The Briefing: California church celebrates 50,000th baptism

Meredith Flynn —  August 14, 2018

Saddleback reaches baptism milestone
Saddleback Church celebrated its 50,000th baptism Sunday, Aug. 12. The Southern Baptist congregation headquartered in Lake Forest, Ca., has 19 campuses. Saddleback was founded in 1980 by Pastor Rick Warren.

“Each of these lives represents an individual changed by and committed to a relationship with Jesus Christ,” the church tweeted about the milestone. “We are in awe of what God has done in the last 38 years and are hopeful and expectant for what he will do in the years to come. Thank you, God!”

‘Great is Thy Faithfulness’—like you’ve never heard it before
At a recent conference, author and pastor John Piper wrote two new verses for “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” the hymn that wrapped up the meeting. The verses reflect his theological standpoint—which is more Reformed than that of the hymn’s author. Christianity Today asked church music experts to weigh in: As the culture around them changes, should hymns stick to their original theology?

NAMB forms new group to step up evangelism efforts
The North American Mission Board announced last week the creation of an evangelism and leadership group tasked with promoting evangelism in Southern Baptist churches. Georgia pastor Jim Law will head the new group, Baptist Press reports.

Rwandan government imposes new rules on churches
Rwandan officials have imposed new restrictions on religious practice in their country, including the requirement that all pastors have a theological degree from an accredited school. The government has also instructed pastors not to encourage their congregations to fast for long periods of time, Christianity Today reports.

Church fraud on the rise
Reported cases of financial fraud in churches rises about 6% each year, The Christian Post reports, and is expected to reach the $60 billion mark by 2025. The growing problem could be solved by requiring churches to complete a specific IRS form, says one tax law expert.

Sources: Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post

Meredith Flynn

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Meredith is managing editor of the Illinois Baptist newspaper.