Creation Fest Founder Harry Thomas's Arrest For Child Molestation Shows The Christian Church Is Allowing Leaders To Sin

Creation Fest Founder Harry Thomas's Arrest For Child Molestation Shows The Christian Church Is Allowing Leaders To Sin

As we enter 2018, I pray that the American Churches strive to grow closer to God and allow the holy spirit to take over services and ministries.

On December 9, 2017, " Christianity Today" reported, Harry L Thomas has been “indefinitely suspended” from the ministry and his church following his arrest on charges of child molestation. The child molestation charges brought against Thomas were connected to accusations that he was sexually assaulting four children between 1999 and 2015.

Thomas was charged with one count of aggravated sexual assault, three counts of sexual assault and four counts of endangering the welfare of children, according to the Burlington County, New Jersey Prosecutor's office.

According to "Relevant Magazine," Thomas' former ministry released a statement saying, "It is with deep regret and saddened hearts that the Elders and Trustees of Come Alive New Testament Church have decided to indefinitely suspend Pastor Harry Thomas from all leadership positions with the church, festival, and all associated ministries.

This was determined, by leadership, to be the proper course of action at this time until there can be a full investigation. It is requested that all pray for the parties involved and refrain from speculation regarding the circumstances."

With the above news story in mind, there are not enough Christian Churches holding leadership accountable.

In the Bible, we are taught to live like Christ (1 John 2:6). We are not living like Christ when we are doing the things that we want to do and still wallowing in sin.

We must trust and believe that if you are a true believer in Christ, you are free from sin (Romans 6:18). A lot of leaders in the church may be in the leadership positions for the wrong reasons, but that is just in my opinion.

The American Church does not realize how lucky they have it when we are free to spread the gospel and minister to whoever wants to listen, compared to other parts of the country where worshiping God must be secretive, and if you are caught worshiping God, you are either thrown into jail or killed.

I believe that when you are really called to serve God, you are going to strive to please him in any way you can (Eph. 5:8-11), especially in a leadership role. As a leader of a church, you are guiding poor, lost souls to Christ, and you are called to live according to what you preach, as you will be judged more harshly (James 3:1).

Therefore, we must be careful not to rush into leadership in the church or pray to be cleansed before delivering sermons or ministering.

I am not saying that Thomas did not pray for cleansing before taking on a nationwide ministry of music, and it is not my place to judge, and the devil does have a way of attacking you, I am just using his story as an example of how much the church tends to sweep things under the rug.

The article mentioned that the charges were unrelated to the ministry, so in some cases had “nothing” to do with his teaching, but you cannot have one foot in the church and one foot out, as I mentioned earlier that you should strive to please God in all that you do.

As Christians, we have to listen to the holy spirit when making leadership positions, and the holy spirit will reveal all truth to those who listen and trust it (John 14:26).

As we enter 2018, I pray that the American Churches strive to grow closer to God and allow the holy spirit to take over services and ministries. With the Godly order, we will have more churches sold out for Christ and more people desiring to know him.

Cover Image Credit: Public Domain Image

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What It’s Like Being A Christian At A Liberal University

The constant struggle of trying to dissolve the clichés and long-held assumptions towards religion.

Upon attending a liberal university, I started to understand the mindset many people have towards religion. Simply because I hold religious beliefs, I am often considered illogical, overly-optimistic and ignorant.

I’ve sat through biology lectures that teach students that some people have a greater propensity to "fall for religion" simply because of their genetic composition. I’ve heard my philosophy professor emphasize how "spirit" does not exist and that humans are just breathing machines with no soul or purpose.

I’ve listened to my art teacher imply that only those who want to live in fantasy believe in a god because they’ll do anything to help them sleep at night.

Being a Christian at a liberal campus can be difficult because of how people view Christians and what they associate with religion.

It’s hard to explain that the beliefs I hold did not come from force-fed religious jargon in my childhood. It’s hard to share that I believe in a God who practices love, acceptance and second chances and who does not, in fact, hate the gays. It’s hard to stand for a belief that has been tainted by uptight religious undertones and obligatory customs.

The God I believe in went to the church and ridiculed the priests for their strict laws and fixed judgments. The gospel I live by depicts a man who befriended the criminals and prostitutes; who demanded mercy to be given to the adulterous when death was her sentence. The religion I follow is meant for the broken, the imperfect and the lost, in order to give them the chance to become people greater than themselves.

When you take away the voices that misrepresent Christianity, you will see that its final message is for everyone to demonstrate love, patience, and compassion in everything they do. Whether you choose to believe my story or not, it’s important to understand what Christianity stands for--the same goes for every viewpoint out there.

When attending a university with a diverse array of belief systems, it’s important to remain open-minded and strive to understand the intricacies of different cultures and contrasting morals. It’s imperative to look past the stereotypes and assumptions held toward certain beliefs. Only through taking time to understand one another and different perspectives, can harmonious living and discourse be obtained.

Being a Christian at a liberal university can be challenging at times, but when you meet people that are truly willing to listen and present their beliefs to you, it can fuel genuine and enlightening conversation.

Being on this campus has not only allowed me to collaborate with like-minded believers but also to engage in authentic relationships with people that hold different perspectives than my own. College is a time for learning and absorbing everything we can. It is within this community that we can do just that, simply by listening to one another.

Cover Image Credit: Priscilla Du Preez

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Thank You, InterVarsity, For Being The Best Part Of College Yet

"For where two or three are are gathered in my name, there am I among them" — Matthew 18:20

When I came to college, I knew that my faith was important to me, and I really wanted to be a part of a Christian organization. However, I had no idea how to find one or where to start. It turned out that instead of searching for and finding it on my own, InterVarsity, a large Christian organization at James Madison, found me. Here's how I became involved, and why it's the best thing that has happened to me since I've started my journey as a college student.

On my first week of college, (also known as FROG week) I heard through the grapevine about this weird event called the "watermelon bash." I wasn't sure if I wanted to go, as I hadn’t been off campus yet, and I didn’t know any upperclassmen that were involved in InterVarsity. At the last minute, some friends from my hall convinced me to tag along with them. So, I crammed into a car with a bunch of strangers (probably not the best judgment on my part, but it turned out okay) and off we went.

When we arrived, there was an overwhelming sea of people in the backyard of a house. It was a whirlwind; so many people introduced themselves to me, and I probably gave my phone number to at least 4 different small group leaders. And on top of that, it was dark outside, so I can hardly recognize most people that I met at that event. Nonetheless, I decided that Intervarsity, without a doubt, was where I wanted to be.

So, after that whirlwind event, I attended large group on a Friday night, where I fought for good seats and worshiped the Lord with my brand new lifelong friends. It was there that I signed up to be part of small group.

One day, I received a phone call from a number I had never seen before, and despite the fact that I almost never answer phone calls from people that aren't in my contacts, I decided to pick up.

"Hi Dakotah, this is BryAnna and Hannah, we're your small group leaders!"

And just like that, I became part of a group of girls that I now know will be lifelong friends, and for the next four years (and hopefully beyond our graduation day) we will spend time growing our friendships and supporting each others' relationships with Christ. What a great decision it was to answer that phone call.

Since then, our small group has experienced everything from tunneling, paint twister, and a weekend retreat with no phone service and lots of flannel, to receiving undeniable signs from God, and we have supported each other through everything that college life has thrown at us.

I am so thankful for InterVarsity, as it has given me amazing friends, beautiful memories, and the opportunity to take responsibility for my faith in God. I can't wait to see how God will continue to bless me through this organization during my time as a JMU student.

Cover Image Credit: Greyson Joralemon on unsplash

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