Here are the top stories you need to know about today.
According to Charisma News, “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” author Joshua Harris announced recently that he is not a Christian according to traditional definitions of Christianity. His announcement comes days after announcing he and his wife are separating. “The information that was left out of our announcement is that I have undergone a massive shift in regard to my faith in Jesus,” Harris writes on Instagram. “The popular phrase for this is ‘deconstruction,’ the biblical phrase is ‘falling away.’ By all the measurements that I have for defining a Christian, I am not a Christian. Many people tell me that there is a different way to practice faith and I want to remain open to this, but I’m not there now.” Several days ago, Harris and his wife, Shannon Bonne, announced they were separating after 19 years of marriage. In his latest post about his faith, Harris also says he has learned that “no group has the market cornered on grace.” He describes the grace and kind words he has received after his divorce announcement, coming from Christians, atheists, evangelicals, “exvangelicals” (those who have abandoned their evangelical upbringing), heterosexual people and LGBTQ people. “Of course there have also been strong words of rebuke from religious people,” Harris says. “While not always pleasant, I know they are seeking to love me. (There have also been spiteful, hateful comments that have angered and hurt me.) ” Harris says he regrets and even repents for his former “self-righteous, … fear-based approach to life, the teaching of my books, my views of women in the church, and my approach to parenting to name a few. ” Now, Harris adds one more prominent regret: His beliefs on LGBT issues.’
According to the Christian Post, Just days after turning 22 and wedding his Bible college sweetheart, Dalton Cottrell, an Iowa pastor-in-training, drowned tragically while on his honeymoon in Florida on Tuesday. The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office told the Florida Times-Union that Cottrell, who was a Pastoral Training major at Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary in Ankeny, Iowa, was pulled out of the surf at Crescent Beach, south of Jacksonville, about 1 p.m. by a lifeguard and a beachgoer. The beachgoer reported hearing someone yelling in the surf and then grabbing his paddleboard to head into the water. He, along with a St. Johns County lifeguard, placed Cottrell onto the paddleboard and returned to the beach. They tried to revive the pastor-in-training using CPR, but it wasn’t enough to keep him alive. His wife, Cheyenne Pernice-Hedrick, who is also 22, told deputies that it was her husband’s first time in the ocean. They were both in the water when the current pulled them out deeper and he “started to freak out.” Cheyenne said she tried to help her husband who she wed on Saturday, but he was struggling and pulled her underwater. In a Facebook post on Wednesday she shared how her short-lived “bliss” turned into a “nightmare.”
According to Christian Headlines, According to a new law passed in Kentucky, prominent banners displaying “In God We Trust” will be hung in schools across the state, according to Local 12 News. “Local boards shall require each public elementary and secondary school to display the national motto of the United States, ‘In God We Trust,’ in a prominent location in the school,” the law, which passed in February, reads. Kentucky is one of several states, including Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Florida, Alabama, Arizona, and South Dakota, who now require the words displayed, according to Forbes Magazine. The spike in legislation regarding the phrase likely came from a document called, “Report and Analysis on Religious Freedom Measures Impacting Prayer and Faith in America.” The report, put together by pro-religious groups, encourages lawmakers that “states can and must play a crucial role in protecting religious freedom.”
According to Reuters, Two more victims of a shooting rampage at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, died of their wounds on Monday, police said, raising the death toll to 22 in the massacre as U.S. President Donald Trump planned a visit to the stricken community.
The latest fatalities bring to 31 the number of people killed during the weekend in mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, that have touched off a new furor over gun violence in the United States.
Patrick Crusius, 21, has been charged with a single count of capital murder in the El Paso case, court documents show, in what is likely a legal place holder to keep him in custody while the investigation is under way.
Authorities have cited a lengthy anti-immigrant manifesto, apparently posted online by the suspect before the Saturday morning shooting in the heavily Hispanic border city, which they said was evidence the bloodshed was racially motivated.
Eight of those killed in the attack were Mexican citizens, according to the Mexican government.
According to Associated Press, A popular surfing beach was closed Saturday after a cliff collapsed, sending tons of sandstone onto beachgoers and killing three people. A 30-foot-long slab of the cliff plunged onto the sand near Grandview Beach north of San Diego. A KNSD-TV helicopter captured footage of beach chairs, towels, surf boards and beach toys strewn about the sand. Other beachgoers and lifeguards at a nearby tower scrambled to the towering pile of debris, which was estimated to weigh tens of thousands of pounds, to help dig out victims. “I saw first responders, and I saw lifeguards frantically digging people out of the debris,” Jim Pepperdine, who lives nearby, told the San Diego Union-Tribune. Pepperdine said he saw people trying to resuscitate a woman before her body was covered. A woman died at the scene, and two more people later died at hospitals. Another person was taken to a hospital, and a person who had minor injuries was treated at the scene, according to statements from the city. Their names and ages were not immediately released. All the victims were adults, authorities said.
According to NBC News, A six-year-old boy, a 13-year-old girl and a man in his 20s were killed during a shooting rampage at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Northern California on Sunday, according to authorities. The youngest victim, Stephen Romero, had just celebrated his sixth birthday last month at Legoland in California, his father, Alberto Romero, told NBC Bay Area on Sunday evening. “My son had his whole life to live and he was only six. That’s all I can say,” Romero said. The shooting happened at about 5:40 p.m. local time Sunday at the bustling food festival, one of the largest in the country. In total, three people were killed and 15 injured. Authorities on Monday released the ages of the other two victims, but said they were withholding their names pending notification of their relatives. They said they did not yet know the motive of the shooting. In a press conference, Gilroy police chief Scot Smithee held back tears describing how the shooting “could have gone so much worse, so fast” had it not been for police officers, who were stationed throughout the festival, quickly moving to fatally shoot the suspect when he opened fire. Still, Smithee said later, choking up again, “any time a life is lost, it’s a tragedy, but when it’s young people, it’s even worse.” “It’s very difficult,” Smithee said, adding that it appeared the shots were fired randomly.
According to Billboard, NF scores his second No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart as the rapper’s latest studio effort, The Search, enters atop the tally. The set, which was released on July 26 via NF Real Music/Caroline, starts with 130,000 equivalent album units earned in the U.S. in the week ending Aug. 1 according to Nielsen Music — the fourth-largest week for a rap album released in 2019. Of that sum, 84,000 were in album sales, which made it the biggest sales week for a rap set this year. The Search’s first-week more than doubles the debut frame of NF’s last album, Perception, which opened at No. 1 with 55,000 units earned (of which 38,000 were in album sales) on the chart dated Oct. 28, 2017. The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption as measured in equivalent album units. Units are comprised of traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA).
According to Christian Headlines, Actor and TV host Mario Lopez apologized Wednesday after a firestorm erupted online over his remarks about letting small children choose their gender surfaced this week. Lopez made the comments during an interview on “The Candace Owens Show.” The conservative commentator asked Lopez about “This new trend where celebrities are coming out… and saying that their child is picking their gender,” referencing actress Charlize Theron as a recent example. Theron told The Daily Mail that her 7-year old does not identify as a boy. Theron said, “I thought she was a boy, too. Until she looked at me when she was 3 years old and said, ‘I am not a boy!’” Lopez, who was recently named as the new host of Access Hollywood, responded, “I’m kind of blown away too. I’m never one to tell anyone how to parent their kids, obviously, and I think if you come from a place of love, you really can’t go wrong. But at the same time, if you’re 3-years-old and you’re saying that you feel a certain way or you think you’re a boy or a girl or whatever the case may be, I just think it’s dangerous as a parent to make this determination.” Then he added, “It’s sort of alarming. I just think about the repercussions later on. When you’re a kid you don’t know anything about sexuality yet. You’re just a kid,” Yahoo News reports.
According to the Christian Post, Iconic Christian musician Michael W. Smith has been cast as a lead actor in Ben Graham’s upcoming Christian film “Pardoned By Grace” alongside popular ‘90s heartthrob Joey Lawrence. “Pardoned By Grace” tells the true story of the transformation of a man named Scott Highberger who went from being a notorious criminal to becoming a pastor. The feature film reveals how Highberger, a “former prisoner … received an unlikely pardon so that he could go back into prisons and continue his prison ministry,” the film’s gofundme page says. Lawrence, who is best known for his role as Joey in the ‘90s hit series “Blossom,” will play Highberger in the upcoming Christian film. Highberger spent nearly 22 years of his life in and out of trouble before he surrendered to God and turned his life around. Smith, a Grammy Award-winning singer, was cast as the role of Dave Gargano. Gargano, a pastor at Road to Life Church in Michigan City and Chesterton, was a positive influence in Highberger’s life and was the minister who gave the troubled man an opportunity to turn his life around after his last release from prison by giving him a job at the church where he would later be ordained as a pastor.
According to Daily Mail, A woman screamed ‘he’s my son’ as a child fell from a tenth floor balcony at the Tate Modern this afternoon after the child was allegedly pushed by a teenager. Police have arrested a 17-year-old boy on suspicion of attempted murder and the child is fighting for his life in hospital. The art gallery was put into lockdown, with no-one allowed in or out, after the boy fell from the exterior viewing platform on the tenth floor of the Blavatnik Building and was found on a fifth floor roof. The gallery on the south bank of the Thames closed all points of entry and exit today at around 3pm following the incident. Police and ambulance crews raced to the scene where a boy was rushed to hospital following the arrival of an air ambulance. An eye-witness, who had been on the fifth floor in the member’s lounge, told The Mirror: ‘I heard the impact and then screaming from above as a woman screamed “He’s my son! He’s my son!”.
According to Sports Illustrated, 22-year-old cyclist Bjorg Lambrecht from Belgium has died following a crash during the Tour de Pologne. Lambrecht’s team Lotto Soudal announced the news on Twitter, “The biggest tragedy possible that could happen to the family, friends and teammates of Bjorg has happened… Rest in peace Bjorg…” Lambrecht crashed during the third stage of the three-week-long race. He was transported by helicopter to the hospital before he died on Monday. This was Lambrecht’s second season with the World Tour and was considered one of Belgium’s most promising young cyclists.
According to Christian Headlines, New Pro Football Hall of Fame member Kevin Mawae thanked his family and his former teammates and coaches during his induction speech Saturday, but much of his time at the podium involved thanking Christ and discussing his faith. “I am a born-again believer through the resurrection and the Blood of Jesus Christ, and I proudly and humbly recognize that without God’s grace and His blessings, I would not be here tonight,” Mawae told a national television audience and a large crowd in Canton, Ohio. The 6-foot-4 Mawae played 16 seasons as an offensive lineman in the NFL, first with the Seattle Seahawks and then with the New York Jets and Tennessee Titans before his retirement in 2009. He was drafted out of Louisiana State University (LSU) and was a military brat as a child, moving often. His spiritual turning point, he said during his speech, came after his brother, John, was killed in an alcohol-related car accident on May 5, 1996. Shortly thereafter, Mawae learned his wife was pregnant with their first child. “Those two moments changed my life, and the direction and purpose of my life, forever,” Mawae said. “In that extreme sorrow followed by great joy, my focus turned to faith as I learned of the redemptive power of Jesus Christ and the purposeful living in His Name. Whether it be through encouragement, wisdom or resources, I learned that God can use one person to change the lives of hundreds and even thousands.”