Malta has become the 22nd European country to recognize same-sex unions and the 10th to allow gay couples to adopt children following a parliament vote, going against the warnings of the Roman Catholic Church, which is the official state religion.
The bill passed by a vote of 37-0, with the opposition abstaining because it is in favor of gay unions but not in allowing gay couples to adopt.
The vote prompted celebratory scenes for the thousands who had gathered at the central square in the capital Valletta to support the passage of the bill. more >>
Miracles are being performed by a an 8-year-old Brazilian girl in the favelas of San Gonzalo, according to reports. Alani Santos channels the power of Jesus Christ to cure HIV, cancer and arthritis, the parishioners in her father's church claim.
Alani Santos' healing miracles take place at the church of her father, Pastor Aduato Santos, who was a former car thief. He has dubbed her missionarinha, or "little missionary," for her preaching and commitment to healing the sick.
"To see God working through people and their lives, that is very pleasing," she told Vocativ. "A lot of the time I touch people, sometimes I just pray and worship and the person is cured." more >>
American philanthropist Melinda Gates talked about her Roman Catholic faith and funding contraceptives in the global fight against AIDS, noting that many Catholics disagree with official church doctrine on the contraception issue.
"Even though I am Catholic I believe in contraceptives, just like the majority of Catholic women in the United States who report using contraceptives, and I shouldn't let that controversy be the thing that holds us back," Gates, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, shared at the TED 2014 conference in Vancouver on Tuesday, The Vancouver Sun reported.
The Catholic Church teaches against the use of contraception, defining it as "any action which, either in anticipation of the conjugal act (sexual intercourse), or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible." This includes sterilization, condoms and the birth control pill. more >>
Gene Robinson, recognized as the first openly gay bishop in a major Protestant denomination, has called on Pope Francis to change the Roman Catholic Church's official doctrine that defines homosexuality as a disorder, arguing that such a teaching is "the basis for discrimination, rejection and violence the world over."
The Vatican has repeatedly said that Pope Francis is not seeking to make doctrine changes, however.
"If Pope Francis is to be believed in all the kindly pronouncements of his first year (and I do), his good tone should be followed by the tough work of changing the systems of belief, doctrine and religious practice which perpetuate the victimization of those he seeks to serve," Robinson, who was installed as bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire in the Episcopal Church in 2004 and retired in 2013, wrote in an article for The Daily Beast on Sunday. more >>
With church attendance dropping and the youth losing interest in faith, leaders from all over the world are scrambling to find ways to better engage those who are disillusioned. British-born ministry 3DM proposes an interesting solution to that very problem and already saw great success in the European Union, planting over 500 churches in just five years.
Last month The Christian Post attended a Discipleship and Missions Workshop in Foxboro, Mass. held by the innovative ministry. The event basically functioned as a preview for those in the New England area interested in what it had to offer that could help their ailing congregations. 3DM aims to reshape church culture to something that closely resembles the 1st-century church by returning it to an extended family model.
The ministry uses its own tools and language to do so. More about its Huddles, Missional Communities and Shape Language can be read about in Part 1 and Part 2. The Christian Post had the opportunity to sit and speak with 3DM Central members Eric Pfeiffer and Kristine Blaess. Here's what they had to say about the way we do church, and if their tools could help to keep people inside and outside the faith engaged with the body. more >>
The Swedish Evangelical Alliance has responded to former megachurch leader Ulf Ekman's decision to convert to Roman Catholicism, praising him for all his efforts in bringing the Word of God to Swedes and people around the world, but also highlighting the "crucial dividing lines" between Catholics and Evangelicals that can not be ignored.
"Ulf Ekman, despite all the controversies along the way, is undoubtedly the most dynamic and influential Christian leader we have had in Sweden during the past half century. His international significance goes far beyond what most Swedes understand; countless people around the world thank God for the ministry of Ulf Ekman," Stefan Gustavsson, general secretary of the Swedish Evangelical Alliance, stated, as reported by IRD President Mark Tooley on Tuesday.
"In other matters, there are crucial dividing lines which can't be avoided," he added. more >>