Here are the top stories making news in Christianity today…
Ahead of the first annual convention of Christian witches, to be hosted in Salem, Massachusetts this April, the organization has made some provocative claims.
“The Bible is a huge book of sorcery. You literally can’t get around that. You can’t get around Jesus being a magician. There’s just no way,” said internationally recognized Prophet Calvin Witcher.
“You’re talking about the whole of Jesus’ adult ministry is all magic, all sorcery. Even if we just say ‘Jesus.’ Every particular miracle Jesus does defies human law, defies the laws of the universe and the world,” Witcher says. “You can’t really talk about being a Jesus follower without doing what he did which is magic.”
The Rev. Valerie Love, the force behind the event, who describes herself as a practicing Christian witch and an ordained minister of spiritual consciousness, also recently launched the Covenant of Christian Witches Mystery School to help Christians tap into magic.
Of course, the Bible specifically prohibits and condemns sorcery, divination and spell-based magic of any kind in numerous passages.
Roughly 190 Catholic leaders from around the world met at a Vatican summit to discuss the problem of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church and how to deal with it. Pope Francis said the church is facing an “all-out battle on clerical sex abuse.”
Pope Francis introduced a list of 21 suggestions for concrete reforms and/or discussion points. Pope Francis called the sex abuse scandal “the work of the devil” and offending priests as “the tools of Satan.”
In St. Louis, the leaders of United Methodist Church, one of the country’s largest Protestant denominations, held a conference on whether or not to permit openly LGBTQ clergy and same-sex weddings. These practices already exist in some parts of the country and the discussion is to decide whether or not to create a national or international standard within the church.
The decision could potentially splinter the church into different factions that support these practices and those that don’t. Going back to 1972, when the church made his first official statement on homosexuality, the church has stated that “homosexuals no less than heterosexuals are persons of sacred worth” while still considering “the practice of homosexuality … incompatible with Christian teaching.”
Fred Edwords and two other plaintiffs filed a 2014 lawsuit challenging a so-called Peace Cross – a memorial to Americans killed in World War One situated on public land, that has stood for nearly a century in Bladensburg, Maryland, as a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Establishment Clause, which prohibits the government from establishing an official religion and bars governmental actions favoring one religion over another.
This challenge will be heard by the Supreme Court next Wednesday and a ruling is expected by the end of June.