Tullian Tchividjian, the grandson of famed evangelist Billy Graham and author of several books, has stepped down as the senior pastor of the 2,000-member Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, confessing to having an affair. Tchividjian had served as the church’s senior pastor since 2009. In a statement to The Washington Post, Tchividjian said he recently discovered that his wife was having an ongoing affair, which eventually led them to separate. He wrote, “Sadly and embarrassingly, I subsequently sought comfort in a friend and developed an inappropriate relationship myself. Last week, I was approached by our church leaders and they asked me about my own affair. I admitted to it and it was decided that the best course of action would be for me to resign.”
Tchividjian said “my wife and I are heartbroken over our actions,” and asked for prayer. The church's executive pastor, Rob Pacienza, told the paper they will be “working with and assisting Pastor Tullian and his family to help them through this difficult time” ... Discuss
Elisabeth Elliott, influential writer and wife of Christian martyr Jim Elliot, died this morning, according to several sources. She was 88 years old.
Elliot’s first husband, Jim—subject of the 2005 docudrama, End of the Spear—was killed by members of an unreached tribe in eastern Ecuador—the very tribe he was trying to reach with the Gospel of Christ. Elisabeth Elliot authored two best-selling books about Jim's life, Through Gates of Splendor and Shadow of the Almighty: The Life and Testimony of Jim Elliot. And she eventually returned to the same tribe that killed her first husband to continue the work he began.
She wrote around 20 books—including classics such as Passion and Purity—and hosted of the radio show, Gateway to Joy, which ran through 2001 ... Discuss
Pope Francis is continuing his personal outreach to the homeless around Vatican City. The pontiff ordered a new, 30-bed homeless shelter to be built in the Vatican. As The Washington Post notes, it’s just the first in a series of actions to care for the homeless he’s undertaken since becoming pope: He’s installed free showers in Vatican City; paid for homeless individuals to visit the Shroud of Turin; arranged private museum tours; and even provided free shaves and haircuts ... Discuss
According to new research led by San Diego State University's Jean Twenge, millennials may be the least religious generation in the history of America. For the study, the team looked at how more than 11 million teens responded to questions about faith, religious organizations, spirituality, prayer and meditation, dating back to the mid 1960s. They found that the group who are now millennials are the least religious ever recorded. She told EurekAlert:
Unlike previous studies, ours is able to show that millennials' lower religious involvement is due to cultural change, not to millennials being young and unsettled. Millennial adolescents are less religious than Boomers and GenX'ers were at the same age. We also looked at younger ages than the previous studies. More of today's adolescents are abandoning religion before they reach adulthood, with an increasing number not raised with religion at all.
They found that compared to four decades ago, the number of high school seniors and college students who don’t go to church or religious services has doubled. The cause for the dramatic shifts? Twenge said that a culture that values individualism could be responsible: "Individualism puts the self first, which doesn't always fit well with the commitment to the institution and other people that religion often requires. As Americans become more individualistic, it makes sense that fewer would commit to religion” ... Discuss
Christianity is on the decline in America. The Pew Research Center has released the results for a new survey which found that religion, particularly Christianity, is dropping among the American population. Nearly 23 percent of all respondents claimed no religion—that’s up from 17 percent in 2007. In the last seven years, the number of self-described Christians fell from 78 percent of the population to 71 percent. “Nones” (people who do not claim any religion) are second only to evangelicals in terms of demographic size, as evangelicals saw a slight drop in numbers ... Discuss
Saddleback Church pastor and author Rick Warren issued the opening statement at the Senate’s hearing on Global Health Problems this week. Warren not only provided biblical support for continuing to provide assistance for people in need around the world, he also explained why he believed it could lead to greater peace in the future:
It’s far more cost effective, far cheaper, for Americans to send medicine to make friends now, than to send troops to fight enemies later. Medicines cost less than tanks.
Warren also encouraged continued partnerships between the faith community and the public and private sectors to fight poverty and provide international medical assistance: “The Church invented the hospital. And if we’re going to absolutely eradicate these diseases, we’ve got to do a combination of the public sector, the private sector and the faith sector: The three legs of the stool” ... Discuss