Baptist Church Christianity Church eminent domain Fire station Intelwars Texas watch

Church fights Texas city’s eminent domain push to take land for new fire station. Fun fact: There’s already a fire station across the street.

While Canaan Baptist Church is located in south Dallas, the small congregation has had a ministry in nearby Duncanville for the last 15 years, KTVT-TV reported.

Image source: KTVT-TV video screenshot

“We do food drives, clothing drives, church activities,” Angie Baker, wife of Canaan Baptist’s pastor, told the station. “We feel like this community is underserved.”

Image source: KTVT-TV video screenshot

Thing is, there’s no church building for Canaan Baptist in Duncanville — but it does have land there, KTVT said.

“This is an empty lot that God gave us,” Baker told the station.

Image source: KTVT-TV video screenshot

In fact, Canaan Baptist has been raising money to get a new facility built on the property, the station said.

The problem

The goal sounds simple enough — but the city of Duncanville is complicating it.

See, Duncanville has designs on the property and is trying to seize it using eminent domain to build a new fire station, KTVT reported.

As you might expect, Canaan Baptist doesn’t like the idea one bit.

“We have put so much into it, and we just don’t want to lose it to the city,” Baker noted to the station.

So attorneys for the church filed a motion this week to halt the land seizure, arguing for protections under the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act, KTVT reported.

“In this particular case, it would require the city to prove that this property is the only property that they can use for their purposes, and it’s going to be very difficult for them to prove that,” Keisha Russell, counsel at First Liberty Institute, told the station.

Image source: KTVT-TV video screenshot

And about that fire station…

What’s more, there’s already a fire station across the street from the church’s plot of land the city wants to take, KTVT reported.

“We just want the city to find another piece of property and build somewhere else, because we love the property that we’ve invested in,” Baker told the station.

The city of Duncanville told KTVT that the city attorney has received the church’s motion to dismiss and will file a response with the court at the appropriate time.

(H/T: Hot Air)

Babylon bee Black Lives Matter Campus Reform Censorship Christianity Intelwars Palm beach atlantic university Satire website Seth dillon

Babylon Bee CEO says Christian university disinvited him from speaking in chapel over his stance against BLM, for traditional Christian sexuality

Palm Beach Atlantic University has reportedly disinvited Seth Dillon, university alumnus and CEO of the Babylon Bee — a Christian satire website — from speaking at the Christian school’s chapel because of its “sacredness.”

The announcement came on the heels of social media outrage against Dillon and his views on Black Lives Matter and traditional Christian sexuality.

The school now reportedly would prefer Dillon to speak instead at the university’s library.

What are the details?

Dillon, who spoke to Campus Reform for an interview published on Saturday, revealed that the school recanted its invitation for him to speak at the school’s chapel.

He told the outlet that the school insisted upon switching the venue of Dillon’s speech after students flooded the school with emails — as well as social media remarks — over his stance against Black Lives Matter and on traditional Christian sexuality.

Dillon, who, according to the outlet, has branded Black Lives Matter a terrorist organization, tweeted about the news, writing, “Cancel culture has come for me. I’m just too dangerous and divisive to be permitted to speak on the campus of my alma mater. Since when do you have to support terrorist organizations that use violence and intimidation to advance their agenda to be welcome on a Christian campus?”

On Twitter, one Palm Beach Atlantic University student said that Dillon’s thoughts on the Black Lives Matter movement should be “enough to not welcome @SethDillon to our campus. Not to mention that every LGBTQ student has been disrespected and degraded by his content.”

The outlet reported, “After the social media uproar began, PBA Director of Alumni Relations Steve Eshelman emailed Dillon, asking to eliminate the previously scheduled five minutes of freestyle speaking at the beginning of the event.”

It only got worse from there.

“A few hours later, Dillon posted on Twitter that he was officially disinvited from speaking at the chapel,” the outlet reported. “He told Campus Reform that he was scheduled to speak on the morning of September 30, yet was notified on the afternoon of September 29 that he would no longer be speaking in the chapel. Instead, the university asked him to speak in the school’s library.”

A ‘sacred space’

The outlet reported that in an email forwarded to Dillon by PBA faculty member Laura Bishop — the school’s executive vice president for advancement — said that the campus chapel was, indeed, a “sacred space.”

“We anticipated that an honest conversation like this could become passionate, and that emotions may run high,” Bishop said in the communication. “We did not want to compromise the sacredness of a chapel gathering, and, after heated exchanges on social media, it was decided that the Lassiter Rotunda of the Warren Library would be a more suitable venue for Mr. Dillon.”

Dillon told Campus Reform that his remarks during the appearance were meant to be “lighthearted,” and said that a list of questions “focused on his experience as an alumnus and a Christian media entrepreneur.”

He told the outlet in a statement, “The assumption that I would bring a Twitter discussion into chapel and stray from the subject matter I agreed to discuss was pretty uncharitable. It seemed to me that it was an excuse … what they wanted to do was cancel me without canceling me and appease everyone involved.

“Bishop would not explicitly tell me what I’d said or done that made my presence in the chapel suddenly inappropriate,” he added. “I told her that if I’m not welcome in their chapel, then I don’t feel welcome on their campus.”

School should ‘stand against cancel culture’

He said that Bishop and PBA President Debra Schwinn met with him and issued an apology for the move. Dillon added that the school does, indeed, have an interest in seeking opportunities to “eventually have him back in the chapel.”

Dillon said he is not sure that he would make a future appearance at the school, adding that he would like the institution to “take a strong, public stand against cancel culture.”

Dillon, who recently donated $300,000 in seed funding to launch a brand-new master’s program at the university, added that in order for him to continue such donations, the university would have to “boldly and openly engage in the battle against cancel culture and take a clear stand against it.”

“[The school would have to] back up people like me to the mob instead of doing exactly what the mob wanted them to do,” he added. “[T]hen I wouldn’t have any qualms about donating to them in the future.”

He added, “Cancel culture is a destructive disease, and Palm Beach Atlantic University is not immune to it. We need more backbone and less coddling in our Christian institutions. And we need it yesterday.”

The outlet concluded, “Campus Reform made contact with Palm Beach Atlantic University and is still awaiting comment; this article will be updated accordingly.”

Christianity free market economics Inequality Intelwars Pope Francis Trickle down wealth inequality

Pope Francis slams trickle-down economics, advocates for redistribution of wealth: ‘For the good of all’

Pope Francis denounced trickle-down economics, private property, and advocated for the redistribution of wealth in a new letter to Roman Catholic leaders.

What are the details?

Writing in an 86-page papal encyclical — which, according to Reuters, are “the most authoritative form of papal writing” — Francis said the coronavirus pandemic proved the failure of free-market economics, such as the “trickle-down” theory.

Francis wrote, “There were those who would have had us believe that freedom of the market was sufficient to keep everything secure.”

From Reuters:

Francis denounced “this dogma of neo-liberal faith” that resorts to “the magic theories of ‘spillover’ or ‘trickle’ … as the only solution to societal problems”. A good economic policy, he said, “makes it possible for jobs to be created and not cut”.

The 2007-2008 financial crisis was a missed opportunity for change, instead producing “increased freedom for the truly powerful, who always find a way to escape unscathed”. Society must confront “the destructive effects of the empire of money”.

The pope also advocated the redistribution of wealth and denounced the absolute right of private property.

“The right to private property can only be considered a secondary natural right, derived from the principle of the universal destination of created goods,” Francis said.

The wealthy should “administer [their wealth] for the good of all,” Francis wrote. The pope also said he believes “that if one person lacks what is necessary to live with dignity, it is because another person is detaining it.”

However, Francis claimed he was “certainly not proposing an authoritarian and abstract universalism.”

Anything else?

This is not the first time Francis has knocked free-market economics.

Shortly after ascending to the papacy in 2013, Francis knocked trickle-down economics for allegedly sowing inequality.

“Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world,” Francis said at the time, the Washington Post reported.

“This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacra­lized workings of the prevailing economic system,” Francis added.

Biden staffer Catholic religion Catholics on the supreme court Christianity Intelwars Joe Biden Nikitha rai Persecution Shadi hamid

Biden campaign staffer suggests ‘intolerant’ religious views like those of Amy Coney Barrett should disqualify certain SCOTUS nominees

A staff member on Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign suggested that those with strong faiths — such as that of Orthodox Catholics, Jews, and Muslims — should perhaps not be permitted to serve on the Supreme Court, according to a report from National Review.

Now she appears to have gone missing from the internet as both her Twitter handle and LinkedIn account have been deactivated.

What are the details?

The staffer — Biden campaign Deputy Data Director for Pennsylvania Nikitha Rai — made the suggestion on Monday, intimating that a Supreme Court nominee’s faith should somehow disqualify them from serving as a U.S. Supreme Court justice.

According to the outlet, the remarks came during a Twitter exchange between Rai and Brookings Institute Senior Fellow Shadi Hamid during which Rai suggested Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s Catholic beliefs were problematic.

The outlet reported:

Hamid had responded to a tweet that said Barrett was a trustee at a Catholic school that opposed same-sex marriage as homosexual acts are “at odds with Scripture.” Hamid replied, “Wait, why is this news? Isn’t this the standard position for any orthodox Catholic?”

“Unfortunately yes,” Rai reportedly responded.

Hamid then went on to note that both Orthodox Muslims and Jews also typically hold the same values.

“True,” Rai purportedly agreed. “I’d heavily prefer views like that not be elevated to SCOTUS, but unfortunately our current culture is still relatively intolerant. It will be awhile before those types of beliefs are so taboo that they’re disqualifiers.”

National Review reported that a search for Rai’s Twitter account rendered a page that states “This account doesn’t exist.”

TheBlaze reached out to Rai for comment on the exchange via her then-active LinkedIn page. She did not respond. Moments later, she appeared to have deactivated her LinkedIn page as well.

At the time of this reporting, Google still lists her LinkedIn profile as an active link.

Comedian Jeremy McLellan shared a screenshot of the purported exchange between Hamid and Rai, captioned, “Here’s a @JoeBiden staffer saying that orthodox Christianity, Islam, and Judaism should be made ‘taboo’ and driven from the public sphere. Beneath all the talk of ‘interfaith’ and ‘pluralism,’ this is what they really believe.”

What else?

In 2017, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) also took Barrett — a vocal Christian and former clerk for late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia — to task over her faith during her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, calling her “controversial.”

“Why is it that so many of us on this side have this very uncomfortable feeling that dogma and law are two different things, and I think whatever a religion is, it has its own dogma,” Feinstein said at the time. “The law is totally different. … The conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you. And that’s of concern.”

The Senate confirmed Barrett to the 7th Circuit Court by a vote of 55-43 on Oct. 31, 2017.

All lives matter Black Lives Matter Christianity Coach College Football Illinois state university Intelwars Jesus Christ Kurt beathard

College football coach replaces BLM sign taped to office door with ‘All Lives Matter to Our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ’ sign. He’s no longer with team.

In August, Kurt Beathard — then-offensive coordinator for the Illinois State University football team — found a Black Lives Matter sign taped to his office door, Outkick‘s Jason King reported.

Given that the BLM organization has an affinity for Marxism and a dim view of the nuclear family, Beathard immediately removed the sign, the outlet said.

“‘I thought, ‘No, I can’t have this on my door,'” he told King. “So I took it off and put it behind the chair in my office. I was praying about it and I thought, ‘All lives matter here, and there’s no other organization other than Jesus Christ to sponsor that.'”

So later that day Beathard placed a new sign on his office door with a new message: All Lives Matter to Our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ,” the outlet said.

‘As a favor, could you please take that off your door?’

Given the volatility surrounding the BLM movement and the speed at which news travels, one might assume backlash against Beathard came fast — but it didn’t.

He told Outkick that his new sign remained on his office door for nearly two weeks before pushback came from one of his superiors.

“They didn’t demand it,” Beathard recalled to the outlet. “They just said, ‘As a favor, could you please take that off your door?’ I didn’t take it off right away. I sat there and prayed about it, and I said, ‘God knows where my heart is. That’s all that matters. If it will help to take it off, I’ll take it off.'”

But it was too late.

Beathard told Outkick that a few days before he was asked to remove his sign, a photo of it had been taken and circulated among players — and some of them were offended. And on Sept. 2, the school told Beathard he was no longer on the coaching staff, the outlet said, adding that ISU reassigned him.

‘I never quit. I did not quit that job.’

A number of news outlets reported that Beathard resigned from his position, including student paper the Vidette. But he told Outkick that was not the case: “I never quit. I did not quit that job.”

School officials last week told the Pantagraph they wouldn’t discuss what led to Beathard’s departure. And while three sources close to the football program told the Pantagraph that a Black Lives Matter poster had been taken down in the team’s locker room, Beathard said he wasn’t involved in removing posters in the locker room.

“That locker room crap is wrong,” he told the Pantagraph. “I took the sign down somebody put on my door. That’s it. I didn’t take anything off that wasn’t put on my door. I wrote the message.”

Rough times

Besides his departure from the football team, it already has been an exceedingly difficult year for Beathard.

Outkick said Beathard’s wife, Karen, died of cancer over the summer and that his 22-year-old nephew, Clayton, was stabbed to death Dec. 22 outside a Nashville bar.

“I truly believe that all lives matter,” he told Outkick. “It’s right there in the Bible. God doesn’t discriminate. He doesn’t say, ‘Oh, I kinda like some of these people. But I really, really, really like these other people.’ I keep hearing about the abortion rates and the gun killings. I think about the stuff that I got angry about when my nephew was tragically murdered. His life mattered. My wife’s life mattered, too. She lived with cancer for five years. She mattered to me. It’s about every life.”

He also told the outlet that he doesn’t regret what he wrote on the sign.

“I don’t like the way this has to be,” Beathard noted to Outkick. “I don’t like that you can’t have a different opinion than someone else. But I wouldn’t change [what I did]. I’m not going to deny Jesus. If you deny Jesus, he’ll deny you. It’s written in the Bible, multiple times. I’m not going to back down on that one. … I think I have a message to share with players. I really do. I think I can be good for them. I can stand for Jesus in front of a group of players and not be ashamed.”

Here’s Beathard in action a few years ago:

Spring Camp Report 2014 – OC Kurt Beathard Mic’d Up

Christianity Current Events & Politics Emerging Threats Intelwars Survival Mindset

Our Daily Passive Battle, by H.G.

I’m firmly in the “meek” category along with most of the attributes you would assume go with it: introverted, passive-aggressive, quiet, content, peace-loving, hard to anger, patient, etc.  I can put up with a lot, get along with anybody.  I have strong opinions but I know that nobody wants to hear them. My daily intake of news consists of scanning the mostly-local headlines of one of the city television stations, reading a couple stories of interest to get a deeper picture, and relying mostly on headlines for the gist of the national happenings.  I’m not completely head-in-the-sand but I know …

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Christianity Demons Exorcism Faith Intelwars Religion

Doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with woman who was in and out of mental hospitals. Then a stranger performed an exorcism: ‘I could see the demons’

An Arkansas woman with no history of mental illness said she suddenly found herself in deep emotional turmoil in 2006, with doctors unable to diagnose her rapidly deteriorating condition.

Within months, overtaken by suicidal thoughts, Amy plunged from a second-story window, was paralyzed and nearly died.

Now, she’s speaking out, explaining that she believes she experienced a dramatic demonic possession — and healing. Her experience is told in detail in the new book, “Playing with Fire: A Modern Investigation into Demons, Exorcism, and Ghosts.”

“I’ve never had any kind of mental problems, never been on medication for anything like that,” Amy said in a recent interview, noting that, within days of her affliction, she went from a successful nurse to a person who couldn’t think clearly.

Listen to Amy share her story on “The Edifi Podcast With Billy Hallowell” at the 42-minute mark:

Amy’s personal drama unfolded one day while she was working at a hospital and dealing with a burn patient who had survived an explosion.

“While I was in the ER giving [a] report, something wasn’t right with me,” she recalled. “I went upstairs to do my chart and it’s like my mind went out the window.”

Amy wondered what was unfolding; the mental duress continued to afflict her when she later went for a run and was unable to jog in a straight line.

“I told my husband, ‘I think I’m having a nervous breakdown. My mind is not right,'” she said.

As “Playing With Fire” explains, doctors put Amy on antidepressants, but she said the drugs did nothing to curb her problems — and the situation further devolved.

“They ended up putting me in a psychiatric hospital,” she said, “And the psychiatrist said, ‘We don’t know what we’re dealing with. We’ve never seen anything like this.'”

As time went on, Amy was in and out of hospitals, with suicidal thoughts suddenly overtaking her mind and heart.

“Nobody knew what was going on. And this happened in April and through the summer,” she said. “I was so messed up. I wanted to kill myself and I just could not think how to do it.”

One day Amy found herself sitting in a second-floor window sill at her home, as thoughts of death once again flooded her mind.

“I was sitting in the window and I thought to myself, ‘If I fall out of this window, I bet I’ll die, because it’s so far down and it’s a brick patio,'” she said. “So, I fell out of the window.”

Amy said she doesn’t remember much of what unfolded next, as she landed on her head on the hard patio two stories below.

“Any person in their right mind — if you’re falling you’re going to brace yourself … that’s a normal reflex,” she said. “My legs and arms were not broken. I did not brace myself.”

The impact of the fall was sweeping, with Amy breaking the majority of her ribs, puncturing her lungs and breaking her back in three places; 14 years later, she is still paralyzed.

“They didn’t think I was going to survive,” she said.

But while Amy lay in her hospital bed recovering, a stranger named Cindy felt compelled to visit. While there, Cindy performed what some Christians call a “deliverance” (similar to an exorcism).

“She felt really led to come see me,” Amy said. “[She] said when they got there I looked at her and I had a male voice come out of my mouth saying, ‘What are you doing here?'”

Amy believes Cindy cast a demon out, and that her life was transformed as a result.

For her part, Cindy has also openly spoken about the experience.

“I could see the demons,” she told KATV-TV last year, noting that she uttered a simple command in that hospital room: “Lord, in the name of Jesus, I command that these demons release her and come out of her and that she comes to her right mind, in Jesus’ name.”

In the end, Amy believes she was healed.

“My family saw a difference and they were thinking, ‘Something’s better,'” she said, noting, though, that there are still mysteries surrounding her story.

Mainly: Amy, who was a churchgoer before the incident, isn’t sure why she was afflicted. Regardless, she is now much closer to God, and is encouraging others to cling to their faith.

“It’s brought me so much closer to God and to know that his love for me. It wasn’t him that did that — of course, it was the enemy,” she said. “God’s love is amazing. Seek the Lord with all of your heart.”

For more stories like Amy’s be sure to read “Playing with Fire: A Modern Investigation into Demons, Exorcism, and Ghosts,” a book that dives deep — through a journalistic and Christian lens — into the cultural discussion about spiritual warfare, demons, exorcism in the Bible and other related topics.

Attack on church catholic church Christianity Intelwars Jesus Christ Jesus statue Texas watch

‘It does feel like an attack on our faith’: Another Jesus statue beheaded, destroyed — but suspect is arrested

The Catholic Diocese of El Paso said the 90-year-old Sacred Heart of Jesus statue inside St. Patrick Cathedral was destroyed around 10 a.m. Tuesday when the church was open for prayer, the
El Paso Times reported.

The statue was on display behind the main altar of the church, the paper said.

Father Michael Lewis
told KTSM-TV that “it does feel like an attack on our faith. It feels like an attack on our community and what ties us together, brings us together.”

Image source: YouTube screenshot

But Lewis added to the station that the person responsible “damaged the statue, but he can’t damage our faith.”

Plans are in place to have the statue repaired, KTSM added.

Suspect arrested

El Paso police on Wednesday identified the man accused of destroying the statue, the Times reported.

Isaiah Cantrell, 30, was arrested Tuesday and charged with criminal mischief and possession of marijuana, the paper said, adding that he was booked into jail on bonds totaling $20,500, and that jail records show he still was being held Wednesday afternoon.

Isaiah CantrellImage source: El Paso Police Department

Jail records also show Cantrell has a criminal record dating back to at least 2010 for charges including possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and driving while intoxicated, the paper said.

In fact, he was arrested Sept. 4 by University of Texas at El Paso police and charged with assault on a peace officer, criminal trespassing, and resisting arrest, search, or transportation, the Times said, adding he was released that same day on surety bonds totaling $5,000.

Two days later, Cantrell was arrested by El Paso police and charged with failure to identify, possession of marijuana, and resisting arrest, search, or transportation, the paper noted, adding that he was released Sept. 8 on bonds totaling $1,792.

Anything else?

Bishop Mark J. Seitz told the Times the statue is one of his “favorite representations of Jesus,” and that while he’s sad it was destroyed, he’s praying for the culprit.

“[H]e certainly must be a person who is greatly disturbed to have attacked this peaceful place in our city and this image of the King of Peace,” Seitz added to the paper. “I hope this might be the impetus for him to receive the help he needs.”

In July, a statue of Jesus was found decapitated at a Catholic Church in South Florida, and a statue of the Virgin Mary was burned outside a Boston church.

Faith leaders, community come together after historic statue was destroyed at St. Patrick Cathedral

Christianity Intelwars J.d. greear Racism SLAVERY Southern Baptist Convention

Southern Baptist leaders dropping ‘Southern,’ calling name a reminder of slavery past

Leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest American Protestant denomination, are increasingly dropping “southern” from their denominational phraseology — and the word could be dropped for good.

What are the details?

According to the Washington Post, the denomination’s leaders are concerned their name pays homage to the group’s historic support for slavery. In fact, J.D. Greear, current president of the SBC, told the Post that denomination elders have weighed dropping “southern” from their name altogether.

Instead, the group is considering a name change to “Great Commission Baptists.”

“Our Lord Jesus was not a white southerner but a brown-skinned Middle Eastern refugee,” Greear told the Post. “Every week we gather to worship a savior who died for the whole world, not one part of it. What we call ourselves should make that clear.”

The name change would serve two purposes, according to the Post. Primarily, it would help the denomination reckon with its sordid racial history. But it would also give the group better footing for a global presence.

More from the Post:

The convention formed in 1845, splitting from Northern Baptists over Southern support for missionaries who owned enslaved people, and is considered the largest Protestant denomination in the United States, with 14.5 million members. It will continue to legally operate as the SBC, officials said, citing the hefty cost and complexity of a legal name change. But since August, the denomination’s website has declared “We Are Great Commission Baptists,” an alternative moniker that refers to the verses in the New Testament when Jesus commands his disciples to baptize believers in all nations.

The SBC did not formally apologize for supporting slavery and racism until 1995, more than 100 years after slavery was abolished and decades after the Civil Rights era.

What was the reaction?

Nathan Finn, a Southern Baptist historian who is provost of North Greenville University, told the Post that the name change is not about southern embarrassment — but rather loving one’s neighbor well.

“I’m not embarrassed to be a Southerner,” Finn said. “It’s about what that word conjures up for people, especially people of color. They’re saying: ‘That name is a hang-up. When my people hear that name, they think slavery.’ God forbid we keep a name that evokes that.”

However, author Jemar Tisby, whose book about the history of racism in American evangelical circles hit the New York Time’s best-seller list this summer, cautioned against shying away from the “southern” moniker completely.

Tisby’s concern, as he told the Post, is that a name change could make learning about the SBC’s past more difficult.

“I don’t know the denomination as a whole has done a good job of teaching its sordid history,” Tisby said. “Changing the name now might make that even harder.”

Baptism California California church Christianity Church Faith Intelwars Religion

Nearly 1,000 people flock to California beach to get baptized Saturday

A California church is making headlines after nearly 1,000 people showed up to be baptized on Saturday at Corona Del Mar State Beach in Newport Beach, California.

(Read also: What Is Christian Baptism — and Why Does It Matter?)

Gina Gleason, church director at Calvary Chapel Church in Chino Hills, told CBN News that the event, which was a record showing of baptisms for the church, was absolutely “remarkable.”

“California may be experiencing a spiritual revival,” Gleason said. “It’s remarkable and a significant number.”

Normally, the church — which is led by Pastor Jack Hibbs — sees 300 people show up for baptisms, but Saturday was unique in that nearly 1,000 people sought to express their public profession of faith, CBN noted.

Image source: Instagram/CalvaryChapelChinoHills video screenshot

Images and video from the baptisms are absolutely incredible, with Calvary Chapel in Chino Hills taking to social media afterward to ask for people’s stories.

Image source: Instagram/CalvaryChapelChinoHills video screenshot

Image source: Instagram/CalvaryChapelChinoHills video screenshot

Image source: Instagram/CalvaryChapelChinoHills video screenshot

“I was baptized together with my wife, and the heartfelt blessing that Pastor Jack gave us is one that I will carry with my throughout my life,” one man wrote on Instagram. “Such a wonderful day. Praise our Lord and Savior Jesus.”

Image source: Instagram/CalvaryChapelChinoHills video screenshot

Another woman added, “A day full of memories I will always cherish. My two older boys getting baptized!”

(Read also: 3 Lessons From Jesus’ Baptism)

Countless additional comments express people’s joy over the mass baptism.

This article was originally published on Pure Flix Insider. Visit Pure Flix for access to thousands of faith and family-friendly movies and TV shows. You can get a free trial here.

Candace cameron Candace cameron bure Christian celebrities Christianity Fox News Intelwars Interviews Jesus gospel Sharing jesus The View Videos

Former ‘View’ co-host says she’d rather share Jesus with people than return to the hit ABC show

Actress Candace Cameron Bure, who spent nearly a year as a co-host on “The View,” told Fox News that she would much rather spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ than return to the long-running daytime TV show.

What are the details?

Bure, 44, told the outlet that she has no interest in returning to the show, which she appeared on between 2015 and 2016.

“I just don’t publicly want to talk about politics,” she reasoned. “Not because I don’t believe that my viewpoints and opinions are important, but I would much rather share Jesus with people. That’s really my passion.”

Bure, an outspoken Christian, added that she’d sooner focus on sharing her faith rather than engaging in discourse that has been increasingly proven to lead to further and further divide in America.

“I don’t want to get into the political debate because it is just about division and separation,” Bure explained. “And I want to learn. I want to be [part of] a conversation about how to build a bridge.”

What else?

In April, Bure said producers of the hit show approached her several times about co-hosting duties before she agreed in 2015.

“The funny thing is, sometimes what you end up doing is what you least expected,” she told Good Housekeeping in an interview. “I never pursued that show, but they pursued me, and it was very unexpected. I tried to say no, I did say no several times.”

She admitted that she always loved a challenge, so it eventually made sense for her to take producers up on their offer to feature her on the show.

“I love to grow and be challenged,” Bure said. “And that’s exactly what it was. So I was up for the challenge and I’m glad that I did it.”

On her decision to take part in the show, the conservative Christian concluded, “I am really happy for the experience. It helped me grow a lot.”

Christianity Contest Current Events & Politics Intelwars

What if We Win?, by CPT F.T.

When all is said and done, there is much more said than done. This will be the first of many quotes that I did not come up with and will not reference or footnote because I’m not trying to get a passing grade on an essay but am trying to communicate a few ideas that I think may be germane to our culture. With all the survival and instructional blogs (this one being the capstone by which all others are measured) and web sites pontificating and gesturing broadly about what to do when (fill in the blank with assorted and …

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Christianity Duck commander Duck Dynasty Faith Intelwars Phil Robertson

Phil Robertson says he has been baptizing fans of his podcast who are showing up in his town to hear the gospel: ‘They just keep coming’

Phil Robertson hasn’t slowed down since the family’s hit show “Duck Dynasty” went off the air in 2017. He hosts a popular BlazeTV podcast called “Unashamed” and a BlazeTV show titled, “In the Woods with Phil” and pens books like “Jesus Politics: How to Win Back the Soul of America.”

But despite continued success and all that comes along with it, Robertson, 74, hasn’t moved away from his first priority: helping others discover faith.

“All we’re doing is we’re reaching out to our neighbor, and we’re telling them to love their God, repent and turn to God, walk like Jesus did,” Robertson told the “Edifi With Billy Hallowell” podcast. “Love God and love your neighbor … I do not see the downside to that.”

(Read also: ‘Joy’: Actor Chris Pratt Invokes Bible Verses to Reveal Baby’s Birth)

And the impact of Robertson’s work is quite stunning, as he said his “Unashamed” podcast has encouraged groups of people to visit his small town of West Monroe, Louisiana, to be baptized.

“They’re coming from that podcast … about nine or maybe 10 in the last three days — they’ve come all the way down here,” he said. “And I’ve baptized that whole little crew. Well, it’s that way every day or two. They just keep coming.”

Listen to Robertson discuss this powerful reality as well as his take on President Donald Trump’s faith:

Robertson has also taken his Christian message straight to Trump, revealing the details of a conversation he had with the president during a private meeting before the commander in chief’s 2016 election.

“I reached in my pocket and I pulled out a diagram of the gospel, an arrow coming down out of heaven — God becoming flesh — the cross, the tomb, and an arrow coming out of the tomb and the last arrow coming back down to earth,” Robertson said. “I said, ‘Whatever happens, Trump, don’t miss this.'”

Trump, who seemed genuinely interested, asked, “What is this?” And that’s when Robertson dove into the Bible’s message about Jesus and salvation, telling Trump, “He died for Donald Trump’s sins.”

(Read also: ‘Chills’: Justin Bieber & His Wife Get Baptized Side by Side)

Robertson noted that Trump asked if he could keep the gospel diagram, to which Robertson obviously said “yes.” And that wasn’t the last time the two spoke, as Robertson said he later gave Trump some Bible verses and spoke more about the power of scripture.

“I’m convinced he’s put his faith in Jesus and I’m convinced he’s a brother,” Robertson said, adding that the president is a work in progress.

Robertson said life is really all about loving God and loving others, and he lamented the current state of affairs and the “mayhem” that has broken out.

“We’re at a tipping point, and the forces of evil are going up against the forces of good,” he said.

Listen to the full interview with Robertson on “Edifi With Billy Hallowell” and get more of Robertson’s perspective in his new book, “Jesus Politics.”

This article was originally published on Pure Flix Insider. Visit Pure Flix for access to thousands of faith and family-friendly movies and TV shows. You can get a free trial here.

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Bishop who tweeted ‘Dear Grim Reaper, you took the #wrongtrump’ hours later preaches ‘what the world needs now is the love of God’

Bishop Talbert Swan of the Church of God in Christ got quite a bit of attention Sunday morning on the heels of the death of President Donald Trump’s younger brother Robert by tweeting, “Dear Grim Reaper, you took the #wrongtrump”:

And wouldn’t you know, just a few hours after his tweet, Swan preached a sermon for the Spring of Hope Church of God in Christ in Springfield, Massachusetts? But if you’re thinking he offered an apology for his lack of compassion toward Trump and his family, you’re thinking wrong.

What are the details?

The service got off to a prayerful start, as a woman at the pulpit asked God for a variety of blessings — and even uttered “touch those that are grieving this morning, touch those that lost loved ones this morning, in the name of Jesus.”

After reading from the first 11 verses of the Gospel of Mark’s 11th chapter, which focuses on Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Swan addressed his listeners: “I want to welcome those in the sanctuary, those that are streaming, friends and enemies, members and trolls — everybody.”

Swan didn’t address his tweet directly but did note the following: “I know some of y’all are getting salty with me already … the trolls are already mad with me … they’ve been calling the church all morning, leaving messages all morning, they’ve been all over our livestream. They mad, they big mad, but you know what? I found out that … when you get the devil mad like that, you must be doing something right.”

He added “for those of y’all who are salty with me, I really don’t care” and then laughed before adding, “Jimmy crack corn…” — a reference to the well-known song first performed in the 1840s by blackface minstrel groups.

Amid his teaching Swan declared that God will draw all people to him, including whites, blacks, and other ethnicities, as well as “the gay … the straight … the transgender … the asexual … the bisexual … the conservative … the liberal.”

“In this dark world, in this pandemic season, in this moment of civil unrest, what the world needs now is the love of God,” Swan added, “and the love of God only comes through the people of God, and you are the children of God, and the Lord wants to untie you from your habits and untie you from your way of thinking and untie you from the mundane things of this world and to set you free.”

He also told his listeners that “we’re too caught up in our own selfish agendas to be a part of God’s agenda.”

Here’s the livestream of the service. Swan’s sermon begins at the 57-minute mark:

Morning Worship Celebration

What else did Swan say?

On Monday morning, Swan spoke on Facebook Live about the reaction to his “Grim Reaper” tweet and pointed to the “hypocrisy” of these “good Christian white folks” who left hundreds of “racist” voicemails at his church Sunday and adding that they’re the “same” people who wished death on former President Barack Obama.

Of course, not every person who took issue with Swan’s tweet is white.

You might recall Damani Felder — a black Trump supporter and founder of The Right Brothers — who blasted Black Lives Matter protesters who got violent at a restaurant last month right in front of him. Well, Felder told Swan, “You’re a sorry excuse for a Bishop. Seek help.”

Conservative black activist McKayla J told Swan he’s “going to hell” and that the Bible “warned us of fake pastors” — to which Swan replied, “Do you want me to tell your mother or any of your other family members you said hi when I get there?”

Conservative black activist Bryson Gray told Swan, “Stop referring to yourself as a pastor or bishop. You are a demon.” Swan’s response? “Keep working for those butter biscuits uncle ruckus” — a reference to a black cartoon character who “worships the white race and abhors all others but predominantly blacks,” according to the Urban Dictionary.

Oh, and:

  • A black commenter sent Swan a passage from Jude 1 that talks about “Judgment on False Teachers.”
  • Another black commenter asked, “This person is a bishop?? Who ordained him please? The devil??”
  • A black man noted, “1 John 4:20 – If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar, for he who does not have love for his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.”
  • Yet another black man told Swan, “You need to repent and seek God.”

Anything else?

In 2018, Swan warned “white women” who kneel during the national anthem to protest “rape culture” that they’re “highjacking [sic] a movement” they “took no risks for.”

Earlier that year, Swan tweeted that “if heaven is going to be full of American evangelicals, I’ll take my chances on hell.”

California Christianity Church Coronavirus Godspeak calvary chapel Intelwars Rob mccoy Ventura County

Pastor defiantly holds church services after judge orders shut down: ‘We’re going to keep worshiping God’

A southern California pastor defiantly held indoor church services on Sunday after a judge tried to stop the congregation from gathering together.

What is the background?

Last week, Ventura County Judge Matthew Guasco granted a two-week restraining order against Godspeak Calvary Chapel, preventing the church from continuing to gather together indoors.

Guasco’s order came after Ventura County sued the church for violating Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s coronavirus-related restrictions on religious gatherings.

In his ruling, Guasco said protecting public health outweighs the church’s First Amendment rights.

“The Constitution is not a suicide pact,” Guasco said. “The exercise of individual liberties has to be consistent with public health, otherwise the one would cancel out the other.”

“On a scale of 1 to 10 of the most immediate irreparable harm possible, this is a 10,” he later wrote in his opinion. “It doesn’t get much more immediate or irreparable than the threat that a lot of people are going to spread a contagious and deadly disease.”

What happened Sunday?

Despite the ruling, Pastor Rob McCoy held indoor services, KABC-TV reported.

One day prior, McCoy vowed to hold the services — three services, in fact — despite risking further government enforcement of gathering restrictions.

“I wish you didn’t have to come to this, I really do. But we will be violating the judge’s order, we will be open this Sunday,” McCoy told his congregation in a video. “Now, I don’t know what that means as far as who’s gonna stop us, but we’re planning on having services at 9, 11, and 1.”

“We’re going to keep worshiping God,” he continued. “If they seek to arrest me and the thousand of you, it’s almost like the first thousand get a prize: You get a citation. It’s a misdemeanor. You want to be one of the thousand? Come.”

McCoy went on to say that fear over COVID-19 does not remove the church’s right to assemble.

“We’re gonna do what we are gonna do,” McCoy said. “So, come to church. And if you’re one of the first thousand, you win a prize: you will get a citation, it will be a misdemeanor, it’ll go on your record — be mindful of that. And if we continue doing that, there’s likely jail.”

Godspeak Urgent Update – 8.7.2020

According to KABC, protesters showed up outside the church on Sunday — but that did not stop the church from operating.

McCoy has said that no member of his congregation has contracted COVID-19 to date.

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Congressman urges DOJ to investigate ‘disturbing trend’ of attacks on churches across the country

A congressman urged the Department of Justice to investigate what he called a “disturbing trend” of attacks and vandalism on churches across the nation.

Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.) made the request in a letter to U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Wednesday after a rash of attacks on Catholic churches in his district.

“Since June, there have been nearly a dozen reported attacks on Catholic churches around the nation. These disturbing attacks range from arson to the beheading of a statue of the Virgin Mary,” wrote Fleischmann, who is Catholic.

“I find these attacks to be a disturbing trend, happening in multiple areas across the nation, including within my own congressional district,” he added.

“In times of uncertainty we naturally turn to religion for comfort and peace, something many Americans are seeking as we combat COVID-19, but these attacks add another lev el of distress for many across our nation,” Fleischmann continued.

“I commend the Department of Justice’s commitment,” he concluded, “under your leadership, to combating religious discrimination and I look forward to our continued work together to uphold and protect religious freedom in the United States.”

Rising hatred against religion

Churches have been targeted for looting and arson across the United States in recent months. Some of the attacks have been a part of the rioting stemming from the protests over the death of George Floyd while in police custody.

Some of the rioting focused on statues meant to honor saints of the Catholic church. In San Francisco, California, a group of around 100 rioters toppled a statue of Catholic missionary St. Junipero Serra, despite historic evidence that he defended the rights of Native Americans.

In another recent case of vandalism against a church, someone wrote racist threats on the air conditioning unit of the Murph-Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in North Highlands, California.

Here’s a news video of a recent case of church vandalism:

Church In North Highlands Vandalized

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NYC church forced to barricade front steps to keep homeless people from defecating and leaving syringes on them

A church in New York City has resorted to barricading their front steps in order to stop homeless people from leaving feces and used needles.

“These people would come and crap all over the stairs!” said a member of the Trinity Presbyterian Church in Hell’s Kitchen to the New York Post.

The super in charge of the church said that the faithful had to resort to avoiding the front steps altogether and going through an alternative side entrance to go to their weekly services.

“I don’t open it up anymore,” said the super about the front entrance. “They were throwing syringes in there, smoking pot on the steps.”

Another church member told the Post that the super stands outside the church to keep the homeless moving, sometimes for 10 hours a day.

“Every day I’m fighting these guys. I’ve had to put my foot in a few a**es!” said the church super. “Right now I’m like a security guard.”

The Trinity Presbyterian Church says on its website that it serves about a hundred church members.

Zack Rakitnican works as a super at apartment buildings on the same block, and he says the homeless crisis has become the worst he’s ever seen.

“It was never like this here all the years I work here,” said Rakitnican. “Last 15 years, never this bad. It’s going down fast.”

Residents see increased crime, harassment

Community activist Holly-Anne Devlin praised the city for a program that would help homeless people find shelter in hotels, but also admitted that drug dealers were taking advantage of the situation.

“They seem to be either selling drugs within the shelters, outside the shelters, and it’s causing a great deal of harassment, crime, you know, the neighborhood is feeling very unsafe for a lot of citizens,” Devlin said to WCBS-TV.

The homelessness crisis in New York City has worsened under the strains imposed by the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown response. In April, subway and bus conductors reported that the homeless were making their buses and trains into makeshift living spaces and leaving unsanitary conditions.

Here’s more about the homeless crisis in New York City:

New Yorkers Notice Spike In Homelessness Across Manhattan

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Twitter reportedly censors moving Bible message from Tim Tebow: ‘Sensitive content’

Twitter reportedly censored one of former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow’s Bible-centric videos for promoting “sensitive content.”

The Western Journal obtained a screenshot of the reported censorship before the tech giant apparently removed it.

What are the details?

The video — which innocuously featured Tebow imploring Christians to hold fast to their faith amid trying times — was censored with a banner that read, “The following media includes potentially sensitive content.”

In the video, the outspoken Christian athlete stresses the importance of relying on God through difficult times.

He says, “Bible believers, when we look at the Bible, and we see a lot of the heroes, a lot of times they truly were wounded deeply before they were ever used greatly. So maybe you’re going through a time in your life where you feel like you’ve just been wounded greatly. It hasn’t been your year, hasn’t been your day — you just don’t feel like this is your time.”

Tebow adds, however, that there is growth in the valley.

“This could be your time for learning,” he cautions. “This could be your time for growing. This could be your time for adapting. This could be the time that is a test for you, but tomorrow it gets turned into a testimony.”

The famed athlete points out that God could very well be preparing those struggling through difficulties for greater disciplines.

“You never know what God is doing with your life,” he adds. “You never know what he is preparing you for. So many times in the Bible, when we look at the heroes, there were times in their life where — if they stopped, if they quit, if they said, ‘No, God, I’ve had enough’ — then they would have missed out on the most impactful, most influential times of their life.”

“Maybe that is the next step for you,” he adds. “Maybe that is tomorrow. Maybe that is next week, maybe that is next year. But when we quit, we will never know what we missed out on. We will never know what’s in store for us.”

‘We get to trust an unknown future to a known God’

Tebow explains that there should be no fear in uncertainty because of Christians’ relationships with Jesus Christ.

“We get to trust an unknown future to a known God, because we know how much he loves us,” he explains. “We know what he did for us in sending his son. He gave his best for us.”

He concludes the video, “Right where you’re at, whatever you’re doing, whatever you’re going through, he loves you. You were enough for his son to die on the cross, that’s how much you’re loved. Hold onto that in your time of need.”

Tebow captioned the video, “This could be your time. That breakthrough could be tomorrow, or it could be next year. But, you have the opportunity to turn however you’re being tested into a testimony. So many heroes were wounded deeply before they were used greatly!”

TheBlaze reached out to Twitter for verification of the content warning and clarification as to why it was purportedly placed and subsequently removed.

A Twitter spokesperson tells TheBlaze that the company is looking into the alleged censorship.

The video has been viewed more than 43,000 times at the time of this reporting.

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Lone player who refused to take knee before national anthem stands firm: ‘I can’t kneel before anything besides God — Jesus Christ’

Prior to Thursday night’s season opener between the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers, NBC Sports reported that many Giants chose to take a knee during the national anthem as they did at an exhibition game the night before.

But what made bigger headlines is what happened before the anthem Thursday. Every player and coach from both teams took a knee and held a long piece of black fabric in a moment of unity, NBC Sports said.

Except one player, the network noted: Giants’ second-year relief pitcher Sam Coonrod.

Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

Why did Coonrod refuse to take a knee?

After the Giants’ 8-1 loss, Coonrod told NBC Sports that he’s a Christian and “can’t kneel before anything besides God” — and that he disagrees with some Black Lives Matter principles.

“I’m a Christian, like I said, and I just can’t get on board with a couple of things that I have read about Black Lives Matter,” Coonrod added to the network. “How they lean toward Marxism, and they’ve said some negative things about the nuclear family. I just can’t get on board with that.”

More from NBC Sports:

Coonrod said he did not have a chance to talk to teammates, including African-American outfielder Jaylin Davis, a leading voice in recent weeks, before the game because he did not know about the display until very late in the day, when a teammate informed him of what was going to happen. Coonrod said he decided he could not kneel, and “it was too late” at that point to talk to anyone about the decision.

The Yankees and Nationals all took a knee before the anthem in Washington, D.C., earlier in the night as part of a player-led movement that had the full support of Major League Baseball. The idea reportedly came from former Giant Andrew McCutchen, who told ESPN that the black fabric was a socially distanced way to link arms and show unity. Players also wore patches and Black Lives Matter T-shirts during batting practice.

McCutchen said the moment was meant to illustrate that MLB can be a force for change when it comes to addressing injustice.

Coonrod noted that he’s not trying to cause any trouble.

“I meant no ill will by it. I don’t think I’m better than anyone,” he added to the network after the game. “I’m a Christian. I just believe I can’t kneel before anything besides God — Jesus Christ. I chose not to kneel. I feel that if I did kneel, I would be being a hypocrite. I didn’t want to be a hypocrite. Like I said, I didn’t mean any ill will toward anyone.”

Here’s Coonrod sharing a bit of his faith:

2019 San Francisco Giants Fellowship Day Sam Coonrod

Giants’ manager Gabe Kapler made it clear to players that they’re free to do what they want regarding kneeling or standing, and he’ll respect their positions no matter what, NBC Sports said. Coonrod told the network he appreciates his skipper’s stance.

“He’s not going to get mad if I disagree with him,” Coonrod added to NBC Sports. “I think that’s part of the problem nowadays. People get mad whenever someone disagrees. I’m not mad at someone that decided to kneel. I think it’s not too much to ask that I just get the same respect, you know?”

Christianity covid COVID-19 Faith Intelwars Josh mcdowell

Evangelist Josh McDowell warns that COVID will make depression, addiction, and pornography worse

Famed evangelist Josh McDowell is worried about the impact COVID-19 is having on an already beleaguered population, warning that the pandemic wiIl likely worsen a variety of social issues, including pornography addiction, loneliness, and depression.

“The lockdown … it feeds into pornography, loneliness, depression and mental health,” McDowell recently told “The Pure Flix Podcast,” noting that stress, isolation and fear of the unknown are all issues that are increasingly intensifying amid the COVID-19 crisis.

(Find Hope: Watch Thousands of TV Shows and Movies on Pure Flix Today)

And the evangelist, who has spent decades exploring cultural issues and ministering to the masses, added that he believes these issues will be more pronounced once the lockdowns end.

Listen to McDowell’s warnings and solutions on “The Pure Flix Podcast”:

“These things are not under the radar. It’s just that [the] church is not looking at the radar,” McDowell said. “When we come out of this COVID — and we will — you’re going to see a greater in-depth problem with loneliness, depression, anxiety and pornography.”

McDowell also discussed young people in Generation Z and the already increasing mental health and loneliness concerns that were observed among this population prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Among his concerns are the ways in which young people are choosing to communicate with one another. While McDowell said people were designed to relate to one another in interpersonal relationships, technology has transformed the realities of how we interact.

“This generation has learned to communicate with their thumbs, not their tongues,” McDowell said. “They might be connecting with people on the internet, but they’re not relating to people on the internet.”

The evangelist is on a mission to help pastors, Christians and churches meet these needs, though, with his ministry rolling out free resources to help combat loneliness, depression, and other pervasive cultural issues.

(Read Also: Depression in the Bible: How Scripture Heals Us)

“We need to figure out how do we minister to people like that and it doesn’t come easy,” he said. “The church had better address these things or the church will be marginalized — period. If we don’t address loneliness, depression, anxiety, mental health and relationships we will be obsolete.”

McDowell knows how hard pastors work and how much is on the plates of various church staffers, but he’s hoping these resources will help ease some of these burdens while also providing healing. Visit Josh McDowell Ministry for resources and more information on how you can help.

This article was originally published on Pure Flix Insider. Visit Pure Flix for access to thousands of faith and family-friendly movies and TV shows. You can get a free trial here.

China oppresses christians Chinese Communist Party Christianity Christians in china Communists oppress christians Intelwars religious freedom Religious Persecution

China orders Christians to take replace crosses and images of Jesus Christ with portraits of communist leaders

The communist Chinese government is ordering some Christians to take down religious symbols, including crosses, crucifixes, and images of Jesus Christ, and to replace them with communist leaders, according to a new report.

The startling report of religious oppression was reported in Bitter Winter, a religious liberty magazine.

“All impoverished households in the town were told to display Mao Zedong images,” said a local pastor to Bitter Winter.

“The government is trying to eliminate our belief and wants to become God instead of Jesus,” he added.

The order was made in April when communist party officials visited believers’ homes in the city of Linfen, located in the northern province of Shanxi.

The officials said that those who were receiving financial assistance from the government would have to take down their religious symbols and replace them with portraits of Chairman Mao and President Xi Jinping. If they refused to do so, they could face the loss of their welfare benefits.

One villager recounted that officials tore down the Christian images in his home and replaced them with a portrait of Mao Zedong.

The believer quoted the official as saying, “Impoverished religious households can’t receive money from the state for nothing — they must obey the Communist Party for the money they receive.”

The report went on to document several instances where believers lost their support and benefits from the state merely for expressing religious sentiments or displaying religious symbols.

Muslims targeted also

The Communist Party of China has seen renewed criticism for its efforts at repressing the beliefs of the Uighur community, a Muslim sect, as well.

On Sunday, a Chinese ambassador denied the existence of detention camps despite drone footage that appeared to show hundreds of bound and blindfolded Uighur prisoners being led onto trains by armed soldiers in Xinjiang.

In June, President Donald Trump signed legislation condemning the Chinese government for the detainment of members of ethnic groups including the Uighurs. Some have been subjected to torture, forced labor and other deprivations in the camps. The bill passed overwhelmingly in both houses of Congress.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has made it clear that the U.S. is opposed to Chinese repression of religious liberty.

“In China, state-sponsored repression against all religions continues to intensify,” Pompeo said, according to the Associated Press. “The Chinese Communist Party is now ordering religious organizations to obey CCP leadership and infuse communist dogma into their teachings and practice of their faith. The mass detentions of Uighurs in Xinjiang continues.”

Here’s more about religious persecution in China:

Chinese Government Orders Low-Income Families to Abandon Their Christian Faith or Lose Financial Aid

[H/T: Christian Post.]

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Kanye West sobs, ‘I almost killed my daughter’ with abortion, says God stopped him. His family is ‘seriously concerned’ for his mental health now.

The family of rapper and supposed presidential candidate Kanye West, according to TMZ, is “seriously concerned” over West’s Sunday appearance at a South Carolina rally and reportedly says that the Christian entertainer is in the middle of a very serious bipolar episode.

West broke down in tears during his first campaign rally for the 2020 presidential election and claimed that he almost aborted his daughter.

West announced his presidential bid on July 5, but having missed the deadline to qualify for the ballot in several states, he qualified to appear on Oklahoma’s presidential ballot.

What did he say that’s reportedly got them so upset?

At the Sunday night rally in Charleston, South Carolina, West sobbed, saying that he had pressured his wife, Kim Kardashian, to abort their child North West in the months following the news of Kardashian’s pregnancy.

“I almost killed my daughter!” he shrieked. “I almost killed my daughter!”

“I was having the rapper’s lifestyle,” he recalled. “I was sitting up in Paris, and I had my leather pants on. … I had my laptop up, and I got all of my creative ideas. … And then the screen went black and white and God said, ‘If you f*** with my vision, I’m going to f*** with yours.”

West, openly crying at this point, said that the moment prompted him to phone Kardashian and tell her that he didn’t want her to have an abortion.

“I called my wife and she said, ‘We’re gonna have this baby.’ I said ‘We’re gonna have this child.’ … Even if my wife were to divorce me after this speech, she brought North into the world when I didn’t want to,” he said. “[Kardashian] stood up and she protected that child.”

According to TMZ, people around West believe he is in “desperate need of professional help,” but he reportedly refuses to listen to anyone.

The outlet adds that West’s remarks could hurt some of his businesses, “if not all of them.”

“His family and friends know comments like these are the things that trigger boycotts,” TMZ reports.

The Kardashian family is also unhappy that West discussed Kardashian’s first pregnancy with their daughter, North, and how the couple reportedly discussed abortion.

Finally, the outlet reports, “His family and friends are also upset because they feel Kanye is a distraction to what is a very important election.”

Elsewhere during his Sunday speech, West said that the media coverage of the rally would likely be negative.

“They’re going to run this,” he said. “They’re going to tell you that I’m crazy. [Well], the world’s crazy!”

Sobbing Kanye West admits he & Kim Kardashian nearly aborted North at his first presidential rally

Anything else?

Also during the rally, West said that new parents should be given $1 million to discourage abortion.

“Everybody that has a baby gets a million dollars,” West said, according to reports from the Associated Press. West reportedly referred to the move as “Plan A,” which is in stark comparison to emergency contraceptive pill “Plan B.”

He explained, “If you had the opportunity to be given a million dollars, just for being pregnant, would you have considered it? And then everybody would start having children, the greatest gift of life.”

West also said that famous abolitionist Harriet Tubman did not actually free slaves.

Kanye West talks racism, Harriet Tubman, abortion

Christian children's author Christianity Intelwars Matthew paul turner Matthew paul turner gay

Christian children’s book author announces he’s gay, is leaving his wife

Matthew Paul Turner, a Christian children’s book author, has come out as gay and is in the process of divorcing his wife.

Turner is the author of at least 16 Christian books, including children’s books, “When I Pray for You” and “When God Made You.”

What are the details?

Turner, who is also the former editor of CCM, made the abrupt announcements on social media.

In a Friday Instagram post, Turner said he aims to “embrace freedom, hope, and God as a gay man.”

“Dear friends, I have difficult news to share,” he wrote. “After much thought, prayer, and counseling, Jessica and I have made the decision to end our marriage. While we’re best friends and thoroughly love doing life, parenting, and pursuing our dreams together, ending our marriage is necessary because I am gay.

“[A]s someone who spent 30+ years in fundamentalist/evangelical churches, exploring God through conservative theologies, I’ve lived many days overwhelmed by fear, shame, and self-hatred,” Turner continued. “But for the first time in my life, despite the sadness and grief I’m feeling right now, I can say with confidence that I’m ready to embrace freedom, hope, and God as a gay man.”

Turner said that he still “deeply” loves his estranged wife, Jessica, despite the announcement.

“I fell in love with her 17 years ago and still love her deeply,” he wrote. “Despite her own grief and pain, she has loved and encouraged me to be fully me.”

Turner’s wife, Jessica, shared a Facebook post about the former couple’s future as well as the future of their three children.

“We are moving forward with ending our marriage, while remaining deeply committed to our family and each other. We are all adjusting to a new normal, with our home now extended under two rooftops,” she wrote.

“We have worked for more than a year on trying to make our marriage work, even in light of Matthew’s truth, but it wasn’t healthy or fair to us or our children,” she continued. “We feel confident that this is the next right step for each of us and our family.”

Turner added that he and his estranged wife plan to keep the children first.

“Our utmost desire is to move forward in love and compassion for each other and put the well-being of our kids first,” he insisted. “Coming out to my kids was one of the hardest, most beautiful things I’ve ever done. Loving and protecting their stories will always be our first priority.”

Turner said he still plans to continue his career as a Christian children’s book author.

“Writing books about wholeness, hope, and God’s love for children is an honor and privilege I do not take for granted,” he said.

(H/T: The Christian Post)

christian Christianity Don Lemon Don lemon jesus Intelwars Jesus Jesus Christ Jesus christ perfect

Commentary: The divinity of Jesus — a liar, lunatic, or Don Lemon

The divinity of Jesus came under fire recently, as CNN’s Don Lemon demonstrated his obtuse position on the subject in an interview with colleague Chris Cuomo.

“Jesus Christ, if that’s who you believe in, Jesus Christ, admittedly was not perfect when he was here on this earth,” Lemon said.

The statement immediately faced backlash from pastors, theologians, and historians alike — and rightfully so. As one can imagine, Lemon’s remarks are beyond irreconcilable with Christian doctrine, but the greater challenge for Lemon is that they are also irreconcilable with historical evidence.

To be clear, I don’t have any malice toward Lemon for his remarks — in fact, I’m praying for his salvation. He’s welcome to his opinions, as misguided and unfounded as they are. But we must understand that such a position, above all, is dismissive — like someone who dismisses all science and logic to argue that the earth is flat. In regard to the question of Jesus’ divinity, the burden of proof lies not with the Christian, as history, reason, and personal testimony stand as an immovable mountain of support for the faith, but rather it is with the skeptic, who must consciously decide if they will ignore thousands of years of attempts to discredit the Son of Man that have all come up empty.

Whereas the New Testament is often thought of as a single book, it is actually made up of 27 different books from at least eight unique authors. This is important, because to discount the teachings of the Bible, such as the sinlessness of Jesus, is not just to consider one historical author or text unreliable, but demands that we disregard nearly 10 distinct eye-witnesses that all hold to the same testimony — that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life, and demonstrated Himself to be the Son of God.

The Roman prefect, Pontius Pilate, who presided over the trial of Jesus, unable to find any wrongdoing in Christ, asked of the crowd calling for Jesus’ death, “Why? What crime has he committed?” Likewise, it’s recorded in original source manuscripts that Pilate’s own wife sent a message to Pilate, warning him, “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man,” which caused Pilate to “wash his hands” of the death of Jesus, symbolically placing all responsibility for His execution back onto the Jewish leaders.

Paul, a contemporary of Jesus who violently persecuted the early Christians until he had a miraculous encounter with Jesus himself, pleaded with his followers, “Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Paul’s first-hand account claiming Jesus’ sinlessness and perfection, especially considering his former religious stance against Christianity, is more than historically significant, it’s virtually indisputable.

But perhaps even more convincing, are references to Jesus’ divinity and perfection found outside of scripture. Flavius Josephus, a first century Jewish historian, records of the man known as Jesus of Nazareth, “He was the Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those who loved him at first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.”

Born only a couple years after Jesus’ death, the first century Christian leader, Clement of Rome, referring to the innocence of Jesus wrote, “Our Lord gave His blood for us by the will of God, His body for our bodies, and His soul for our souls.” Another first century believer, Ignatius of Antioch, offering a defense of the divine innocence of Jesus said, “Observe those who hold erroneous opinions … because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the Flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins, and which the Father in His loving-kindness raised from the dead.” Ignatius, who shortly after penning these words was killed in a Roman amphitheater for his faith in Christ, added, “Either believe in the [innocent] Blood of Christ, or else face damnation.”

Early church leader and theologian, Athanasius of Alexandria, confirming the divinity of Christ, wrote sometime before 319 A.D., “You must understand why it is that the Word of the Father, so great and high, has been made manifest in bodily form. … He has been manifested in a human body for this reason only, out of the love and goodness of His Father, for the salvation of us men.”

Such convincing historical proof is what led the great 20th century theologian C.S. Lewis to offer the infamous defense of Jesus’ divinity in “Mere Christianity”:

I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. … Now it seems to me obvious that He was neither a lunatic nor a fiend: and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God.

According to Lewis, one can call Jesus a liar, one can call him a lunatic, or one can call him Lord, but we don’t have the liberty of choosing some blend of the three. It’s not only maligns history, for Lewis, it was flat out illogical. More than just a point of theology, Christianity hinges on the sinlessness of Jesus, that is “God in the flesh.” If Jesus was not sinless, then he wasn’t God. And if he wasn’t God, then his sacrifice on the cross fails to provide for the forgiveness of sins and the salvation of those who believe. But if the scriptures are accurate, and the vast and diverse first hand accounts are true, then all people must consider what to make of the carpenter’s son.