Saturday, July 12, 2008

Church Gun Giveaway

Oklahoma City’s Windsor Hills Baptist Church cancelled plans to giveaway an AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle at the church's annual youth conference. The pastor had a foot injury and couldn’t attend. The church says the meetings are not focused on guns and that firearms are only used to attract new participants. The gun will be given away at next year’s meetings.

Snake Handling Pastor Arrrested

A Kentucky pastor of a church that practices snake handling is facing charges for buying, selling and possessing illegal reptiles. Gregory Coots was taken into custody along with nine other people this week. Authorities say the pastor of the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name in Middlesboro had 60 venomous snakes. A woman died during a service at the church 13 years ago.

The Green Bible

HarperCollins is publishing what its calling The Green Bible this fall. It will be printed on partly recycled paper using soy-based ink and highlight passages about caring for the earth. It’s $29.95 edition of the Good Book with essays and a study guide about the environment.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Sign Stirs Controversy

This sign hangs outside of a Houston-area church. It's getting second looks from passersby. Church evangelist David Brown says the banner in front of Spring Church of Christ in Old Town Spring was put up by a church elder put the sign up and that it is protected speech on private property but local reports have included negative comments from neighbors.

ASL Bible Convention

Jehovah's Witnesses are holding an American Sign Language Bible convention in Norco, California. It starts today and runs through the weekend. Some 2000 people are expected to attend. Mormons' and Jehovah's Witnesses' have generally been more aggressive in evangelizing the deaf community than Protestant and Catholic denominations. Jehovah's Witnesses are creating an ASL version of the Bible on DVD. A Mormon ASL Bible and Book of Mormon were released several years ago.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Foreigner Lead Sings New Tune

He once sang for the popular rock band Foreigner. Now, Lou Gramm has finished recording his first Christian rock album. He’s been a Christian since the early 90’s but it’s taken a while for Gramm to finally decide to make this album. He was helped in the studio by his brothers and plans to tour this summer. However, Gramm says he won't be playing any of the new material until the album is released this fall.

Professor Suspended

Westminster Theological Seminary has suspended a professor of Old Testament for the book he wrote about the Bible. Peter Enns was removed from his position at the Calvinist school, located in the Philadelphia suburb of Glenside, this past March. The seminary's leadership will give Enns a hearing next month. At issue is whether Enns violated an oath he took when he joined the faculty not to teach against the Westminster Confession of Faith which refers to God as the sole author of Holy Scripture. Enns' book, Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament, emphasized a human element in the Scriptures and dealt with apparent contradictions and inconsistencies in the Bible. Last year, the faculty voted 12-8 to keep him on staff. But the trustees of the school will make the final decision by the end of the year. Enns has launched a defense of his position in a personal blog.

Texas Bible Study in Schools

The Texas Attorney General has approved a proposed Bible course for public schools. Greg Abbott says it would not violate the First Amendment. The State Board of Education approved a plan to offer the class earlier this year. But Abbott says there much be very specific guidelines for school districts. The voluntary course will be an option for high schoolers in the 2009-10 school year.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Hagee gets Videos Removed

John Hagee has gotten more than 120 videos featuring him removed from YouTube. The Texas megachurch pastor claims the posts were in violation of copyright law.His comments on some of the videos about the Holocaust and Catholics led John McCain to reject Hagee’s endorsement. His Christians United for Israel conference starts July 21 in Washington.

Suit Claims Distress over Homosexuality in Bible Translation

Zondervan and Thomas Nelson Publishing are being sued for using the word homosexuality in the Bibles they publish. Bradley Fowler of Canton, Michigan claims he has suffered emotional distress and he wants $60 million from Zondervan and $10 million from Thomas Nelson.

Fowler specifically objects to their translations of 1 Corinthians 6:9 which includes “homosexuals” among a list of those who are "wicked" or "unrighteous" and will not inherit the kingdom of heaven. He claims that’s a mistranslation of the verse. He points out that Zondervan Bibles published before the 1980s and after that time did not use the word "homosexuals". His argument goes like this: Folwer's family used a 1980's version of the Bible and as a result they considered him a sinner and he suffered as a result.

Pastor Fools Church

A UK minister posed as a tramp in order to see how his congregation would respond. Derek Rigby sat in the doorway of the Trinity Methodist Church in Prestatyn, Denbighshire, surrounded by beer cans and syringes. The former police officer tells the BBC, "None of them spoke to me, apart from a few who told me off and told me to get away from their cars, which they kept checking.They all ignored me."

Stolen Eucharist

A student from the University of Central Florida says he has gotten death threats for smuggled a communion wafer out of a Catholic church in a plastic bag after a priest had blessed it. Webster Cook gave it back but the Catholic League says Cook committed something worse than a hate crime and should be expelled. Both Cook and a group of Catholic students have filed complaints filed against each other with University’s student court.

Challenging the IRS

Gus Booth is challenging the IRS. The Minnesota pastor told his Warroad Community Church congregation not to vote for Barack Obama from the pulpit – a violation of rules for tax-exempt churches. Booth then wrote a letter to the agency explaining what he did and challenging agents to investigate him.

Pastor For Sale

Looking for a new pastor? Check eBay and you’ll find Pastor Chad Smith up for bids.

His wife, Marti, comes with the package as a women’s ministry-leading. The nondenominational pastor already stands out for his tattoos and motorcycle. He promises to “never have a dull moment on a Sunday morning” because he brings “lot of humor”. He has a undisclosed bottom price for the winning bid which would be his yearly salary. Bidding ends July 17th.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Crosses for Houston

A Houston church plans to put up a 150-foot crosses at its properties on the south and north sides of the city. Grace Community Church hopes to keeping adding them until every major entrance to Houston has one. Pastor Steve Riggle isn’t sure how much the project will cost, but each cross will have a prayer center inside.

Riggles once served as a missionary to the Philippines where he and his wife were both stabbed while escaping from kidnappers.

Meyers to Make Changes

Joyce Meyer Ministries says it’s making changes to how it operates after coming under fire from Congressional investigators for the way it handles money. Senator Charles Grassley has been looking into Meyer’s operation, along with a handful of other media-focused ministries. Grassley says Meyer’s and Benny Hinn's World Healing Center Church, have cooperated with his inquiry. But several have refused to cooperate, including:
  • Kenneth and Gloria Copeland of Kenneth Copeland Ministries
  • Randy and Paula White of Without Walls International Church
  • Creflo and Taffi Dollar of World Changers Church International
  • Eddie Long of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church

Twist in Earl Paulk Case

Earl Paulk apparently sent money to the women who had been pursuing a three-year lawsuit against him, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Mona Brewer had a 14-year affair with the former charismatic leader while he was pastor of Chapel Hill Harvester Church in Atlanta. WAGA-TV reports that Paulk has given up a million dollar judgment he won against the women for attorney’s fees. A judge dismissed her suit earlier this year but the judgment has been appealed. Paulk plead guilty to to lying in a deposition where he had denied fathering a child with his sister-in-law. A DNA test proved that he really was the father.

Monday, July 7, 2008

DC Gospel Station Sold

Radio One is buying WPRS-FM in Washington, DC for $38 million. Praise 104.1 fm calls itself D.C.’s Station for Inspiration. Radio One has been operating the gospel formatted station for about a year already.

Women Bishops

The Church of England has decided to allow women to become bishops. The General Synod decided today to drop the male requirement for the post. The church’s governing body battled over the practice and agreed to come up with some way of accommodating objectors. The Church of England has been ordaining women as priests for the past 14 years. It may be six more years before the first women bishop is consecrated.

Singer Struggles for Life

Grammy-nominated Gospel singer and pastor Timothy Wright is in critical condition following a head-on car crash in Pennsylvania this weekend. His wife and grandson died in the wreck. Wright is pastor of New York’s Grace Tabernacle Christian Center. He was returning from a church conference in Detroit.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

How Believers Use Christian Media

78% listen to Christian music
64% watch Christian television
64% listen to Christian radio
55% watch Christian movies

Pastors and Ministers
94% listen to Christian music
92% read Christian nonfiction books
84% listen to Christian radio

Source: Ellison Research