LAKE FOREST, Calif. – A historic, first-time gathering of leaders from both the evangelical and Catholic communities met on Friday to discuss the importance of churches working together to address critical mental health issues.
An overflow crowd of more than 3,300 people at Saddleback Church and an online audience for the live webcast witnessed the all-day unifying event, co-hosted by Rick and Kay Warren of Saddleback Church, the Most Rev. Kevin Vann, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness-Orange County.
"To be able to call together the larger faith community is bittersweet, as we had hoped to share this moment with our son, talking about concern for people with mental illness," Kay Warren told reporters. "We do this in honor and memory of our son and others lost to mental illness, realizing there is hope for others dealing with this condition." 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 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 >>
An Oklahoma pastor has suggested that his anti-drought prayers inadvertently caused massive flooding in the Midwest.
John Benefiel, who founded and pastors Church on the Rock with his wife, Judith, explains that he used a "divorce decree" to remove a demonic hold that had kept rain from Texas and Oklahoma in 2007.
"There was no rain in sight, no rain forecast at all," Benefiel said on the Christian Internet broadcast Generals International on Monday. more >>
Oprah Winfrey will be touring the U.S. this fall to help "lead people to an empathy space… a gratitude space" in an effort to find their calling and fulfill their greatest potential. Helping Winfrey in the tour hitting cities on both coasts will be influential and controversial Christian author Rob Bell, and other "handpicked thought leaders and pop culture icons."
"All of my life I have wanted to lead people to an empathy space. To a gratitude space," said Winfrey in a press statement. "I want us all to fulfill our greatest potential. To find our calling, and summon the courage to live it."
Each stop on the national tour will run two days, with the first night featuring Winfrey "bringing her personal story and insights to life in a one of a kind intimate evening" and the following will have the media mogul and Bell, or another one of her handpicked guests, "lead a day-long gathering of thousands." more >>