Tuesday, January 02, 2018

At least 9 killed in attacks targeting Egypt's Coptic Christians; Trashing megachurches ...more

At least 9 killed in attacks targeting Egypt's Coptic Christians
In the latest assault on Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority, at least nine people were killed Friday in a shootout outside a church and an attack on a nearby store, security and health officials said.

The extremist group Islamic State claimed responsibility in a statement carried by the affiliated Amaq news agency but offered no evidence to support the assertion...

Archeologists uncover more proof of Jewish rule in Jerusalem during First Temple era  ...
A rare, well-preserved piece of clay dating to the First Temple period with the Hebrew inscription “governor of the city” was recently discovered during excavations by the Israel Antiquities Authority in the Western Wall Plaza in Jerusalem.

“The Bible mentions two governors of Jerusalem, and this finding thus reveals that such a position was actually held by someone in the city some 2,700 years ago,” said Dr. Shlomit Weksler-Bdolah, excavator of the site on behalf of the IAA.

The relic, dating from the 6th to 7th centuries BCE, was unearthed during a joint dig with the Western Wall Heritage Foundation in the northwestern section of the Western Wall Plaza….

Ten Critical Trends for Churches in 2018
Never in my lifetime have I seen local congregations at such a critical juncture. Cultural Christianity is all but dead. The “Nones,” those without any religious preference, are increasing. Many of the communities are no longer friendly to local churches; some have become adversarial.

But in the waves of these seas of negativity, are mercy drops of hope and possibilities. Look at these ten major trends carefully. See how God would have your church respond...

Trashing Megachurches
Trashing megachurches is often popular. According to the standard stereotype, they’re big exurban factories resembling car dealerships with giant parking lots and giant American flags, catering to rich, socially irresponsible SUV driving Sunbelt Republicans anxious to hear superficial, self-serving health and wealth sermons from huckster preachers in flashy suits.

A recent article by Jonathan Merritt cites a liberal advocacy group report asserting that, of the 100 largest congregations in America, none are LGBTQ affirming, over 90% have white pastors, and only one has a female pastor. Merritt calls this report “explosive” without directly condemning the churches. But many on social media have predictably issued their disapproving tut-tuts. The originating advocacy group wants to shame these churches...


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