LAKE FOREST, Calif. – A historic, first-time gathering of leaders from both the evangelical and Catholic communities met on Friday to discuss the importance of churches working together to address critical mental health issues.
An overflow crowd of more than 3,300 people at Saddleback Church and an online audience for the live webcast witnessed the all-day unifying event, co-hosted by Rick and Kay Warren of Saddleback Church, the Most Rev. Kevin Vann, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness-Orange County.
"To be able to call together the larger faith community is bittersweet, as we had hoped to share this moment with our son, talking about concern for people with mental illness," Kay Warren told reporters. "We do this in honor and memory of our son and others lost to mental illness, realizing there is hope for others dealing with this condition." more >>
Nearly a year after a now former elder filed charges of mistreatment against Pastor Mark Driscoll and other leaders at Mars Hill Church, a board of advisors and accountability for the church said the charges were determined to be non-disqualifying. At the same time, the church has taken the charges seriously and "corrective actions" have been taken.
In a letter to church elders and leaders sent late Wednesday, Michael Van Skaik, who is chairman of the Board of Advisors and Accountability for Mars Hill, wrote that the Board made an effort to substantiate the charges made by former elder Dave Kraft (although his name was not mentioned in the letter) and at least seven unnamed witnesses.
"In an effort to substantiate the validity of the anonymous charges, we immediately sent out over one hundred letters to former elders and staff at Mars Hill Church from the previous two years, inviting their feedback and perspectives regarding their time on staff at the church, particularly their interactions with Pastor Mark and the Executive Elders," Skaik stated in the letter (full letter below). more >>
Many Evangelicals and conservative Christians are expressing support for World Vision's decision to reverse course on a policy change allowing for the hiring of gay married employees.
As the announcement of the reversal in policy change was released Wednesday, many figures commented on the new development.
Russell D. Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, expressed his approval of the reversal on Twitter. more >>
World Vision U.S. President Richard Stearns expressed grief over the child sponsorships that were canceled after the organization announced its original policy change on hiring those in same-sex marriages.
After receiving feedback from supporters and faith leaders who were opposed to World Vision's decision to employ Christians who are in same-sex marriages, Stearns said in a press conference call Wednesday that the board decided to reverse its earlier decision and reaffirm the nonprofit's commitment to core biblical principles and the belief that "marriage is an institution created by God, between a man and a woman."
"I can say from a personal standpoint, the last couple of days have been painful. We especially feel pain and a broken heart for the confusion that we caused for many of our faithful friends and partners around the country who saw the policy change as a reversal of World Vision U.S.'s strong commitment to biblical authority, which was not intended to be," Stearns commented. more >>
Pastor Craig Gross, whose young son stars in "Noah," is defending the film against critics in the Christian community, citing the uproar over the film as "embarrassing."
The pastor is the founder of XXXchurch and is also the father of Nolan Gross, who stars in the Darren Aronofsky-directed "Noah" as young Ham. Gross spoke to The Christian Post about the widespread criticism of "Noah," sharing his perspective as both a Christian leader and as a father.
After days of backlash from Evangelicals, World Vision, an international nonprofit ministry, has reversed its decision to allow those in same-sex marriages to be employed.
"Today, the World Vision U.S. board publicly reversed its recent decision to change our national employment conduct policy," the Christian humanitarian organization said in a letter to supporters Wednesday. "The board acknowledged they made a mistake and chose to revert to our longstanding conduct policy requiring sexual abstinence for all single employees and faithfulness within the Biblical covenant of marriage between a man and a woman."
World Vision has come under heavy criticism since it made public on Monday its policy change. In a letter to its employees that was shared with The Christian Post on Monday, World Vision President Richard Stearns announced that while the organization is not endorsing same-sex marriage, it recognizes that its staff is comprised of believers from more than 50 denominations, some of which have sanctioned same-sex marriage. Thus, its board has decided to defer the issue to local churches, in its effort to "treat all of our employees equally." more >>