We've compiled the top stories of the week. Here's what you need to know:
Report exposes prevalent sex abuse in Southern Baptist churches
While there have been reports of sex abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant church body in the country, over the last few decades, the Houston Chronicle featured an exclusive investigation, documenting the abuse of over 700 victims.
The three-part series includes testimonies from victims, many of whom were minors when they were abused, and a searchable database of sex offenders — a list that the SBC does not keep due to the autonomous nature of its member churches.
SBC leaders, including its president, J. D. Greear, said they support the victims and that they would take steps to ensure abuse is no longer covered up.
Megachurch pastor James MacDonald fired
The elders of Harvest Bible Chapel in Illinois announced the removal of James MacDonald as senior pastor, pointing to “conduct that … is contrary and harmful to the best interests of the church.”
His ousting comes months after a report revealed comments from former elders who alleged that MacDonald mismanaged money and was known for “abusive speech” and “outbursts of anger.”
More recently, recorded comments from what many are convinced is the pastor were aired. Those comments included vulgar references and crude remarks when speaking about others.
Annual release of ‘Dirty Dozen’
This year’s Dirty Dozen List of companies that facilitate sexual exploitation include Netflix, Google, Roku and United Airlines.
The National Center on Sexual Exploitation aims to pressure and “shame” these entities to stop profiting from and facilitating sexual exploitation. In some cases, the list has produced noticeable results and changes in organizational policy.
Evangelical head retiring, talks how evangelicalism is changing
As Leith Anderson, the head of the National Association of Evangelicals, gets ready to retire this year, he noted that evangelicalism is “increasingly a face of immigrants.”
Though some try to link the movement to pro-Trump Christian nationalism, Anderson stressed that that isn’t the case.
California ordered to pay pregnancy centers
A judge in California ordered the state to pay three pro-life pregnancy centers and a conservative law firm (Liberty Counsel) hundreds of thousands of dollars. The order comes after a state law (FACT Act) forcing pro-life centers to promote abortion was struck down.
“Faith-based pro-life pregnancy centers cannot be forced to promote human genocide.” — Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel
Asia Bibi, the Christian mother who was acquitted of blasphemy but remains stuck in Pakistan where her life is threatened
Christians in Iran who are sent to Evin Prison
Son by K-Ross (Feb. 15)
Bold and Broken: Becoming the Bridge Between Heaven and Earth by David and Jason Benham (Feb. 12)
Not on My Watch: How to Win the Fight for Family, Faith and Freedom by Elizabeth Johnston (Feb. 12)