Former megachurch pastor Perry Noble is speaking out about his struggle with alcohol. The former pastor of NewSpring Church was removed from his position this summer, and took to Facebook to explained that he had been abusing alcohol, and would be seeking treatment. This week, he gave his followers an update, explaining that he had identified some of the roots of his struggle with a counselor, “These are the areas where I have clearly identified making extremely unwise decisions.”

He explained,

I chose isolation over community. I was a hypocrite—I preached, ‘you can't do life alone’ and then went out and lived the opposite …

Isolation is where self pity dominated my thinking, thus justifying my abuse of alcohol.
Isolation is where self-doubt dominated my emotions, causing me to believe I just could not carry the weight anymore, and alcohol was necessary for me to make it through another day.

Isolation is where self-hatred dominated my mentality - I hated myself, literally HATED myself for doing what I was doing, but believed the lie that this was just the way things were and there was no way it could ever get better.

I chose isolation—all the while knowing that a strong community of people who really loved me would rally around me and walk with me through the valley I was in.

Noble also said that he chose to control relationships, isolate himself from his family and remain silent during his struggles. He said he and his wife “love each other and are really trying to make our marriage work.” He also encouraged other couples facing challenges to get the help they need:

Let me beg married couples...please don't cease fighting for your marriage by investing your time and attention into other things. Maybe it's not alcohol, maybe it's a hobby, or porn, or friendships...or even your kids. Take it from me - the temporary feeling of relief is not worth the long term pain of the consequences.

You can read his entire post here. Discuss

Last week, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship rolled out a new policy that banned employees from holding theological beliefs that support same-sex marriage. Employees who disagree with the organization’s “Theological Summary of Human Sexuality” must inform their supervisors, effectively ending their employment with InterVarsity after a two-week period. The organization plans to pay for “outplacement service costs” for a month following.

The announcement met significant backlash. And today, that backlash reached a new level: 40 InterVarsity published authors and notable alumni are protesting the decision.

In a letter to InterVarsity leadership, published later by Religion News Service, authors such as Shane Claiborne, David Dark and Christena Cleveland call on the organization’s president and CEO Tom Lin to amend the policy to allow for divergent views.

Chris Heuertz, a pastor in Nebraska and author of multiple books with InterVarsity, sent the letter to Tom Lin via email on Tuesday afternoon.

The letter, in part, reads:

October 11, 2016

To Tom Lin, the InterVarity Christian Fellowship USA Cabinet and Board of Directors,
As authors who have published with InterVarsity Press (IVP), we are deeply troubled and concerned about your organization’s recent “involuntary termination” policy. Since our IVP books indirectly tether us to your organization, we feel it is necessary to make our feelings known to you and those with whom we have relationships. We understand that conversations related to marriage, sexuality, and gender are critical for Christians, but we also recognize that Christians of mutual goodwill can have those conversations and arrive at various conclusions. While we do not all share the same theological or political views, we are united in our concern for the dignity and care of our fellow Christians whose jobs are threatened by your policy.

A list of all the authors who signed the letter are included in the RNS report here.

Along with this letter and signatures, a petition on now has more than 1,000 signatures from InterVarsity alumni, who’ve worked there over the years.

After the initial wave of pushback, including an extensive article at Time, InterVarsity responded on Facebook:

We know that LGBTQI people have experienced great pain, including much caused by Christians. We also know that we ourselves each need Jesus’ grace daily. So we attempt to walk humbly in this conversation.

We do continue to hold to an orthodox view of human sexuality and Christian marriage, as you can read in our Theology of Human Sexuality Document at the bottom of the article.
That said, we believe Christlikeness, for our part, includes both embracing Scripture’s teachings on human sexuality—uncomfortable and difficult as they may be—as well as upholding the dignity of all people, because we are all made in God’s image.

Some will argue this cannot be done. We believe that we must if we want to be faithful followers of Jesus.

So far, the organization hasn't responded to the letter written by their authors. Discuss

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This weekend, Hillsong Senior Pastor Brian Houston explained why new visitors to his global, multi-site church originally based in Australia won’t hear two of the most popular songs their worship bands have ever recorded. As The Christian Post notes, while speaking at Atlanta’s Catalyst, Houston explained that,

When it comes to influence, predictability is our enemy. Because you never get influence from doing things the way they've always been done. You get influence from creating new ways … Thank God for innovation. Thank God for creativity ... Spontaneity is our friend in the church.

For them, that means not singing two of the most popular modern worship songs ever recorded.

You may be shocked to hear we don't sing 'Shout to the Lord' anymore at Hillsong Church. It's not 1993. If you come all the way to Australia and you hope to hear 'Shout to the Lord,' your chances are slight. We don't even sing 'Oceans' much anymore.

Along with their global church plants and multi-site locations, Hillsong has been home to some of the most influential worship artists in the last 30 years, including Hillsong’s worship band (originally led by Darlene Zschech and Reuben Morgan), Hillsong United and Hillsong Young & Free. Discuss

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