The Gospel Coalition published and then retracted an article that generated waves of pushback. It was written by Arizona pastor Josh Butler and drew from his forthcoming book Beautiful Union. In the book and the article, Butler uses unusually frank language to compare sexual union of two lovers to the spiritual union between the savior and the believer. Turns out it was too frank, too explicit; and editors at the Gospel Coalition pulled it off the web site. But for a publisher seeking to generate buzz for a forthcoming book, it had to be good news!
Evangelical Latina ministers in Florida are pushing back against new immigration proposals from governor Ron DeSantis. Rev. Samuel Rodriguez serves as president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. He said “there is angst in the Latino evangelical community” over DeSantis’ immigration proposal. The governor has issued a litany of stringent regulations that might bar ministers and churches from pastoral care for undocumented immigrants. “Every Latino pastor in the state of Florida, every Latino pastor who pastors a Spanish-speaking ministry [has] undocumented individuals in each of these churches,” he said. “So, are you saying that the same Latino pastors that are pro-life, pro-religious liberty, biblical justice, no to socialism and communism and yes to parental rights … are criminals?”
First Baptist Church of Ft. Lauderdale has been suspended from membership in the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability pending a review of compliance with membership standards. The Council is a voluntary association that sets and monitors financial operations for religious organizations. The church has been embroiled in three years of controversy centered around their then-new pastor, James Welsh. Critics claim he misrepresented himself to the church during the call process, fault him for canceling the long-running Christmas pageant, and sold church property without proper authority and transparency.
According to Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, the sacrament of matrimony is in freefall. Over 50 years between 1969 and 2019, Catholic marriages declined 69% even as the Catholic population increased by nearly 20 million. This means that many Catholic people are not getting married at all and also that many who do marry are marrying outside church rituals. In 2021, as U.S. Catholics largely emerged from the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, weddings were still down more than 30,000 from 2019’s pre-pandemic number of nearly 132,000 marriages celebrated.
Texas Tech University suspended its head men’s basketball coach Mark Taylor for things he said to his team. The school’s version of what happened and the coach’s version of what happened do not match, except that they agree he quoted or referred to the Bible and said something about masters and servants. This was interpreted by some as an insensitive use of slavery texts in the Bible, such as Ephesians 6, and it was this possibility that led to his suspension. How this will play out is anybody’s guess but it appears certain that the team, with a 16-15 record in a very competitive conference, will not get an invitation to the NCAA tournament. Whether coach Taylor will get an invitation to resume his coaching career is unclear.