It's time for the weekly faith recap — our review of the biggest and most intriguing religion and culture-themed stories from the past seven days.
Pastor Bob Coy (Image source: @Pbobcoy's Twitter account)
First off, Pastor Bob Coy, founder Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, a Florida megachurch, vacated his position April 3 after confessing to “a moral failing in his life.”
A statement from the church reads, "Pastor Bob will be focusing his full attention on his personal relationship with God and with his family. The governing board of the church is providing counselors and ministers who will help guide him through the process of full repentance, cleansing and restoration."
And thousands of Christians have gathered around a church in China after the government threatened to tear it down. This threat reportedly comes as a result of the government’s campaign to demolish churches that violate local regulations and their concern that Christianity is growing too fast and in an “unsustainable” manner.
In Gojra, Pakistan, a city with a history of violence against Christians, a Christian couple was sentenced to death after allegedly sending a text to a local Muslim leader that slighted the prophet Muhammad. The couple denies the allegations and their lawyer told the French news agency AFP that “the couple has suspected rivals of implicating them into [the] blasphemy case to settle personal scores.”
And in Tennessee, the American Civil Liberties Union is claiming a victory on behalf of the boy who was reportedly banned from reading his Bible during an after-school program. The American Civil Liberties Union wrote a letter to REACH, a publicly funded program, defending the boy’s First Amendment rights.
Since the letter was written the program has educated their staff on constitutional rights of students within public schools and circulated the group's letter. The boy’s mother has said she is proud that her son defended his rights.
In light of many Christians' fears that the "Noah" movie would misconstrue the biblical account, Bible sites such as the YouVersion Bible App and Bible Gateway have reported a surge in the reading of the Genesis flood story.
According to YouVersion founder Bobby Gruenewald, “This generation is becoming increasingly interested in the Bible and, they don’t just want to rely on what they’ve seen and heard about it — they want to read it for themselves.”
Image source: Shutterstock.com
On a more controversial note, CuriOdyssey, a science and wildlife center in San Mateo, Calif., reportedly listened to atheists and removed a warning on one of its exhibitions that read, “This program may discuss the topic of evolution.”
The science center said that line was added after faith-based individuals were surprised that the topic was discussed during the “Animal Connections” live demonstration; some atheists have said the disclaimer was “unnecessary” and that the wildlife center need not cater to religious individuals.
Have you seen what happened when Westboro Baptist parishioners tried to picket a town in Oklahoma? Hint: they fled.
Thousands of counter-protesters showed up in Moore, Okla., to rally against Westboro Baptist Church (Image source: KOCO-TV)
On Monday, an elderly Jesuit Priest by the name of Father Francis Van Der Lugt was shot dead in Syria; a masked gunman entered the monastery and took Van Der Lugt into the garden. The act is being condemned by the United Nations, the U.S. government and Syrians.
And have you heard of the latest discovery that scientists say may show that the “Doctrine of Jesus’ Wife” is truly ancient — not a modern forgery?
Karen King, the Harvard Divinity School professor who first revealed the centuries-old papyrus fragment that supposedly refers to Jesus’ wife, maintains the claim that this doesn't necessarily prove that Jesus was married, but that it is part of a manuscript showing how Christians discussed marriage, celibacy, and sex, among other issues.
Featured image via Shutterstock.com