The Briefing: Missionaries recover, Driscoll steps away, HHS releases new rules

Meredith Flynn —  August 26, 2014

THE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn

Newly released from Emory University Hospital, missionary doctor Kent Brantley used a press conference to talk about his Christian faith, and to thank everyone who prayed for him while he fought the Ebola virus. “I cannot thank you enough for your prayers and your support,” Brantley said in this NBC News video. “But what I can tell you is that I serve a faithful God who answers prayers.”

Brantley and fellow doctor Nancy Writebol were both given an experimental drug after being infected with the Ebola virus in Liberia. According to an Aug. 20 update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 624 people in Liberia have died from the virus, which also has spread in Guinea, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. What is believed to be a different strain of the virus has also been reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Amid controversy, Driscoll announces leave of absence
Pastor Mark Driscoll told his congregation Aug. 24 he will step away from Mars Hill Church for at least six weeks, while church leaders examine charges against him made by 21 former pastors. “Storm clouds seem to be whirling around me more than ever in recent months, and I have given much thought and sought much counsel as to why that is and what to do about it,” Driscoll told his Mars Hills Church in Seattle, reports Christianity Today. “The current climate is not healthy for me, or for this church…. I am sorry for that, and I grieve with you.”

Earlier this month, Driscoll and Mars Hill were removed from fellowship from Acts 29, the church planting network he helped found. (Southern Baptist pastor Matt Chandler currently serves as president of Acts 29.) A day after the network’s decision, LifeWay Christian Resources pulled Driscoll’s books from its stores and website.

The_BriefingNew HHS policy doesn’t solve main problem, Moore says
A division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has released new rules for non-profits and “closely-held” corporations that object to a mandate requiring them cover abortion-inducing drugs in their employee health care plans. But the new plan still allows for an insurer or third-party administrator to cover the services, reports Baptist Press.

“What we see here is another revised attempt to settle issues of religious conscience with accounting maneuvers,” said Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. “…The administration is setting itself up as a mediator between God and the conscience on the question of the taking of innocent human life.”

‘God’s got us,’ says husband of lye victim
Update: Jan Harding was released from the hospital Aug. 23.
Baptist leader Jim Harding told reporters Aug. 21 his family is sad, rather than angry, about the Aug. 10 poisoning of his wife at a Utah barbeque restaurant. Jan Harding is still hospitalized with esophageal burns after taking a sip of sweet tea that had lye in it. “We have absolute confidence in our God,” said her husband, a professor at the Utah extension center of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. Read more at

Volunteers serve with Illinois church planters
Church planters in Chicagoland and northwest Illinois partnered with volunteers Aug. 16 for the most recent edition of Serving Across Illinois, a year-long focus on meeting practical needs. Teams hosted block parties and celebrations, tidied up schools, and handed out water and Bibles to bikers. Click here for photos from the day.

Meredith Flynn


Meredith is managing editor of the Illinois Baptist newspaper.