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Top 10 MinistryWatch Stories for November: Bible Publishers Controversy, Grand Canyon University Fine, and Scott Sauls Resigns

The following stories had the most page views at the MinistryWatch website during the month of November. 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 2022, click here.

  1. Bible Publishers—Stewards or Gatekeepers?

By Jon Here. Let’s imagine that your pastor gets up one Sunday morning and announces: “If anyone wants to share passages from the Bible they need to ask me for permission first. I have to do this in order to carefully steward God’s Word, because people might abuse it. That said, I’ll be very generous in giving permission. I’ll even let you share it for free if you’re only using small portions. But if you use large portions, I’ll expect some payment to cover the costs of carefully stewarding God’s Word.” How would you feel?

  1. Church Switchers Highlight Reasons for Congregational Change

By Aaron Earls. When churchgoers find a new congregation, most say their reasons for change had a little to do with both their old and new churches. Lifeway Research studied 1,001 U.S. adults who identify as Protestant or non-denominational, attend church worship services at least twice a month and have attended more than one church as an adult.

  1. What to Make of SBC President Bart Barber’s Apology

By Warren Cole Smith. Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) President Bart Barber made a big mistake. Last year, he signed an amicus brief that was submitted to the Kentucky Supreme Court that argued against statute of limitations reform. The reforms that the SBC argued against were precisely the reforms that many sex abuse survivors want and have been working for in Kentucky and around the country. The SBC should simply have kept its mouth shut.

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  1. Kanakuk Kamps Sues Insurer for Breach of Contract, Refusal to Defend

By Kim Roberts. Kanakuk Kamps is suing its insurance carrier, ACE American Insurance Company, for breach of contract and fiduciary duty and for bad faith refusal to defend Kanakuk over the lawsuit brought against the camp by a sexual abuse victim. Kanakuk alleges the insurance carrier withheld information from victims and threatened to deny coverage to the camp during the years immediately following the sexual abuse scandal.

  1. Largest Christian University in US Faces Record Fine After Federal Probe Into Alleged Deception

By Collin Binkley. The country’s largest Christian university is being fined $37.7 million by the federal government amid accusations that it misled students about the cost of its graduate programs. Grand Canyon University, which has more than 100,000 students, mostly in online programs, faces the largest fine of its kind ever issued by the U.S. Education Department. The university dismissed the allegations as “lies and deceptive statements.” An Education Department investigation found that Grand Canyon lied to more than 7,500 current and former students about the cost of its doctoral programs.

  1. Former Student Sues Christian School Teacher for Sexual Abuse

By Steve Rabey. A former student claims she was abused by a teacher at her Christian school and that the school not only failed to report the crimes but hid the information, hoping the scandal would blow over. The student, now in her twenties and referred to as “Jane Doe” to protect her identity, came forward in 2022. This year she sued the teacher, the school, and the church that operates the school. Harriet Sugg, a former teacher at First Academy in Orlando, Florida, is charged with five felonies for sexual abuse of a minor while acting as an authority figure at First Academy, which has a student body of some 1,300 students.

  1. International House of Prayer Relieves Mike Bickle of Duties, Begins Formal Investigation

By Kim Roberts. Based on allegations of sexual abuse, the International House of Prayer in Kansas City (IHOPKC) has asked its founding leader Mike Bickle to step away from his duties pending an independent investigation. “Our Executive Leadership Team and Mike Bickle have agreed that out of the best interest of the organization and the integrity of IHOPKC, Mike will step away from public ministry for an indefinite time, up to and including until we complete a thorough examination of the allegations and inquiry of the circumstances,” a Nov. 5 press release from IHOPKC stated.

  1. Largest Christian Ministries in the US

By Warren Cole Smith. Below is a list of the largest Christian ministries in the MinistryWatch database. We have included every ministry with revenue of $100-million or greater. That’s approximately 45 ministries. Note that this list does not include colleges and universities. These 45 ministries represent a total of about $14.1 billion in annual revenue.

  1. Memphis Pastor Arrested for Identity Theft and Theft of Merchandise

By Kim Roberts. Steven Flockhart, pastor of 901 Church in Memphis, Tennessee, was arrested on one count of identity theft and one count of theft of merchandise between $2,500 and $10,000. Flockhart, 39, was arrested on Thursday, November 2 and posted a $2,000 bond the next day. He was supposed to be arraigned before a Shelby County judge Monday morning, according to reporting by USA Today. In 2012, Flockhart was a contestant on “American Idol” and NBC’s “The Voice.” However, the church website says, “God made it clear that he was supposed to walk away from what could have been a very prominent music career, and that he was supposed to [p]astor and [l]ead people to advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

  1. Pastor and Author Scott Sauls has Resigned From Nashville Megachurch

By Bob Smietana. Scott Sauls, an influential evangelical pastor and author, has resigned from the Nashville megachurch he had led for the past decade. Members of Christ Presbyterian Church voted to accept Saul’s resignation during a congregational meeting on Sunday night (Nov. 12). Sauls had been on an indefinite leave of absence since May after apologizing for an unhealthy leadership style. A group of church leaders known as the session had asked the congregation to accept Saul’s resignation.