simply phenomenal. So at the urging of a pastor in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, we took the train to that city and held a three-day meeting for our television viewers. People came from all over Belarus, to the point that the auditorium could not hold everyone who tried to get into the meeting. It blessed us to see such a response to the Gospel message delivered through our TV program. However, the first night of the meeting was a real struggle because they gave me an interpreter who knew almost no English. All night he and I wrestled back and forth on the stage, trying to understand each other, and I knew that the crowd was missing what God wanted to say to …

How the man who led the Dec 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, became a believer in Jesus

Today marks the 80th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour and CBN had an interesting story on how Captain Mitsuo Fuchida, the Japanese pilot, who organized and led the Pearl Harbor attack on Dec 7, 1941, became a Christian, ironically, due to the influence of Jacob DeShazer. Because DeShazer was an American air force service man, who was captured after his plane went down in China after the Doolittle Raid, that saw US B-25 bombers target several industrial sites in Japan in 1942, as a direct response to the Pearl Harbor attack. Since the bombers did not have enough fuel to return to their carriers, they were told to fly on to China to hopefully be rescued by friendly Chinese soldiers or citizens. DeShazer and his B-25 crew were captured by Japanese forces the day after their plane ran out of gas earlier than expected, forcing them to parachute into Japanese-controlled, Chinese territory. DeShazer spent the next 40 months in prison of war camps in Japan and China. He was not only starved, …

Forgiveness vs the ‘eye for eye’ law

Atheists and agnostics like to point to inconsistencies in the Bible as a way of discrediting Christianity. One that surfaces from time to time is the difference between the Old Testament law that spoke of an eye for eye justice (Exodus 21:24), and how it starkly contrasts Jesus’ statements in the New Testament that we are to love and forgive our enemies (Matthew 5:38-39). While Moses demanded a harsh form of justice, Jesus demanded forgiveness. These two ideas seem irreconcilable. Well, there is a simple explanation for this, and we see it playing out in a recent court case involving the death of a Minnesota pastor, Verlyn Strenge, 69, who was killed by a drunk driver in Nov. 2020. Strenge was pastoring the First Baptist church in Clearbrook, when he was rear-ended by David Nelson, who had a blood alcohol level of .267 and was travelling at nearly 70 mph when he smashed in to the back of the pastor’s car. The speed limit was 30 mph. The collision killed Pastor Strenge and critically injured …

Anthropology confirms the Bible’s description of a race of GIANTS

As we read the Bible, we find several mentions of giant men. Of course, the most famous of these was Goliath. Throughout history, there have been stories of giant people. The Guinness Book of Records states that the tallest man on record was an Illinois man, Robert Pershing Wadlow, who grew to a size of 8’11”. In this instance, Wadlow’s giant size was due to problems with his pituitary gland that resulted in an inordinate release of growth hormones. Reports suggest that Wadlow was still growing when he died at 22 years of age in 1940 due to an infection. But as we look at the Biblical record, we see that the Bible was not talking about one offs, a person here or there who reached extraordinary size due to glandular problems, it talked about a race(s) of giants known as the Nephilim. The first reference to the Nephilim is found in the Book of Genesis, in the lead up to the worldwide flood: 4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when …

Mikhaila Peterson: Spiritual or Religious?

Are you worried, or stressed, or maybe afraid? For me, the problem is stress. We have COVID, and problems with the economy, and political arguments, and what did I miss. There is an old saying “It is a curse to live in interesting times.” So, how do we cope with interesting times? What is the best medicine? Are you spiritual? Are you religious? It is popular now, to say ‘I am spiritual, but I am not religious.’ I think that was more popular a few years ago. Possibly people were trying to dodge the pressure to join a religion, like something you could tell your mother. So, what does it mean, and should we all join in? Spiritual: In the Bible, Jesus told us “But the time is coming, indeed it’s here now, when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” (John 4: …