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Acts 29 Removes Mars Hill, Asks Mark Driscoll To Step Down and Seek Help

(UPDATED) Mars Hill cancels Resurgence conference. Paul Tripp says Driscoll's accountability model will never work. Board insists 'making real progress' on problems.

Update (Aug. 15): Mars Hill has canceled its 2014 Resurgence Conference, which was to be held October 28-29 and included recently resigned board members Paul Tripp and James MacDonald as speakers.

"The Resurgence Conference has always been born out of our love of Jesus and the church, and the desire to support efforts to grow leaders to grow churches," states the church's announcement. "Unfortunately, we have decided to cancel this year’s conference due to unforeseen changes to our speaker line-up and other challenges we believe would make it difficult to provide the quality of conference people have come to expect from Resurgence."

Promotional material stated that the 2013 conference had 175 countries represented. Other speakers for the 2014 conference were J. I. Packer (by video), Greg Laurie, Crawford Loritts, Terry Virgo, and of course, Mark Driscoll.

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Update (Aug. 12): Paul Tripp, a popular pastor and speaker who recently resigned as one of Mark Driscoll's advisers, stated today that Mars Hill's accountability model "will never be able to do what it was designed to do."

"It became clear to me that a distant, external accountability board can never work well because it isn't a firsthand witness to the ongoing life and ministry of the church, wrote Tripp of Mars Hill's Board of Advisors and Accountability (BOAA) in a statement on his website. Tripp is executive director of the Association of Biblical Counselors's Center for Pastoral Life and Care, and author of 15 books on Christian living, including Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry.

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Such a board at best can provide financial accountability, ...

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Morning Roundup 8/20/14

Robin Williams' Faith; Italian Evangelicals Wary; Human Progress Died

Could Robin Williams’ Faith Have Prevented His Suicide?Jim Daly

Helpful words from Jim Daly, including a mention of our forthcoming research.

Pope Francis Apologizes for Pentecostal Persecution, But Italy's Evangelicals Remain Wary—Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra

Many people in the United States are unaware of how evangelicals have been persecuted by Catholics. The Pope apologizes for such actions, but be sure to read the response from evangelicals in Italy to the new Pope.

One hundred years ago today the dream of human progress diedAdrian Warnock

My friend Adrian has a fascinating look at the beginning of World War I. There are so many theological emphases that were crushed by the beginning of the war (such as post-millenialism). Adrian’s article is worth a read.

Kevin Myers is the Senior Pastor of 12Stone Church in Gwinnett County, Georgia, joins me on this episode of The Exchange. In this clip, Kevin talks about how longevity leads to expansion. Don't forget to join me every Tuesday at 3:00 PM Eastern for The Exchange.

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The Broken Beauty of the Global Church

Tim Keesee reports from places where persecuted Christians live with suffering and joy.

In Wheaton, Illinois, where I live, I'm surrounded by families who have fled their countries, leaving war, famine, political oppression, and sometimes religious persecution. Our small church is blessed to occasionally have one of these families join us. The depths of faith forged in hardship often overwhelm us. We are also reminded that millions of our foreign-born brothers and sisters, and millions more living without the hope of the gospel, continue to suffer.

These people, living in dangerous settings, are the subject of Tim Keesee's book Dispatches from the Front: Stories of Gospel Advance in the World's Difficult Places (Crossway). Keesee, founder of Frontline Missions International, compiles stories from his travels to places where Christians live with profound suffering and joy. Though some of the accounts lack context, and some of the language veers into the sensational, Keesee's stories and vivid writing bring the reader close to heroic and suffering people around the world.

Keesee's organization originally produced a DVD series that documented his travels. The book follows a similar format, giving vignettes of places and people across the globe. In some places, we learn about the political and religious history through Keesee's tours of museums and historical sites, which adds a rich context to the stories of missionaries and local believers.

At other points, the book fails to supply relevant background information. Keesee tells the harrowing stories of believers in Pakistan, fearing for their lives during a night of anti-Christian rioting he experienced firsthand. But he neglects to mention the political upheaval in that country, which would have helped to make sense of the violent ...

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LifeWay Stops Selling Mark Driscoll's Books at 180 Christian Stores

(UPDATED) Southern Baptist chain decides to 'assess the situation regarding his ministry.'

Update (Aug. 12): One of Mark Driscoll's advisers who recently resigned, Paul Tripp, stated today that Mars Hill's accountability model "will never be able to do what it was designed to do."

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[Updated with past Tyndale defense of Driscoll and Publishers Weekly report]

LifeWay Christian Resources, which bills itself as "one of the world's largest providers of Christian products and services," has pulled Mark Driscoll's books from its website and more than 180 stores nationwide.

The action by the publishing arm of America's largest Protestant denomination, the nearly 16-million-member Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), comes one day after Matt Chandler's Acts 29 church planting network removed membership from Mars Hill churches and their popular pastor. Driscoll has authored 15 books and amassed a following of 13,000 weekly worshipers at 15 locations in five states.

"LifeWay Stores and Lifeway.com are not selling Mark Driscoll's books while we assess the situation regarding his ministry," communications director Marty King told CT. LifeWay carried Driscoll's A Call To Resurgence, along with other products to which Driscoll contributed. Now, only five products that Driscoll contributed to remain. Driscoll's books were not among LifeWay's best sellers last month.

The decision echoes the debate raised after the recent resignation of popular pastor Bob Coy following a moral failing: Should Christians stop studying the teachings of fallen pastors?

Mars Hill has yet to respond to LifeWay's decision. But on Friday, leaders rebuked Acts 29's "divisive" decision, asserting "we are making real progress in addressing the ...

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Christian College Picks Ex-Muslim as President *Because* of Controversy

School explains why 'we need a warrior' like Ergun Caner.

Past controversy surrounding Ergun Caner was not a deterrent for one of Georgia's three Southern Baptist colleges in unanimously picking the ex-Muslim-turned-academic as its next president.

Instead, it was an incentive.

"We didn't consider Dr. Caner in spite of the attacks; we elected him because of them," said a trustee for Brewton-Parker College (BPC) in announcing the "controversial educator" as its 16th president (press release copied below). "He has endured relentless and pagan attacks like a warrior. We need a warrior as our next president."

CT has covered the debate over Caner's biography and whether he exaggerated his testimony in positioning himself as an evangelical expert on Islam. Associated Baptist Press summarizes some past statements.

Here's how BPC summarized Caner's bio in its press release:

"Born in Stockholm, Sweden in 1966, Caner is the oldest son of a devout Turkish Muslim leader. The family immigrated to the United States first in 1969 and settled in central Ohio. Through the persistence of a high school friend, Caner converted to Christianity and became a minister shortly thereafter. He is a 1984 graduate of Gahanna Lincoln High School."

CT reported how Liberty University investigated the allegations in 2010 and eventually decided not to renew Caner's contract as seminary dean for making "factual statements that are self-contradictory." Meanwhile, his publisher defended Caner's biography in Unveiling Islam, as did scholar Norman Geisler.

Caner remained at Liberty as a professor until becoming provost and academic dean at Arlington Baptist College in 2011. Most recently, CT noted Caner's legal attempt ...

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