Liberty University trustees launched a wide-ranging investigation into the fifteen-year tenure of recently dismissed president Jerry Falwell, Jr. Falwell resigned under pressure following a series of embarrassing and/or compromising behaviors, some involving sex. Now, financial and real estate matters have been added to the list of concerns, especially after the university gave him $10.5 million in severance. Liberty is the largest university in the world that carries the “Christian” identity, with approximately 100,00 students, most of them on-line.
The Christian crowd-sourcing site GiveSendGo has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to support the 17-year-old militia member Kyle Rittenhouse following his arrest in Wisconsin on multiple murder charges. Rittenhouse came from Illinois armed with a loaded long rifle, he says, to support police in their effort to control violence to property that has erupted after the police shooting of Jacob Blake. In the ruckus that ensued, Rittenhouse shot three people, killing two of them. The people who created the fundraising account are friends of the Rittenhouse family, from Athens, Georgia. (As of today–September 3, 2020, 4:30 pm–9,244 donors have given #391,229!!)
Pastor John MacArthur is at it again: ignoring do-not-gather and wear-a-mask protocols issued by state authorities and debunking the very notion that there has been a global pandemic at all. He and others have seized upon a report from the Center for Disease Control that said 94% of the 180,000+ people whose death certificate lists COVID-19 as the cause of death had other health issues, called co-morbidities by the health professionals. “Only 6% died of the virus,” MacArthur (wrongly) told his people on Sunday. He also told President Trump in a phone call this week that true believers in Christ will vote for him in November. Sounds like politics has clouded the pastor’s judgment!
The Supreme Court, now dominated by Catholic justices, has agreed to hear a case from Philadelphia involving Roman Catholic charities. Of the nine justices, five are practicing Catholics and another was raised and educated in the Catholic school system; the other three justices are Jewish. The case before the Court, to be argued on November 4, asks whether the public child welfare department, charged with placing adopted children with families, can exclude religions organizations—in this case, Roman Catholic organizations—from consideration because they refuse to certify gay couples for their foster care and adoptive homes. The new Court year begins, as always, on the first Monday in October.
Barna Group, a prominent, Evangelical Christian research firm based in Southern California has issued a warning that as many as 20% of Christian churches could close within 18 months due to the COVID-19 shutdown. President David Kinnaman pointed to, one, less than expected attendance and contributions at churches that have reopened for public worship and, two, percentage of pastors who express confidence that their churches will survive is down from 70% to 56% in just a matter of months. “I think the digital church is here to stay,” he also predicted, thinking of the long-term impact of the pandemic. And I might add: I plan to launch, not a church, but Dr. Moody’s Bible Class. Stay tuned!