As we bid 2015 a fond farewell, let’s look back at the biggest stories of 2015 that had us talking. There were stories of jet planes, empty churches and disgraced pastors that kept us entranced.
- They admitted that the nation’s largest abortion business has never provided life-saving mammograms.
- They stopped accepting payments for harvesting aborted babies’ organs, tissue and limbs amid congressional investigations into its policies and clinic operations.
#4 Pew reports that Christianity is Declining in U.S.
For the first time in our nation more people identified as having ‘no religion’ and took the title as ‘spiritual’. The report found the decline among Christians was due a decline among Mainline Protestants and Catholics. After taking the margin of error into account, the number of Evangelicals may have stayed the same or increased by as many as five million, with most of that increase likely due to more Latino Evangelicals.While the U.S. remains home to more Christians than any other country, the percentage of Americans identifying as Christian dropped from 78% in 2007 to 71% in 2014. By contrast, religious “nones,” driven in large part by Millennials, have surged seven percentage points in that time span to make up 23% of U.S. adults last year.
#3 Ashley Madison Fall Out
Ashley Madison fall out started as a trickle but ended with a waterfall.Ashley Madison was a website that provided married men with the ability to date women who were interested in having an affair with the. Leaders from several denominations in the U.S. and Canada, estimated to be at least 400 church leaders (pastors, elders, staff, deacons, etc.) resigned. There is still a scent of embarrassment in the faith community after the dust has settled.The majority of the email addresses used were personal Hotmail or Gmail accounts, however there were lots who have used work-linked email accounts. There were suicides, disciplinarian citations and removals. The panic after ‘Anonymous’ released the list encouraged many denominations to rethink marriage programs and pastor appointments.
#2. The Creflo Dollar Airplane Debacle
Yes, we all talked about this for hours. None of us could figure out just how this could happen. We have to tell you how this started. It all started with a video request for a Gulfstream G650 video. The Gulfstream G650 isn’t just any private jet. Billionaires use these luxury jets. It sells for upwards of $65 million each. It is the “Holy Grail” of luxury private jets, Bloomberg once wrote. Televangelist Creflo Dollar’s ministry announced that it will also buy a G650, a purchase the ministry says is “necessary” to spread God’s word.
When the public got wind of the request, all hades broke out.
Dollar’s first fundraising effort for the plane, “Project G650,” was dropped in March, just days after it was announced. A video outlining the campaign encouraged Dollar’s followers to donate at least $300 each towards the purchase of a luxury jet. In the video, the ministry explained that the televangelist’s current jet was more than 30 years old and was damaged in November. Within weeks, The ministry board reached oyt and scrapped the whole idea and removed the video. Minister Dollar decided traveling commercial would be best.
And drum roll please…
#1 Mark Driscoll Stripped Of Megachurch And HillSong Removes Him
Mark Driscoll’s story ended 2014 and continued to 2015. He had long been an evangelical bad boy, a gifted orator and charismatic leader who built one of the nation’s most influential megachurches despite, or perhaps fueled by, a foul mouth, a sharp temper and frank talk about sex.The church he founded, Mars Hill, enjoyed rapid growth in the Pacific Northwest — one of the most secular regions of the nation — and it claims 15,000 members worshiping at 15 campuses in five Western states, and 200,000 more people watching its services online every week.
Mark resigned under a cloud of ambiguity but the death nail came when famed Hillsong said farewell. Hillsong, one of the most influential international megachurches, cut him from the speaker list citing it as not suitable. They were actually responding to an online petition that collected about 3,000 signatures advising Hillsong pull the plug on the famed pastor.
Needless to say millions of dollars, extensive property and spiritual intel were destroyed in less than a month. Hopefully, Mark will have a better 2016.
What story left you talking this year? Tell us about it.
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