Friday, September 23, 2011

Pastor Rob Bell Resigns

Fans and congregants of Pastor Rob Bell and Mars Hill Bible Church caused the ministry's website to crash Thursday night, as news of the Love Wins author's resignation started to spread.

Mars Hill explained on its official Facebook page: "Hey guys, sorry the website has crashed from all the traffic. We are working to get it back up. In the meantime, here is the info that is on our news page..."  The post went on to show the same statement listed on the Grandville, Mich., church's website.

The statement, released by the Mars Hill Bible Church staff, on Bell's departure reads:
"Feeling the call from God to pursue a growing number of strategic opportunities, our founding pastor Rob Bell, has decided to leave Mars Hill in order to devote his full energy to sharing the message of God's love with a broader audience."
Members of Mars Hill and other curious observers have been logging onto the church's Facebook page to react to the announcement of Bell leaving the church he founded 12 years ago.

Josh Gould declared the news as "brutal" and added: "But rob has such a unique perspective that has helped me grow tremendously."

Monica Clink responded, "Very sad to see Rob go, but excited for him and his new opportunities."

Connie Park stated, "It will be different without him!! Will have too see what happens next!!!"

Craig McDade responded, "In college, I started my walk with God. I have Rob Bell and Mars Hill to thank for that. Good luck Rob!"

Aran Walter commented, "Rob, may you be filled with the grace and peace of God in the next chapter of you and your family's life."

Said Hayden Jessie: "Very sad to hear. He speaks for so many of us that hear his message and are excited to be Christians again. I wish him well and I hope what he has started at Mars Hill continues."

Jeff Sytsma added, "End of an era. The start of a new one."

These are just a few of many comments left on Mars Hill Church’s Facebook page.

It was not clear how long the Mars Hill website was down.

The church stated that Bell would explain his departure and new call in greater detail during Mars Hill Bible Church's upcoming Sunday service on Sept. 25.

[By Herbert Pinnock | Christian Post Contributor]

Unanswered Questions Remain Concerning Pastor Zachery Tims

A representative with the New York Chief Medical Examiner's office revealed Friday that the much-anticipated toxicology results for Florida minister Zachery Tims would not be available until sometime next week.

In a call with The Christian Post, Ellen Borakove, director of Public Affairs at the New York Chief Medical Examiner's office, said results for the toxicology tests were "very close" and that more information would be available by Tuesday or Wednesday.

Tims, senior pastor of New Destiny Christian Church (NDCC) in Apopka, Fla., was found dead in his room at the W. Hotel in Times Square on Aug. 12.

The minister, who was in town for a speaking engagement, was found on the floor of his hotel room. Investigators revealed that a glassine envelope of white powder was found in Tims' right pants pocket.

Investigators were reportedly considering the possibility that Tims might have died from a drug overdose.

The charismatic preacher battled drug addiction before becoming a Christian, a subject which he focuses on his memoir It's Never Too Late.

Tims, a Balitmore, Md., native, shared in a TBN broadcast on July 12: "At the age of 14, I shot a man and tried to kill him. I was locked up till I was 16. I was a drug addict till I was 19."

But Tims professed that God turned his life around.

"I'm a living witness [that] it is never too late," he stressed on TBN's "Praise the Lord" program, which he frequently hosted.

NDCC is currently in the process of searching for a new leader, as Tims did not leave behind instructions regarding a successor.

Church administrators have not commented on the suspicious substance found on Tims, but Bishop T.D. Jakes, who delivered the minister's eulogy during his Aug. 21 funeral, insinuated that Tims struggled with personal problems.

In the eulogy, The Potter's House minister compared Tims to Jacob from the Bible, whom God renamed Israel.

"I thought I was the only one who knew how unhappy Zach was, how broken he was, how afraid he was if anybody was to see any flaw in him," Jakes said. "He tried hard to heal himself, to fix himself … I don't know what happened in that room in New York, but I can only hope that as Zach was dying, Dr. Tims stood up."

[By Nicola Menzie | Christian Post Reporter]