Saturday, February 8, 2014

Church Leader Decries Spread of Prosperity Gospel in South Africa

Grant Retief
While South Africa can be called a "churched nation" demographically, prosperity gospel, or a "parallel, post-biblical Christianity," is spreading throughout the country, warns the rector of a reformed evangelical Anglican church who has ministered in Durban City for 17 years.

A churched nation is not the same thing as a "gospeled" nation, writes Grant Retief, the rector of Christ Church Umhlanga just outside of Durbin, in a blog post. Eighty percent of South Africa is Christian, according to the 2001 census.

When people from well-known bigger churches attend his church for a little while, the rector says, "they tell us they are surprised to regularly hear in the preaching and the liturgy that they are sinners."

That is because of the prosperity gospel phenomenon, of what Retief calls a "parallel, post-biblical Christianity." "When you stop to look inside these churches, you hear Christian-like things and you see Christian-like activities … Sermons aren't built on biblical theology, but employ an occasional verse to springboard toward the preacher's pre-chosen point," he laments.

Their meanings of biblical terms are vaguely assumed, or are informed not by theology but psychology, he adds. For example, "sin" might be described as the failure to achieve your goals, not as rebellion against an Almighty God.

"All this produces nice people instead of Godly people," Retief argues.

Christian-Muslim Clashes in Central African Republic Leave 75 Dead; Thousands Hiding in Churches Need Help!

Clashes between Christian and Muslim groups in a town in the Central African Republican have left 75 people dead this past week, according to reports from the African country. Pastors say that thousands of people hiding in churches are in desperate need of help.

Father Cassien Kamatari revealed that most of the dead in the town of Boda were Christians, though it is not known how many total Muslims were killed, as their bodies were buried quickly, BBC News reported.

CAR has been locked in sectarian battles ever since the resignation of interim President Michel Djotodia earlier this year. The transitional government had hopes of restoring peace and preparing for democratic elections, but those efforts were hampered due to fighting between Seleka rebels and anti-Balaka fighters.

Persecution watchdog group Open Doors, which ranks CAR No. 16 on its 2014 World Watch List of countries where Christians face the most persecution, sent The Christian Post a breaking news report on Tuesday by one of its field directors for west and central Africa, who said that thousands of people fleeing the sectarian violence are hiding in churches and mosques.

Inspiring Music Video Preview for the 'Son of God' Movie (VIDEO)

20th Century Fox released a new preview for the upcoming "Son of God" movie about the life of Jesus Christ, coming to theaters February 28. This emotional compilation of scenes is set to the 2012 song "Crave" by King & Country, a Christian duo out of Australia.

"Son of God" is produced by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, creators of the wildly successful History Channel miniseries "The Bible." The film, starring Diogo Morgado as Jesus, will be comprised of selections from the miniseries as well as never-before-seen material that wasn't part of the ten-hour miniseries.

Study: Facebook is Read More Than the Bible

According to a recent study carried out, Facebook is read more than the bible.

In 2006, a CBS News poll found that about 40 million in the U.S. and Canada read the bible every day. Comparably, Facebook reports about 143 million people in the U.S. and Canada actively using the site.

Total, Facebook reports 757 million daily active users. Facebook celebrated its 10th anniversary Tuesday. Today, ministers, Christian leaders and others are using the social media site to reach their audiences.
Facebook claims 1.23 billion monthly users. That's more people than live in any country but China.
In fact, Facebook is beyond comparing to nations and is more continental in magnitude. Facebook's monthly user population is larger than six of the seven continents, second only to Asia.

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