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 >>
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 >>
The Assemblies of God issued a statement Tuesday encouraging its churches and individual members to gradually shift support away from the U.S. branch of World Vision towards Assemblies of God World Missions, and other Pentecostal and Evangelical charities "that maintain biblical standards of sexual morality."
Denouncing World Vision's decision to allow people who are in a legal same-sex marriages to be employed at the nonprofit organization, George Wood, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, said in a statement shared with The Christian Post on Tuesday that, "On behalf of the General Council of the Assemblies of God, I am writing to express disappointment with the recent policy change of the U.S. branch of World Vision permitting its employees to enter legally valid same-sex marriages."
Wood added that while making this transition in financial support, he "encourages Assemblies of God churches and individuals to remember and continue to put into practice James 1:27 (NIV): 'Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.'" more >>
A United Methodist Church pastor based in Texas will undergo an investigation for performing a same-sex marriage in defiance of the church body's law.
Bishop Michael McKee of the North Texas Annual Conference announced Monday that retired clergyman the Reverend Bill McElvaney would undergo a "supervisory process."
"Administrative and pastoral in nature, this process seeks a just resolution in which God's work of justice, reconciliation, and healing may be realized in the body of Christ," said McKee. "It is my prayer that our members, both clergy and laity, affirm the goals of this process with their prayers and respect for the confidential nature of this process which seeks reconciliation as its ultimate goal." more >>
World Vision, a global, para-church ministry that helps countless people in numerous countries has just taken a big step. On Monday, President, Richard Stearns, announced a new policy change that will allow people who are legally married to their same-sex partner to be employed by the Christian organization. The decision made by the Board was not unanimous, but did have overwhelming support.
Ironically, abstinence before marriage is still a pre-requisite to work at World Vision, as is fidelity in one's marriage. In that respect, their new tolerance of committed homosexual couples seems a little odd. Apparently sodomy in the bonds of matrimony is permissible because the language in our culture has been changed. I don't know…it feels kind of like they're forbidding murder but allowing cannibalism. Something seems off to me.
President Stearns went to great lengths in his Christianity Today article to assert that this decision was really meant to preserve the unity of the entire Body of Christ, citing a number of times that he felt it necessary for particular churches and denominations to wrangle amongst themselves with the theology of human sexuality. Being that World Vision has supporters and constituents from numerous denominational backgrounds and beliefs, Stearns judiciously wanted to defer to their individual authority and autonomy. He unhesitatingly went out on a limb, risking it all when he boldly proclaimed: "This is not an endorsement of same-sex marriage. We have decided we are not going to get into that debate. Nor is this a rejection of traditional marriage, which we affirm and support." Wow. I haven't seen this kind of bravery since the suicide bomber who went on his fifth mission. You know, if I didn't know any better, I'd think that World Vision was trying to have its cake and eat it, or rather, Kate and Edith too. more >>
Starbucks Coffee plans to expand its wine and beer selection to 40 locations throughout the United States by the end of this year, and thousands more in the years to come.
"The concept is a natural progression for Starbucks as we seek to create a new occasion for customers to gather, relax and connect with each other in the evenings," spokeswoman Lisa Passe said, according to USA Today.
The international coffee chain began experimenting with alcohol sales at a lone location in Seattle, Wash., in 2010. more >>