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MinistryWatch’s Top 10 Stories for the Month of February

The following stories had the most page views at the MinistryWatch website during the month of February. We present them here in a “countdown” format, from 10 to 1. The first few sentences of each story are reproduced below. To read the entire story, click on the link. To read the Top 25 stories of 2023, click here.

  1. ACU Reaffirms its Sexual Stewardship Policy

By Bobby Ross Jr. Despite an alumni-led petition drive urging a more progressive stance on LGBTQ+ issues, ACU in February reaffirmed its existing policy — developed after the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 2015 decision legalizing same-sex marriage.

  1. Willow Creek Closing Chicago Campus

By Zach Rivas. Willow Creek Community Church will be shutting the doors of its downtown Chicago location due to growing financial insecurity, the senior pastor announced via video last week. The non-denominational megachurch introduced the location in April 2018 on South Street near Grant Park in the heart of Chicago. However, because of “significant changes” the campus will host its last service February 25 before closing permanently.

  1. Baptist Pastor Among Men Arrested in Sex Sting

By Steve Rabey. A sting operation targeting men involved in online prostitution has netted a pastor: William Martell Kannarney. Kannarney, who was arrested this week and charged with first-degree prostitution, was senior pastor at Blue Ridge View Baptist Church in Pickens, South Carolina. He previously served at Liberty First Baptist Church in Liberty, South Carolina. Neither church would answer questions, and neither has posted information about his arrest.

  1. Another Accuser Comes Forward Alleging Abuse by Mike Bickle

By Daniel Ritchie. Mike Bickle, the founder and former pastor of the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, has been accused of abusing his children’s babysitter in the 1980s. This latest allegation against Bickle is another in a string of abuses he has allegedly committed in the past four decades.

  1. Inside the Partnership: Christian Music Artists and Child Sponsorship Ministries

By Kim Roberts. Go to a contemporary Christian music (CCM) concert and often you’ll be greeted by materials about a child sponsorship ministry or other charitable group the band asks you to support. During the concert, a heart-wrenching video about suffering children implores concertgoers to sign up as a monthly sponsor. But do concertgoers know that, behind the scenes, money is being exchanged between the charity and musical artists? What percentage of dollars raised during the concert actually reach the children in need? Is there a reason these relationships are not transparent?

  1. Asbury Revival’s Surprise for America

By Mark Tooley. Evangelicals have prayed for revival in America for decades. But do we know what to do when it happens? It’s been nearly one year since the revival at Asbury University in central Kentucky began on February 8, 2023. The widely publicized revival brought 50,000-70,000 people to Wilmore, Kentucky, population 6,000, overwhelming the infrastructure of a small community. Sadly, school authorities were obligated to shut it down after nearly continuous worship, night and day, across over two weeks. It began in the university auditorium after a routine chapel service when students declined to leave, gaining national attention, and attracting visitors from around the world.

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  1. Franklin Graham’s Border Tour Sparks Pushback

By Yonat Shimron. A liberal faith-based organization has launched a petition against the Rev. Franklin Graham’s southern border tour, calling on venue organizers to withdraw their invitations. The petition, drafted by Faithful America, has so far garnered nearly 21,000 signatures. The social justice non-profit has gone after Graham with several previous petitions, mostly condemning Graham for his views on LGBTQ issues and calling out his support for former-President Donald Trump, who is running for reelection. This time, Faithful America is denouncing what it says are Graham’s “anti-immigrant” views.

  1. Radio Preacher Alistair Begg Won’t Back Down

By Bob Smietana. For the past few weeks, Alistair Begg, pastor of Parkside Church in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and host of the “Truth for Life” radio program, has been caught in what he calls “a storm in a teacup” over advice he gave about attending an LGBTQ wedding. That advice, he said in a sermon this past weekend, was based on Jesus’ command for Christians to love even those they disagree with or disapprove of. “Jesus said you are supposed to love your enemies,” said Begg, drawing on a series of Bible texts to claim that Christians should show compassion — and not condemnation — for those who have gone astray.

  1. Texas Pastor Aaron Ivey Accused of ‘Indecent’ Texts With Men

By Roxanne Stone. The Austin Stone Church, a multicampus evangelical church in Austin, Texas, announced on Feb. 11 that it had dismissed its head worship pastor after discovering he had engaged in “inappropriate and explicit ongoing text messages with an adult male,” according to a statement from the church’s elders. Aaron Ivey, the pastor of worship and creativity and an elder at the megachurch, was fired for what the statement called a “disqualifying situation,” which the elders said they became aware of the previous day.

  1. Presbytery Brings Charges Against Pastor Who Defended Victims

By Kim Roberts. A former teaching elder in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), who was critical of the way the Central Indiana Presbytery handled allegations brought against Dan Herron, is now facing seven charges and possible excommunication. “The charges are a clear retaliation by [Teaching Elder John] Peoples and others as revenge for my seeking justice and speaking the truth in Central Indiana Presbytery since 2020,” said Pastor Steve Marusich, who denies all charges.