As people worldwide look back at this past year, The Christian Post presents the following list of the top ten articles that drew the most readers in 2008.
Two years after Ted Haggard stepped down from the top post at the National Association of Evangelicals amid a sex and drug scandal, the former evangelical leader spoke of his past struggles openly for the first time at a small church in Morrison, Ill. There, he revealed that a man sexually abused him as a child and that his dark past came back to haunt him in his adult life.
When Christopher Laurie, 33, died in a car accident on his way to Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif., it came as a shock to his family and to the public. Laurie had become an active member at Harvest just several years ago and designed the stage, banners, bumper stickers and logo for father Greg Laurie's Harvest Crusade in 2008. Following Christopher's death, Harvest Christian Fellowship broadcast his memorial service to thousands. While mourning the sudden death of his son, Greg Laurie said he took comfort knowing Christopher was in heaven and affirmed his commitment to continuing his evangelistic ministry.
Just weeks after little-known Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was thrust into the limelight as the vice presidential nominee on the Republican ticket, a cartoon in The Washington Post mocked Palin's Pentecostal faith and political party. George O. Wood, head of the Pentecostal denomination Assemblies of God, denounced the cartoon for illustrating the cartoonist's lack of understanding in Pentecostal beliefs.
An Israeli newspaper reported that Masab Yousef, son of a top Hamas leader raised on the tenets of extremist Islam, converted to Christianity. At the risk of endangering his own life, he told the Haaretz that he found no answers in Islam, called it "a big lie" and said those who kill in the name of Islam would go to hell. He said he believes Jesus is the only way to heaven.
Christian Contemporary Music veteran Ray Boltz shocked fans when he revealed that he had given up his private struggle with homosexuality and came to terms with his same-sex desires. The award-winning singer/songwriter's announcement drew up a firestorm in the Christian blogosphere as many believers expressed disappointment in Boltz's decision to live "a normal gay life."
With the growth of charismatic Christianity in the United States, a Barna Group study set out to dispel myths about the movement that is typically associated with gifts of the Holy Spirit such as speaking in tongues. One of the major myths the study identified was charismatic churches strictly belonging to its own group of denominations when in reality, charismatic churches cross denominational boundaries.
Marla Alupoaicei, one of the authors behind the book Generation Hex, warned Christians about Wicca, claiming it to be the fastest-growing religion in America. With most eyes monitoring Islam, Wicca is growing "under the radar," the author said. Alupoaicei hopes to educate Christians on the movement that is little-known and encourage believers to reach out to Wiccans, rather than avoid them.
While many Christians question the theology of Joel Osteen, pastor of the largest church in the country, he affirmed that he and the leaders at Lakewood Church believe homosexuality is sin. Osteen had met with Jay Bakker, son of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, who made a failed attempt to convince Osteen, among other prominent pastors, to change his view on gays and lesbians.
As then Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama's faith was under much scrutiny, a report by The Associated Press revealed that Obama does not believe in the exclusivity of Jesus Christ. The now president-elect said he believes non-Christians who live moral lives are also "children of God" and that his late mother, who was not a believer, is in heaven.
For the first time since Outreach magazine started compiling its annual report of the largest churches in America, all 100 churches listed among the largest had 7,000 weekend attendants or higher. With seven churches reporting attendance averages of exactly 7,000, "The Outreach 100" this year included 103 churches, whose combined attendance was 1,128,451 – an increase of 111,527 people from 2007. Topping the fifth annual list again this year was Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church in Houston with 43,500 attendants.