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MinistryWatch’s Top 10 Stories for the Month of August

The following stories had the most page views at the MinistryWatch website during the month of August.  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.

10.  Boy Scout Victims React to Tennessee Property Transfers

The official committee representing sexual abuse survivors in the Boy Scouts of America bankruptcy is asking a judge to void real estate transfers by a local Boy Scouts council in Tennessee, saying they violated court restrictions on sales or transfers of BSA assets.  The BSA filed bankruptcy in February.  It was a move that followed years of decline that left the once strong youth organization in a precarious financial situation.  The bankruptcy also positioned the BSA to weather lawsuits over sexual abuse claims that could end up costing the BSA hundreds of millions of dollars.

9.  Social Media Proved To Be Undoing for Jerry Falwell, Jr.

It may not be unusual for the head of one of the country’s largest evangelical universities to follow students or student groups on social media.  Or to follow or share content by conservative political pundits. Especially if the school’s leader has been as outspoken about politics as Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. has been.  But tweeting an image of a face mask featuring a politician in blackface proved problematic for Falwell.  And an Instagram photo of Falwell with his arm around a woman who is not his wife — their pants unzipped and midriffs bared — led to Falwell taking an indefinite leave of absence from his roles as president and chancellor of Liberty.

8.  The Falwell Fiasco:  Where Was The Board?

Jerry Falwell, Jr., has behaved in ways that would have gotten him fired from leadership in most Christian organizations, and many non-Christian organizations.  Despite that, the Board of Trustees of Liberty University allowed him to resign and walk away with a reported $10.5-million in severance and retirement pay.

7.  Falwell Says Wife’s Affair Contributed to Depression

Jerry Falwell Jr. says that his wife’s affair and the strain of keeping it secret has contributed to his depression.  Falwell, who was placed on indefinite leave from his role as president of Liberty University after a string of controversial social media activity, broke the news about his wife’s brief affair with a family friend in a statement Sunday (Aug. 23), released through the Washington Examiner. Falwell claims the man has repeatedly threatened to expose the affair to the public unless he was paid “substantial monies.”

6.  Falwell Placed on Indefinite Leave from Liberty University

The Executive Committee of Liberty University’s Board of Trustees, acting on behalf of the full Board, met today and requested that Jerry Falwell, Jr. take an indefinite leave of absence from his roles as President and Chancellor of Liberty University, to which he has agreed, effective immediately.  The board’s action is a response to Falwell posting a photo of himself with a woman on his yacht, both had their shirts hiked up and their pants unzipped. The photo came with the caption, “Lots of good friends visited us on the yacht. I promise that’s only black water in my glass.” Falwell later deleted the photo and apologized for the post, but a growing chorus of voices have been calling for his resignation.

5.  Young Life Under Pressure to Change Sexual Misconduct Policy

A social media campaign started by two gay former Young Life staffers is putting pressure on the youth ministry to change its position on sexuality.

4.  A Preacher with Sneakers:  Steven Furtick To Replace Kenneth Copeland

Trinity Broadcasting Network said it will no longer air the daily Texas-based Kenneth Copeland Ministries program known as “Believer’s Voice of Victory.”  Instead, the network will replace it with programming by Steven Furtick, a megachurch pastor widely known for his appearances on PreachersNSneakers, an Instagram account that features influencer pastors and their expensive shoes.  The change will be effective Oct. 2.

3.  LA Threatens MacArthur with Fines and Arrest

The city of Los Angeles has issued John MacArthur and Grace Community Church a cease-and-desist letter, threatening a $1,000 fine or arrest for continuing to hold in-person church services in defiance of state orders aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19.  MacArthur and Grace Community Church have secured attorneys Jenna Ellis and Charles LiMandri of the Thomas More Society as legal counsel.

2.  Falwell Responds to Instagram Photo

Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. spoke to a Lynchburg, Va., radio station about Instagram photos that sparked controversy earlier this week.  Falwell posted a photo of himself with a woman on his yacht, both had their shirts hiked up and their pants unzipped, as reported by Julie Roys. The photo came with the caption, “Lots of good friends visited us on the yacht. I promise that’s only black water in my glass.” Falwell later deleted the photo.

1.  List of Ministries Receiving More Than $1-Million in COVID Relief Funds

This month’s MinistryWatch list is a departure for us because it is not a list curated from our own database.  It is a list of all evangelical Christian ministries and churches that received at least $1-million from the Paycheck Protection Program.  This list includes more than 400 ministries, and we have sorted them by state so you can more easily find the ministries in your city.