At Grace Community Church—the California megachurch pastored by John MacArthur—a former elder and women who suffered domestic violence are calling out “awful patterns of counseling.” The elder resigned last year when the church refused to reconsider a discipline case against the wife of a child abuser.
A 22-year-old Pentecostal chaplain was killed in a Russian rocket attack. He volunteered to minister to Ukrainian troops at age 14 after two of his brothers were tortured and killed in Donetsk.
A militant Muslim wanted to join a holy war against Christians. Then he witnessed small acts of Christian love.
On the latest episode of Viral Jesus, Heather Thompson Day considers what our online relationships say about our beliefs about a relational God.
Behind the story
From Kate Shellnutt: A couple of the women I interviewed about their experience in biblical counseling at Grace Community Church said they had assumed their leaders didn’t understand what they were really going through—that maybe if they had known more, they would have responded differently. But even providing further evidence and testimony didn’t always change their minds. They wondered what more they could do to convince pastors to take their situation seriously.
Hohn Cho, the former elder, also believed the board might do the right thing if they were informed. He persisted in sending updates and documentation about troubling counseling cases even when he no longer belonged to the church. Top leaders didn’t see the documentation the same way Cho did; they have not reconsidered the case he resigned over or made moves to apologize to the woman who was disciplined.
The work I do as a journalist is also an effort to let people know more in the hopes that they’ll do better. Perhaps these accounts will not shift views at Grace Community Church, but I do trust that they can inform us all. The way leaders respond to allegations of abuse can have grievous consequences on people’s lives and faith—and the testimony of the church.
In other news
The Church of England will now allow prayers of blessing for gay couples, but not marriage. Leading up to the vote, evangelicals feared this debate would split the church.
Charitable giving among millennials is up.
Mainline Presbyterians are debating whether a biblical interpretation question on an ordination test was “tantamount to hazing.”
Doing donuts in a church parking lot can cost churches thousands in re-paving.
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