The spiritual sea of change taking place in China will not be without its challenges—some more complex than others.
While China is officially an atheist country, it is undergoing one of the most dramatic religious overhauls in modern memory. In 1949, the country was home to an estimated 1 million Christians. In 2010, that number was more like 58 million. And some studies are saying that by 2030, China could be home 247 million Christians—the most of any nation in the world. Read More
After two weeks of meetings, Catholic bishops did not come to an agreement on a revised official stance on homosexuality. The church leaders also failed to come to a consensus on whether or not remarried Catholics—who had been divorced—could receive communion. The bishops were called to the historic synod by Pope Francis after new polls revealed that the Vatican’s views of family life were seen as dated. However, despite heated discussions that led some to believe that major shifts in how the church actively ministered in the LGBT community were coming, no significant new agreements were forged. Even a revised report on the meetings—which removed several statements from an earlier report that contained positive language concerning gays and lesbians—did not receive a two-thirds vote of support from the group of bishops.
The latest version of the report said that same-sex couples were not “"God's design of matrimony and the family," but cautioned, “Nonetheless, men and women with homosexual tendencies must be welcomed with respect and delicacy.” It’s unclear how close the bishops are to revising their position on allowing remarried divorced church members to receive Holy Communion, as the report only said that they will continue to examine the issue. Following the synod, Pope Francis gave a speech, saying, “The Church is called to waste no time in seeking to bind up open wounds and to rekindle hope in so many people who have lost hope.” The more than 200 bishops will meet again next fall to discuss similar issues ... Discuss
Religion News Service is reporting that Mark Driscoll has officially resigned from Mars Hill Church in Seattle. Driscoll grew famous for his forceful preaching style but had recently drawn controversy for accusations of plagiarism and bullying. He had announced plans to take a leave of absence for six weeks some time ago, before being removed from the Acts 29 Church network he once led. Mars Hill Church reportedly did not ask Driscoll to resign, and expressed surprise at his decision.
“Recent months have proven unhealthy for our family—even physically unsafe at times—and we believe the time has now come for the elders to choose new pastoral leadership for Mars Hill,” Driscoll wrote in his resignation letter. "I do not want to be the source of anything that might detract from our church’s mission to lead people to a personal and growing relationship with Jesus Christ." Read the full text of his letter here ... Discuss
Some very troubling reports surfacing from Akron, Ohio, where a televangelist named Ernest Angley has been accused of truly despicable activity, including gross sexual misconduct and forcing members of his congregation to get vasectomies and abortions. Numerous church members have come forward saying Angley wanted to keep people in his church, Grace Cathedral, from having children—people like prominent church member Greg Mulkey, who told reporters “He doesn’t want people to have kids because it would take their time and money away from [the church] ...He really forced people into abortions through scare tactics, as if he were a medical doctor."
A former pastor is also accusing Angley of inappropriate touching, accusations the 93-year-old Angley defended himself from in the pulpit recently, saying “I’m not a homosexual. God wouldn’t use a homosexual like He uses me" ... Discuss