The Academy of Preachers of Lexington, Kentucky, announces it had concluded an agreement with Belmont University of Nashville, Tennessee, for the school to assume ownership and operations of the decade-old non-profit whose mission it is to “identify, network, support, and inspire young people in the call to gospel preaching”. The AoP was launched in Louisville through the generous support of the Lilly Endowment of Indianapolis. It hosted festivals of preaching for young adults (ages 14-28, mainly) around the country including an annual National Festival in January. Belmont promises to continue the festivals.
Research done on behalf of the Washington-based Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) demonstrates that the religious struggle of college students at institutions affiliated with the organization is significantly different than on more secular campuses. A new two-part study published in Christian Higher Education shows CCCU students are more likely to feel unsettled about spiritual matters, unsure of their beliefs, disillusioned with their religious upbringing, distant from God, or angry with God than their peers at secular schools as well as those at mainline Protestant and Catholic institutions. Of the 1,024 self-identified religious colleges in the United States, 144 have some affiliation with the CCCU.
Pop star Justin Bieber gave God the glory for putting people in his life to love him despite his sinful past in a recent Instagram post that has drawn more than three million likes. In the post, Bieber opened up about the difficulties of being a child star and how that seduced him into the full range of sinful behavior, leading him to contemplate suicide. Bieber grew up in a strong Christian family in Canada and achieved incredible success as a singer, moving from Christian music (at age 13) into popular music. He concluded his post with praise for his wife Hailey Baldwin and this word of encouragement: “Jesus loves you. Be kind Today. Be bold today and love people today not by your standards but by God’s perfect unfailing love.”
Southern Baptist Seminary president Albert Mohler caused quite a stir on social media when he asserted that parenthood is what being human is all about. He was responding to a poll published in the Wall Street Journal demonstrating that young adults have less commitment to religion, patriotism, and parenthood that previous generations. He said this generation is “giving up on the fact that to be human is to be a parent, eventually to take on that responsibility to get married and have children, to take on the responsibility of passing on civilization itself.” He went on to contend that the elites responsible for this erosion of traditional values of religion, country, and family are winning the culture wars.
Americans are noticeably absent from the list of 10 new cardinals named this week by Pope Francis, dropping the American percentage of the College of Cardinals from 10% to 7%. One candidate hails from Canada, one from Morocco (its first) and one from Guatemala, sustaining the trend to make the College more representative of the Church with leaders from the global South. These appointments (or “creations”, to use the proper term) will bring the number of Cardinals in the Roman Catholic Church to 128, of whom 53% will have been “created” by Pope Francis. Not only do they elect the next pontiff, it is almost assured that one of them will be the next Pope. Besides electing popes, members of the College of Cardinals advise the Pope on governance of the universal church.