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Amanda Casanova


Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.

One of North Carolina’s largest churches, World Overcomers Christian Church, says it will not hold in-person services until a vaccine for coronavirus is developed.

“When our people are able to come back together, they’re going to want to greet one another and hug one another, and in my estimation, the risks are too great,” Andy Thompson, senior pastor of the 15,000-member church, told CBS 17.  “We have to figure out ways to minister to people beyond just them risking contact in the middle of a pandemic.”

According to The Christian Post, the church pointed to a recent report from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, which showed an increase in clusters of coronavirus cases linked to social gatherings.

The department defines a cluster as the occurrence of five or more epidemiologically linked cases within 14 days of each other.

The report said religious gatherings ranked third on the list of social gatherings potentially creating clusters.

In light of the report, Thompson said World Overcomers Christian Church will continue streaming services online.

“Church for us is just growing. We’ve never had this many people watching,” he said. “I don’t think I’ll ever go back to having church the way I did before.”

Thompson said he worries about other churches that have decided to return to in-person gatherings.

“Every time they tell me they’re having meetings, I always say, ‘You might want to rethink that. Do you really have to have meetings to minister the gospel of Christ?'” he said.

World Overcomers Christian Church is the latest church to suspend in-person services. As Christians Headlines previously reported, over the summer, Andy Stanley, of North Point Community Church in Georgia, announced the church wouldn’t hold in-person gatherings until at least 2021.

A survey from LifeWay Research found that 87 percent of Protestant pastors in the U.S. have reopened their churches for in-person services. Thirteen percent said they are not holding in-person meetings.

Related:

11 Percent of Pastors Say Church Attendance Is Close to Pre-COVID Numbers

Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church Holds First In-Person Church Service Since Quarantine

'Open Your Church': John MacArthur Urges Pastors to Reopen Churches despite COVID-19 Restrictions

Photo courtesy: World Overcomers Christian Church Facebook


Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.

JOS, Nigeria, October 23, 2020 (Morning Star News) – Protests against police brutality in Nigeria that grew into generalized unrest over poor government took on a religious dimension this week with attacks on Christians and church buildings.

Following peaceful protests that began earlier this month against torture and killings by Special Anti­­-­Robbery Squad (SARS) forces, counter-demonstrations against the #EndSARS protestors and shootings by security forces escalated tensions. On Monday and Tuesday (Oct. 19-20) Christian leaders in Plateau, Kano and Kogi states led prayer walks of thousands of Christians in appeals for peace.

As various cultural and political groups expanded the protests to include their own interests, suspected Muslim agitators took advantage of the chaos to attack churches, sources said. In Kogi state on Monday (Oct. 19), following a prayer walk in Anyigba, Christians praying inside the Dunamis Christian Centre were attacked by suspected Muslim antagonists, an area resident said.

“A dozen pastors and more than 400 Christians were praying in the church when they were attacked,” Friday Adah told Morning Star News by text message. “I watched in horror as violence was used against Christians in Anyigba town. A peaceful prayer walk seeking God’s help for our country, Nigeria, for God to restore peace and love, was suddenly met with undue force as Christians were beaten and shot at with guns by Muslim mobs.”

Injured in the assault were bishop David Sanda, pastor Emma Ibrahim, pastor Silas Edogbo and pastor Samson Ejila of Dunamis Church, and the Dunamis church building was damaged, Adah said.

Also on Monday (Oct. 19) near Jos, Plateau state, suspected Muslim agitators opposing church prayer walks damaged the building of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in Bukuru, area resident Esther Saleh told Morning Star News. The building is located along the Jos-Bukuru highway in an area with a large Muslim population.

In Kano state on Monday (Oct. 19), an Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) building in the Sabon Gari area of the city of Kano was set ablaze by suspected Muslim assailants, area resident Helen Johnson told Morning Star News by text message.

Amid an unconfirmed report that two Christians were among #EndSARS protestors killed by suspected Muslim counter-demonstrators on Monday in Kano city, Johnson said justice will ultimately prevail.

“If they let them burn down all the churches and kill Christians in Kano state, they cannot stop the prayer walk and the #EndSARS protest, because God is involved,” Johnson said, adding that two other Christians besides the two #EndSARS protestors were killed. “Two Christian girls were also killed in Sabon Gari area of the city. The girls were attacked by the Muslim hoodlums with machetes and daggers.”

Suspected Muslim assailants also damaged the St. Louis Catholic Church building in Kano city on Monday (Oct. 19), Johnson said. Johnson and another area resident, Daniel Musa, said the suspects on Tuesday (Oct. 20) also damaged the building of the St. Thomas Catholic Church building on Airport Road in Kano.

In Jos, Plateau state, suspected Muslim assailants on Tuesday (Oct. 20) stoned the worship auditorium of the ECWA Good News Church, breaking windows, while a church program was underway, a local resident said. They also burned cars and broke into shops in the area.

“ECWA Good News, Ahmadu Bello Way, was attacked this morning,” Edward Ossai told Morning Star News in a text message. “Please pray for members that were affected.”

In Abuja, suspected Muslim opponents of #EndSARS protestors set fire to a Pentecostal church building in the Dutse area of the capital city and killed three Christians, one identified as Tony Onome, area resident Christiana Adamu told Morning Star News by text message.

Onome was reportedly stabbed to death on Saturday (Oct. 17). Morning Star News was unable to independently confirm the motives behind his death and whether other slain Christians were attacked for their faith.

“There were also attacks on Christians around the Apo area of Abuja, where about seven Christians were killed by these Muslims,” Adamu said.

Police in Abuja reportedly confirmed that seven persons were killed in Abuja during attacks related to counter protests.

After leading a prayer walk in Jos on Sunday (Oct. 18), pastor Isa El-Buba of Evangelical Bible Outreach Ministries, Inc. (EBOMI) was summoned for questioning by Nigeria’s Department of State Services (DSS) on Tuesday (Oct. 20). DSS agents have questioned him previously for speaking out against persecution of Christians and Muslim Fulani herdsmen attacks.

Nigeria ranked 12th on Open Doors’ 2020 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution but second in the number of Christians killed for their faith, behind Pakistan.

If you would like to help persecuted Christians, visit http://morningstarnews.org/resources/aid-agencies/ for a list of organizations that can orient you on how to get involved.

If you or your organization would like to help enable Morning Star News to continue raising awareness of persecuted Christians worldwide with original-content reporting, please consider collaborating at https://morningstarnews.org/donate/?

Article originally published by Morning Star News. Used with permission.

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/omersukrugoksu

John Piper suggested in a new piece for his site, Desiring God, that he may not be voting for Donald Trump or Joe Biden in the presidential election.

“I think it is a drastic mistake to think that the deadly influences of a leader come only through his policies and not also through his person,” Piper writes. “Flagrant boastfulness, vulgarity, immorality and factiousness are not only self-incriminating; they are nation-corrupting.”

Piper says he is not making an endorsement and he doesn’t intend to “dictate how anyone else should vote.”

He said he is “baffled that so many Christians consider the sins of unrepentant sexual immorality (porneia), unrepentant boastfulness (alazoneia), unrepentant vulgarity (aischrologia), unrepentant factiousness (dichostasiai), and the like, to be only toxic for our nation, while policies that endorse baby-killing, sex-switching, freedom-limiting, and socialistic overreach are viewed as deadly.”

He said voters should consider the person and how he impacts the nation, not just in policy, but in his character and convictions.

“This is true not only because flagrant boastfulness, vulgarity, immorality, and factiousness are self-incriminating, but also because they are nation-corrupting. They move out from centers of influence to infect whole cultures.”

In supporting a person who is unrepentant, Piper says Christians sometimes value laws and policies over the person.

“I find it bewildering that Christians can be so sure that greater damage will be done by bad judges, bad laws, and bad policies than is being done by the culture-infecting spread of the gangrene of sinful self-exaltation, and boasting, and strife-stirring (eristikos),” he said.

Piper also said in the post that abortion is “wickedness,” but there is another deadly sin.

When a leader models self-absorbed, self-exalting boastfulness, he models the most deadly behavior in the world,” Piper writes. “He points his nation to destruction. Destruction of more kinds than we can imagine. It is naive to think that a man can be effectively pro-life and manifest consistently the character traits that lead to death — temporal and eternal.”

Following the article’s publication, speculation over who Piper plans to vote arose. This caused the longtime pastor to take to Twitter to confirm that he is neither voting for Trump nor Joe Biden.

“The article we posted today explains why I won’t be voting for Biden or Trump. That choice to “write in” is relatively unimportant. But the reasoning really matters.”

Photo courtesy: John Piper Facebook


Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.

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