The Christians Breaking News
I Escaped the Cult. But I Couldn’t Escape the Cult Mentality
It was the first time I’d ever been allowed to watch television. I was 14 years old. Glass exploded, metal shrieked, and red flames shot skyward before being enveloped in a mushroom cloud of thick, black smoke. A tower in New York City had been hit by a plane. America stared transfixed in horror as people leapt to their deaths and two landmark buildings collapsed. Terror enveloped the nation.
Was the Apocalypse about to start?
The September 11th terrorist attacks were shocking everywhere, but the most shocking thing in my house was that the adults had turned on the television and images from the outside world were permeating our closed society. Our Prophet had always predicted that America, Babylon the Whore, would feel the wrath of an angry God, and we could see it happening as the buildings collapsed. But worldly television? That was never allowed.
I was born and raised behind the commune walls of an extreme modern-day religious cult, the Children of God (COG). My mother, who was also raised in the cult, was 15 when she gave birth to me, in the Philippines, where she lived away from her own parents, away from my father, yet always surrounded by her cult family. My father was in another commune, in another country, married to someone else.
At 14, I had never set foot inside a school and was not allowed to read anything but the King James Bible or COG religious texts. I had never played on a sports team or even had the overwhelmingly “regular” experience of walking down a sidewalk alone.
Can Christians today still miraculously heal the sick?
Rev. Kyle Norman
Scripture declares a certain reality of life. This reality centers upon the activity of God within the world. God is not removed from creation. In the Old Testament, we see God choosing and journeying with the nation of Israel. The Lord’s presence brings with it the manifestation of God’s power. God acts in mighty and miraculous ways. These events are not put forward as metaphorical tales or mythological exaggerations. The Old Testament declares a reality of life; a reality in which God is present and active. To deny this reality is to deny the very veracity of the Old Testament.
Yet the call remains. James encourages: “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up…The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:14-16). Such a statement speaks to the availability of God’s power to heal, restore, and save. Scripture does not make such statements out of lofty idealism or fanciful wish-dreams. The prevalence of God’s healing throughout the biblical witness points to a reality of the world in which we live. God is present. God is active. Healings can occur.
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United Methodists Reschedule Meeting — And Decision on Splitting — Again
(RNS) — The United Methodist Church has once again postponed its quadrennial meeting due to the COVID-19 pandemic, delaying further a widely anticipated vote by delegates from across the globe on a proposal to split the denomination over the inclusion of LGBTQ members.
House Passes Equality Act in a 'Severe Blow' to Religious Liberty
A landmark bill that would place sexual orientation and gender identity along race in the nation’s anti-discrimination laws passed the U.S. House of Representatives Thursday and advanced to the Senate, where its prospects are far less certain.
H.R. 5, also known as the Equality Act, passed the House 224 - 206 along a mostly party-line vote, with three Republicans joining 221 Democrats in support. All 206 “no” votes came from Republicans.
Opponents say it would have a devastating impact on women’s rights and religious freedom.
Although the House previously passed the bill in 2019, Thursday’s passage marked the first time it had passed with Democrats in control of the House, the Senate and the White House – a trifecta that gives it a legitimate chance of becoming law.
The Senate has never passed the Equality Act. Politico reported it is unlikely to pass that body in its current form.
Christian Mother in Uganda Hit with Acid for Her Faith, Sources Say
NAIROBI, Kenya, February 26, 2021 (Morning Star News) – A Christian couple visiting a young mother at her home in eastern Uganda last month decided to pray for her before leaving – triggering an immediate response from her Muslim husband.
“In the middle of the prayers, my husband walked out and began calling Muslims and mentioning that infidels were at his house,” 25-year-old Janati Kyoleka, who had secretly put her faith in Christ in December, told Morning Star News. “When my friends saw the Muslims approaching the homestead, they took off.”
The mother of children ages 5, 2 and a 5-month-old in Nakisimi village, Pallisa District had begun following Christ when her second child received healing prayer at a Christian hospital on Dec. 14. On the afternoon of the visit from the Christian couple, Jan. 19, her husband, Jafari Biisa, returned home with the Muslim villagers, she said.
“My husband began questioning me whether I had embraced Christianity,” Kyoleka told Morning Star News. “I kept quiet. He started beating me with sticks, and my 5-month-old began crying, and before the arrival of the neighbors, my husband had already poured acid on me, and I lost all consciousness.”
Pastor violently beaten for his faith
HYDERABAD, India, March 1, 2021 (Morning Star News) – Local officials and other tribal animists in a village in eastern India locked council doors, tied up pastor Lakshman Oraon and beat him for more than an hour, but he kept praising God, he said.
“I did not shout or cry before them,” Pastor Oraon told Morning Star News. “I was praying, praising the Lord, remembering His sacrifice for me on the cross.”
The elders of Jungur village, Latehar District in Jharkhand state had summoned him and other village Christians on Jan. 24 to demand that they help fund the ritual worship of tribal deities. When he refused, he said, they tied his hands behind his back, knocked him to the floor and struck his back, head and face.
“When they tied me and started kicking me, I was not at all angry. The Lord reminded me of the verses in Matt. 5:11-12,” Pastor Oraon said, reciting in Hindi Christ’s statement that followers are blessed when others revile and persecute them, and that they rejoice. “I received great strength from these words. There was a smile on my face all through.”
Nine years old girl dead through exorcism
Police in Sri Lanka said Monday they have arrested two people in connection with the death of a 9-year-old girl who was repeatedly beaten during a ritual they believed would drive away an evil spirit. The two suspects - the woman performing the exorcism and the girl's mother - were to appear in court Monday to hear charges over the girl's death, which occurred over the weekend in Delgoda, a small town about 25 miles northeast of the capital, Colombo.
According to police spokesperson Ajith Rohana, the mother believed her daughter had been possessed by a demon and took her to the home of the exorcist so a ritual could be performed to drive the spirit away.
Rohana said the exorcist first put oil on the girl and then began to repeatedly hit her with a cane. When the girl lost consciousness, she was taken to a hospital, where she died. An autopsy was scheduled for Monday.
The woman who performed the ritual on the girl was known in the area for offering such services in recent months and police were investigating whether anyone else had been abused, Rohana said.