A wider circle of accusations surrounding author and Seattle-based megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll that originally included plagiarism allegations by a radio talk show host, now includes claims from others tracking the saga about how ghostwriters or researchers were used and not given proper attribution. At the same time, the Mars Hill Church pastor's silence on the matter has raised intrigue and the question: How powerful is the "evangelical celebrity machine?"
"What started in late November with Janet Mefferd's accusations of plagiarism against Mark Driscoll has morphed into broader concerns over authorship and use of research materials," writes Warren Throckmorton on the Patheos blog. "This finding raises interesting questions about ghostwriting and the use of research in writing for publication. I am not aware of how wide spread this practice is but perhaps this story allows us a view behind a door not often opened."
Throckmorton, who has been reporting daily on developments in the Driscoll alleged-plagiarism story that began three weeks ago, says that it appears that Docent Research Group consultant Justin Holcomb "quoted the material from the New Bible Commentary and then Driscoll changed a few words and included it under his authorship. There are multiple instances of this practice throughout the memo." more >>
A congregation that was once the largest Presbyterian Church (USA) church in Texas has been encouraged by its new affiliation with a more conservative body.
Highland Park Presbyterian Church of Dallas, which terminated its voluntary affiliation with PC (USA) earlier this year over theological differences, decided to join the Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians, (ECO), a recently created and more theologically conservative Reform body.
The Rev. Joe Rightmyer, Highland Park's interim senior pastor, told The Christian Post that the relationship between his congregation and ECO has been going strong. more >>
Isaac Hunter, 36, founder and former pastor of Summit Church in Orlando, Fla., died Tuesday of an apparent suicide, according to local news reports. Hunter is the son of Joel C. Hunter, senior pastor of the 15,000-member Northland church in Florida and former member of President Barack Obama's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
The Orlando Sentinel, in a story about Hunter's death, published an email sent to Summit Church members Tuesday afternoon.
"We found out today that Isaac took his life," states the email sent by Darling Murray, a coordinator at the church. "We are obviously deeply deeply devastated and saddened beyond words by this news. The tears keep coming and coming as we mourn. We are praying for his family and this congregation as we walk through this together." more >>
Dwight Howard, Houston Rocket forward-center, visited Pastor Kerry Shook's Woodlands Church over the weekend to share his testimony of coming to faith in Jesus Christ, and how an encounter with what he believes was the voice of God solidified his course to the NBA.
Howard, a seven-time All-Star who joined the Houston Rockets in July of this year after a brief stint with the L.A. Lakers and eight years with the Orlando Magic, spoke with Pastor Shook on the issue of divine guidance and honoring God in every area of one's life.
"He's honoring God with his talents in a major way," Shook said while introducing the 28-year-old Atlanta native to those at the Houston-area megachurch and others watching via a live online stream. more >>
Pastor Derwin Gray told Saddleback Church attendees over the weekend that even though he had made it into the NFL as a player he didn't experience "authentic peace" until he committed his life to Jesus Christ.
Gray, who played as a defensive back for the Indianapolis Colts and Carolina Panthers, is the lead pastor of Transformation Church in Indian Land, S.C. He spoke at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif. this past weekend in the stead of Pastor Rick Warren, who he called his mentor, as part of the church's advent series.
Gray says his mother and father were just teenagers when he was born, and he was raised primarily by his grandmother. He grew up in Texas just a half-mile from some government housing projects and says his childhood was anything but peaceful. more >>
The Potter's House of Denver dedicated their Sunday services to Nelson Mandela's memory as members gathered to praise and worship while they heard an inspiring message on Mandela's legacy.
Led by Dr. Chris Hill, who is considered by many as Bishop T.D. Jake's protégé, the 7,000-member congregation is one of the largest churches in Colorado that brings together members of different multicultural backgrounds each Sunday. Hill preached his encouraging message, "Letters from Robben Island," in reference to Mandela's prison site and to make the point that any man can change a nation.
"We're losing the people that truly inspire…Still, the 11 o'clock hour on Sundays is the most segregated hour in the country so this church is living against that tide," said Hill, reports Denver's KDVR-TV. "To us, Nelson Mandela, his work with desegregation and his work with unifying a country has great significance." more >>