One of three boys born to James Merritt, a Georgia Southern Baptist pastor, and his wife Teresa, Jonathan Merritt attended his first religious service at the age of nine days.
"I'm told that I was the main attraction in the nursery: the pastor's newest son, pink-faced and barely a week old. An esteemed member of Buck Grove Baptist Church before I could even pronounce my name," recalls Merritt in his latest book Jesus Is Better than You Imagined.
Merritt and his brothers remained in the spotlight throughout their childhood. more >>
The Richmond Outreach Center announced that a youth pastor from Atlanta will lead the Virginia megachurch after nearly a year-long, nationwide search.
Joe Donahue will replace Geronimo Aguilar, the ROC's former senior pastor who was arrested in May 2013 on sexual abuse charges. Prior to his new assignment, Donahue was serving as teaching pastor at First Redeemer Church for the past six years.
"Pastor Joe has a heart to lead, strengthen, and equip the church through solid biblical teaching, authenticity, transparency, and his love for Jesus," according to a statement on the church's website. more >>
Carl Lentz, pastor of Hillsong Church in NYC, recently expressed strong support for pop star Justin Bieber, who has attended the Pentecostal megachurch and reportedly sought to get baptized through the ministry.
"I love Justin, he's a good kid. He's trying to figure this out," Lentz told CBN. "His behavior ... you know, he's figuring it out."
Lentz added, "What should we do? … People who are like, 'Is he even a Christian?' With Justin, I tell people grace and acceptance does not mean approval. I can accept you as a human being and not approve of your actions. That's how we've been loved. We love because we were first loved." more >>
Brian C. Houston, leader of one of the world's largest Christian churches, is denying allegations that he promotes "Chrislam," a theological blend of Christianity and Islam, after stating in a December 2013 sermon, "Do you know – take it all the way back into the Old Testament and the Muslim and you, we actually serve the same God. Allah to a Muslim, to us Abba Father God."
With a firestorm raging online among his critics for more than a week, the influential Sydney, Australian pastor of the 30,000-member Hillsong Church finally issued a statement Thursday night (or late Friday morning his time) regarding allegations that he was promoting "Chrislam."
"The spirit of the message was exactly the opposite of what some critics are claiming. If you listened to the message in its entirety, my point was that; who a Muslim extremist believes God is, determines what they believe God does, and what they believe God loves," Pastor Houston insists in the statement, titled "Correction of Misinformation," which can be read in full below. more >>
Nearly 50 percent of Christians believe that prayer alone is powerful enough to treat mental illness, according to a recent study. But while psychologists of faith might agree that prayer certainly helps, one expert insists that spiritual disciplines are only one part of a holistic approach to treating mental illness.
The results of that noted survey, published in September by LifeWay Research, revealed that 48 percent of "self-identified born-again, evangelical, or fundamentalist Christians" believe that Bible study and prayer alone can help overcome mental illnesses like depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Furthermore, only 21 percent of survey respondents who attend worship services at least once a week said they believed they would be welcomed at most churches if they had a mental health issue.
How can Christians concerned that they or a loved one might be suffering from mental illness discern when it is time to rise from their knees and find a psychologist or psychiatrist? 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 >>