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 >>
Central to a Christian worldview is the belief that humanity exists in a fallen world and that, as a result, everyone is born in sin and susceptible to conditions that affect them physically, mentally, emotionally and in other ways. Yet, Christians are at odds when it comes to mental illness, with some suggesting that such maladies are simply the result of personal sin, lack of faith or spiritual attacks.
While there have been recent efforts to help destigmatize mental illness, studies show that many American evangelical, fundamentalist, or born-again Christians view such health issues solely as a spiritual condition to be treated with Bible study and prayer. Prior studies also have shown that religious leaders are most often the ones sought out among those suffering from mental illness, who, in some cases, have their ailments dismissed.
Dr. Eric L. Johnson, author of Foundations for Soul Care: A Christian Psychology Proposal and professor of pastoral care at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, explains that "the whole body can be affected by human fallenness." more >>
South African Olympic athlete, Oscar Pistorius, currently on trial accused of murdering his girlfriend, has turned to a book about prayer by a New York City megachurch pastor as he prepares to take the stand in his defense.
Pistorius, 27, who maintains that he mistakenly shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Feb. 14, 2013, when he mistook her for an intruder, has repeatedly vomited and sobbed during the trial.
However, it recently came to attention that Pistorius has been reading Breakthrough Prayer: The Power of Connecting with the Heart of God by Jim Cymbala, the senior pastor of the 16,000 person Brooklyn Tabernacle Church. more >>
A New Jersey church will put a spin on the Easter story by bringing in a professional detective to examine Christ's death and resurrection.
Homicide investigator J. Warner Wallace will utilize his "cold case investigation skills" to examine the historical circumstances surrounding Christianity's sacred weekend in a four-week series that starts on Sunday at Liquid Church's four locations.
"We know people's faith rests on understanding if the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was real or not. What better way than to bring in a CSI detective and have him examine the biblical evidence available for a homicide investigation?" Tim Lucas, lead pastor of Liquid Church said in a statement. more >>
Director Darren Aronofsky's "Noah" has stirred controversy far and wide ahead of its release date in recent weeks, and Pastor Rick Warren is the latest to sound off on the film via Twitter over the weekend.
The Aronofksy-directed drama has caused waves after bridging both secularist views and a desire to appeal to religious audiences, and critics are speculating over how closely or loosely "Noah" will adhere to the Bible- including Pastor Warren. On Sunday, the Saddleback Church founder touched on the upcoming film, but in doing so, he inaccurately quoted Aronofsky.
"Director of new 'Noah' movie calls it 'The LEAST biblical film ever made' then uses F word referring to those wanting Bible-based (entertainment)," Warren wrote to his over one million Twitter users on March 16. more >>
Megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll recently apologized via an internal letter to his congregation for using a marketing company that promoted his book Real Marriage through what he now sees as a manipulative method to help place the book on top of the New York Times best seller list.
"My understanding of the ResultSource marketing strategy was to maximize book sales, so that we could reach more people with the message and help grow our church," Driscoll stated in the letter. "In retrospect, I no longer see it that way. Instead, I now see it as manipulating a book sales reporting system, which is wrong. I am sorry that I used this strategy, and will never use it again. I have also asked my publisher to not use the '#1 New York Times bestseller' status in future publications, and am working to remove this from past publications as well."
Earlier this month, after a report that the Seattle-based Mars Hill Church he pastors paid a promotional company $210,000 three years ago to make sure that Real Marriage, co-written by Driscoll's wife, Grace, made the New York Times best-seller list, the church released a "Note From Our Board of Advisors and Accountability." In addition to describing a shift in the way decisions made by the church administration are reviewed, the Board addressed the book promotion controversy. more >>