Most of the class-action lawsuit against Sovereign Grace Ministries, in which rampant sexual abuse was allegedly committed against children, has been dismissed by a Maryland judge. Bill O’Neil, the attorney for the plaintiffs, stated yesterday in an interview with radio host Janet Mefferd that it had been known from the outset that the age of most of the alleged victims had long since passed the statute of limitations. The case still was pursued, however, in the hope that allegations that SGM leadership had systematically pressured victims not to seek legal counsel or help outside of the church would have weighed more heavily into the judge’s decision.
Christianity Today is reporting today that Joshua Harris, pastor of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, MD, shared in a recent sermon that he had been sexually abused as a child. In talking about the abuse he suffered, Harris encouraged anyone hearing him who was currently being abused to go to someone trusted and seek help.
As the Sola Sisters blog has documented in earlier articles, Sovereign Grace Ministries is currently embroiled in an ongoing class action lawsuit alleging child sex abuse dating back a number of years. Radio talk show host Janet Mefferd has been diligently reporting on the case by interviewing various attorneys involved in the lawsuit, as well as former Sovereign Grace Ministries leader, now turned whistle-blower, Brent Detwiler.
For those who may not be aware, today is Earth Day. I have been receiving notifications about Earth Day’s impending arrival for about two weeks, and in my email inbox this morning, I received “Happy Earth Day” messages from a t-shirt company, Aveda, a homeschooling organization, Williams Sonoma, Lindt Chocolates, and many others. But how should Christians think about Earth Day? And what, if anything, should be our response? Continue reading ➛
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz recently was challenged by a shareholder in the company who questioned the company’s endorsement of a state bill to legalize same-sex marriage. Schultz reportedly told the shareholder that he was free to sell his Starbucks shares and invest elsewhere. The ensuing brouhaha had many Christians up in arms, calling for a boycott of Starbucks coffee, and lighting up social media with conversations about this dastardly deed. And yet at the risk of inflaming many of my Christian friends who often exercise their American right to choose to boycott a company that makes this or that anti-Christian statement, here is just some food for thought: Should we as Christians expect lost people to act in any other way than lost people generally do?
Christine Pack of Sola Sisters shares her concern over the apparent endorsement of The History Channel’s miniseries, ‘The Bible.’ Both Creation Ministries International and Answers in Genesis have come out in support of the production. Pack speculates that this could be because the miniseries portrays Adam and Eve as historical figures and also depicts a global flood.
When it comes to food, does “natural” automatically equal “better”? While it is true that eating food that is less processed is more healthy than eating food that is highly processed, it is important for the Christian to remember that Jesus declared all foods to be clean:
“Nothing outside a man can make him ‘unclean’ by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him ‘unclean.’” After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him ‘unclean’? For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods “clean.”) Mark 7:15–19
Further, when Adam and Eve sinned and brought about the Fall, all of the world was cursed, including the plants (Gen. 3:17; Rom. 8:22). Thus, “going back to nature” and esteeming natural, plant-based food, treatments, etc. as better or more pure may be faulty thinking.
Sola Sisters offers a suggestion for fathers and mothers looking for a helpful resource to teach Bible verses to their children. Seeds Family Worship is a ministry out of Nashville, Tennessee that has produced eight wonderful CDs with catchy, original songs that teach Scripture to children.
Speaking to over 60,000 youth at the Passion 2013 conference, popular pastor Judah Smith made the following curious statement:
God is a community, so He wants us to live in community….The world will not see God without community.
Why is “Community” so critically important to this new crop of idealistic young pastors? Christian apologist Chris Rosebrough has put forth a compelling argument that it is because they are misinterpreting the truth of the Trinity. It is true that God reveals Himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, yet these pastors are teaching that this means that “God is a community,” and thus “community” must be the final and ultimate goal of every Christian. With this skewed teaching, the concept of community becomes a type of holy ideal.
Jonathan Cahn, author of The Harbinger, claims that his recent appearance on the Glenn Beck show was his own personal Mars Hill, and was a platform for him to share the Gospel. Christine Pack of Sola Sisters asks her readers if this is true. Did Jonathan Cahn clearly proclaim to Glenn Beck, who as a Mormon worships a false god and is himself in danger of judgment, that he needs to repent and place his faith in Christ alone for the forgiveness of sins?
Sola Sisters recently documented that Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan and a council member of The Gospel Coalition, had delivered a message in which he pointed his listeners to the teachings of Ignatius of Loyola. Now, Sola Sisters explains in more specific detail some of the concerns with Ignatius of Loyola, demonstrating why it is important for discerning Christians to test all things against the sure word of Scripture.
On the heels of the recent controversy surrounding Tim Challies’ review of Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts, Christine Pack of Sola Sisters was invited to be a guest on Faith in Culture Radio with host Sarah Flashing. Sarah and Christine discussed all of these recent events, and also spoke about the problematic trend of Mystic Christian Panentheism in the church today.
From the Sola Sisters blog:
Dear Mr. Challies,
As you may or may not know, we recently posted an article in which we commended your book review of Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts. And then today, a reader forwarded your most recent post, entitled “In Which I Ask Ann Voskamp’s Forgiveness…”, an article in which you wrote that after Ann Voskamp emailed you, inviting you to lunch, you felt a twinge of remorse over some of the wording of your original article, especially in light of the fact that you might soon find yourself face to face with her, sharing a meal.
In light of your recent post, then, please allow me to introduce myself to you. My name is Cathy Mathews, and I’m one of the writers of the Sola Sisters blog. I live in Arkansas (not on a farm, however), and I was hoping that perhaps you might come to Arkansas and have dinner with me and my family? And hopefully, you would see that I am also just as real as Mrs. Voskamp.
By now, many are aware of the controversy surrounding a recent sermon delivered by Andy Stanley, pastor of North Point Community Church. In his article, Is the Megachurch the New Liberalism? Al Mohler noted the concern that, within this sermon, Stanley seemingly normalized the reality of a homosexual relationship.
At Sola Sisters, Christine Pack shares another interesting discovery as she examines some of the “curious language” contained in a covenant that is required to be signed by all who desire to volunteer in the student ministry at North Point Community Church.
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:21-23, ESV
I grew up in a very liberal church (i.e., a church devoid of the true gospel), in which Contemplative Prayer practices were recommended routinely for those who came seeking help with “a stale prayer life.” After I left the church as a young woman and went into the New Age, these mystical practices were also an enormous part of my newfound spirituality. When God saved me at 35, I repented of these practices and recognized them for what they were: a Satanic counterfeit designed to tricks non-believers through whipped up mystical experiences into thinking they were experiencing God. But sadly, it wasn’t long before these practices began flowing into what had once been solid, evangelical churches (including my own precious church, where I was saved). So in a way, I feel I have been surrounded by these wicked mystical practices all of my life. I know them from the inside out, and I know how deceptive they are. They can deceive unregenerated people into thinking for years – in many cases, a lifetime – that they have a real, active, ongoing relationship with the God of the universe, when in fact, they do not.
Children, Youth and a New Kind of Christianity, an upcoming conference to be held 7-12 May 2012 in Washington, DC, will feature prominent leaders of the Emergent Church Movement, including Brian McLaren, Shane Claiborne, Tony Campolo, Samir Selmanovic, Ivy Beckwith and others.
At Sola Sisters, CRN contributor Christine Pack states that Christian parents need to be aware of this conference. She examines the beliefs of some of the featured speakers as expressed in their own words. In doing so, it becomes clear that these leaders, who have been identified as being part of Evangelical Christianity, are in fact far, far from orthodoxy.
Former-teen-actor-now-born-again-Christian Kirk Cameron’s latest movie, Monumental, has proved to be a monumental letdown, in that it apparently does not give a clear gospel message. The movie, which has been promoted by Todd Friel’s Wretched Radio, also contains factual inaccuracies as well as conflicting messages as a result of Kirk’s close association with Mormon Glenn Beck and Reconstructionist David Barton. During the live feed at the premier of the movie, right before showing the film, Cameron introduces Glenn Beck, calling him ”one of our biggest supporters of the film and a friend.” Rather concerning, given that Glenn Beck is a very outspoken Mormon (with New Age tendencies, no less), and Kirk’s close friend Todd Friel is well aware of this. In fact, Todd has exposed Beck’s beliefs a number of times, and yet until recently, the Wretched Facebook wall was heavily promoting this movie.
Jonna Petry, wife of a former elder at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA, has written a devastating account of her and her husband’s experiences at Mark Driscoll’s church. Her husband Paul Petry, who served as an elder at Mars Hill before being forced to resign, has shared his personal testimony of his tenure at Mars Hill, along with corroborating documents, in an effort to document what appears to be a form of spiritual abuse at Mars Hill.
At one point in Jonna Petry’s testimony, she writes of receiving a carefully worded letter from Mars Hill that appeared to be positioning Mars Hill for a financial settlement with their former elder (Jonna’s husband, Paul Petry). Jonna’s heartbreak seems apparent in her reaction to this letter:
“It wasn’t a legal settlement we were after. What we so longed for, what we were hoping for, was a demonstration of God’s love and grace. These were pastors right? This was a church, right – not a cutthroat corporation?”
This movie is part one of the story based on the last book in the Twilight series. Bella, a human, and Edward, a vampire, are to be married, which means at some point she must become a vampire. This is something Bella has wanted for a long time, so she is delighted.
Early in the movie, Edward tells Bella about his past when he decided to give in to his blood lust as a young vampire. However, he killed only murderers, as Bella kindly points out. Edward tries to get Bella to consider changing her mind about becoming a vampire but she is not to be persuaded.
Many of us know by now that, in 2010, Dr. John Piper (author of Desiring God and pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church) gave his “stamp of approval” to Rick Warren by having Warren be a keynote speaker at Dr. Piper’s annual Desiring God conference. This was an event that caught many in evangelicalism off guard and resulted in a flurry of blog posts over a number of months. The problem with Dr. Piper welcoming Rick Warren into the fold is that Dr. Piper has long been known as a champion and protector of the purity of the gospel message. He has served as a trusted church leader to whom many turned in an effort to get sound, biblical teaching. This is no small thing in today’s church community which is moving increasingly away from expositional teaching in favor of watered down, topical style preaching. So when Dr. Piper asked Rick Warren to be a keynote speaker at Desiring God’s annual conference, it was perceived by many to be analogous to the shepherd throwing open the gate to the sheep-fold and welcoming in the wolf, rather than protecting his flock from the wolf.
According to our article posted just a few hours ago, Rick Warren, megachurch pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA, is currently working to build a “bridge” (through a ministry called King’s Way) between Christians and Muslims by claiming that the two faiths worship the same God. From the article by Jim Hinch of the Orange County Register:
“The Rev. Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest and one of America’s most influential Christian leaders, has embarked on an effort to heal divisions between evangelical Christians and Muslims by partnering with Southern California mosques and proposing a set of theological principles that includes acknowledging that Christians and Muslims worship the same God.” Online Source
After this article appeared, Pastor Warren commented on the article in the comments section, claiming that there were errors in the Orange County article.
The Justice Conference 2012 is currently taking place in Portland, OR, and features such keynote speakers as Francis Chan, Shane Claiborne, Miroslov Volf, Walter Brueggemann, Lynn Hybels and Dr. Christina Cummings. Amanda Bowers of My Sheep Hear My Voice reviews the background of the conference and some of its speakers.
Article by Marcia Montenegro (Christians Answers For The New Age) (Expanded and Adapted from Marcia’s book, SpellBound: The Paranormal Seduction of Today’s Kids)
I wrote the following post partly as a reaction to the over-reaction to Madonna’s half-time show at the 2012 Super Bowl. Some of the stuff I read went overboard trying to link in all kinds of evil stuff due to her costume, which I’m sure she wore just because she’s a diva and wanted to outdo anyone else who’s done a half-time show. She probably copied some of it from previous designs and wanted to look outrageous, but that does not mean we should take it seriously.
Amanda Bower of Hears His Voice writes:
At the recent Passion 2012 conference (Atlanta, GA), Beth Moore, John Piper, Louie Giglio and company taught/led an entire sports arena (45,000 college aged students) in (attempting to ‘hear’ God’s voice). My son’s friends in attendance of this conference told of a young girl standing outside the arena crying her eyes out because she had not heard the audible voice of God as they had instructed. Others tried to comfort her but were also distraught at not hearing a thing. This idea that Christians can and should hear “audible words from God” is a dangerous teaching that has become deeply rooted in evangelicalism. And unfortunately, it is through books like Experiencing God and Hearing God’s Voice, authored by widely respected Southern Baptist pastor Henry Blackaby, that these false and dangerous teachings have entered into the church.