Members of the New Jersey church where Whitney Houston grew up and sang as a child remembered the legendary music artist on Sunday for her longtime membership and service. The Rev. Jesse Jackson, who also visited the church, said he was "traumatized" by her sudden death.
"The family shared Whitney with the world, but Whitney was a mother, a daughter, and a sister, and that's the focus we want to keep in front of everyone today," Pastor Joe Carter told reporters who had gathered at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, N.J., early Sunday morning as the first and only-for-members service was about to begin.
The 48-year-old singer and actor reportedly died in a bathtub at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, Calif., Saturday. The cause of her death may not be known until weeks later as toxicology results are awaited and an investigation is pending. But relatives of the singer told TMZ.com that prescription drugs and alcohol might have been the cause. more >>
Paula White, senior pastor and "Apostolic Overseer" of late Zachery Tims' New Destiny Christian Center as well as Without Walls International Church, has denied any connection to a rabbi seen in a widely-circulated video "crowning" Eddie Long king in an elaborate Torah ceremony at his Georgia megachurch.
After the Florida Courier published on Feb. 3 a "breaking news" report based on a rumor that White would be crowned queen during a Super Bowl Sunday service at New Destiny Christian Center, White and her attorney refuted the claims and denied that the Florida minister had any "ties or affiliations" with Rabbi Ralph Messer, the same minister who performed Long's "enthronement" ceremony at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church on Jan. 29.
The second round of the Elephant Room has come and gone. But as avid blog readers know, the debate surrounding the wisdom or folly of the event continues. This one may have bigger ramifications that most quick-a-minute Christian controversies.
I won't recap all the posts out there. Justin Taylor, as usual, has a good round up of the events and a sharp analysis. Thabiti's post from several months ago was courageous and worth reading again, as is Voddie's piece from a few days ago. D.A. Carson is working on some reflections for later this week. Be sure to look for those too.
Hesitations more >>
WASHINGTON – President Obama took a markedly more political tone in his address at the National Prayer Breakfast Thursday morning than he did at the same event last year.
The president talked about his public policy stances, including barring health insurance companies from rejecting people with pre-existing conditions and reducing tax breaks for the wealthy, hand-in-hand with his faith, often citing snippets of popular Bible verses.
"[S]o when I talk about our financial institutions playing by the same rules as folks on Main Street…or making sure that unscrupulous lenders aren't taking advantage of the most vulnerable among us, I do so because I genuinely believe it will make the economy strong for everybody," Obama said. more >>
Voddie Baucham, Pastor of Preaching at Grace Family Baptist Church in Spring, Texas, has released a blog post in which he explains why he turned down an invitation to participate in the second round of The Elephant Room, held Jan. 25, and left another conference hosted by James MacDonald without fulfilling his speaking duties.
The Elephant Room, a theological roundtable featuring blunt conversations among seven influential pastors, generated a noted level of controversy due to the invitation of Bishop T.D. Jakes, founder and senior pastor of The Potter's House in Dallas, to participate in the discussions. Jakes has been accused of heresy by some in the Christian community for his affiliation with modalism, which explains the Godhead in non-Trinitarian terms.
Modalism, a 3rd-century teaching accredited to theologian Sabellius, purports that the members of the Trinity are not three distinct, eternally co-existing persons, but that instead God, a singular spirit, manifests Himself at different times in three modes – a doctrine espoused by Oneness Apostolic Pentecostal and United Pentecostal Church International denominations. more >>
Lead pastor and author Bryan Crawford Loritts is asking the Reformed community to "repent" of their harsh criticism and one-sided attacks on Bishop T. D. Jakes in regards to his beliefs about the Godhead.
Having personally attended this year's Elephant Room featuring speakers like Jakes, Mark Driscoll, Steven Furtick and his father Crawford Loritts, the younger Loritts found the assaults directed toward The Potter's House senior pastor unwarranted and unbiblical.
"If you have attacked Bishop Jakes, or James MacDonald over Bishop's perceived modalism, and after hearing what he has to say and how he is not a modalist, then you need to repent, and it needs to be as public as the attacks that you have made," the Fellowship Memphis leader penned on his blog Thursday. more >>