14 Years in Prison Could Not Break This Pastor's Faith! Watch the Trailer Now!

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Religion Today Blog Christian Blog and Commentary

Kayla Koslosky

Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world

Local churches are banding together to help their communities in the wake of mass destruction caused by Hurricane Michael which hit the Florida Panhandle last week. 

Residents who evacuated their homes before the Category 4 hurricane reached the Panhandle are now starting to return home to assess the damages, many of them finding that they have nothing left.

Mexico Beach resident Emily Hansen told CBN News, "Everybody we knew lost their house – Everybody – and our jobs.”

Another resident told the outlet, "The devastation – it's like a bomb just went off here."

In the face of the destruction, churches, who themselves were not spared destruction, are gearing up to show love to their communities. 

One church that’s members are working to help out the community is Destiny Worship Center. Destiny Worship Center which lost the side of its kids building, took to the streets to deliver basic necessities to those in need.
Wayne Asprodites, the pastor of the Destiny Worship Center in Panama City Beach, told CBN News, "Really we're beginning to communicate to take supplies here on the beach level and bring them over to Panama City and Springfield and Callaway, where the churches there were really destroyed, major damage, and allow them to be collection points for the supplies that people are giving us and distribute to the people in need."

Another church that was damaged by the Hurricane was Lighthouse Church. Lighthouse Church was hit by the eyewall of the hurricane and was badly damaged by the storm, nonetheless, church members have taken to the community to help.

Lighthouse Pastor Cole Bailey told CBN News, "I think we all know that's just a building, it's just a building. We can build a building but we want to make sure our community is taken care of, we want to make sure our members are taken care of."

"We have seven teams out with chainsaws and front-end loaders, we're moving trees and making sure that everybody is accounted for, and that they can get out and that they get the aid that they need," he continued.

Pastor Cole says that by meeting the basic needs of his community, he's able to truly show them the love of Christ.

"I can tell you that I love you all day long, or I can show you that I love you. So our neighbors, if they've ever wondered if we love them, they're about to find out for sure when they see one of these 'Dream Team' t-shirts on," Pastor Cole said.

Another organization aiding with the relief efforts is Mercy Chefs. According to CBN News, Mercy Chefs ministry can serve around 18,000 meals a day to victims, volunteers, and first responders.

"We'll be able to stand up three separate locations around Florida and Georgia as needed. But from those sites, we send food out to different distribution points. So one kitchen can always overcook the site we're on. So we take that to then go further into the community or further into where the damage was the worst," Gary LeBlanc of Mercy Chefs explained.

CBN News reports that the storm has claimed the lives of 17 people so far and officials fear that the number will continue to rise.

Photo courtesy: Helena Lopes/Unsplash

A new survey from LifeWay Research has found that many Christians are confused about several core beliefs of Christianity. 

Ligonier Ministries released their 2018 State of Theology survey results this week, and they have found that a majority of evangelicals have found the following statements to be true despite the Bible distinctly teaching otherwise:

  • Most people are basically good
  • God accepts the worship of all religions
  • Jesus was the first and greatest being created by God the Father

The survey found that in all three cases a majority of survey takers believed these statements to be true. 

In the case of human nature, 52 percent of the 3,000 participants responded that everyone sins a little, but most people are generally good by nature. This is contrary to what Romans 3:10 dictates of human nature, that it is fundamentally sinful.

In regard to worship, the survey found that 51 percent of evangelicals believe that God accepts the worship of all religions, which, according to a press release from Ligonier Ministries, includes Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Again, this is contrary to what the Bible teaches in John 14:6.

The survey also found that 78 percent of participants believe that Jesus is the first and greatest being created by God, which John 1:1 shows is not the case - Jesus is part of the trinitarian godhead, not a created being.

Additional results found:

  • More than two-thirds (69 percent) of Americans disagreed that the smallest sin deserves eternal damnation. 
  • A majority of U.S. adults (58 percent) said that worshiping alone or with one’s family is a valid replacement for regularly attending church. 
  • A majority of U.S. adults (59 percent) believe that the Holy Spirit is a force, not a personal being.

In a press release about the survey, the President and CEO of Ligonier Ministries, Chris Larson, said, “The State of Theology survey highlights the urgent need for courageous ministry that faithfully teaches the historic Christian faith. It’s never been popular to talk about mankind’s sinfulness or the exclusive claims of Jesus Christ, but at a time when a darkened world needs the light of the gospel, it’s disheartening to see many within the evangelical church confused about what the Bible teaches.”

Chief academic officer of Ligonier and president of Reformation Bible College Dr. Stephen Nicholas said of the results, “These results are a serious cause for concern. It is the depth of man’s sin that led Jesus to die on the cross. How, then, can a majority of evangelicals say most people are good by nature? Down through history, Christians have proclaimed that Jesus is truly God, not some sort of created being. The evangelical world is in great danger of slipping into irrelevance when it casually forgets the Bible’s doctrine.” 

Not all of the results were as concerning, however. 

The survey also found that 91 percent of evangelicals agreed that people are “justified by faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.”

The survey also uncovered that a majority of people still believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose again. 

Ligonier Ministries has conducted this survey twice before, once in 2014 and again in 2016. This is the third time the State of Theology survey has been conducted by the company.

Photo courtesy: Olu Eletu/Unsplash

Two Christian filmmakers are going before the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Paul, Minnesota on Tuesday, to challenge the state’s law that is forcing them to create videos that contradict their religious beliefs.

According to CBN, Telescope Media Group owners Carl and Angel Larsen wanted to enter into the wedding industry, but the state's Human Rights Act prohibits the couple from pursuing this avenue unless they make films promoting same-sex marriage, a union that their Christian beliefs define as between one man and one woman.

"The government shouldn't threaten filmmakers with fines and jail time to force them to create films that violate their beliefs," said their counsel, Alliance Defending Freedom Jeremy Tedesco in a press release. "Carl and Angel are storytellers – they script, stage, conduct interviews, capture footage, select music, edit and more – all to tell compelling stories through film that promote their religious beliefs." 

“The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in Masterpiece that the government must respect the belief—held by countless Americans from all walks of life—that marriage is between one man and one woman," he continued. "The 8th Circuit should reinstate the Larsens' lawsuit and order the state to stop forcing the Larsens to speak messages about marriage that violate their beliefs."

The Larsens previously tried to challenge the law as unconstitutional in 2017, but, according to CBN News, a lower court dismissed their case and told them that unless they make films for same-sex couples, they must close that part of their business. This decision has led the couple to appeal their case to the 8th Circuit Court.

According to their legal representatives ADF, Minnesota officials have continuously said that private businesses such as Telescope Media Group must create films promoting same-sex weddings, otherwise they are violating the law. 

CBN News reports that the penalties for violating the Minnesota Human Rights Act could include “payment of a civil penalty to the state; triple compensatory damages; punitive damages of up to $25,000; a criminal penalty of up to $1,000; and even up to 90 days in jail.”

Photo courtesy: Jakob Owens/Unsplash

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