Skip to main content


Showing posts from April, 2023

Hillsong Report Highlights Ministries Operating Like Businesses — But Without Public Accountability

Report features a lucrative honorarium model tempting many U.S. pastors to pay to play By Jessica Eturralde - Posted at  Ministry Watch: Last month, a whistleblower document disclosing Hillsong Church’s financial details highlighted the burgeoning popularity of reciprocal honorarium practices in ministries worldwide. A common growth strategy in the for-profit business circuit, honorariums are fees given to someone for something outside their normal job responsibilities—like giving a talk. And they have slowly found their way into evangelical circles. Although the amounts are often negotiable, more evangelical speakers require a fee to secure bookings. Findings in the Hillsong report are prompting donors to question at what point giving sermons or talks is or is not part of a pastor’s job. Also, how should leaders report honorariums if they regularly require a fee to speak? The custom of inviting and hosting guest speakers is nothing new for churches. Traditionally, host churches have

Prison inmate charged with murder of pregnant hospital worker’s preborn child

 By Nancy Flanders - Posted at LiveAction News: A prison inmate has been charged with murder after she allegedly punched a pregnant hospital worker with such force that she killed the worker’s preborn baby. According to WFAA , 39-year-old Cheri Aziza Akil was in the custody of the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office when she was transferred to the John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, on Wednesday due to a risk of suicide. The sheriff’s office said Akil was being restrained at the time of the incident and that the hospital worker was standing next to the inmate’s bed. That is when Akil allegedly punched the worker in the stomach. The hospital worker was taken to the trauma unit in the hospital, where it was learned that her baby had no heartbeat. Continue here... Direct Link:  (21) Police: Prison inmate Cheri Akil charged after punching pregnant medical worker, killing fetus - YouTube

Please, Don't Get Mad at God

 By Stephen Spinnenweber - Posted at Reformation 21: As Christians in America, and especially the PCA, are still reeling and grieving with our brothers and sisters at Covenant Presbyterian Church and the Covenant School in Nashville, there is an understandable and appropriate righteous indignation that we have all felt welling up inside of us in these recent weeks. Six precious images bearers of God were gunned down in cold blood in what can only be described as a brazen act of terror. Many are angered by the LGBTQ+ movement and its radicalization of this young woman who identified as a transgender-man. Others have voiced their opposition to President Biden’s appalling decision to declare March 31st Transgender Day of Visibility within mere days of the shooting. And, in numbers that I could not have possibly imagined, the mainstream media’s spinning the narrative in such a way as to make Audrey Hale the victim and Covenant School the villain has shocked and angered us all. Wh

55 Oklahoma congregations leave United Methodist Church

A worship service at Bixby First United Methodist Church of Bixby, Oklahoma in April 2023. | Screengrab: YouTube/Bixby Fumc ( The Christian Post )  By Michael Gryboski - Posted at The Christian Post: Fifty-five congregations in Oklahoma have disaffiliated from The United Methodist Church, joining a wave of churches departing the mainline Protestant denomination since last year. At a special called conference held on Saturday, delegates at the UMC Oklahoma Conference voted to recognize the disaffiliation votes of 55 congregations, representing over 10% of their 425 member churches. “I am thankful for all the members of the annual conference for the time they have been and will be devoting to evaluating the report from the Trustees, listening to the motions and discussions from other members and casting their votes,” said Oklahoma Area Bishop James G. Nunn in a statement emailed to The Christian Post on Monday. Nunn also said he recognized “how painful and emotional these decisions are f

Breakpoint: Should AI be Shut Down?

(Image Source: Wikimedia - Author: mikemacmarketing)  By John Stonestreet and Kasey Leander Recently, a number of prominent tech executives, including Elon Musk, signed an open letter urging a 6-month pause on all AI research. Recently, a number of prominent tech executives, including Elon Musk, signed an open letter urging a 6-month pause on all AI research. That was not enough for AI theorist Eliezer Yudkowsky. In an opinion piece for TIME magazine , he argued that “ We Need to Shut It All Down, ” and he didn’t mince his words: Many researchers steeped in these issues, including myself, expect that the most likely result of building a superhumanly smart AI … is that literally everyone on Earth will die. Not as in “maybe possibly some remote chance,” but as in “that is the obvious thing that would happen.” Using a tone dripping with panic, Yudkowsky even suggested that countries like the U.S. should be willing to run the risk of nuclear war “if that’s what it takes to reduce the

Bonhoeffer – A Reliable Guide?

 By William MacLeod - Posted at The Banner of Truth: Published September 23, 2016 Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) is increasingly being quoted by evangelical writers and theologians. Eric Metaxas’ recent highly-acclaimed biography presents him as an evangelical martyr of the twentieth century. Stephen Nichols, President, Reformation Bible College, with a PhD from Westminster Theological Seminary, in his book, Bonhoeffer on the Christian life , states: ‘We can even lay claim to Bonhoeffer as an evangelical’. Bonhoeffer’s book on the Sermon on the Mount, The Cost of Discipleship , is being read by many Christians and is widely described as a modern Christian classic. There is no doubting the brilliance of Bonhoeffer’s mind, nor his passion for the oppressed, nor the original way that he had of stating his beliefs. However, his theology is very different from orthodox evangelical theology and he is certainly far from being a reliable guide in presenting the Christian faith and in interpre

Wildwood Days and the OPC Boardwalk Chapel

 By Al Baker - Posted at Forget None Of His Benefits: “. . . that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem.” -Luke 24:47 The postwar economic boom, leading to a new national prosperity and the growing of the middle class, along with the finalized construction of the Garden State Parkway in the 1950’s, led to a remarkable growth of summer vacation destinations along the Jersey Shore. One of the hottest spots was Wildwood, New Jersey, about four miles north of Cape May. Many rock and roll historians tell us that the birth of that genre of music began at Wildwood, New Jersey. It is hard to argue with that assessment. On Memorial Day weekend, 1954, Bill Haley and the Comets first played their song “Rock Around the Clock” at the Hof Brau Hotel. Many say Haley’s song was the beginning of Rock and Roll music. Chubby Checker sang “The Twist” at the Rainbow Club in 1960 at the age eighteen. Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand” be

Charles Stanley, pivotal SBC president, TV preacher, dies

Image Source:  Charles Stanley - Wikipedia  By Art Toalston - Posted at Baptist Press: Published April 18, 2023 ATLANTA – Charles Stanley, a former Southern Baptist Convention president and one of the nation’s foremost television and radio preachers, passed away peacefully at his home today (April 18) at age 90. Stanley presided over the two largest annual meetings in SBC history — 45,531 messengers in 1985 in Dallas and 40,987 in 1986 in Atlanta — when conservatives faced the most pronounced opposition to anchoring the convention in biblical authority. As senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Atlanta, Stanley was elected in 1984 in the sixth year of the conservative advance toward majorities on the trustee boards of the convention’s seminaries and other entities. Conservatives rose to the challenge in 1985 and 1986, with Stanley receiving 52.18 percent of messengers’ vote in Dallas over two nominees and 55.3 percent of the tally in Atlanta over a single nominee. Stanley transitione

Trans ideology is 'fundamentally incompatible with Christian beliefs,' attorney warns

Marry Rice Hasson (center) addresses concerns for women's rights during a panel discussion about combatting trans ideology titled, "Unmasking Gender Ideology: Protecting Children, Confronting Transgenderism" at First Baptist Dallas on March 23, 2023. | The Christian Post By Ian M. Giatti - Posted at The Christian Post: For Mary Hasson, it all started in 1996 with a small band of “transsexual activists” who met in Houston. It was at that meeting that the International Bill of Gender Rights was created, a document which stated, among other things, that humans “have the right to define their own gender identity regardless of chromosomal sex” or genitalia; the right “to change their bodies cosmetically, chemically, or surgically;” and the right to enter into marital contracts and bear children. “And nobody cared,” Hasson, an attorney and fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., told CP’s Generation Indoctrination event in Dallas . “It was a documen

Marriage Isn’t Rehab for Sexual Sin

By Rutledge Etheridge III - Posted at The Gospel Coalition: So often, Christians overwhelmed by sexual sin are practically shoved down the aisle by their church communities. Pastors may tell couples that once they’re bound within a biblically legitimate marriage relationship, sexual activity has Scripture’s seal of approval, and they can work together on whatever besetting sexual sins they bring to their union. But as the newlyweds soon discover, marriage tends to amplify, not alleviate, besetting sin. It doesn’t cure unhealthy relationships; it codifies them. Suddenly, a relationship formed to honor God has all the makings of a human tragedy. But doesn’t the apostle Paul tell Christians that if they can’t control their sexual desires, it’s “better to marry than to burn” ( 1 Cor. 7:9 ) ? Isn’t marriage, then, God’s prescription for dealing with sexual sin? Though this rehab view of marriage is pervasive, it distorts 1 Corinthians 7 and creates an unsafe situation for spouses. Continue

Ten Best Practices for How Churches Should Respond to Sexual Abuse

 By Wes Bredenhof After a few decades of publicity surrounding the issue of sexual abuse in the broader culture, one might think that churches have developed better ways of handling it. However, there are regularly reports that indicate otherwise. Especially churches without a Safe Church program are vulnerable to mishandling sexual abuse allegations. This is highly problematic because it further victimizes victims and often emboldens and protects abusers. To help churches in developing policies and procedures, I want to share some best practices. We have to do better and perhaps this can help to further the discussion and create safer communities for the most vulnerable among us. Let me first say a few words about definitions. In general, abuse is inappropriate conduct towards another person. It can be a single event or a pattern of behaviour. In particular, sexual abuse is “the sexual exploitation of a person or any sexual intimacy forced on a person (either physical or non-

Rev. G.I. Williamson, 97, Called Home to Glory

Rev. Williamson served almost 71 years as a minister of the gospel in Reformed churches in the U.S. and New Zealand, 47 of which were in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. Written by Archibald A. Allison | Thursday, April 13, 2023 He was converted after the war while a professional saxophone player, attended Hope College, graduated from Drake University and Pittsburgh-Xenia Theological Seminary, where he was blessed by the teaching of Dr. John Gerstner, was ordained in the United Presbytery Church of North America on June 1, 1952, and served almost 71 years as a minister of the gospel in Reformed churches in the United States and New Zealand. On April 12, 2023, the Lord called his servant the Rev. G. I. Williamson into his presence, where, with all the saints who have gone before, he now beholds the face of God in light and glory and rests from his labors. He was born on May 19, 1925, in Des Moines, Iowa, grew up in the United Presbyterian Church of North America (UPCNA), and served in

Shooting personal for at least three Kentucky Baptist churches

Westport Road Baptist Church Mural  (Baptist Press) By Chip Hutcheson/ Kentucky Today , Mark Maynard/ Kentucky Today   Posted April 11, 2023 in National News , SBC News : “We remind ourselves of the Gospel hope. Death is the last enemy to be destroyed.” LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) – Monday morning’s bank shooting became personal for Andy Mikel, pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Danville, Ky., in a short time. One of the nine wounded in the shooting was Deana Eckert, the 57-year-old sister of Immanuel worship pastor Scott Hurst. Brother and sister grew up in Harrodsburg. Mikel said he only communicated via text with Hurst, who went to be with his grieving family. Deana was taken to the hospital with severe injuries from the shooting at the Old National Bank in downtown Louisville. She became the fifth victim to die early Monday night after several surgeries. “Our church family is grieving with them and sharing one another’s sorrows,” he said. Steven Dressens, the associational mission str

Psychology’s Culpability in the Transgender Movement

 By Jesse Johnson - Posted at The Cripplegate: Last month, Minnesota introduced legislation making it a “trans-refuge” state. If the legislation passes, it would become a crime for parents to refuse to give their children “gender affirming” care, and parents could lose custody of their children if they refuse to play the gender games. Minnesota is not alone. Laws like this are popping up all over the country. What’s behind them? Well, like all cultural phenomena there are many factors at work. However, one often-overlooked influence in the transgender movement is modern secular psychology. Like many (all?) of the sciences, psychology has been co-opted by transgenderism. Nowhere is this better represented then in the DSM-5-TR, the latest version of the so-called “ Bible of psychology .” The DSM is the handbook used to diagnose mental disorders, and while it is not considered inspired, it is treated as the definitive book on psychological diagnoses. In the most recent edition, the DSM-5

A Sexular Society

 By Mark Loughridge - Posted at Gentle Reformation: (Sexular—coined by Australian pastor, writer and blogger Stephen McAlpine in ‘ A Sexular Age ’. This article was sparked by his use of the word.) We used to live in a religious world, where your religious belief defined who you were—it was where you got your identity from. Religion flavoured every aspect of life from the cradle to the grave, taking in education, community, family, even work. But things have changed, now we live in a secular world—one, in a sense, stripped of religious input. In this secular world people get their identity from many things—work, success, family, sport, looks—the list is endless. Or at least it used to be endless. But that list has narrowed largely to one single item—Sex. Not simply the act, but all that goes with it. It has been transformed into our sole source of identity. For the vast majority of history sex has been seen exclusively in terms of what we do rather than who we are. When I was at second

Inquiring Minds Want to Know: The Mystery Photo

Source:  By Ron Henzel - Posted at Midwest Christian Outreach: Mark Twain once wrote, “All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence; then success is sure.”1 We have plenty of evidence that this axiom works. We even have a word for people who live by it on social media: “influencers.” True, there are influencers who seem to care about actual facts. But in today’s world of instant social media gratification, driven by dopamine hits users get from the numbers of likes on their posts,2 facts are often buzzkills. If you want to breathe the rarified air of the influencers’ Mount Olympus, you need to focus on projecting confidence. One communications/media trainer even has an article titled, “How to speak confidently when you don’t know what you’re talking about…”3 That’s your ticket! Continue here...

‘Overwhelming tragedy’: More than 600 children abused by Baltimore’s Catholic Church over 60 years, report says

Cathedral of Mary our Queen, Metropolitan Cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore in Baltimore, Maryland ( Wikipedia ) By Michael Gryboski - Posted at The Christian Post: More than 600 children were abused by clergy belonging to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore over more than 60 years, according to a new report released by the Maryland Attorney General’s Office. Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown released a redacted version of the “ Report on Child Sexual Abuse in the Archdiocese of Baltimore ” on Wednesday, which was based on a grand jury investigation that began in 2018. According to the report, the Archdiocese of Baltimore had 156 abusers in its ranks, which included priests, deacons, seminarians and other employees of the Church body, whose abuses took place from the 1940s into the early 21st century. “The incontrovertible history uncovered by this investigation is one of pervasive and persistent abuse by priests and other Archdiocese personnel. It


 Posted at Christian News: Pastors and congregations who refuse to take a stand against sin, must necessarily deny Christ in the process—eventually. It seems harsh and mean—at face value—to not accept people living a sinful lifestyle, but when by their lives they show that the Spirit of Christ does not rule them, accepting sin means minimizing Christ’s sacrifice for all sins and denying that a Christian is any different than a pagan. Sins that are completely socially acceptable, like living together, divorcing without biblical cause, or practicing homosexuality are frequently winked at in supposedly Christian congregations (even LCMS ones). But God is not mocked. The congregation is made of saints gathered around the Gospel of Christ which creates faith. When there is no distinction or demarcation between the believer who has the Spirit, and the unbeliever who can only live by the flesh, and is therefore a slave to his lusts, Christ’s forgiveness is trampled. It should mean something t

AI, ChatGPT and Ministry

  ChatGPT Logo - Wikipedia By David de Bruyn - Posted at Churches Without Chests: We have always produced machines to reduce our labour. These machines are necessarily stronger than we are. The Industrial Revolution produced machines that could build bigger, better and faster than human hands could manage. In the 20th century, we produced machines that could calculate more and faster than we could, machines that could store and remember more information than we could. We then produced machines that could combine this and beat us at chess. In other words, by one metric, even the computers of the 20th century were ‘smarter’ than us. Our software could reveal more in seconds than our library research could have produced after hours of page turning. The last years represent another threshold. We have now produced machines that can mimic and understand language. Combined with massive storage, and a huge range of examples, we now have machines that can write faster, and sometimes, better tha

Members of China's heavily persecuted Early Rain Church detained, families forcibly evicted

Early Rain Covenant Church in China | Facebook/Early Rain Covenant Church  (The Christian Post) By Anugrah Kumar - Posted at The Christian Post: Published April 2, 2023 "In a report released in February, the U.S.-based group ChinaAid said the Chinese Communist Party intensified the persecution of churches and Christians leading up to the 20th Party Congress in 2022. Three members of China’s heavily persecuted Early Rain Covenant Church were detained and several families were forcibly evicted by authorities in the communist country, according to the U.K.-based group Christian Solidarity International. Police in Wenjiang District in Chengdu last week placed deputy deacon Jia Xuewei in administrative detention for 14 days. A preacher, Ding Shuqi, and another church member, Shu Qiong, had received the same punishment a week earlier for “activities in the name of a banned social organization,” CSW reported . Administrative detention, often used for minor public-order offenses, allows