In a statement posted on the Mars Hill website, megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll said that he is taking a six-week leave of absence while the elders of the church review a series of allegations against him.
Storm clouds seem to be whirling around me more than ever in recent months and I have given much thought and sought much counsel as to why that is and what to do about it. The current climate is not healthy for me or for this church … There is a well-documented list of past actions and decisions I have admitted were wrong, sought forgiveness, and apologized for to those I hurt or offended.
Driscoll is effectively stepping down as pastor of the 15-campus, 15,000-attending church based in Washington—at least for the next month and a half. In recent months, Driscoll has come under fire following allegations of plagiarism in his books, using marketing money to essentially inflate book sales, bullying staff and former members and making vulgar online posts under a false name. Though many of the allegations had been previously addressed, in the last few weeks, public outcry grew. Along with criticism from the online community, the Lifeway Christian retail chain announced that it would no longer be selling his books, and the Acts 29 Network of church planters (which Driscoll helped found) removed Mars Hill and Driscoll, saying “the nature of the accusations against Mark, most of which have been confirmed by him, make it untenable and unhelpful to keep Mark and Mars Hill in our network” ... Discuss
In a recent interview with reporters while traveling from South Korea, Pope Francis revealed that he believes he only has "two or three years" left, and would even consider retiring early. The 77-year-old leader of the Catholic church said,
I see it as the generosity of the people of God. I try to think of my sins, my mistakes, not to become proud. Because I know it will last only a short time. Two or three years and then I'll be off to the Father's house.
Pope Francis said that though the idea “does not appeal to some theologians," he would consider retirement if he began to feel like he couldn’t handle his responsibilities as pope, like his predecessor. Pope Francis said that “"Benedict XVI opened a door,” and even admitted that he is currently being treated for nerve problems ... Discuss
In a conversation with reporters, Pope Francis said that the U.N.—and not a single country—should be involved in the decision to take action against ISIS, but protecting Christians and religious minorities in Iraq was essential.
In these cases, where there is an unjust aggression I can only say that it is legitimate to stop the unjust aggressor. I underscore the verb 'to stop'. I am not saying 'bomb' or 'make war', but stop him (the aggressor). The means by which he can be stopped must be evaluated. Stopping the unjust aggressor is legitimate
Pope Francis said that a senior church official has been sent to Iraq to distribute charity funds and minister to refugees who have been displaced by ISIS. The brutal Islamic group has forced thousands to flee their homes and have been targeting Christians and other religious groups who do not adhere to their radical ideology. The pope also revealed that he sent a letter to the U.N. Secretary-General, reiterating how important it is that ISIS be stopped ... Discuss
Baptists have a baptism Problem. This spring, leaders from the Southern Baptist Convention released the findings of a report on the decline in baptisms within the denomination. Their numbers indicate that from 1999 to 2012 (the latest year of the study), baptisms fell by nearly 25 percent in Baptist churches across the country. The report also found 25 percent of Baptist churches didn’t report a single baptism the entire year. Read More