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Southwestern

Bob Smietana

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Kentucky church to investigate Chris Rice, Christian musician, after abuse allegation

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (RNS) — A Kentucky church has announced plans to investigate allegations of sexual abuse by Dove Award-winning Christian musician and songwriter Chris Rice.

John MacArthur, Grace Community Church defy guidelines after court overturns favorable ruling

SUN VALLEY, Calif. (AP/RNS) -- After two court rulings over the weekend, Grace Community Church again met indoors for worship Sunday (Aug. 16), continuing its defiance of a government order banning large indoor meetings and singing during meetings.

Southern Baptist church planter dies after being hit by semi-truck

SHERMAN, Texas (RNS) — John Powell, a church planter and pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in New Caney, Texas, was killed in a highway accident Saturday (July 18), reportedly as he was helping a driver who had stopped in the traffic lanes. According to television station KXII, a truck driving north on U.S. Highway 75 was struck by a car. The car caught fire and two men pulled over to assist. One of the men was struck by a semi and was killed, according to a report from the Sherman, Texas, police department.

#MeToo, church awareness focus of study

NASHVILLE (BP) -- In recent months, churches have been rocked by high-profile accusations of sexual misconduct among clergy. While the Catholic church's continued abuse scandal has dominated the headlines, Protestant churches have also seen high profile pastors accused of sexual misconduct. A new LifeWay Research study shows one in eight Protestant senior pastors say a church staff member has sexually harassed a member of the congregation at some point in the church's history. One in six pastors say a staff member has been harassed in a church setting.

Political divides in church focus of new study

NASHVILLE (BP) -- America has become increasingly divided by politics in recent years. So have its Protestant churches, according to a study released Thursday (Aug. 23). More than half (57 percent) of Protestant churchgoers under 50 say they prefer to go to church with people who share their political views. And few adult Protestant churchgoers say they attend services with people of a different political persuasion. Those are among the findings in a new report on churchgoing and politics, conducted Aug. 22–30, 2017, by LifeWay Research. "Like many places in America, churches are divided by politics," said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. "And churchgoers under 50 seem to want it that way."

Saddleback celebrates 50,000th baptism

LAKE FOREST, Calif. (BP) -- Not long after Saddleback Church held its first services in 1980, Rick Warren waded in the water and baptized a handful of new believers. Nine people came forward that day to declare their newfound faith in Jesus. Since then, at least 49,991 people have followed in their footsteps. On Sunday (August 12), the Southern Baptist church announced that 50,000 people had been baptized at the church during its 38 years of ministry. That number includes hundreds of people baptized this weekend at the church's 19 campuses.

Why Americans go to church — and why they don’t

NASHVILLE (BP) -- Americans who attend religious services and those who skip them may be looking for the same thing -- a connection with God, according to a new survey from Pew Research. The most common single reason for attending services is that people want to be close to God. And the most common single reason for skipping services is that people found some other way to practice their faith. Eighty-one percent of those who attend services at least once a month say becoming closer to God is a very important reason they attend services.

Prosperity theology, path to ‘good life’ draw study

NASHVILLE (BP) -- For some Americans, dropping a check into the offering plate at church may seem a bit like having a Discover Card. Both offer a cash-back bonus. About a third of Protestant churchgoers say their congregation teaches that God will bless them if they donate money. Two-thirds say God wants them to prosper. One in 4 say they have to do something for God to receive material blessings in return. Those are among the key findings of a new study on so-called "prosperity gospel" beliefs from a LifeWay Research study conducted Aug. 22–30, 2017. For the study, released today (July 31), LifeWay Research surveyed 1,010 Americans who attend a Protestant or non-denominational church at least once a month.

Zoning restriction stymies church’s expanded ministry

LAUREL, Md. (BP) -- Members of Redemption Community Church can grab a cappuccino and a scone in the building the church bought three years ago. They can hang out with friends, listen to live music or sit in on a coffee brewing class. But they can't go to church. A zoning dispute has left the Laurel, Md., congregation in legal limbo in recent years. The church spent more than half a million dollars renovating a storefront into a coffeehouse that would double as a worship space.

Survey: 2/3 of churchgoers invited someone to church

NASHVILLE (BP) -- America's Protestants like to invite their friends to church. At least once in a while. Nearly two-thirds of Protestant churchgoers say they've invited at least one person to visit their church in the past six months, according to a new LifeWay Research study. "It's a fairly easy thing for churchgoers to do," said Scott McConnell, ...