Category Archives: In The News

Witchcraft: Animal Hearts Found All Over Church Yard

Five animal hearts were discovered on a triangulation pillar near an English countryside church, surrounded by candles. This disturbing incident occurred just over a month after a dead cat was found hanging from a flagpole at the same location.

According to The Times (U.K.), the hearts were found on top of a triangulation station, with candles in a circle around the stone landmark near the 12th century St. Peter’s Church in Bramshaw, near Southampton.

When the incident was reported to police, officers reportedly said they were patrolling that area as it had previously been a target of suspected satanists.

Last month, the church’s vicar, the Rev. David Bacon, told the press that women came to clean the church to prepare it for Christmas and found a dead cat hanging from the flagpole.

Just weeks earlier, a dead fox was found lying on the church’s doorstep. “Every so often we get things like this happening. It makes everybody feel very uncomfortable,” the vicar said at the time.

In 2019, sheep had been stabbed and sprayed with pentagrams, and graffiti with the same occult markings were found on the church walls.

In January 2020, The Telegraph reported that St. Botolph’s Church in the Lincolnshire countryside was being repeatedly desecrated by satanists who would break in to perform occult ceremonies and scatter the blood of sacrificed animals.

“They sometimes bring chickens and slit their throats and the blood spills out all over,” Martin Chapman, a farmer who had been visiting the church site to clear the remnants, was quoted as saying. “It’s just escalated over the years. They damage and break things. They make rings of candles and salt. They smash graves. There is no fear. There’s a group of serious witches that come down.”

Many young women had been traveling to St Botolph’s, Chapman added.

“Churches often have a palpable sense of God and goodness because they have been saturated with the prayers of people down the ages,” Justine Allain Chapman, archdeacon of Boston in the Diocese of Lincoln, was quoted as saying at the time. “That quality doesn’t disappear easily, and so people are drawn to religious places. It is important to remember that God’s blessing is stronger than any curse, and light more powerful than darkness.”

Alarming Occultic Uptick Shocks America

According to a research firm that specializes in surveying youths, a significant number of young people are incorporating herbs and crystals into their regular spiritual practices.

Springtide Research Institute told CBN’s Faithwire it found 44% of young people between the ages of 13 and 25 “engage with herbs/crystals as a spiritual practice.” Shockingly, 21% do so on a weekly basis.

These results were found in the polling firm’s “State of Religion & Young People 2022” report, underscoring the reality that young people are finding alternative sources of religion and spirituality in an era of rampant secularism and less attachment to Judeo-Christian values.

With culture skewing away from the faith, a vacuum is in its place, and young people are desperately looking to fill the holes.

“Young people today are lonely and desperate to experience a deep sense of connection,” Kevin Singer, head of media and public relations at Springtide, told CBN’s Faithwire. “If that isn’t happening in churches and other faith communities, they will find it elsewhere — typically online — where independent spiritual teachers are making their living.”

Crystals and herbs are two New Age practices some believe hold the power to offer healing or ward off evil spirits, with these elements and practices sparking concern among many Christians.

As GotQuestions.org explains, “According to crystal healers, the careful placing of crystals on a patient’s body is supposed to line up with or stimulate the body’s chakras and promote healing.”

Considering the Bible’s stance on avoiding occultic practices, the use of crystals and herbs for such purposes has sparked no shortage of controversy. Yet young people, increasingly being raised disconnected from Scriptural influence, seem to be more fervently turning to these mechanisms.

“Crystals, in particular, are fostering connection between young people without the added baggage they fear comes with traditional religion,” Singer said. “They also feel crystals are an inclusive expression of spirituality, whereas traditional religion excludes.”

The Springtide data also yielded additional data worth noting. Young people who considered themselves “non-binary” were likelier to engage in crystals and herbs. While 58% of these youths use these practices, just 44% of females and 42% of males said the same.

This same dynamic was observed among gay youths as well, with 53% using crystals and herbs versus 39% of those who are not gay.

And among people of faith, those most likely to use crystals and herbs are Christian Orthodox (73%), those without traditional religious categories (65%), and Latter-Day Saints (64%).

Meanwhile, 40% of Protestants and 36% of those who identify as “just Christian” participate.

Singer cautioned people to be careful assuming young people using crystals and herbs fully understand the spiritual implications and practices.

“We shouldn’t assume that every young person who engages with crystals has a deep well of knowledge and perspective on crystals,” he said. “For some, they’re a cheeky hobby, while for others, their day-to-day decisions are informed by the ‘energies’ inhabiting different relationships and spaces, which crystals help them discern and connect to.”

Understanding this dynamic could help open doors to discuss the spiritual dangers of these practices and what Scripture truly has to say on the matter.

This isn’t the first time Springtide has uncovered fascinating information about such spiritual practices. In fact, the research firm conducted a survey in 2021 and found 51% of 13 to 25-year-olds were engaging in fortune-telling or tarot cards.

It should be noted and reaffirmed that the Bible warns against occultic practices and other elements that seek to place faith in tools, people, and elements outside of God and Scripture.

Using crystals and herbs for such practices — or relying on other elements of witchcraft — violates biblical truth and puts people in spiritual peril.

Tennessee Pastor Is only Survivor of Tragic Plane Crash

After a plane disaster on Tuesday that claimed the lives of four of his fellow church officials, the pastor of a Tennessee church was the only survivor, shocking parishioners and loved ones.

Harvest Church in Germantown, Tennessee, released a statement Tuesday expressing sorrow amid the monumental loss and noted the congregation is “without the proper words” to articulate its grief.

“We ask for your prayers and request the families involved are given proper space to grieve,” the statement read.

Lead Pastor Dr. Kennon Vaughan, the lone survivor, is in a Texas hospital in stable condition after the plane went down Tuesday around 11 a.m. near Yoakum, Texas.

Church members Tyler Patterson and Tyler Springer were killed, as were Executive Pastor Bill Garner and church elder Steve Tucker, WMC-TV reported.

Tucker, who was piloting, reportedly owned the plane; further details on the exact issue leading to the crash are currently unknown.

Parishioners reportedly gathered Tuesday night at Harvest Church to mourn the immeasurable losses.

On Wednesday morning, the church updated the public on Vaughan’s status, releasing some encouraging developments.

Despite requiring surgery Tuesday night to treat significant injuries, the preacher is breathing on his own and is communicating — two miraculous signs unfolding just one day after the deadly incident.

“We rejoice this morning in God’s goodness. Kennon is breathing on his own and has been able to communicate some through writing,” the statement read. “The latest reports from the doctors are all positive.”

The church said the preacher is at a top trauma hospital and expressed gratitude to the Lord while also asking for prayer for his continued recovery.

“We are so thankful for God’s provision,” the statement continued. “Kennon still needs to have some surgeries to repair injuries to his abdomen, so please continue to pray for a full recovery.”

Michael Allen, a former classmate of Garner, said the pastor was truly a special individual who loved and cared for others.

“He was always helpful to other people and wanted to give his heart and show other people love no matter who they were,” Allen told WREG-TV.

Officials are investigating the cause of the tragic crash.

Be sure to pray for the church, families, and loved ones suffering during this difficult time.

Christian Killed After Religious Debate

A 37-year-old father of four was killed on Jan. 2 after participating in a Christian-Muslim debate in eastern Uganda at which 13 Muslims put their faith in Christ, sources said.

Ahamada Mafabi was returning from the debate in Nakaloke, Sironko District outside Mbale when men on two motorcycles shouting the jihadist slogan, “Allah Akbar[God is greater],” knocked him off his motorcycle and sliced his neck with a knife, one of the Christians sent to escort him said.

The attack took place at about 10 p.m. in Munkaga cell, Bukasakya Ward in Mbale, said his pastor, whose name is withheld for security reasons.

“Muslims responded openly to receiving Christ,” the pastor said of the public debate that took place before the attack. “There were shouts from the Muslims demanding that Mafabi leave the grounds of the meeting, saying, ‘Mafabi, stop your blasphemous utterance of equating Issa [Jesus] to God, calling him the Son of God.’”

Seeing the hostility, the pastor assigned two Christians to escort Mafabi to his home in Butaleja District, he said.

One of the men escorting him, whose name is withheld for security reasons, said they saw two motorcyles coming from behind carrying four people after they reached Munkaga.

“As they bypassed us, they shouted the Islamic slogan, ‘Allah Akbar’ and then hit our motorcycle down with a metal object,” he said, adding that he and the other escort fled for their lives. “The attackers overpowered him and cut his neck with a long Somali knife.”

Mafabi is survived by his wife and four children, ages 3 to 14 years old, all of whom need to be relocated, the pastor said.

Mafabi had left Islam to put his faith in Christ in December 2020 after several visits with the pastor in an undisclosed village in Butaleja District. Initially the pastor housed him to protect him from Islamists upset with his conversion, and later his church rented a house for him elsewhere.

Knowledgeable in both Islam and Christianity, Mafabi helped the pastor begin Christian-Muslim debates in mid-2021, and in one year more than 100 Muslims put their faith in Christ, he said. Mafabi faced severe Islamist hostility, escaping four assassination attempts, and the pastor also received threatening text messages.

One such message, he said, read, “Stop taking our members to your church. Let this be known to you that your church and your life is at risk.”

The pastor requested prayer for the widow and her children, who need support for food, shelter and school fees. He also expressed concern for his ministry’s newly built center for converts from Islam, where they are discipled and trained in job skills to make up for losing employment because of their faith.

The pastor has reported the crime, and police are investigating.

“I have some fears, but this is part of the spiritual warfare that comes with Christian persecution, and I am ready to face it,” he said.

The attack was the latest of many instances of persecution of Christians in Uganda that Morning Star News has documented.

Uganda’s constitution and other laws provide for religious freedom, including the right to propagate one’s faith and convert from one faith to another. Muslims make up no more than 12 percent of Uganda’s population, with high concentrations in eastern areas of the country.

Definitive Proof of Pontius Pilate

The “Pilate Stone” is an inscription that bears the name and title of Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea during the time of Jesus.

This historical artifact provides evidence for the existence of Pilate and his role as the prefect who ruled over Judea during the reign of Emperor Tiberius.

While Pilate’s role in the trial and crucifixion of Jesus is well-known through the Gospels, this inscription is one of the few physical pieces of evidence that confirms his existence and his role as a historical figure.

The discovery of the “Pilate Stone” provides a deeper understanding of the historical context of the Bible and the life of Jesus.

That was until the 1961 discovery of the “Pilate Stone,” a piece of carved limestone inscribed with the name of Pontius Pilate. Italian archaeologist Dr. Antonio Frova and his team came across the “Pilate Stone” while excavating an ancient Roman theatre in Caesarea, Israel, which was built by the decree of King Herod, around 10 BC. UCatholic.com explains that Pilate had his base of operations in Caesarea, which replaced Jerusalem as the administrative capital of Judea in 6 AD.

Although weathered by time, fragments of the inscription on the limestone may still be distinguished. From what archaeologists can read, it appears to be a dedication stone. It says:

To the Divine Augusti [this] Tiberieum … Pontius Pilate … prefect of Judea … has dedicated [this]

This discovery corroborates Pilate’s position as prefect of Judea, as well as the era in which he held office. UCatholic notes that there are several other secular sources that mention the prefect, such as the writings by Flavius in Antiquities of the Jews circa 94, Philo of Alexandra in On The Embassy of Gauis, and by Publius Cornelius Tacitus, one of the most well-known Roman historians. However, these works were all written many decades after Pilate was removed from his position as prefect of Judea. The “Pilate Stone” remains the only first-hand evidence of Pilate, which, quite literally, has set his historical relevance in stone.

Make sure to visit the slideshow below to discover some of the places frequented by Jesus of Nazareth, from Bethlehem to Jerusalem, including the Via Dolorosa. 

Famed Pop Star’s Album Banned Over Serious Offense to Christians

In the U.K, a poster promoting Demi Lovato’s latest album faced criticism and was prohibited from certain public areas due to complaints about its inappropriate imagery.

The signage, which reportedly featured the singer lying on a massive crucifix-shaped mattress wearing what has been described as bondage-style garb, has been prohibited after previously being displayed last year in six locations throughout London.

The photo on the poster came from the cover art for Lovato’s new album titled, “Holy Fv**,” with the poster being used to advertise the singer’s music.

The U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), an advertising watchdog, received four complaints over the banner’s presence in London, with the authority barring the image Aug. 23, the same month Lovato’s album was released, The Christian Post reported.

The ASA, which reportedly initially greenlit the ad, was tasked with exploring whether the imagery was “likely to cause serious or widespread offense” and was placed irresponsibly in locations visible to children.

Universal Music Operations’ Polydor Records noted the poster was meant to promote Lovato’s album and, according to the ASA, didn’t believe it would offend.

The agency, though, found that the text of the album title — clearly a reference to a curse word — would be found offensive by many, especially considering children could potentially see it.

Furthermore, the agency assessed the religious elements of the poster.

“We considered that the image of Ms. Lovato bound up in a bondage-style outfit whilst lying on a mattress shaped like a crucifix, in a position with her legs bound to one side which was reminiscent of Christ on the cross, together with the reference to ‘holy fv**,’ which, in that context, was likely to be viewed as linking sexuality to the sacred symbol of the crucifix and the crucifixion, was likely to cause serious offense to Christians,” the ASA wrote.

These determinations led the agency to conclude the CAP Code, a set of advertising standards in the U.K., had been violated. The poster of Lovato could, thus, no longer be displayed without more pointed regard for these factors.

“The ad must not appear again in the form complained of unless it was suitably targeted,” the ASA concluded. “We told Universal Music Operations, Ltd., to ensure their ads did not cause serious or widespread offense in future.”

Lovato has, in the past, openly discussed faith and credited God after overcoming a drug overdose. But she has also reportedly described herself as a person who is “pansexual” and attracted to “anything, really.” She has said she hid this sexual fluidity due to her faithful upbringing.

“I felt a lot of shame, because, growing up in Texas as a Christian, that’s very frowned upon,” she said in 2021 on Joe Rogan’s podcast, speaking about same-sex attraction. “Any attraction that I ever had toward a female at a young age, I shut it down before I even let myself process what I was feeling.”

Lovato also said she cut her hair short to break from “gender and sexuality norms.”

Archeologists Find King David’s Castle and Much More

Biblical archaeology is the study of the material remains of the societies and cultures mentioned in the Bible. Through the years, archaeology has helped scholars better understand the context and history of the Bible, shedding new light on the stories and events that are central to the Christian faith. Here are a few of the most interesting discoveries made in recent years.

One of the most significant discoveries in biblical archaeology is the discovery of the ancient city of Gath. According to the Bible, Gath was one of the five Philistine cities that were conquered by King David. The city was mentioned in the Bible as being the home of Goliath, the giant whom David defeated. Archaeologists have uncovered the remains of a large, fortified city that dates back to the time of King David, providing evidence that Gath was a real historical place.

Another important discovery is the discovery of the palace of King David. The Bible describes King David as having built a palace for himself in Jerusalem, but for many years, scholars were unsure of whether this palace actually existed. In 2005, archaeologist Eilat Mazar announced the discovery of a large palace complex in Jerusalem that dates back to the time of King David. This discovery is significant because it provides the first physical evidence of the existence of King David’s palace.

In 2018, a team of Israeli archaeologists announced the discovery of an ancient palace in the city of Megiddo, which is mentioned in the Bible as a site of a major battle between the Israelites and the Egyptians. The palace, which dates back to the 10th century BC, is believed to have been built by King Ahab, who is mentioned in the Bible as a powerful and wicked king. The palace was uncovered beneath the remains of a later Roman city, providing a glimpse into the political and social dynamics of the time.

Lastly, in 2019, a team of Israeli archaeologists announced the discovery of an ancient town that is believed to be the biblical city of Bethsaida. Bethsaida was mentioned in the Bible as the birthplace of the apostles Peter, Andrew, and Philip. The town was discovered near the Sea of Galilee and is thought to have been a small fishing village during the time of Jesus.

These are just a few examples of the many fascinating discoveries that have been made in recent years in the field of biblical archaeology. These discoveries not only provide new insights into the history and culture of the Bible, but they also serve as a reminder of the enduring legacy of the stories and events that are central to the Christian faith.

Kevin Sorbo’s New Antichrist Movie Looks at the End Times

Actor Kevin Sorbo is preparing for a new theatrical adventure, as he takes on the iconic role of Rayford Steele in the new movie “Left Behind: Rise of the Antichrist.”

The film, which tells the story of what life might look like after the biblical rapture, comes after Nicolas Cage played the role of Steele in 2014’s “Left Behind.”

Sorbo, who also serves as director of the new film, told CBN’s “Faith vs. Culture” he’s “excited” about the opportunity to tackle the beloved book and movie series. The film, which reboots intrigue in the series, comes as interest in eschatology reaches a fever pitch.

The actor pointed to current events when asked why he believes end times themes pique so much interest, highlighting growing “hate and divisiveness” and other cultural chaos.

“When you read the Bible … it sort of predicted all these things that are happening down the road right now,” he said, noting no one knows the day or hour. “But, the reality is, I think this is perfect timing for this movie with what we see going on, not only in America but around the world.”

Watch Sorbo’s appearance on “Faith vs. Culture”:

Sorbo said people he encounters while speaking around the nation are deeply excited for the new “Left Behind,” and he’s hoping fans flock to the theater to watch when it hits Jan. 26 as a Fathom Event.

“We need people out there [to] fill up these seats,” he said.

Sorbo explained the new movie focuses on life six months after the rapture, with those left behind desperately trying to figure out what happened — and how to move forward.

Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ Sequel is Coming

Actor, director, producer Mel Gibson will begin production on the sequel of his mega-hit film, The Passion of the Christ, this spring, according to a new report.

Veteran film journalist Jordan Ruimy shared Wednesday that Gibson will begin filming The Passion of the Christ: Resurrection in the next few months.

“Gibson has been hard at work on the screenplay with Braveheart screenwriter Randall Wallace. There have already been six drafts. ‘Resurrection’ would focus on the twenty-four hours encompassing Jesus’ passion and the events that occurred three days between his crucifixion and resurrection,” Ruimy explained. 

Actor, director, producer Mel Gibson will begin production on the sequel of his mega-hit film, The Passion of the Christ, this spring, according to a new report.

Veteran film journalist Jordan Ruimy shared Wednesday that Gibson will begin filming The Passion of the Christ: Resurrection in the next few months.

“Gibson has been hard at work on the screenplay with Braveheart screenwriter Randall Wallace. There have already been six drafts. ‘Resurrection’ would focus on the twenty-four hours encompassing Jesus’ passion and the events that occurred three days between his crucifixion and resurrection,” Ruimy explained. 

The highly-anticipated sequel has been in the development stages for the last 10 years. In 2016, Gibson told Greg Laurie at a Harvest Crusade that he wanted to take his time in developing the story.

“It’s called The Resurrection. Of course, that’s a very big subject and it needs to be looked at because we don’t want to just do a simple rendering of it — you know, read what happened,” Gibson explained.

“But in order to read it, experience and explore probably deeper meanings of what it’s about, it’s going to take some doing and Randall Wallace is up to the task,” Gibson continued. “He is also, as well as a brilliant writer, he is a great director. He directed We Were Soldiers and Heaven is for Real and stuff. So, he is a good writer and director.”

Wallace told The Hollywood Reporter during that time that he has always wanted to tell this story.

“The evangelical community considers ‘The Passion’ the biggest movie ever out of Hollywood, and they kept telling us that they think a sequel will be even bigger,” he said. 

“I always wanted to tell this story,” Wallace added. “‘The Passion’ is the beginning, and there’s a lot more story to tell.”

The original film made $612 Million on a $30 million budget making it the highest-grossing R-rated film in North America and one of the most successful independent films of all time. 

Hero Pastors Reveal Miracles on his Quest to Save Lives During Storm

“I don’t even know how I did it other than the grace of God.”

That’s how Pastor Al Robinson described his recent rescue of a woman stranded in deadly snowstorms in Buffalo, New York.

Al and Vivian Robinson, a husband and wife who lead Spirit of Truth Urban Ministry in Buffalo, told CBN’s Faithwire about their now-viral story of love and compassion for those around them as they stepped up to the plate to feed, house, and protect the vulnerable.

But it’s the woman’s rescue story that truly stands out.

In addition to feeding and housing people, the Robinsons sent heroes to recover vulnerable individuals who could have frozen in dire conditions. While a friend used a snowmobile to bring people to the house of worship, Al personally rescued at least one individual.

That young woman, about two blocks away, called the pastor as 79-mile-per-hour winds raged and snow swirled all around.

“She called me and she said, ‘Pastor, please don’t let me die. Please don’t let me die. Don’t let me die here. Don’t let me die like this,’” Al recounted. “And I looked at Vivian. I said, ‘We have no choice.’ I suited up, I walked down the street to get her, and somehow I carried that woman through all that snow.”

Watch him tell the incredible story:

Al said these actions were especially miraculous, considering a 2015 accident left him with major back issues. Somehow, though, he was able to persist and save the day — and he’s attributing it all to God.

The couple also told Faithwire how and why they decided to open their church doors, noting how their house of worship amazingly never lost power despite most of the community around it suffering outages.

“My wife and I, we were just having a regular day, and we get reports on our Facebook group that people are losing power,” Al said. “And I look at my wife, and I say to her, ‘I wonder why we’re not losing power?’”

Within just a few hours, he said he fully understood why God spared his church property: so that he and Vivian could open the church’s doors to the public.

“That’s how God works,” he said.

Vivian said the couple had planned to welcome their nine children home for the holidays before the storm, but the food they bought ended up feeding well over 100 people who sought refuge inside their church.

“When I told my husband, ‘We have to open up our church doors,’ we never imagined that it was going to just open up so big for the lives of all these people,” she said.

The couple lost count of how many people came through the doors, around 127 or 128, and said they had the most people inside the church on Christmas day.

“I’m a fervent believer that all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called,” Al said. “We ran for like four days straight.”

The preachers’ kind acts have been making national headlines in recent days — and with good reason. Their selflessness, kindness, and love went above and beyond the call of duty.