Andre Tartar 04-02-2013
RNS photo by Andre Tartar

Apostle Valdemiro Santiago, founder of the Worldwide Church of God’s Power. RNS photo by Andre Tartar

NEW YORK — The apostle bellowed in Portuguese to a packed crowd in a rented Astoria, Queens, church.

“Get out, spirit of death. Now you are burnt, now you are plucked out by my God!”

A blood-curdling shriek rose from one of the front pews, but Apostle Valdemiro Santiago, founder of the Worldwide Church of God’s Power, didn’t flinch.

“Don’t be afraid, church, by these screams,” Santiago reassured the crowd. “They are the evil spirits being defeated.”

Fourteen years after he started out in the countryside outside Sao Paulo, Santiago sits at the helm of a booming Pentecostal church in Brazil, the world’s fastest-growing evangelical country. He now leads 4,000 churches, including 10 in the United States, where fiery worship and exorcisms form part of the appeal.

By Billy Graham (www.billygraham.org) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Billy Graham (www.billygraham.org) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Evangelist Billy Graham, 93, was admitted to a North Carolina hospital after he developed a fever on Saturday and is now being treated for bronchitis, said his longtime spokesman, A. Larry Ross.

“Mr. Graham continues to do well and the infection is responding well to treatment,” said Dr. David Pucci, the pulmonologist who is treating Graham at Mission Hospital in Asheville, N.C., on Monday. Graham is in stable condition.

Graham spent Sunday watching the Olympics and the broadcast of the worship services at First Baptist Spartanburg, where the guest preacher this week was his grandson, third-generation evangelist William Graham IV, Ross said.

Michael Hidalgo 02-22-2012

Graham's thinking is dangerous. What he has failed to realize is that he, like many, is guilty of having a biased, preconceived "kind" of Christian and “brand” of Christianity. Often, these preconceptions fall along partisan lines. This was seen clearly in his willingness to affirm the Christian faith of candidates that share his political viewpoint (Gingrich, Santorum), but open the door for speculation on those (Obama, Romney) who do not. We can never forget that Jesus never demanded a “one size fits all” kind of faith. We must always allow room for disagreement and live with the tension of multiple opinions.

Cathleen Falsani 11-10-2011
The author's basket of eggs and Mr. Allen.

The author's basket of eggs and Mr. Allen.

Both Colson and Land are such diehard fans that they can -- and did, during conversations with Boorstein -- quote lines from Allen's movies.

Can you imagine Land, with his low Texas drawl, reciting Allen's famous monologue from Annie Hall?:

"The other important joke for me is one that's usually attributed to Groucho Marx but I think it appears originally in Freud's Wit and Its Relation to the Unconscious - and it goes like this. I'm paraphrasing. I would never want to belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member. That's the key joke of my adult life, in terms of my relationships with women."

Yeah, me neither.

Jim Wallis 11-07-2011

Billy Graham has always been a life-long learner, passionate about preaching the gospel but always ready to understand more about what that gospel means in the world. It was never surprising to me that this southern born and raised American evangelist decided early on to insist on preaching only to racially integrated coliseums and crusades, when many others just went along with their culture. Later, as a result of falling in love with the new congregations we was preaching too in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, had a "change of heart" on the nuclear arms race-which we featured in a cover interview with the evangelist in Sojourners magazine. Billy Graham has also been willing to admit his mistakes and grew from them, which is something all of us as "leaders" need to constantly learn from. And while a conservative evangelical all his life, Graham was never drawn to the hard edged and politicized fundamentalism of the "Religious Right" but instead often winced at them.

Rose Marie Berger 08-24-2011

I want to beat televangelist Pat Robertson to the jump on yesterday's East Coast earthquake.

Robertson is genius at knowing the mind of God when it comes to natural disasters. He blamed the Haiti earthquake on a God-offending "pact with the devil." Hurricane Katrina was God's pay-back for abortion in America.

Having spent some time with the Lord recently, I feel there is a message for President Obama: It is God's wrath that shook the White House yesterday. This was a 5.8 wake-up call.

Why is God all wrought up this time? What is it that God wants President Obama to do? Well, my friends, the issue is climate change. Global warming. Specifically, the Keystone XL "Dirty Oil" pipeline.

Lisa Sharon Harper 07-22-2011

Shakespeare said a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Maybe, but a Stink Rose by any other name (say... garlic?) might get more play.

On July 19, Campus Crusade for Christ announced its plan to officially change its name to Cru in early 2012.

Brown v. Board of Education had not yet been fought in the Supreme Court when Bill and Vonetta Bright christened their evangelical campus-based ministry Campus Crusade for Christ in 1951. The evangelical church context was overwhelmingly white, middle class, and suburban. The nation and the church had not yet been pressed to look its racist past and present in the face. The world had not yet been rocked by the international fall of colonialism, the rise of the Civil Rights movement, the disillusionment of the Vietnam War, the burnt bras of the women's liberation movement, the fall of the Berlin Wall, or the rise of the Black middle class (more African Americans now live in the suburbs than in inner cities). In short, theirs was not the world we live in today. So, the name Campus Crusade for Christ smelled sweet. Over the past 20 years, though, it has become a Stink Rose ... warding off many who might otherwise have come near.

Mimi Haddad 05-02-2011
Do you find yourself reluctant to attend women's retreats, Bible studies, or conferences because too often they focus on fashion, dieting, women's emotions, and new forms of abdominal exercises?
Becky Garrison 03-02-2011
In contemplating next weekend's National Day of Unplugging, I'm reminded of the Facebook Fast I embarked on back in 2008.
Brian McLaren 01-03-2011

I recently received a note from a pastor and missionary we'll call Pete.

Jarrod McKenna 12-21-2010
Many of us are asking how we can "un-co-opt Christmas" from consumer culture. Asking questions like:
Burns Strider 12-16-2010
While American troops will be working through the Christmas holidays, putting their lives on the line for our safety, and while millions of Christians prepare to celebrate the birth of the Prince o
Jarrod McKenna 10-06-2010
I'm impressed by several things. One being people who love well and whose presence disarms in such a way that others can be received as they are.
Jim Wallis 09-30-2010
Glenn Beck can do better. Fox News can do better. When it comes to upholding truth and having civil dialogues, let's be honest, we all can do better.
Aaron Taylor 08-10-2010
Lately, I've been hearing a lot about the "Insider Movement" which is what missionary experts refer to as Muslims who love and follow Jesus while rem
David Griffiths 06-22-2010
Mention the word "missionary" to an assortment of people around the world, and you are sure to see quite a range of reactions.
Jarrod McKenna 05-21-2010
British Evangelist Steve Chalke upset a lot of evangelicals of a reformed bent with two little paragraphs in (his book that has so much worth reading in it beyond what has got all the attention)
Tony Campolo 05-19-2010

I recently returned from a speaking engagement at the Bethlehem Bible College; and what I witnessed firsthand sent chills up my back. Listening to the horror stories told to me by oppressed Palestinians elicited feelings ranging from indignation to compassion.

Becky Garrison 05-17-2010

I had the recent pleasure of seeing Max McLean's deliciously wicked portrayal of Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters currently playing at the Westside Theater in New York City. By employing some sound and lighting effects, this production gave a contemporary spin on C.S. Lewis' classic tale of a quest to slowly guide a man into hell.

Jim Wallis 04-29-2010
We are all familiar with the famous pop culture image of a street evangelist holding up a sign reading, "Repent, for the end is near!" But repentance is actually a fundamental religious theme, and