‘Prophet’ Among 3 Pastors Charged for Sex With Minors; Teen Allegedly Aborted Pregnancy

Pastor Kenneth Butler of Kingdom Encounter Family Worship Center in Toledo, Ohio, was arrested last week and slapped with federal sex trafficking charges, joining two other well-known area pastors behind bars.

Authorities say Butler’s case is related to the cases of the Rev. Cordell Jenkins, 46, and the Rev. Anthony Haynes, 38. Jenkins founded and was pastor of Abundant Life Ministries while Haynes led the Greater Life Christian Center, according to the Toledo Blade. They were arrested on April 7 by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents for sex trafficking of children. The pastors are said to have knowingly recruited, enticed, harbored, transported, provided or obtained a person under the age of 18, WTOL said.

Haynes is alleged to have been sexually exploiting juveniles for the last three years dating back to when one of the juveniles involved was 14 years old.

Butler’s accuser states in a redacted affidavit that she met him when she was 15 years old at Haynes’ church. Shortly after meeting the minor, according to the document, Butler told her he wanted to have sex with her.

“Specifically, while in the parking lot of Hayne’s church, Butler told her he wanted to have sex with her in the front seat of his car and that he would make her [redacted].” The sexual conversation was interrupted, however, by a church member who approached the car.

When the minor turned 16, however, “she had sex with Butler in his vehicle in the City of Toledo. Approximately one month later, she felt pregnant and took several Plan B pills she believed terminated the pregnancy.Another time, the minor described having sex with Butler, 37, inside his vehicle in an alley off the Anthony Wayne Trail. “Immediately following the sex, Butler placed money on the center console for her. [She] took the money and later purchased food for her and her siblings. [She] stated while she had sex with him again, he did not pay her on that occasion,” the affidavit said.

Butler, who calls himself a prophet on his Facebook page, claimed in the affidavit after confessing to sex with the minor that the money he gave her was not for sex.

Celia Williamson, director of the Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute, told WTOL that Butler groomed and exploited his victim.

“In my eyes he was learning her vulnerabilities, her love of God, and her faith, and he used that, twisted that perhaps, to lure her into what he wanted. It had nothing to do with God, Jesus or anything good,” Williamson said.

In a video apology prior to being arrested, Butler did not specifically mention the charges against him.

“Before things blow up … I wanted to … just apologize. I don’t believe I’ve done it on purpose. I try not to do anything on purpose but … if I Kenneth Butler … have done anything in any way to offend you to make you feel bad to make you see God or me different … I wanted to get on here and make a public apology,” he said.

“It’s never my intention to hurt or displease God. Let alone you the people. My heart’s desire is only that we please God and do the work that he has assigned us to do. I know sometimes because of who we are and who we are connected to our assignments can get twisted up and things happen. So in this season I said be very careful. Be very careful of your connections,” he said.

Butler was held due to a recording by Haynes’ wife.

cordell-jenkins-anthony-haynes

KKK Flyers Threaten To Assault Black Men Caught Looking At White Women

“notice to all Ni**ers: Any of you black apes caught ‘making eyes’ at a white girl will be beaten with bats and your mothers won’t get anymo’ bananas-That’s a promise.”

The Jacksonville (Florida) Sheriff’s Office is investigating a racially charged flyer with a message from the Ku Klux Klan that threatens to assault Black men caught “make eyes” at White women, WTLV-TVreports.

A sheriff’s department spokesman told the news outlet that investigators are trying to determine whether the message crosses the line between free speech and a criminal threat.kkk

 

According to the NBC News affiliate, it’s not unusual for residents of certain Jacksonville neighborhoods to discover flyers from the Klan on their doorstep. But the message in this latest batch was unusually offensive.

The flyer gave

“notice to all Ni**ers: Any of you black apes caught ‘making eyes’ at a white girl will be beaten with bats and your mothers won’t get anymo’ bananas-That’s a promise.”

John Rando, whose race was not identified, told the news outlet that his wife discovered the flyer outside their house and came back in shocked and crying.

“I hope that the world can just get along and peacefully work together in unity for America’s sake,” he stated.

According to WTLV-TV, the flyer also attacked Jews, saying that a “good Jew” is one with a bullet through the head.

SOURCE:  WTLV-TV

Christianity Is Not the Only Way to Heaven Presbyterian Pastor Says

God is not a Christian-I am

Leader of the second largest congregation in the Presbyterian Church (USA), Rev. Shannon Johnson Kershner has declared that Christianity is not the only way to heaven.

Kershner, 45, who leads the 5,500-member Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago, Illinois, expressed her belief in a podcast with the Chicago Sun-Times after she was asked the question “Is Christianity the only way to heaven?” ShannonKershner220 

“No,” Kershner replied bluntly.

“God’s not a Christian. I mean, we are … For me, the Christian tradition is the way to understand God and my relationship with the world and other humans and it’s for the way for me to move into that relationship but I’m not about to say what God can and cannot do in other ways and with other spiritual experiences,”

she explained.

The Christian Post reached out to Kershner’s office for further comment Friday but she did not respond by press time.

The Presbyterian Church (USA) preaches “the sovereignty of God, the authority of the scripture, justification by grace through faith and the priesthood of all believers.”

“Our knowledge of God and God’s purpose for humanity comes from the Bible, particularly what is revealed in the New Testament through the life of Jesus Christ,” the church declares. 

According to the Presbyterian Panel Survey, 2012-2014, 45 percent of PCUSA pastors strongly disagree or disagree that “only followers of Jesus Christ can be saved.”

Author Robert Velarde, who is a former editor for Focus on the Family, argues that anyone who accepts the Bible as true would also accept that Jesus, who is the head of the Christian church, is the only way to heaven. 

“In the Bible, Jesus said, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father [God] except through me’ (John 14:6, NIV). In Acts 4:12, the Apostle Peter said of Jesus, ‘Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved,” he wrote in “Is Christ the Only Way?” for Focus on the Family.

“The question is not whether or not this is a ‘narrow-minded’ position, but whether or not the claims are true. Jesus spoke of a personal creator God who calls everyone to repentance, offering redemption to those who will receive Him. This is not an intolerant or mean-spirited position to hold. If it’s true, then sharing this message is the most natural and loving thing to do,” he added.

Before sharing her position of salvation, Kershner, who started at Fourth Presbyterian church in 2014, said she regularly doubted the existence of God at times.

For instance, in the aftermath of the deadly Las Vegas massacre, she said, “God has some explaining to do.”

“Doubt is healthy, doubt is not the opposite of faith, it’s fear,” she said.

When asked if she believed there is a Heaven, Kershner said “I believe so.”

“… I believe there is a sense that death is not the last word. I do believe there is a sense of homecoming in God, a relationship. I don’t know what that looks like. I’m trying not to think of it temporally or spatially,” she added. “I do believe that life continues in God in a way I can’t explain or understand.”

She picked Isaiah 25 and the poetry of Revelation 22 as among her favorite scriptures.

When asked what she thought about hell, she said she doesn’t think the God she knows from the Bible will be sending anyone there.

[written by  Leonardo Blair ]

Mass Trials of Over 6,600 Boko Haram Suspects Accused of Slaughtering Christians and Children Begin

The United Nations Children’s Fund reported on some of Boko Haram’s most disturbing practices in August, when it warned that there has been an alarming rise in the number of children being used as “human bombs” in attacks.

(PHOTO: EMMANUEL BRAUN/REUTERS)Nigerian soldiers hold up a Boko Haram flag that they had seized in the retaken town of Damasak, Nigeria, March 18, 2015.

The mass trials of over 6,600 suspects believed to be members of Islamic radical group Boko Haram have begun in Nigeria, and are being carried out in secret by civilian court judges at a military facility in Kainji town.

As BBC News reported, close to 20,000 people have been slaughtered in Boko Haram’s insurgency in the country, which began in 2009.

The terror group has slaughtered Christians, Muslims, children, and many other civilians in their war against the government, with a driven mission to eradicate Christianity from the country.

Up to 1,670 people suspected of being part of the terror group are being tried in the coming weeks, with another 5,000 people awaiting trial after that.

The Nigerian army said that the terrorists have lost significant ground in the country over the past year, with kidnapping victims, such as the Chibok Christian girls who were taken in April 2014, finally being rescued.

Some human rights advocates have warned that the secrecy of the trials could undermine efforts for justice, however.  

“Does the judiciary have the capacity to give so many people charged with very serious offences a fair trial? Have the authorities really captured a quarter of their combat strength? Are they taking into account the fact that a lot of those who committed violence for Boko Haram did so under duress? All these are red flags and very concerning in terms of the broader strategy,” said Ryan Cummings, a South Africa-based expert, according to The Guardian.

Only 13 Boko Haram suspects to date have been put on trial, official figures have said, with nine convicted of aiding the Islamic radicals.

Christian groups have long called for Boko Haram members to be brought to justice.

Laolu Akande, then the executive director of the Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans, told The Christian Post following the 2014 Chibok girls kidnapping:

Boko Haram has been kidnapping little girls who are Christians, trying to turn them into sex slaves, trying to convert them by force. Their strategy is to marry the girls and kill the men. So what they have done by kidnapping these female students, it is another demonstration of the impunity with which Boko Haram has been running its terrorist activities.

“We are just totally, completely appalled that the Nigerian federal government continues to show itself totally incompetent to bring these people to justice and to halt these very pernicious, despicable activities.”

The United Nations Children’s Fund reported on some of Boko Haram’s most disturbing practices in August, when it warned that there has been an alarming rise in the number of children being used as “human bombs” in attacks.

“Children have been used repeatedly in this way over the last few years and so far this year, the number of children used is already four times higher than it was for all of last year,”

UNICEF said in a statement.

“Since Jan. 1, 83 children have been used as ‘human bombs’; 55 were girls, most often younger than 15 years old; 27 were boys, and one was a baby strapped to a girl,” it added.

“The use of children in this way is an atrocity.”

[written by Stoyan Zaimov]

WHERE WAS GOD IN THE LAS VEGAS SHOOTING? ‘HEAVEN IS FOR REAL’ AUTHOR TODD BURPO RESPONDS (EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW)

“We don’t let teachers pray anymore, we’ve stopped going to church and praying with our families at home. But what we do have is video games that promote violence that have replaced Bible time. Instead of listening to sermons, people turn on the news, where we see violence and terrorism. Gradually, then, our whole society has adjusted to this darkness…” -Todd Burpo

 In an exclusive interview with The Gospel Herald, “Heaven is for Real” author Todd Burpo answers some serious questions about God’s presence amid tragedy. (Photo: Reuters/via Gospel Herald)

From Hurricanes Harvey and Irma to the devastating Las Vegas massacre, it seems like no more than a week goes by before some kind of tragedy rocks the United States.

For many of us who follow Christ, these tumultuous times raise serious questions: “Why does God allow tragedy?” and “Is God trying to tell us something?”

Rev. Todd Burpo, author of the New York Times bestseller “Heaven is for Real,” addresses such questions in his latest book, “God is for Real: And He Longs to Answer Your Most Difficult Questions.”

“With the shooting that happened in Vegas, the world is stunned by it, they’re fixated on it,” he told The Gospel Herald in an exclusive interview. “One of the things that we can’t deny is that there’s evil in this world. Some people’s hearts are just full of evil, and can we do something about that? We, as a country, need to be honest about our adjustment to darkness and how we need the light of Jesus Christ.”

Burpo explained that in this country, prayer has all but been eliminated—both publicly and privately.

“We don’t let teachers pray anymore, we’ve stopped going to church and praying with our families at home,” he said. “But what we do have is video games that promote violence that have replaced Bible time. Instead of listening to sermons, people turn on the news, where we see violence and terrorism. Gradually, then, our whole society has adjusted to this darkness.”

Stephen Paddock, the Las Vegas shooter who killed 59 and injured hundreds at the Route 91 Festival, succumbed to this darkness, Burpo said.  

“People are trying to figure out what went on in his mind, but I would say that something terrible in his life happened where he blamed God for it,” the pastor said. “That might have been a tipping point for him, but gradually, God didn’t matter to him anymore. When you take light [out] of your life and all you have is darkness left, people [become] capable of committing these atrocities.” 

It’s important to remember that God is present in even the most devastating of tragedies, Burpo said.

“What I’ve found in those hard places, in those hard times, is that people want to pray,” he said. “I think in church, as pastor, we have neat and tidy services, and you ask people to pray, and people say they don’t feel comfortable. But when you’re out there next to the scene of an accident, everyone’s ready to pray. God is present to help in those times and in those places.”

Burpo pointed to Mark 4:35-41, where Jesus calms the storm.

“The disciples—these seasoned fisherman—are in the boat with Jesus during this terrible storm, and He’s sleeping,” he recounted. “The disciples, who are terrified of drowning, ask, ‘Why are you resting? Don’t you care?’ I think we’ve all asked these questions in scary times.”

In response, Jesus asked the disciples, “Where is your faith?”

[written byLeah Marieann Klett ]