Joel Osteen, known for his best-selling motivational books and "megawatt smile," and Carl Lentz, dubbed by Details magazine as an "apostle of cool," recently sat down with Katie Couric on her self-titled daytime program to discuss the "modern face of religion in America." While both Christian pastors are popular, their ministry styles certainly differ. So what is it that draws people by the thousands to their churches – and garners Osteen millions of viewers around the globe?
In a 30-second preview of Couric's "Keeping the Faith" broadcast, airing Thursday, Dec. 19, the talk show host asks Osteen why he thinks "they come" – "they" being the 45,000 worshippers who flock to his Lakewood Church in Houston, making the Texas megachurch America's fastest-growing Christian congregation.
Unfortunately, the clip doesn't feature Osteen's response – it is a teaser, after all. more >>
Joel Osteen does not believe that churches should shy away from politics, states a source close to the best-selling author and pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas.
Donald Iloff Jr., senior executive for Joel Osteen Ministries and brother-in-law of pastor Osteen, told The Christian Post that Osteen "doesn't really believe" all churches should shun political matters.
"He'd never said that before and doesn't really believe it," said Iloff, adding that Osteen is friends with pastors like Rick Warren of Saddleback Church whose "gift [is] to be involved politically." more >>
Nigerian televangelist and Pastor Chris Okotie stands by the inflammatory comments he made during a recent church service in which he claimed that "all Catholics will go to hell" and called the pope "an Anti-Christ', among other things. The controversial preacher's remarks were widely reported online by Nigerian media and swiftly rebuked by religious and nonreligious readers.
Fifty-five year old Okotie, while preaching in his Household of God Church in Ikeja area of Lagos, western Nigeria, said the Catholic church is "a counterfeit church set up by Satan" and that Catholics "bow to idols and crucify Jesus every Sunday when they eat bread claiming they are eating Jesus' body." more >>
Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight Vitor Belfort, nicknamed "The Phenom," has taken on a new role as "The Values Enforcer" in a comedic commercial recently released by Steven's Furtick's Elevation Church in North Carolina.
The commercial, narrated by the megachurch's creative pastor, c, shows the church's new solution to dealing with apathetic churchgoers: kidnap them from their Sunday service and dump them in a UFC ring with Belfort, who physically punishes them into being attentive and focused at church.
The commercial begins with Hubatka explaining that his team has decided to take a creative approach to communicating the Gospel each week, but they have run into small problems in the process, mainly churchgoers who remain unfocused during the Sunday sermons. more >>
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 >>