Kanye West continued his coast to coast worship tour with a stop in Houston at the famed mega-church of Joel Osteen. West was paid $300,000 to bring his testimony and worship team to the Lakewood church where televised worship services are viewed by more than seven million people each week. The tour is also a promotional strategy for West’s new CD, “Jesus is King” whose reception has broken sales records in all top music categories. West raised eyebrows when he asserted that he is the “greatest artist that God has ever created” (having obviously forgotten about David the musician, Michelangelo the painter and sculptor, and Leo Tolstoy the writer). West is noted for wearing a MAGA hat, helping to bring attention to Evangelicals and Pentecostals as core supporters of President Trump.
At a “Face to Face” gathering in the temple at Salt Lake City, Latter-Day Saint (aka Mormon) leaders unveiled programs and policies for children and youth ministries worldwide. The new guides are arranged around three values: gospel living, service & activities, and personal development; they include information about meetings, retreats, conferences, leadership, and music. Social media apps to support the new programs will be available in January. The new pledge for young men (or Aaronic Priesthood theme, as it is formally known) reads like this: “I am a beloved son of God, and He has a work for me to do. With all my heart, might, mind, and strength, I will love God, keep my covenants, and use His priesthood to serve others, beginning in my own home. As I strive to serve, exercise faith, repent, and improve each day, I will qualify to receive temple blessings and the enduring joy of the gospel. I will prepare to become a diligent missionary, loyal husband, and loving father by being a true disciple of Jesus Christ. I will help prepare the world for the Savior’s return by inviting all to come unto Christ and receive the blessings of His Atonement.”
Charisma Magazine, based near Orlando (and thus near the epicenter of influence for presidential pastor Paula White) continues to serve as one voice for the white Evangelical network that supports the Trump presidency. The web home page of their magazine features three items dealing with End of the World matters. The new space defense project reflects the predictions of Revelation chapter 8; the archeological discoveries of the past 150 years are arranged in 50 year cycles, mimicking the years of jubilee; and the return of four million Jews to the land of Israel “heralds the soon coming of the Messianic Kingdom.” This is the political background of the state department decision this week to recognize the Israeli settlements on the West Bank and legal and appropriate, given the Bible promise to the Jews.
A letter written in 2012 by Paige Patterson, once the president of the Southern Baptist Convention, to Jimmy Draper, also a former president of the Convention, reveals serious questions Patterson had about the ability of Fred Luter, the first minority persons elected to serve as president, to sustain the Convention’s commitment to biblical inerrancy as the rationale for the rise of fundamentalism within the Convention. He wrote, “Under Fred’s leadership it would be possible for us to slide a long way back toward where we once were, and that would be devastating.” Luter was, and is, the pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans. The letter was among thousands of items donated to the library of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas (where Patterson was, until his termination, president).
Popular radio host and reporter Julie Roys has published the 50+minute address she delivered at the RESTORE-CHICAGO conference three weeks ago. The conference, hosted by Bethel College in Elgin, Illinois, convened people who have been involved in the controversies in Evangelical cultures related to mismanagement, deception, and abuse. Roys has been at the center of uncovering much of the corruption throughout the Evangelical network nationwide. In her address, Roys mentioned Harvest Bible Church, Moody Bible Institute and Seminary, Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, Gospel for Asia, Southern Baptist Convention, Liberty University, and Willow Creek Church. She said, “I firmly believe this is not accidental. It’s part of a powerful move of God to purify His Church. And we need to join God in what He’s doing.”